A Day In the Life, November 28th, 2012 (pt. 2)

4:30 p.m. – Arrive home. Greet kids, get a rundown of the day from the oldest boy.

4:34 p.m. – Start a pot of boiling water for spaghetti, and begin to reheat the sauce.

4:55 p.m. – Change three diapers. Curse myself for not having the trips potty trained by now.

5:05 p.m. – Locate and wash, the as of yet, unused potties.

5:10 p.m. – Minor heart droppage as I witness The Rose, power through the last container of Strawberry and Banana Chobani that I bought earlier that morning.

5:12 p.m. – Drop the spaghetti noodles.

5:24 p.m. – Strain and then toss noodles with a little olive oil.

5:33 p.m. – Feed the triplets and The Rose. Call oldest son down to eat, but no formal response was received.

5:35 p.m. – Feed myself. It’s a joyless task at this point, but the sauce is pretty good. Minor sadness regarding the fact that I didn’t get any garlic bread on the way home.

6:15 p.m. – Wife arrives with daughter from basketball practice. We exchange grunts of displeasure regarding our day and keep it moving. The oldest daughter efficiently responds to questions about her day with equal parts displeasure and derision with one word answers.

6:25 p.m. – Call the oldest boy down from his 45 minute grooming process in order to shuttle the lad to night school.

7:05 p.m. – May or may not have cried in the driveway.

7:06 p.m. – Unlocks back door, makes reluctant return to home.

It’s around here that I unofficially, stopped writing everything down. The combination of the day coming to a close, physical and mental fatigue, and the tedium involved in cataloguing the day, had kind of, organically faded away. Not much was missed though. At 8:30 p.m., I leave to retrieve my son, but before that, I witness either The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, or the Charlie Brown Christmas special with the trips. By the time I get back home, I’m putting heads to bed. Putting the babies to bed ends somewhere around 9:45 p.m. and sometimes (depending on how defiant they are) 10:30 p.m. It’s at this point, that I might actually try and complete something that I want to do. Usually, I go for low hanging fruit, like watching some television. Cut to three hours later, being awakened by loud sounds from the television and the lights still being on. It’s at this point, after I’ve checked the clock, that I realize that the next time the alarm goes off will be in 3.5 hours and I wonder, “How did I get to this wash, rinse, repeat phase in my life?”. More importantly, how can I stop it?

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A Day In the Life, November 28th, 2012 (pt. 1)

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5:45 a.m. – Alarm sounds on my wife’s Blackberry every day at this time. It is an effective alarm because it is very loud. How loud is it? Loud enough to be heard from downstairs. Guess who had to go downstairs and turn it off.

5:57 a.m. – In bed again. With no safety net (no snooze button, alarm fully disabled), the possibility of falling asleep and running behind is very real. The anxiety of finding underwear, uniforms and shoes, keeps me awake though.

6:07 a.m – Get out of the bed and wake The Rose. She’s autistic, and despite her many oddities, she’s actually the most obedient child we have. She went to sleep before dinner, so a bath is required.

6:20 a.m. – First child is dressed, and only her hair needs to be done. My wife, her mother, the slowest thing since molasses takes this task on. This process will last up until and possibly after the bus arrives.

6:33 a.m. – The bus arrives, and The Rose boards with no problem.

6:34 a.m. – Boil water for coffee and veg out for a few minutes. Vegging out basically means I check various social media streams while ogling local weather and/or traffic ladies on the morning news. (but don’t tell my wife about that last part, she doesn’t like that)

6:45 a.m. – Make and consume coffee.

6:57 a.m. – Say good bye to the wife as she heads off to her job.

7:00 a.m. – Wake up my oldest daughter.

7:15 a.m. – Check to make sure oldest daughter is out of the bed.

7:33 a.m. – Wait at the bus stop with the oldest daughter. Odd thing though, the bus arrives and my daughter gets out of the car as slow as possible. The bus has to clear a few cars parked on the side of the street in order to pull over to the curb. Once the bus passes my daughter, she starts walking back to the car. She opens the door and says something about getting written up for chasing the bus (which is bs btw), and I tell her to go and get on the bus because it is pulling over. She walks back, and sees the bus is still inching farther down the street to pull over, but she turns back towards the car again. Seeing enough of this foolishness, I let down the window, stick my head out, point at the bus and scream ‘GET ON THE BUS!’.

7:34 a.m. – Go to the grocery store to pick up breakfast and dinner stuffs.

8:31 a.m. – Take call from oldest daughter. She forgot her basketball gear for practice after school. Which means, I have to take it to her before I go to work.

8:40 a.m. – Quick clean up of the kitchen, while I prep breakfast for the trips and start meat sauce for the po’ mans pasta AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!

