Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mount *%^$^& Washmore

Sometimes it’s a good thing that doing the laundry is the crowning achievement of my day.

Like today when I spent the bulk of the day procrastinating looking for my $&*@*!^% debit card, which I haven’t seen for four days. Ditto the credit card.

Poof! Gone.

It’s unlikely it was stolen. I last used it (according to my bank) Friday morning before the men’s Bible study I attend each week when I bought a $1.99 tub of dried dates for a make-ahead oatmeal recipe at the Giant across the parking lot from the Panera where the Bible study meets. Or maybe the last time I used it was when I made this month’s charitable donation to the Maryland Food Bank. (We’re trying to give x per month over the whole year to spread out the financial hit that comes from writing a bunch of checks at the end of the year.) I looked all over the my desk, where I spent the past two weeks on some . Twice.

I’ve stood on my head to look all over the car, but maybe looking at night isn’t the best approach, so I looked all through the stupid glove box and under the seats and in the console. I looked in every one of my coat pockets, twice, and threw them on the floor in anger. I cleaned off my bureau and nightstand and went through my catch-all basket. I even pulled up the sofa cushions and looked there. I went thru all the reusable shopping bags in the back of my car in case I dropped it down in one of them.

Can I mention how I capital-h Hate looking for things? And that I have to put on such a front when I tell the children things like, “Sometimes you have to look more than once” when they can’t find things that are within arm’s reach. Even if you already looked there.

Meanwhile, I procrastinated by decommissioning my compost bin and stuffing steel wool down the holes that I think rats have made and then breaking up up and mashing down the soil as recommended by a friend at the end of the neighborhood that really has a rat problem I cut a piece of leftover basement shower wall to go in the kitchen cabinet shelf where the flour and shortening and honey have made the shelf sticky (to make for easier wiping and to prevent damage to the shelf from leaks) and I’ve put away socks and laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. I’ve gone through all the Christmas cards on the back of the piano and made a big stack for Lovely Bride’s approval to toss, storing the rest in the Christmas boxes and updated the bulletin board by the back door where we put all the holiday card photos.

I even made pie crust for scratch to use up some leftover ham in a quiche.

This is some serious procrastination.

Then I prayed to my Lovely Bride:

O Dear and Loving SuperFinder, Please use your powers from afar and tell me where I’ve stashed these fool cards!!!

I finally gave up and accepted my lot in life of being capable only of arranging playdates and doing laundry. Felt something squarish in the back pocket of jeans I wore a week ago. Well, look! @&($&%& debit card!

Now I have 90 minutes to return overdue library books and do the week’s grocery shopping.

And there goes my whole freaking day.

A Sliver Of A Moment

Oh Dear God in Heaven, thank you for this sliver of a moment.

My children are not fighting. They are not bickering or talking back. They are not turning up their noses at the food I serve. Or battling me over wearing shorts when 30 degrees out. Or teetering atop a stack of boxes on the bed to put stuffed animals on the ceiling fan and send them for a ride.

Right now, they’re both taking a nap.

Or pretending to.

It feels like when they were 1 and 4 and I considered it my Crowning Parental Achievement to get simultaneous naps, if only for 30 minutes.

The stars have aligned, the snow has come and peace has descended on the land if only for a little bit. It’s not like at night when they’re in bed and I often kick into high gear – rearranging the linen closet or revving up the washing machine or just cleaning up the kitchen for the 87th time of the day. The kids had a choice, and they both opted to curl up with a blanket on the sofa. I was planning to kill the afternoon with a trip to the Baltimore Boat Show today, but that can wait.

Of the first 22 days of January, my Lovely Bride has been on a business trip for 10. I don’t begrudge her this one bit. It’s part of paying the piper for the job she has that allows me to stay home with the children.

And I sort of look forward to the time she’s away. I’m Supreme Dictator of the House, and there’s no co-deciding necessary. None of the “Do you want to fix supper or shall I?” or “Can you watch the kiddos while I go to the gym/do an errand/have three seconds alone?” (We both ask this one.)

I don’t go all passive-aggressive and leave dishes in the drying rack for two days hoping she’ll notice and put them away. And really, what kind of lunatic am I to expect that of her? Does she expect me to fix her office printer and know when to order more paper?

I find that I tap a sort of self-reliance I first found when I became an at-home dad and again when Carla was born and I had her as an infant and Eddie still potty training. There’s nobody else to put away the dishes, so I up my game and don’t let them linger. Nobody else to fold the laundry or file the bills. Nobody else to pick up the living room. Nobody else to ask whether we should go to the free kid-level lecture on reptiles at the college up the street or use a free ticket to a boat show (honey, I promise not to buy a $300,000 yacht) to while away the afternoon. Nobody else to say, does it sound alright to you if I see which of the we can get through Netflix and then choose titles out of a hat so the kids won’t drive me to drink with bickering over who wants to watch what and turn into Monster Daddy and say nobody can watch anything? Nobody else to help me rein in my kid-soul-crushing insistence on not eating like a caveman with the need for pleasant family meals.

Nobody else to propose that Eddie work off his $20 library fine for a lost book he simply doesn’t care to look for by working with me to organize his desk, toy work bench and night stand to my satisfaction. He knows he has a problem with organization – he agreed with no fuss! And when I told Carla that I was taking away all her stuffed animals for 24 hours for the ceiling fan stunt, she didn’t protest at all. She actually brought me a few more that I had missed. (Lovely pointed out that I hadn’t punished Carla; I congratulated myself for devising a relevant punishment.)

Lovely and I actually talk on the phone more when she’s gone. When she’s in town, she’s busy all day putting out fires at work. On the road, I check her itinerary and can see when she’s free for a few hours. Or we talk at night, and it’s like before we got married and had a long-distance relationship for three years out of five.

Oh, rats. Here comes Eddie up the stairs. He was so tired at lunch he couldn’t hold his head up. Now, four seconds after I tucked him in on the sofa, he wants to use the computer to look up HHGregg’s return policy for his Wii game that’s not working. And he wants to know what determines who gets the wild card slot in the AFC playoffs, and I haven’t a clue.

Okay, so I think I’m ready for Lovely’s return tomorrow.