Here's the deal -- you have a screaming baby in one arm and she's been fed, burped and changed, so it is beyond you as to what the problem is. Your four year old son is screaming that he's bored and wants you to play while he pulls the baby's hair, and you hang on tight praying that you don't drop her.
Realizing that the hair pulling may have something to do with the incessant crying, you hear a familiar voice in the distance and realize that your mother is on the phone, which you are holding in your other hand. She is talking about people you don't know and is completely oblivious to the noise that she hears in the background.
You have just put out the fire in the oven that resulted from an over cooked roast dinner, after forgetting it was there, when you finally got the kids to sleep for a nap, both at the same time, which is no mean feat. You collapsed on the couch only to wake up to the smell of burning chicken and a baby crying for God knows how long in her crib.
You have the in-laws on their way over in less than an hour for dinner.
Here's what you do.
Minced Meat Spaghetti Stuff
Hang up on your mother and when she rings back; don't answer it. Tomorrow you can tell her how weird it is that it rang out over and over again when you were home the whole time -- must have been the phone company.
Throw Barney in the video player and rewind what is sure to be an un-rewound tape -- tell your son to watch it rewind. He can tell you when it is finished and then you will put it on for him.
Do the best job you can of cutting up an onion into shapes that resemble cubes with one hand, while avoiding cutting off your baby's fingers with the knife.
Throw the onion in a pot (turn it on first and put in some oil), press play on Barney and toss in some garlic powder (into the pot, not the video player - common error for novice cooks).
Scramble out to the car and put the baby in, run back inside and tell your son to sit still, don't answer the door or the phone (because it will be your mother) and wait for you to come back. A child well mesmerized by Barney won't hear a thing and won't know you are even gone.
Drive to the closest store, remember that you left your wallet at home while backing out of the driveway, run back inside and note that your son has not moved since you left.
Buy a tin of crushed tomatoes at the store, some minced meat and a bag of 2 minute pasta (which never takes less than 10 minutes to cook) and some crusty bread.
Put the meat in the pot, get the baby out of the car -- you KNEW you forgot something!
Put the baby down and yell at your son to play something 'nice' with her.
Throw the can of tomatoes in the pot, some oregano and basil and a bay leaf (dried is fine if your fresh herbs are rotting in the bottom of the fridge) and a tiny bit of chili paste.
Take a shower while your son is behaving and try to look half-presentable for the family's arrival.
Hide the dishes in the dishwasher, the kids mess under their beds, and the dirty clothes in the washing machine.
Put the pasta on.
Sit down, relax and throw it all in a bowl and serve it when the relatives arrive.
Damn! Forgot to answer your e-mails -- so much for relaxing! Turn on the computer and log in; answer e-mails until guests arrive.
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