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?

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.

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’.

Don’t Be This Pedestrian

I get it. You’re a pedestrian. You have the right of way, and I should yield to you at all times. There are traffic laws are in place to reinforce this; the laws of physics however, do not necessarily agree. In the interest of your well being, my insurance premiums and possible manslaughter charges, I ask that you don’t be this pedestrian:

Phony fundraiser guy/girl: Usually a semi-official looking crew of misfits, wearing either matching t-shirts or neon safety vests. People give them money and they give you a colored flyer and a smile. Technically they don’t impede traffic, but their aggressive style of cheeriness is enough to make you want sideswipe them. (or run over their big toe)

The Slow Walker: This pedestrian is breaking the law. A jaywalker by nature, they cross the street wherever they please, and as indicated by the name, they cross slowly. Is their depth perception is off? Are they surrounded by an invisible force field? Are they expressing a benign suicidal cry for help? In the end none of that matters, I just need them to put some pep in their step and then go sort out their problems on the sidewalk.

Three Blind Mice: Another pack of pedestrians, typically in a residential district walking three wide in the street. Their engaging conversation and leisurely pace will not be interrupted by oncoming vehicles. So check your league’s rules, because some offer partial points for clipping one or two of the Three Blind Mice as opposed to an all or nothing scoring system.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: This type of pedestrian is why school zones exist. They walk aimlessly into traffic with nary a thought about their safety, your need to get where you are going or that wandering into traffic can end in death. I’d say some mean things, but I believe the children are our future, teach the well and to stay out of the way.

The Mean Mugger: Similar to The Slow Walker, the Mean Mugger also walks slowly into oncoming trafic. However, this pedestrian type sports a more defiant attitude and aggressive manner. They walk into traffic at a slow, deliberate pace, and drip with a ‘what-you-gonna-do’ swagger that begs to be tested. Let these disturbed folk make it, knowing full well that in the battle of man vs. machine, the machine will always win. John Henry be damned.

Gawd Is My Co-Passenger?

While the minivan was not purchased as my primary vehicle, rare is the occasion that I find myself riding as opposed to driving.  As the occasional passenger, the better half navigates the minivan through the City of Houston’s guerilla-type traffic with a winner take all strategy.  When she is in this mode, it is  best to egage in some sort of activity (ie. reading book or magazine, checking voicemail, playing one of the kids PSP’s), or practice the art of saying absolutely nothing.  Friendly conversation can sometimes be a good way to smoothe over the nervousness of the endeavor; but the problem of speaking ones mind might come too freely while chattering about whatever.

When riding shotgun, I find myself conveying the importance of fastening ones seat belt while riding in a vehicle to my children.  Other thoughts that pop in the head from time to time?

  1. this is not a sports car
  2. that car had the right of way
  3. this is not a Hum-V
  4. that was a curb
  5. this is how people get shot
  6. that was a pedestrian

Verbalizing these thoughts are things an amateur would do.  Agitating the Mrs increases the chances for more erratic driving.  Saying something can trigger frothy mouthed arguements and petty insults to be tossed into the atmosphere without notice.  On a bad day the kids may have to be brought in for an impromptu poll on who actually drives better? (will not comment on the results)  These sort of things are not common occurences.  However, they are not infrequent enough to say that they never happen.  But on a good day, we ride together, and we ride in peace. We all ride, knowing that The Big Kahuna is riding with us. (at least I hope he is)