Just Another Christmas Week….

This is not one of my “usual” posts. Not that anything about my posts are “usual”. All of these events occurred last week, just a few days before Christmas.   See if you can see the common theme.

Greg

As some of you know, I am a salesman. Retail salesman at that. Everything you heard about it is true. One of the best parts is meeting a lot of diverse people. The other night I met Greg, not his real name. He is an older gentlemen, early to mid-seventies I would guess. He came in to buy a gas range. As my usual modus operandi, I start talking and asking questions about him. Well, Greg, was a NYPD detective. He started out as a patrolman, which means he beat the streets, and worked his way up to detective. He said he became quite a well-known name as a detective. He told me of standing up to street thugs and gunfights and out of control criminals. I stood there, fascinated and deeply enthralled by his stories. Greg must’ve gone on for over twenty minutes with me as his obedient audience in the middle of the store.

Finally, I realize where I am (and my closeted existence compared to his) and I ask him for the sale. He turns to me and says that he is now fighting his toughest fight. I can’t even begin to imagine what that might be – social security lockdown, knee and hip replacement or maybe even selling his house and downsizing. He says that his wife for 50 years now has Alzheimer’s and she does not even recognize him.

 

Jim

Shortly after I moved to NYC, I worked for a very large and well-known company. You would all know the name of it. I worked in accounting for their R&D division. In fact, I was the accounting department for this particular R&D division. My boss, Jim (not his real name), was located about a hundred miles away in another state in another division of this company. But, he was a Finance manager and was assigned to manage the department I accounted for.

Well, things went very well. He would call me every month and tell me how much he liked my work and he had only heard good things about me. I went to his location once on a day trip. I don’t remember why except I think it was just to become acclimated to the big picture of the company and I could see how my accounting affected the rest of the business. Jim was always extremely nice.

Occasionally, he would tell me about his home life. His family just moved from one area to another to be closer to work and his beautiful wife was expecting their third child. Their other two kids were under the age of five.

I was working as a temp at this company and one of the requirements was that a temp position would only last a year. Jim was trying to get me hired permanently with this company. (The company ultimately made me three job offers). As my time was coming to a close, Jim came down to the city and took me out to a lunch at a very swank restaurant. I thought they must’ve really liked me. We said our good byes and keep in touches and off we went.

I’ve thought about Jim through the years, like I suppose I think about a lot of the people I’ve met and worked with.   I decided to look him up on the internet last week.

Within a couple of years after I left that company, Jim’s wife got cancer. Apparently she fought a very brave battle even up until the very end.   Three years to the day that she died, Jim took his own life at her grave. His obituary said he died of a broken heart.

 

Archie

Archie and Morty (not their real names) are great kids and the lights of my life. On this particular day, I was getting ready to go to work as the little buggers are getting ready for school. SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) comes to me not five minutes before I was going to leave and tells me that Archie has to go to school early and get some special help.

Archie was diagnosed with a learning disability last year. SMM and I worked with the school to set up a program for this year where he would get extra attention. Nevertheless, I completely forgot about the day and time for his extra help. I like to keep an orderly schedule, so when SMM broke the news to me, I was thrown off balance.   I quickly recovered and accepted the task at hand, getting Archie to school.

Well, Archie, is seven and he has his own dis-orderly schedule. I was trying to get him ready and as politely as possible urging him to hurry up. But, Archie didn’t quite feel the sense of urgency I did. So, I perhaps got a little short with him and raised my voice. We somehow got ready and out the door and to school.

But, I felt bad all day because I could’ve probably been a little more considerate of Archie. Archie doesn’t always understand the why’s of doing things according to schedule. Anyway, I obsessed over how bad of a day Archie was going to have because his daddy, me, moi, big dog, numero uno, superhero daddy, got him dressed rather abruptly and carted him off to school. I had a bad day, so I decided I would own up to my shortcomings as a daddy and confront him when I got home and tell him how sorry I was I dressed him and urged him so strongly to move quickly. How could I have been so thoughtless about the feelings of a seven year old? He was gonna hate me. If not now, ok probably now, but definitely when he wrote his expose on being the son of DaddyisBest-for-nothing.

I get home after work and the little buggers are sitting at the table finishing dinner. I ask Archie if I could have a word with him. We go into his bedroom and sit on the bed and I begin a long, drawn out tale of how I was only trying to do the right thing and take care of him and I still love him and please don’t hate me for the way I acted this morning. Archie looks at me and says sweetly, I don’t remember.

