Sugar & Spice

And How Was YOUR Day?

It was on this exact day in history when I realized that I needed to make a change. That the working-outside-the-home thing and I were not a good fit. That my poor already-meager brainpower reserves were overextended to the breaking point, making each and every venture into the outside world fraught with danger and the potential to snowball into a comedy of errors, or at least a story that could only be told with at least a dozen "...AND THEN!" transitions into the next circle of absent-minded hell. That being required to walk out the door remembering my keys AND my lunch AND the daycare bag AND the work I'd brought home the night before AND my shoes AND where I'd parked the car AND the baby, omg the baby was just too much. Something had to give. 

Five years and a whole extra kid-and-a-half later, this remains probably one of the most self-aware things I have ever realized about myself. Five years later, and it still holds true that the simple decision to "get out of my pajamas" is usually the exact point where my day goes completely haywire.

For the record, I am only required to Leave The House once a week, other than the weekends, but that doesn't count because Jason is there so he can supervise. I mean, so it's a team effort. Yes. That. On Thursdays, however, I alone am responsible for getting everybody up and fed and dressed and out the door for Noah's weekly OT appointment.

Yesterday, AS YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE BEEN AWARE, was a Thursday. So up and out we went, and I was feeling pretty good, considering I'd managed to shower and dry my hair AND find one whole hat for one whole child, so I only had to remember to repeatedly yank up one coat hood over one head, while muttering old-lady threats about colds and catching death. 

In fact, the only snafu was when I remembered that I'd never brought in my travel mug from my car, so I needed to run out and grab it and wash it out really quick so I could take my coffee with us. (NOTE: In my lifetime, I have personally purchased a good four dozen high-quality travel mugs, every single one of which is sitting in a desk drawer or under a car seat somewhere belong to my husband, so the travel mug featured in this story is my very last mug, a cheap promotional one that Tracey and I received when Mamapop won Best Pop Culture Blog from The Baltimore Sun. Tracey said I could keep our major award, which was very nice of her, except that it leaks all the time.) 

ANYWAY. BUT THEN! I retrieved the mug from the car, only to realize there was a very gross, very frozen chunk of last Thursday's coffee still in the bottom. We were already running late, the car was already running (in a very FORESHADOWINGLY-like manner, by the way) and the kids were already buckled into their seats and there I was, waiting for some warm-ish water to flow from the sink faucet in the kitchen so I could melt a week-old expired coffee ice cube or at least break it out with a knife handle or something. 

After a few desperate minutes, I put the mug in the microwave -- expressly disobeying the printed instructions on the bottom -- but then changed my mind after 10 seconds because you know, it would be SO LIKE ME to have to call Jason and tell him that I blew up the microwave for just this exact precise reason. 

Finally, I had a nice, cleanish cup of new coffee and we were back in the car. Which is when I noticed that the gas light was on.

Just like it had been on last Thursday, when I had consciously decided to NOT get gas, because 1) the gas light comes on in my car almost laughably early, like with more than 30 miles to go (according to some display thing on the GPS screen that I can check to more accurately gauge my gas-tank recklessness), and 2) as long as I made it home and then never left the house again, odds were good that Jason would drive the car next and would stop for gas. 

But we were all terribly sick last weekend, so nobody drove it anywhere, so I was now stuck knowing that I'd already cashed in my free early-gas-light trip and was probably close to fumes at this point. But we were late! Because...well, I'd spent all that time trying to melt that thing out of my travel mug.

We made it to OT on time, though I knew there was NO WAY we would make it home without filling up. But no matter, there were about three gas stations super-close to the therapist's office...I could stop and still get Noah home for a quick sandwich and catching the school bus in plenty of time. 

Except...for some reason, instead of just -- I DON'T KNOW -- driving to one of the actual gas stations that I was already familiar with, I decided to head towards the one that the GPS said was the closest. Huh! I thought. I had no idea there was a Shell station right there! That's really convenient, actually!

And it really would have been convenient, if it existed. Which it didn't. It was an office building. So I changed course and headed towards ANOTHER gas station, right around the time the stupid computer screen thing started yelling at me like, SERIOUSLY, YOU HAVE NO GAS, WHY DON'T YOU STOP AT A GAS STATION. YOU WERE LIKE, FIVE FEET FROM ONE A MINUTE AGO, MORON.

Oh, and did I mention it was snowing? Because it was snowing. What started as flurries around the time we arrived for OT was now a full-on snow "event," as the local weather people like to call it anytime we start seeing ACCUMULATION! Of UP TO TWO INCHES! YOU ARE ALL GOING TO DIE IN YOUR CARS! YOU ARE PROBABLY ALSO ON FIRE!