8:55 a.m. – Serve breakfast, turn on PBS, and finish up sauce.

9:00 a.m. – Sneak upstairs to move bowels, wash thine body and remove unwanted facial hair.

9:20 a.m. – Come back downstairs, watch Sesame Street with the kids and veg a little.

10:10 a.m. – Received a 3 messaged text detailing the in and outs of her lunch order. I put it on Instagram for reference.

10:37 a.m. – Leaves house.

10:45 a.m. – Arrive at daughters school to drop off gym bag. (second time this week with this nonsense)

10:56 a.m. – Head towards Potbelly’s for sandwiches.

11:23 a.m. – Arrive at the wife’s jay-oh. Drop off sandwiches, and exchange quick innuendo.

11:44 a.m. – Arrive at the jay-oh for a half-day’s shift.

I’m gonna stop here and make this a two-parter. This is way longer than I thought it would be, but whatevs, find out what happens next in Part Two.

Touch of Gray

I turned 40 a little more than six months ago. Save the party that was thrown for me, the actual turning of 40 was a non-event. The emotional hand wringing, increased levels of depression, and other forms of anxiety surrounding the dull act of growing older had inexplicably come and gone at 35.

That aside, my first signs of gray started appearing in my mid thirties. I rationalized this early autumnal change in hair color, with the explanation that I possess an unusually high intelligence and maturity level for a man my age, and obviously I needed to look the part. Never mind the fact that I was coming to a point where I would soon have more birthdays under my belt than I had inches in my waistline, I sometimes lie to myself to keep the self-esteem inappropriately high.

Since I turned 40, it seemed like everybody and their mother had something to say about the changing color scheme on my head. Everywhere I turned, “Man! You’ve got a lot of gray!” or “You’re started look old buddy!”, were being tossed my way with reckless abandon. I began to wonder whether or not I was grayer than I actually was. Maybe the gray got grayer once you’d crossed into your 40’s? Maybe there was an unwritten rule that stated that friends, family and acquaintances could just ‘go in’ on your gray? I started to wonder.

The amount of gray on my head didn’t bother me, but what did bother me was this sudden chatter that I should do something about it. Earnest suggestions, that I dye my hair with Just For Men, were affirmed with head nods from my friends while they gazed with pity at this ash ridden domepiece. I always responded that I would never do it, but, maybe it was time to concede to the will of the people.

My vanity is not to be underestimated. These people with their silly cosmetic suggestions were fools! No self-respecting man dyes his hair! I’m not trying to look younger at all. The only thing I need from my youth is my metabolism and my fast twitch muscle response. Otherwise, sing Fun’s “We Are Young” all you want, I don’t mind aging at all, I think I still look good.

Hood Figga: Pt. IV – The Shadowboxer

let me feel out my high
Then slap box my ghost ’til one of us cry – Jadakiss

Riding around in the backseat of your parents car gives you the under appreciated opportunity to look at the scenery of your surroundings. As children, you get to sit in the passenger seats of family vehicles and look at your city and the people in it, with little concern for the traffic plotting to end you.

I bring this up, because as a child, I have fond memories of breaking seat belt laws, standing up in front seats, and looking at the dull landscape of Houston, Texas and taking in different kinds of awesome that I just took for granted.

One brand of awesome was a man who would shadowbox on the corner of Almeda Road and Binz Street. The corner wasn’t as manicured and empty as it is now, but back then, this dude would have full on, imaginary fights with invisible opponents. He wore sweatpants, a hooded sweatshirt, and hand wraps if my memory is not adding things for effect. But let’s be clear, he did shadowbox intensely on a public street corner.

He bounced on his toes and circled his opponents and threw vicious jabs, landed great combinations, and when able, would unleash the always effective uppercut. The Boxer wasn’t always whooping ass though, there were a few times he had to bob and weave, duck and dodge, block and parry punches when his imaginary foe went on the offensive. Sometimes he would even stop and clench his opponent, to catch a breather now and then.

It was a full on performance, and as a kid I thought it was awesome. As an adult, the thought of it still seems awesome, but I wonder whether or not this guy was an actual boxer? If he was a boxer, why wasn’t he getting it in at the gym? If he wasn’t a boxer, then what was he? A performance artist? A paranoid schizophrenic? We’ll never know. What we do know is that this guy existed, and I love him for it.

Cry Baby Cry

Initially I smirked at what was happening. The foolish arrogance of a man too confident in his own daddiness had done me a disservice. My youngest daughter had begun to cry while we were wandering through the produce section of a local grocery. I wasn’t sure what she was crying about, but I was pretty sure I could calm her down. I picked her up out of the basket, and held her with the confidence of a father who was certain his fatherliness would calm his little girl.