 

So, there you have it, three very different stories. The common theme for me is that life is bigger than me. As much as I love to solve the world’s mysteries and problems inside my own little head, and live my life there also, life is bigger than me and you. And as much as I think I have problems, other people may have even bigger ones, real or perceived, than me.   Maybe that’s the real meaning of Christmas.

The Zombie Apocalypse or My Wedding Anniversary

First things first, I did not marry a Zombie.  I mean I dated a few and there were certainly some good times, though I did grow tired of role-playing Zombie and Screaming Human so much.  If I said they were insatiable it’s because they seemed to be always hungry – for me!  But, not in a good way, if you know what I mean.  But, I digress.

The day of my anniversary came and I was ill-prepared for it.  The anniversary I was prepared for, the day itself I was not.

As fate, destiny, providence, luck, chance and synchronicity conspired to have that day be the same day as the boys’, Archibald (not his real name) and Mortimer (not his real name, either) picture day at school.  The boys love the attention of getting their picture taken.  Archie has learned to give the big cheesy smile and Morty, who loves the attention, can’t quite seem to grasp that a picture is literally a reflection of him.  So, he tries to “ham it up” by making goofy (technical term) faces.

Nevertheless, the day started off innocently enough.  Sort of.  I awaken at approximately 6 am like I do every morning, even on my days off.  I did not have to be in to work until noon.  But, I awaken early to get my coffee and watch a few minutes of the news and weather before I get the little buggers up.  However, on this day, as I stumble out of the bedroom into the kitchen, I notice some “movement” on the couch in the living room.  I can’t quite see what is making movement, but I do notice that all the seat cushions are piled, or arranged, on the couch.

The “arrangement” is like a seat cushion pyramid.  Odd, I thought, at such an early hour.  Did aliens invade our home during the wee hours of the morning and decide to build a replica of the pyramids on the couch?  Are the aliens friendly enough not to disturb the people living there and bypass all the treats in the refrigerator and go straight toward the couch just to exhibit their master building skills?  What if it isn’t aliens, but ZOMBIES, who are building a sanctuary from humans so that they can then use it as a home base and terrorize all civilization from OUR COUCH?

I check on the boys’ room and Morty seems to be snoring, er sleeping, comfortably.  But, Archie’s bed is empty.  The plot thickens.

As I move into the living room, I hear a faint giggling sound.  Not even aliens, and especially NOT ZOMBIES, would giggle.  They might snicker or even chuckle a little, but definitely not giggle.   I start poking and prodding the cushions to determine if there is indeed intelligent life habitating there.  More movement.  More giggles.  And then when I remove one of the cushions, the life form springs to, well, life.  “Daddy, this is my fort.  Don’t disturb my fort.  I’m officially declaring this my primary residence and have notified the Post Office, the local police and the closest Domino’s, that I now live here.”

I have been forewarned.

“Um, ok, do you want cereal or waffles for breakfast?”

“Waffles.”

But, wait a minute.  I haven’t even had my coffee for breakfast.  First things first.  Plus, it’s 6:15am.  The little bugger/alien/zombie on the couch should STILL BE IN BED.

“Go back to bed for half an hour.  It’s way too early for you.  The early bird might get the worm, but you don’t want worms for breakfast, do you?”

“NO, I WANT TO STAY HERE IN MY REFUGE, MY SANCTUARY, MY ABODE, MY HOME.  Just don’t call me Quasimodo.”

“Back to bed, Quasi.  Oops, I meant Alien.”

“Don’t call me alien too.  I AM A ZOMBIE!”

“Go zombie.”

The zombie, formerly known as Archie, reluctantly trudges back to his room and I proceed to make my coffee and wake up.   But, today is my fourteenth wedding anniversary and SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) is still in bed which mean I can prepare my card and gifts for her to surprise her when she wakens.

In the meantime, I hear giggles coming out of the boys’ room.  I figure, it’s not very loud, so MAYBE everything is ok, Archie is just amusing himself in a seven-year-old way.

I drink my coffee and relish a few moments in front of the TV.  The clock keeps ticking until approximately 6:45 when it becomes the time to officially wake the little buggers and wake SMM up.  I have heard random giggles, but still not very loud.

I check on the little buggers and Archie is underneath Morty’s covers.  Morty is still underneath his covers, too.  Morty knows that Archie is a rabble rouser, but Morty chooses not to let his rabble be roused cause he would like to stay in bed.