So there was a crazy amount of traffic, as the lines on the road were already more or less covered up, and as you know, when the lines on the road get covered up, everybody forgets where the lines ever even were to begin with. 

So I'm driving, all white-knuckled and over-caffeinated, with both kids in the car, and I can't even figure out which thing on the dashboard to freak out more over: the now below-E gas tank indicator or the clock, which says I have all of 15 minutes to get Noah home in time to catch the bus.

But I make it to the gas station. I pull up to the pump and reach into the diaper bag for my wallet.

No wallet.

No wallet.


No wallet, all of 10 cents in the coin tray, no secret $5 bill or credit card in the glove compartment, zero gas. Oh, and a cell phone with a red battery-charge indicator and yes, I have a car charger for my phone but no, I had no idea where it was at the moment.

I did the only thing I could think to do. I drove away from the gas station, back towards the snow-covered highway. 

See? Brain. Thinking. Not good at it. Obviously I'd hit max capacity for problem solving sometime that morning, probably during the thing with the mold-flecked coffee ice cube.

I called Jason and told him to like, omg, pray or something. He -- in a typical lack of faith and/or confidence in my coping skills -- ordered me to get the fuck to a gas station and wait for him there. I mewed sadly about the bus! The bus! I have to get Noah home for the bus!

"Yes, which you will most certainly NOT be able to do while stranded on the side of the highway."

(Right around this time, I drove directly by my old office building. Or more like...coasted, as I tried to use the snow to my advantage instead of the gas pedal. I'm beginning to think that general business park area has it in for me, for real.)

10 minutes later, Jason called back. He was still looking for my wallet. I told him to look in my black purse, which I'd carried last week to a BlogHer Meet-Up in Bethesda, which NOW that I think about it, was the other last time I left the house by myself. (I drove Jason's car. So he could have the carseats in case of an emergency. Also, because I knew my car needed gas.) He said he already checked that bag, and it wasn't there.

So. To recap. Things Amy Was Currently Freaking Out About:

1) No gas. Still sitting in traffic trying to get somewhere close to Gas Station Number Three, AKA the one every single driver in the area seemed to be flocking to, because OH MY GOD SNOW SNOW SNOW PANIC ALSO I NEED BREAD.

2) The bus. Even though that was pretty much a done-and-missed deal by now and I was going to have to drive Noah directly to school, I was upset because I didn't call the bus depot ahead of time to tell them Noah wouldn't be on the bus like I'm supposed to and what if I get in trouble for that? Or the bus skids on the ice right outside our house and everybody dies and it was ALL MY FAULT because I DIDN'T CALL, or maybe the bus driver will just be generally kind of MAD AT ME from now on?

3) My wallet. Where the hell was it? Did I lose it? Drop it? Get pick-pocketed? What happens if I got into a fender bender or something without my license right now because the road is slippery and you know, there are all these IDIOTS out there who don't know how to drive in the snow? I may be an idiot who spends 15 minutes melting coffee backwash from promotional travel mugs before driving her children miles and miles away in the snow with no gas and no wallet, but AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I know how to drive in inclement weather. Kind of. Pretty much.

4) Phone battery. Seriously, where the fuck did my car charger go? Ohhhh, that's right, last week I met HeatherB for lunch and she texted to say she desperately needed an iPhone charger and all I could find in the house was the plug part but not the cable part so I yanked the cable from the car charger and then I guess I took the whole inside the house or something and see? All my problems in life stem from unsupervised outings. 

5) Starvation. We were almost out of the only snack option I had on hand: A bag of cheese-pretzel sandwich things that I desperately needed to believe was counting as a nutritious, pre-school-day lunch for Noah.


I made it to the gas station. We sat there for awhile until Jason showed up with a credit card and I racked up the single-most-expensive fill-up in my entire car-owning life. I drove Noah directly to school and got there before his bus, because the snow delayed everything by a million billion minutes or so, and when he got back home I fed him the entire contents of our pantry, because the poor kid was starving and I am mother of the fucking year.


My wallet was totally in my black purse. Jason said, "Oh, THAT black purse." I have not yet asked him which black purse he thought I was talking about, because the only other black purse I own is a crystal-encrusted black satin evening clutch that is smaller than my actual wallet, and for the sake and safety of our family I need to keep on believing that that's NOT the purse he looked in, because ONE OF US HAS TO BE SMART, AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT. 