For a moment, it seemed to work. She didn’t stop crying completely, but her commitment to making a scene appeared to lose its legs. In retrospect, I pulled a George W. in a flight suit and a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner waving in the background; I claimed victory before it all got started.

The first sign this wasn’t going to end well was when I tried to place my youngest daughter back into the grocery cart. I couldn’t sit her still enough to buckle her in, and every time I went for the strap, she was halfway out of the cart trying to climb back into my arms. While I was trying to prevent her from doing a nose dive onto the grocery’s floor she increased the volume and intensity of her crying.

What was a simple cry, that could be ignored with a bit of concentration, quickly ratcheted up to a full on shriek. She was twisting in my arms and killing my ears as she tried to point out the source of her frustration.the catalyst It was one of those car grocery carts that her brothers were riding in with their mother. The one she was pointing to was unattended, but it had a bottle of water and a sales paper in it. I couldn’t determine whether or not someone was using it, or if it had been abandoned. My daughter’s shrieks had taken on a maniacal quality that triggered a fight or flight instinct. I fled, but the problem, was that I fled with my daughter in my arms. I called myself looking for another ‘car’ cart while I pushed a cart, held a screaming two year old, and scoped the place for an empty ‘car’ cart. I circled the entire store looking and endured judgement from other adults before I found my wife. I gave her the groceries that were in my basket, my wallet, and announced we were going to the minivan.

In the minivan she wailed even harder. My attempts to block her out by thumbing through screens on my phone, was met with paranoid thoughts that some do-gooder pedestrian, would call Child Protective Services on a suspicious man in a minivan. I was expecting my daughter to get tired, give up, or tap out, but her commitment to the struggle was real; and had I spotted one of those car carts in the parking lot, I would have retrieved it, sat her in it, and walked for miles. But there was no cart to be found, only the incredibly shrill sound of my youngest daughter’s discontent, and it’s moments like those, where you want to strangle every person that told you that children are a ‘blessing’.

Strangers In the Night

Got them DVD's

I live in an ‘urban’ area. I won’t get into the politics of that word and what it implies (partly, because I’m not really sure), but at the moment, I take it to mean dealing with some undesirables (people, places or things) more often than I would like. Let me also note that I’m certain that the list of undesirables I would find in the suburbs would be equally disturbing, but that is neither here nor there.

Now, I’m all for entrepreneurial endeavors and folk making a way out of none, but not so much when it involves pulling dollars from my already slim pockets for sub-par product. So when a mysterious man in a generic black fitted and gold tooth creeps up on me in his black Dodge Charger on blades at the gas station , I put on my meanest face when he simply asked “Hey, how ya doing? You looking for some DVD’s?”. I have to admit, the nicety “how ya doing” threw me off for a millisecond, but I was able to re-apply the screwface and add the appropriate level of bass in my voice when I replied “Nah man.”

And that was it. He snaked through each section of pumps politely asking the patrons whether or not they needed the newest latest DVD’s on the bootleg scene. I took a blurry pic of his Charger to capture our exchange.

Ghost in the Machine

I work nights. The reason I work the night shift is because you get a little less work for a little more pay. For the most part that I get exactly that, and in moments when I’m feeling more appreciative than normal I might actually thank the good lord for such minor blessings. It’s death on your career though, the night shift gets no attention and doesn’t beg for any either. But that’s another entry for another blog.

So I’m driving home like I normally do, listening to some random classical music the public radio station has chosen for me. Sometimes I don’t go for classical music on the drive home simply because it can be sleep inducing if I’m not careful, but generally, it relaxes my mind without being distracting. I pull into my driveway and decide I was going to secretly smoke one of the cigarettes I’ve been stashing at the job. I notice Radiohead’s Kid A cd in the passenger seat next to me and pop it in as ‘mood music’.

Perfect music if you want to add a dreamlike quality to accompany clandestine smoke sessions in your own driveway. I commit a slow suicide with each inhalation of tobacco and the assorted carcinogens that accompany my cigarette smoke. I exhale and think random thoughts like ‘I wonder if the neighbors dog knows what brand of cigarettes I smoke based on the smell?’, you know, heavy stuff.

I glance at the ground, notice my shoes and a dull glow coming from under the minivan. It’s odd, the fog lights appear to be on. I unlock the minivan and go to turn off the headlights, and the door starts ringing like my keys are in the ignition. The lights aren’t on and I close the door and scratch my head. I take pull one last drag before I go in the house and then the headlights light up. Ten seconds later they turn off, and I realize then that my minivan is possessed.