I ask what you would like for breakfast, cereal or waffles, and they both repeat in unison, WAFFLES!  At least, now I know.

My surprise is ready to spring on SMM and I enter the bedroom and she is still sleeping until I say, Happy Anniversary, honey and she springs to life.  Well, that’s a relative term, she turns over and mumbles happy anniversary to me, leans up to give me a kiss and then turns over again.

I trek to the kitchen and discover that the waffles have inconveniently left the building.   Oh no. I have to break the news to the little buggers as gently as possible if I am to remain alive.

Morty takes the news in stride.  He likes his cereal and it is usually not a big disappointment not to have waffles and have cereal.  Archie erupts like a Zombie on fire and explodes out into the kitchen to discover if I am, in fact, lying or if he will HAVE TO EAT something else.  He rips open every cabinet door and almost tears the doors off the refrigerator looking for his waffles.  In a frenzy, when he can’t find them, he turns to me screaming and crying, “WHERE’S MY WAFFLES?”

You would think I just told him that he would have to be in school every day for the remainder of his life!  Which, of course, he will, but he doesn’t know that yet.

In a moment of clarity and enlightenment, I offer an alternative solution, Dinosaur Eggs, which are oatmeal and real Tyrannosaurus Rex’ dinosaur eggs.  I don’t even know how they got the dinosaur to lay the eggs or how they saved them for 65 million years.  But, I don’t care.  All I care about is feeding my Archie.

Breakfast is served.  SMM eventually gets out of bed and begins preparing the lunches.  She discovers my surprises I left for her, we kiss, and then get back to the task at hand, getting the boys ready for school.  After all, we have all day to celebrate our anniversary, but only thirty more minutes for the boys to brush their teeth and get dressed.  Don’t forget, today is picture day, she smilingly reminds me.

The teeth get brushed and lunches made and packed.  It’s time for getting dressed.  I get the underwear, socks and pants out of the drawers.  I usually let the boys pick out their own shirt.  Ok, I could let them pick out everything, but they wouldn’t get to school AT ALL if we waited for that.  SMM gets the shirts and hands them to me saying, “You need to iron these first.”  The shirts are a baby blue, denim-type of material that really need the ironing thing.  I mean, even I can see that.  The bad news is that I am the “iron-er” in my family.  SMM, has not only never done any yard work, she has never ironed anything ever.  What can I say, I still love her.

I iron the shirts and bring to the boys to put on.  SMM tells them that these are their “picture taking” shirts.

The Zombie Apocalypse begins.

The zombie, formerly known as Archie, explodes and starts running around the house daring us to catch him.  The zombie, formerly known as Morty, starts crying and screaming at us, “How do you expect me to wear THIS?  The other kids will laugh at me.  The teachers will laugh.  The janitor will laugh.  Do you not love me anymore?  Have you not considered the emotional damage a careless act of perverse consumerism could affect my whole life?”

SMM and daddy (me, moi, numero uno, big daddy, Mr. Right) spend the next 15 minutes chasing, consoling, calming, comforting, pleading, begging, lying, promising anything to get the little buggers/zombies to wear these nice shirts so they will look nice when they get their pictures taken.

7:58am.  Time to get coats on and head out to catch the bus.  Archie is still complaining.  Morty is still crying.  Archie walks out with daddy right behind.  I stoop to one knee and tell him how proud I am of him and that his shining personality will certainly shine through to the pictures today.  He replies, “Not with this shirt.”

Morty comes out, still vocalizing his disapproval of the shirt.  He threatens to boycott law school if he has to wear this shirt.  I say, that’s nice, but law school is still a couple of years away and, in the meantime, he will look nice in the shirt when he does get his picture taken.

In a moment of Divine intervention, the bus comes before Morty files a civil claim against his parents for malfeasance.

The boys get on the bus.  Daddy retires to the house to find SMM and begin the anniversary festivities.   We’ve survived the Zombie Apocalypse.

My Night

I got off early from work yesterday, at 5:00pm.  Well, it was supposed to be at 5, but it turned out to be 5:15 because I had to take care of a sale I had been working on all day.  I had the order, but it took me over 5 hours to get the order in the system and get the appropriate authorizations to actually write it.

Hey, it’s retail, what can I say?  Everything you heard about it is true.  I actually like the selling part of it, most of the time, like when the customer seems to be interested in what I’m saying and they are not texting or calling their significant other or next door neighbor or their best friend’s dentist or their daughter’s teacher’s cousin who, coincidentally, know more about appliances than I do even though I’ve been doing this for seven years.