The Domestic Goddess

Ugh. Sounds like my day. Missed buses. Missing wallet. No gas. Hours on road to go two miles. Philly is wimpy in an inch of snow.


Stranger than fiction, man. Damn.

Jessica V

I have to admit that I was waiting for this post as I read your Tweets yesterday and knew this would be a good story. And I laughed out loud at the last paragraph because that is exactly how my husband and I survive each other's absentmindedness. So funny!


That was fucking hilarious. Sorry to laugh at your misery, but I am in tears over here!


Can I play too?

Wednesday: got up at 5.30. Drove 50 miles to where I was working. Still working flat out at 9pm when *every single image* in my powerpoint pres vanishes. Still can't fix it by 10pm, so bail. Only food option McDonalds, accidently block someone in while parking. Go to hotel, get in bed, discover nasty unknown sticky substance and short human hairs on bedside table (I don't want to know...). Get up at 5am to go back to powerpoint hell.


OK, first, OMG, what a day, I so feel you, so sorry!

And second, OMG you CRACK ME UP!!! Your posts are such a bright spot in my work day.

You know, if I read the internets at work.



I don't have kids but I definitely called my husband at 6 am other day demanding he tell me RIGHT NOW OMG, HOW MANY MILES CAN I GO IF I COAST AT 55 MPH ON THE EXPRESSWAY AND I'M STUCK IN THE AIRPORT LOOPS AND THERE ARE NO EXITS AHHH.

I made it. Barely.


I hate that you had a bad day to make me feel better but you cheered me up reading this post. I'm glad to know there are other mothers out there like me!

Glad you have gas again!! Happy Holidays!


Well, two nights ago, I fell into bed at 11:30 p.m., exhausted, and set the alarm for 5:15 so I could get into NYC for an early meeting. So, the alarm goes off, I look at the clock, and it's 5:30, and that means I need to RUSH to get out of the house by 6:15, so I jet into the shower. And I'm still exhausted, and I can't figure out why. Like, walking dead, exhausted.

Get out of shower, and randomly happen to pick up my cell phone to check e-mail. And see that the clock says...1:35. Blink. Shake phone. Check again.

Check other clock: 1:35.

The alarm didn't go off. I DREAMED it. And I was exhausted because I'd only been asleep for two hours.

So, basically, I showered in the middle of the night.

I threw a towel over the pillow and went straight back to sleep for four more hours with my wet head.

And, yeah, after all that, yesterday was a bad hair day.


I sat at my neighbors house sipping coffee and letting the kids have a play date.
It was the best snow day ever.

*Ducking plastic travel mug hurled at my head*

I forgot my wallet when we were FLYING once. Had to go from Dulles to National Airport to catch a later flight because of it. Now, whenever we travel, my husband repeatedly asks me "Do you have your wallet? Is you license IN your wallet?"
I feel your pain....but seriously, you ROCKED yesterday!
You should have bought a lottery ticket. Seriously.


Oh Amy, you are cracking me up! I had to try REALLY hard to not laugh out loud so my co-workers wouldn't hear me. You are fortunate to have such an understanding husband. Mine gets so frustrated at me when I lock my keys in the car, or lock myself out of the house (which I do once every few months).


Just an FYI, if this ever happens again, I think you were like a minute from my office. I would have saved you. Or at least bought you gas while you waited for Jason for your other stuff.

But then you couldn't have written this hysterical entry.


ok this was all hilarious, thank you. but Kristen takes the cake with her story..
"The alarm didn't go off. I DREAMED it. And I was exhausted because I'd only been asleep for two hours.

So, basically, I showered in the middle of the night."

omg i just laughed out loud all by myself at that.


I just want to say that I totally identify with every aspect of this story. I am just as functional in public :)

Denice Johnson

Were you swearing? I bet you were swearing and crying. Or is that just me?


This made me stressed out and anxious just reading it.

Sprite's Keeper

I'll take a low tire pressure warning light anytime over the day you had!

Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey

I absolutely love the way you tell a story. I had seen your Tweets yesterday and was hoping everything turned out okay.

A not-at-all-funny-in-the-moment story, but kinda-funny-now story? (right?!?) :)



My sister and I have reached the conclusion that you must talk like us - do you get louder and louder, and then add hand motions too? And then our husbands whisper to us that they are right next to us and we don't need to shout? Jerks.


hahaha.....I don't feel so alone now. Jeff (my Jason) saves me from brainless panic attacks regularly. I'm going to make him read this so he doesn't feel so alone anymore....:)


I laughed so hard, so many times in this story, then completely lost it at Kristen's story.

