- Cleaning my house. Last week, I spent an hour cleaning my daughters’ room. I also tidied up the living room and cleaned my car. Now all three of those spaces are strewn with stuffed animals and piled with beads. I can’t fight it. Carnival clutter wins this round.
- Bedtime. Even under normal circumstances, I am not the best at bedtime, but man, all bets are off from now till Fat Tuesday. My kids typically fall asleep in the car on the way home from the night parades, and then it’s a 50-50 bet as to whether they’ll sleep through being transferred from the car to the bed or whether they’ll wake up and want to ask me endless questions about human evolution/the facts of life/the ethics of modern warfare/anything else I don’t feel like discussing with small humans ever but particularly not post-11 p.m. Normal parts of the routine such as baths, pajamas, and books fall by the wayside, too. They are carried in from the car, sticky and filthy, and put to bed in their sticky, filthy clothes. (We do at least take off the beads so they don’t strangle themselves.) If they wake up, they might get a bath, but it’s far likelier that I will just halfheartedly slick a damp washcloth around their faces and hands.
- Balanced meals. Last year on the night of Muses, Ruby ate three chicken nuggets and a bag of Pirate Booty in the car, followed up with cotton candy and half of a candy apple. Georgia ate a cup of dry cereal, a cheese stick, and two Hershey Kisses. My dinner was coffee laced with bourbon. For the next few days, we’re just going to eat on the fly, probably meals composed largely of the basic Carnival food groups of fried chicken, King Cake, salty snacks, and daiquiris (Capri Suns for the kids). Which brings me to:
- Counting calories. I have eaten King Cake for breakfast every single morning this week, often followed by a second dose of afternoon King Cake. And I don’t even really like King Cake. Look, I love leafy green vegetables and tofu and quinoa and shredded wheat cereal with skim milk. I love salads and baked fish and seven-grain bread. But it’s just not happening for the next few days. The next few days are going to be fried gluttony drowned in icing and soaked in booze. It’s how it’s supposed to be.
- Preschool applications. Accelerated Reading logs. The presidential election season. That weird rattling noise my car is making. Why my water bill was so high last month. All of these things are valid. All of them are potentially worth worrying about. But for the next stretch of days, I am worrying only about what comes after the next float.
Come Wednesday, I’ll go to church and I’ll go for a jog and I’ll drink a kale smoothie and I’ll clean my house and pack up all the Mardi Gras crap for charity and/or my attic. I’ll feed my kids organic veggies and wash and comb their hair and dress them in clean PJs and read them three bedtime stories each and tuck them in at 9 p.m. sharp. And then I will lie awake worrying about all the things I postponed worrying about until Carnival was over.
But until then, I’m going to have fun.
Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!