In the big picture, the nice people I tend to help more than the “bad” people.  Luckily, there are few “bad” people.  But, one “bad” person can ruin a day.  Feel free to substitute any word – negative, mean, nasty, cheap, smelly, breathing – into my euphemism.  “Bad” people come in all shapes, sizes, religions, genders, races and sexual preferences.  Bottom line, they all suck as customers.  But, I digress.

Nevertheless, on this day, I got off at 5:15 and immediately gunned my car and raced home to take care of the little buggers.  I got home and they were watching TV.  Ok, TV is not inherently a “bad” thing.   I mean, I watch it.  Sergeant Major Mommy (SMM) watches it and woe be to the person who stands between her Zombie Walking Dead TV series or that set in medieval times fantasy adventure sexy show, Bowling for Trolls.

I watched more TV when I was a kid than the little buggers do now and I turned out ok, mostly.

So, I prepare for dinner and prepare the dinner.  We eat dinner.  Well, I eat dinner. Archibald (not his real name) eats part of his dinner while Mortimer (not his real name, either) disregards dinner entirely.  One thing I did do as a kid, and I still do, I eat food.  Now, I don’t like everything like cooked spinach which looks like it came up from the ocean floor via a whale’s regurgitation or blue cheese which came from a sour cow.  I mean how can it not be sour if the cheese is blue?  Was the cow blue too?  At least the farmer who raised it could have played some “happy”  (Yanni? Air Supply? Donna Summer?) music in the barn so the cow would not have spawned blue cheese.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.

About this time, SMM calls and says she is working late so she won’t be home to help me (moi, numero uno, big daddy, Mr. Right) with the homework and maybe not the bath and maybe not the reading to the little buggers before bed time.  It is the best of times, it is the worst of times… But, I digress.

I am on my own.

After what passes for dinner is over, we tackle homework.  I’m not sure in what year schools decided to give homework to second graders that was as hard and as extensive as homework I had in graduate school.  However, Morty does his homework mostly on his own, thank God, and I help Archie who needs some extra help.

Archie was diagnosed with a Learning Disability last year and is receiving special attention in his school.  Thank God for that, too.  But, Archie is a little challenging to get him to sit down and actually do the homework.

Morty goes right to his work and I check on him regularly, but he seems to be doing it with some minor corrections by me, like he makes backward 6s and 9s.

Of course, Archie is a little more challenging and after 15 minutes of chasing him around the house, I catch him.  I threaten to take the straight jacket off grandma and use it on him if he doesn’t sit and do his homework.  But, he just laughs.  Ok, it’s a joke, I would never put a straight jacket on grandma (anymore).

Actually, Archie does a good job once he starts on his reading.  He has come a long way just in the past couple of months with the extra tutoring we secured for him.  And, even though I’m his daddy, he is an incredibly cute kid.  Morty is very cute, too.  It still baffles us as to how these two beings turned out so differently after sharing embryonic bunk beds for nine months.

Archie likes to sit on daddy’s lap.  So, on the couch, he climbs up and is reading a book HE HAS NEVER READ BEFORE and doing an admirable job when, don’t ya know, mommy makes her grand entrance.  It is a very good sign when daddy has the buggers doing homework when SMM walks in.  She’s happy, I’m happy.

How she came to be home earlier than I anticipated is surely a miracle right up there with Lourdes and the Miracle Mets.

The boys finish their homework. They take baths.  Daddy reads to them for nighty-night time and they drift off to boogie slumberland.  I love it when things work out.

What’s in a number?

I remember seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I was very young at the time and all my brothers and sisters wanted to see them, but for some reason I didn’t.  I don’t remember why.  The Beatles have since become one of my favorite bands.  In fact, it isn’t long after this that they became a favorite.  The melodies and harmonies, the lyrics and imagery, the personalities.  They had it all.  Still have it even though, sad to say, only two of the originals are left.

One of my thoughts on naming our twins was: John Paul and George Ringo.  Unfortunately, my better half vetoed that suggestion.  We had agreed that the names we chose we would both have to agree on.

In any case, the sadder news is that my boys, the dynamic duo, the chips off the old block, the little buggers have never heard of The Beatles.  To them, modern music is something more, shall we say, electronic with a driving rhythm and outrageous lyrics.  Not that all contemporary music is bad, it’s just “evolved”.