All I have to contribute is that I couldn't find my bra this morning and it was making me nuts (and late). When I finally rolled into the office, there was my bra, on the floor by my chair, in plain view of the window (whose blinds were wide open for all the hallway to see). Somehow, it had fallen out of my gym bag during my nightly 'scurry out the door like the building is on fire' routine.

It was the hot pink lacy one, too. Am guessing that my colleagues now believe I am not actually working late, but rather getting a different kind busy in my office.


Thank you. You just made my day. I feel so much better knowing I am not the only one.

mrs. q.

I was having a bad day. And then I read this.


Suddenly I feel a bit better!

I do not go anywhere without a $5 bill and a roll of quarters in the glovebox.


I am not even pregnant and that sounds like me.

I am glad it all worked out. For the duration of the pregnancy I think Jason should just make it his job to keep gas in the car. You are growing organs, the least he can do is fill up the car.


Amy, thank you so much for making me smile when it feels like everything is going so horribly wrong that it can never be right again. And you know what, Kristen, same goes to you. If you ever start a blog make sure you post a link. I would definitely read it


Late at night, long day driving in our motorhome so hubby exhausted, decide to just dry camp at Wal-Mart in the next city to get a few hours sleep, GPS delivers us to a CEMETERY in a creepy part of that city...WTH! There was never a Wal-Mart anywhere near there!

Heather B.

I'm sorry for the part I played in this. But it's funny. But I'm sorry. But really fucking funny.

Did I mention that I'm sorry?


Oh. Dear. Laughing so hard I am crying. There must have been something about yesterday. I go to my office gym in the mornings before going to my office. Yesterday, I somehow forgot to pack work pants. There I stood, dripping from the shower, frantically tossing everything out of my gym bag. No. Pants. But I did have the yoga pants that I wore to the gym. Pro: didn't actually wear them to work out in, just over my shorts. Pro: they are black, and have a loose cut. Con: they have little tiny holes all over the butt and upper thigh from a hiking/rock incident a few years ago. But dammit, they were pants. I hid out in my office, walked sideways with my butt to the wall, and successfully avoided displaying my orange Old Navy undies to any bosses. So relieved when my babysitter called to say she had to pick up her kids b/c of the snow, and my holey butt and I could go home.


My gas light came on this morning while my car was warming up. I have to drive to a different gas station than the one I usually go to because the last time I waited and waited in line to get to the pump and got there only to have the attendant tell me that my gas tank is on the other side of my car. um.... I've owned this car for more than 5 years... I can never face that attendant again, stupid brain sucking pregnancy hormones.

Leigh Ann

So me. So. Me. Pair that with a complete inability to converse with actual adults in actual spoken and not typed words, then you have even more me.


OMG I just peeded a little! that last paragraph had me laughing so hard i woke the baby up. I love reading your blog and finally decided to comment after about 3 years!


my parents were driving along the highway the other day when one of their wheels fell off completely! so as bad as your day was at least you know it could have been worse...


(You guys are KILLING me. Kristen, Kari, Roberta and Tanya? OMG, I'm laughing so hard right now.)

(Mostly because I'm at home, and I didn't have to leave the house. YET. Dun dun duuuuun.)


I love this entry. I love your whole blog, but seriously. Love this entry. I feel like I'm reading about my life, except I only have one kid, and she's only 9 months old. God help me when we decide to have another!

Spicy Sister

Oh gosh. I am sorry for you, but SO glad you posted this today. You cannot imagine how much I needed this story today. so much. Thank you.

Loretta S.

Excellent excellent!!


You know you can blame the baby for all of your memory lapses, right?

Today I went to the grocery store for our weekly shopping, and I had a very specific goal in mind: I was going to get not only coffee, but also some heavy cream to put IN my coffee, because I have been having literal dreams about a wonderful cup of coffee. With cream.

Get back home, put all the groceries away, and set my coffee to brew and then realize...I forgot cream.

*weeps a little*


Classic, fantastic Amalah post with such a great last line. SO GOOD. When you have that kind of day, just remember that THIS you do better than most.


just imagine how much WORSE that all would have been if you hadn't had your coffee. lmao!


I have to say that this story of yours is hysterical. HYSTERICAL, along with all the other commenters with their stories. Wow. I think this is the highlight of my week. Thanks.

(So glad it turned out alright)

I have put an entire cart of groceries on the belt at the checkout line without my wallet, as well as pumped a full tank of gas with no wallet. I hear ya.


