Some Days are Smooth, Some Days are Chunky

The story goes like this:  Once upon a time, my mother and father had to attend a child-free function,  which, when you have Four children, can be something of a challenge.  They called upon my father's mother, who, if unenthusiastic, was brave, and at least close by.  Ruth's own children had numbered only 2, and had been raised the old-fashioned way, with live-in help, and then sent away to boarding school before getting old enough to become too obnoxious.  At least that's the way the her 2 children tell it; as child #5, all of this was substantially before my time.

Anyway, Ruth somehow sustained the evening unharmed, and my parents returned home to find all four offspring tucked safely in their beds.  But Ruth had split.  Made a break for it.  Gone while the gettin' was good.  In fact, there was no trace of her having been there at all, except for one thing:  A note scrawled in an unsteady hand, proclaimed

"You're out of Peanut Butter.  Heaven Help You."

Since then, the level of the peanut butter in the pantry has been the unofficial gauge of health, wealth and fortitude, for everybody in my family.  We say to each other "Yeah, but it could be worse - it's not like you're out of peanut butter...".  Like having a full tank of gas, or a $20 bill, or a clean, ironed shirt in the closet, a full jar of peanut butter makes makes me feel like the minimum standards are being maintained.  Not rich, you understand, but prepared.  Capable.  Self-sufficient enough to handle whatever hand the Universe is planning to deal next.

This morning, Campbell's backpack (which suffered a massive juice-bottle breech yesterday and had to go into the washing machine) was still wet.  And worse than that, it had gone into the washing machine containing not less than 24 unsharpened pencils.  And the cardboard box which held them.  The carnage confronting me inside the washing machine, with less than 7 minutes till the bus came, was indescribable.  I abandoned the whole gory mess and hooked Cam up with a knitting bag to carry his lunch and homework in.  Lunch.  That I still had not made at T-minus-seven minutes till the bus.  I flew to the kitchen at Mach 2 and assembled bread, juice bottles, goldfish crackers and apple slices in a cheetah-like blur.  And that's when it happened.  I heard my grandmother's voice, bell-like and serene: 

"You're out of Peanut Butter.  Heaven Help You."

In my panic, I think I may have packed my children Nutella and mayonnaise sandwiches.  On whole wheat.  Mother. Of. The. Year.

Without peanut butter, the balance of the Universe is compromised.  Without peanut butter, the wheels abruptly fall off the wagon.  Without peanut butter, you start looking around for the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.    I have failed to maintain minimum standards. 

I know it's not actually the end of the world, but I'm thinking this could be one of the seven signs.  There are things you should be able to take for granted, and peanut butter is one of them.  I'm going to try to put this behind me.  Bootstrap myself into this day and carry on without further panic.  And, armed with tweezers and a vacuum cleaner, I'll try to extract the pencil shrapnel from my washing machine. 

Sometimes there are sentences I just can't believe I've just written.