I remember where I was when I heard the news that JFK was shot and his brother and Martin.  I remember the miracle Mets, Mr. October, disco, punk rock, Watergate, all the Presidents, the Olympics every four years (who could ever forget Peggy Fleming or Dorothy Hamill or Nadia Comenici or even the original Bruce Jenner).

I remember the “New Math”, conjugating French verbs in grade school, nuns who were almost as terrifying as the ex-Marine in gym class in high school, all my loves in every grade whether they knew they were or not (Claire, where are you?), my buddies in every grade and the one I still have from my second grade class.

Yes, I’m 58 and my kids just turned 7.  No, I didn’t plan it that way.  In high school, when I took this religion class (I went to a parochial school), there was an exercise where I was paired with a girl and we had to plan our lives so that we could begin thinking about what life would be like when we graduated.  The thought never came up that I would wait until my 50’s to have kids.

That thought never came up until I met my second wife and she said she would like to have kids and I said, yeah, that sounds good.  Of course, by then I was over 40.

My first wife said she didn’t want kids and I said, yeah, neither do I.   I didn’t think I did.  What did I know?

The first marriage ended and I never thought I would meet a woman and have kids.  I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be married again.  I wasn’t even sure I was “marriage material”, whatever that means.  I mean, I was 40 and by that time, women my age already had kids and if they didn’t, they knew they didn’t want them.  Meeting a woman who was substantially younger than me and having kids seemed, what, improbable?

But, then again, as Han Solo said, don’t tell me the odds.  After all, I’m the one who moved to NYC and became a professional actor at 40.  Hey, it didn’t last long, but at least I did it.

Becoming a daddy did seem like a remote possibility even with my penchant for odds-bucking.  But, wouldn’t you know it, I met a wonderful woman and she said Yes and let’s have kids and I said ok.  I mean it sounded like a good idea at the time.

Reality is often different that imagination.  And after three years or so of “trying”, we got pregnant.  Don’t be fooled, if she’s pregnant, I might as well be pregnant cause I have to live with her during.  I may not have the weight gain, but I certainly had everything else, like the midnight cravings for ice cream or massages.  I mean if she had the cravings, I had to be the fulfiller of said cravings.  You know what I mean.

What does one say when the doctor says, upon the initial exam of mommy, “how do you feel about twins?”  All I could say was, I knew it was a bad time to give up drinking.  (I had to give up drinking during the “trying” phase cause, contrary to popular belief, alcohol inhibits sperm mobility and those guys were on a perilous enough mission as it was!)

I don’t regret having kids in the least.  They are the joys of my life with mommy.  I miss being younger so that I can be more active with them, more energetic, and so that they could see what daddy was like in his prime physical condition, how fast he could run or how he could shoot a basketball or throw a baseball.

But, what I have now I didn’t have then.  Whenever I hear the word ‘maturity’ I cringe.  I don’t think of myself as mature.  I certainly don’t think of myself as wiser.  I do think of myself as ‘more experienced’.  In the end, if it helps them with homework or teachers or girlfriends or sports or anything and everything else, that’s not such a bad thing.   I’ll beat the odds.

School’s In

First day of School.  Alarm clock rings at 5:30am and daddy hits snooze.  And again, seven minutes later, and seven minutes later, and seven minutes later, and finally, seven minutes later, daddy picks up alarm clock, stumbles to bathroom, casually opens window and throws alarm clock out window.  Our backyard is littered with alarm clocks, clock radios really.  I go into a store and someone always announces my entrance with, Big Daddy’s here, will the person responsible for clock radios please lock them down.  It’s amazing, every store, every time.  You’d think clock radios were an endangered species!

Did I mention that SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) NEVER has the clock radio on her side of the bed.  She would never hear it anyway and if it did go off, she would let it buzz until forever.   So, daddy (me, moi, numero uno, big daddy, Mr. Right) has the dubious task of listening to the darned thing (technical term).  (FYI: SMM doesn’t even own a watch, just saying).

Nevertheless, daddy gets up, showers and makes coffee (not necessarily in that order).

I have about 20 minutes before I have to wake up the little buggers and start the process to get them ready for school.  To prime myself for the cataclysmic event, I down six cups of coffee.