I have a lot of thoughts about this most excellent post, but mostly I am concerned about the bus depot, because seriously, the question of what to do if Jack can't go to school one day is what kept me from letting him ride the bus in the morning for three years. Now he rides the bus in the morning and I didn't know I was supposed to call the bus depot if he's not going to be at school and I'm really stressed because I don't even know the bus depot number.

Do they, like, knock at your door if your kid isn't there or do they just wait for a minute and then drive away?

Anywho, to, you know, get back to YOUR post, I'm glad everything turned out okay.


I was entertained and had lots of sympathy for you but then I read the last paragraph and laughed so hard I woke up the dog.

Jenica @ Pumpkin's Boutique

OMG!! You crack me up. I'm so bad about filling up the car too and it always bites me in the behind because I'm always out when I'm late. And I'm always late! People like to give me the benefit of the doubt because I have two kids and I'm pregnant, but the truth is it's only gotten worse since I had kids but its not new.

Sarah (mrsgryphon)

2 weeks ago, it was really cold here in Alberta so I used the remote starter to start my truck. Went out 10 minutes later to load in the kids and... Hmmm. It's not running. Yup, that's when I remembered that I was running on fumes when I got home the last time. Used the remote starter to run my truck out of gas IN MY DRIVEWAY. Gah.


Sounds like pretty much every day of my life. The baby likes to empty my purse. I lost an amex card and my driver's license. Have I stopped her from emptying it since then? No, because she'll do that happily for 5 minutes at least.


Oh, the bus depot. That is STRESS right there, man. My teenage boy and I help our neighbor get her severely physically disabled adult son out the door and up the street and onto the bus several times a week (funding cuts mean the bus won't come to their door, but exactly 1.5 miles from the closest main stop) and she is always so worried we aren't going to make it. They have a demerit system -- sort of a three strikes of flakiness and you're out for a month. So I understand how that concern escalated your worry factor.


Haha, poor Amalah. Now I don't feel so bad about the idiot thing I did yesterday (left a bottle of superexpensive medication in a restaurant, and the restaurant of course immediately threw it out. Gah).
Oh and Kristen? I've definitely done the same thing that you did.


You are so freaking funny. That is all.


I read most of this aloud to my husband. We then had a special moment that involved us recognizing that i REALLY want to be your friend.

the end.


OMG I am so sorry for you but that totally sounds like it could have been my day... LOVE your blog


I thought it was normal for the brain to turn to mush during pregnancy?


As I was reading this, I realized I forgot to take KayTar to PT on Friday. still win.


Very realistic--and humorous--recounting of your harrowing day.

When I ran into traffic the very first week of my daughter's time in daycare and had to listen to her screaming for sustenance, I could see that being a wohm was going to be rough.

Not to mention the times she had carsickness and I was late even after simply cleaning her up and dropping her off at school when she should have been bathed. AND my boss was very rude and not understanding about the whole deal.


Dear Lord, I have DONE this. All of it. Not in this order, but yeah. And the stupid, devil spawn GPS plays a key role every.single.time.


Glad I am not the only one. Except I still have to go to the office and I have no purse. My cards are always in the pair of pants I wore yesterday! But, we totally solved the travel mug dilemma in our house. My husband and I gave up buying coffee on our way to work and now have those handy disposable coffee cups like Starbucks. I know, bad for the environment and all but darn it all something had to give. And me racing around for a mug was it. Here's to a better Thursday!


And I thought I was having a total brain-fart morning when I turned around half-way to work because I had forgotten my work badge. I called my home in a panic because I was going to be late for work. Then I found the badge as I pulled into my driveway. Still managed to make it to work on time.

However, the kiddo starts daycare for the first time in two weeks and I know I'm going to have a lot of late mornings for a while.

Amy in StL

It's good to know I'm not the only one who plays Gaslight roulette. It freaks everyone else out and I did get stuck once - in a different car so it totally doesn't count now.


I too am also glad there are other mothers out like this. Thank goodness. Some days I literally want to cry b/c I'm sure every other mom has it together and I just somehow cannot get it right with a 6 yr old and an almost 2 yr old. My days are always this hectic too! I look forward to your blog (even though I'm not that computer savvy) all the time. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us :)


I needed a little self-esteem boost--and after reading this I feel better about myself, LOL. Thanks, and as we say down south, Bless your heart!


Thank you.
Seriously, thank you. It's nice to know I'm not alone. :)



Amy, you make me feel normal. You probably would make Bridget Jones feel normal also. I love you.



Amy, you make me feel normal. You probably would make Bridget Jones feel normal also. I love you.

The comments to this entry are closed.