National Public Nightmare

Leta is going through A Phase. I know that in the span of her childhood she will go through thousands and thousands of Phases, but every time she goes through one I’m like, CAN YOU PLEASE SLOW DOWN FOR ONE SECOND, because I’ve barely caught up on what the last Phase put me through.

This one involves needing less sleep and I want to stab my forehead with hot forks of displeasure. She is slowly moving toward one nap instead of two naps per day and so our schedule is no schedule at all so let’s just call it what it is: total and utter chaos, which for someone like me with a textbook Type A personality is like throwing me to the wolves with a steak tied around my neck. Blood! Guts! Gore!

Yesterday I was supposed to show up the local NPR affiliate on the University of Utah campus to do an interview with Eric Weiner of the show “Day to Day.” Recently many people have been losing their jobs because of things they have posted on their websites because PEOPLE DON’T PAY ATTENTION. Have I taught the Internet NOTHING from my stupidity? You can’t write about work on your blog without repercussions, especially when you say things like “molestation” and “smacking of the bitch up” in relation to your boss. Just stop doing it, okay?

Many stories have been reported nationally and internationally about people and the astoundingly risky things they are writing about work on their websites. One very widely read paper in England actually got me mixed up with the Delta flight attendant who lost her job because she posted provocative pictures of herself IN HER UNIFORM on her website, and they said something like, “Delta flight attendant, Heather Armstrong…blah blah blah.. job… lost.” I did, in fact, work for Delta Airlines at one time, but I was a reservationist and a very bad one at that, and they could have fired me for various reasons, one of them being that I couldn’t handle working with the public and would say “Shut up” right back at them, but not because I was writing about Delta on my website. GLAD WE GOT THAT CLEARED UP.

But yesterday morning Leta’s first nap got all screwed up and I FORGOT ABOUT THE INTERVIEW. This is where I report the scientific fact that becoming a parent kills brain cells. I don’t ever forget about appointments. It’s just not in my genes. My mother is the Avon World Sale Leader, for crying out loud, HOW COULD I FORGET? So I called up Eric and was all, “I am an idiot, a totally unprofessional idiot, all because I got knocked up and plopped out a kid.”

Eric was very nice and forgiving and we rescheduled the interview for the afternoon which was awesome because my very reliable and cute and teenage babysitter was going to be here. Except, 15 minutes before the interview my very reliable and cute and teenage babysitter CALLED AND CANCELLED. She was in Heber Fucking City, Utah, on her cell phone, and um, could she just come tomorrow? Who the hell came up with the name Heber, anyway? HEBER. Just say that a few times and you’ll immediately start to feel dumber.

With 15 minutes to spare I had to go get Leta out of her crib where I had just put her for her second nap. She was delighted to see me, like, DUDE! PARTY! and I packed her, a bottle, some books, and a bag of cheddar cheese goldfish into my purse. Yes, she fits into my purse. OF COURSE NOT. But I just re-read that sentence and I could see where you might think I stuck her into my purse. I wouldn’t do that, not because I haven’t tried, but because I have figured out she doesn’t fit.

I’ll spare you the details about how I got lost and couldn’t find the studio, and about how when I finally got there the doors were locked and there was a note that said, “Heather Armstrong, call engineer Lewis on his cell phone, [number].” Um, yeah, I DON’T HAVE A CELL PHONE. So I was standing there, Leta on my hip, my purse overflowing with diapers and wipes and snack food going WHAT THE HELL, CAN THIS DAY GET ANY WORSE WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? But because Heavenly Father loves me and because my Granny pays her tithing, someone happened to be walking through the lobby and let me in. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So Engineer Lewis set me up in the studio with a headset and a microphone and everything. And I put Leta in a chair next to me, surrounded her with toys and books and the bag of goldfish, and prayed to God that she wouldn’t start screaming because I don’t know If I’ve ever told you about it, but Leta, she can scream. No really.

And Eric got on the line and he started asking me questions and two words into my first answer Leta started talking. Not screaming, but talking: gobogobo, no no, uh oh uh oh, bbbbbbbbluh. Loudly. And Eric stops and says, “Can I ask what’s going on over there?” And I was all, “Yeah, my babysitter cancelled, and my kid just threw a goldfish at my head.” At that moment I had the brilliant idea to hand her my wallet which she could inspect in silence for at least three minutes. Then I could get at least three good minutes of answers in. But instead it just made her talk more loudly. Like LOOK AT THIS YUMMY COSTCO CARD I WILL EAT IT AND HUM IN SATISFACTION.

So I kept turning to her and shushing her and instead of being the demon child she usually is she started giggling and laughing and smiling at me, goldfish hanging out of her mouth and in her hair and in both of her hands. Eric had to stop the interview probably 12 times because of Leta’s noises, once because she took the bag of goldfish and TURNED IT UPSIDE-DOWN and they went everywhere in an explosion of cheddar goodness that sounded like a car crash. Eric asked, “Is everything okay?” And I answered, “I promise the mess will be cleaned up.”

I was so frazzled that I kept stuttering and using the wrong words, and during one of the precious moments of Leta’s silence I said a sentence with the word “consequence” in it, except, I didn’t say consequence, I said, “kan-se-kance.” KAN-SE-KANCE. I wasn’t even drunk or under the influence of chewing tobacco. Who can’t say consequence right? ME. THAT’S RIGHT. ME, ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO.

Leta never took her second nap and my Costco card is completely destroyed. Eric just sent me an email to tell me that the interview will air tomorrow, and I will honestly be surprised if there is one usable sentence containing proper English. Tune in! And hear the hick who lost her job because of her website and the BLABBERING, CARD-EATING, UH-OH’ING center of her universe who will hear this story when she brings home her first date, at her wedding, during labor of her first child, and at any other time I deem it necessary to inflict humiliation. You can tell I’m gunning for parent of the year, no?