Phase One:

So, the time comes to wake them up.  I turn on the CD player with their favorite CD which is Disco Favorites cause they like to dance.  I pour the milk in their cups and walk into their room, careful not to break my neck on the Lego landmines. I raise the curtains as unobtrusively as possible.  Good morning, I say.  And then, I turn into a drill sergeant, YOU’RE MOMMA IS NOT HERE TO SAVE YOU BOYS!  YOU HAVE TO GET UP AND GET READY FOR SCHOOL IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF YOUR LIVES, UNLESS YOU WANT TO GO THROUGH LIFE AS A SEVEN YEAR-OLD SLACKER!!!

They respond, Yes, Daddy, then turn over and mumble, five more minutes.  Obviously, they take after the wife’s side of the family.

I take this extra time to go wake SMM up.  YOU’RE BOYS NEED YOU, MOMMY!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING STAYING IN BED?  DON’T YOU WANT TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CHILDREN, WHICH WERE YOUR IDEA TO BEGIN WITH AND WHICH I WOULD GLADLY SELL, BUT THE SQUIRRELS REFUSED THEM!!!

She mumbles, five more minutes, and I shake my head and retreat back to the boys.

YOUR BREAKFAST IS NOT GONNA COOK ITSELF!  WHAT DO YOU WANT AND IT BETTER BE SOMETHING NUTRIOUS AND EASY TO MAKE AND WE HAVE IT!?  Archibald (not his real name) mumbles Waffles and Mortimer (not his real name, either) says, what are my choices?  I need choices.  I can’t be expected to pick something off your dream list and heaven forbid, we don’t have it and I’m stuck with nothing to eat.

I reply, ok, well, since you put it like that we have French toast sticks, waffles or cereal.  He smiles, French toast sticks and I scurry off to get the little buggers their breakfast.

On my trip back to the kitchen, I check on mommy.  She is clearly out of bed by this time and in the shower.  Good thing.  I hate to threaten her with taking away things, like her Ipad, if she can’t get ready on time.

Ten minutes later, breakfast is ready. The boys still haven’t budged from their beds.  Archie!  Morty!  It’s your first day of school!  Aren’t you excited!  I’m so excited all I can do is end each sentence with an exclamation mark!!!

The boys eat and about the same time they finish, SMM comes out of the bathroom.

End of Phase One.

Phase Two:

SMM begins to prepare lunches for the boys.

They have new backpacks and new lunchboxes this year.  They picked them out themselves.  Archie has a Grim Reaper backpack and a skull and crossbones lunchbox.  I hope he doesn’t become a Goth.  I told him that he can’t have any tattoos or body piercings until he’s AT LEAST ten.  He said ok, but I think he’s still thinking about it.  Morty has a backpack and lunchbox that have dollar signs all over them.  He says he wants to be a lawyer and that he is hoping to sit for the Bar exam next year.  I say, Ok, but you’d better pass second grade first.

I tell the boys, It is now 7:30 and time to brush your teeth.  They have retired into their bedroom and have been constructing more booby traps with Legos.  I hate to break them away from such focused work, but, as I tell them, we are on a strict time schedule and cannot afford to miss the bus, unless THEY WANT TO WALK TO SCHOOL.

This doesn’t phase them.  They continue playing until I drop my bomb, No TV, No dessert, No Kindle.  They immediately stop, stare at each other, yell NO at the same time, and get up also at the same time (it’s amazing how different they are and they are now acting in unison).

We head into the bathroom and brush our teeth, daddy, too, and rinse our mouths with mouthwash.

Mommy finishes the lunches at approximately the same time.

End of Phase Two.

Phase Three:

It’s time to get dressed.

I have come a long way in my care for the boys.  I used to always pick out their clothes for the day.  But, since they are trying to be more independent, I relinquish my clothes-picking-out to them.  I do oversee it though.  Of course, I’m a guy.  My fashion sense is somewhat narrower than SMM’s and there has been that occasion, like every other day, that SMM doesn’t like my fashion selections for the little buggers and she picks out something completely different.  Nevertheless, I pick out shorts and socks.  Underwear and shirts they can pick out.

I steer Archie away from the black shirts to something tye-dyed.  Morty looks for a superhero shirt, but chooses a muscle shirt with a peace sign on it.  I can live with those choices.  SMM looks like she can, too.

7:50am.  All the boys have to do is put on their socks and their shoes, get their backpacks and head out the door.  However, Archie spontaneously decides now would be a good time to play hide and seek.  Morty, the enabler that he is, is all for it.  I spend ten minutes chasing them around with their socks in hand.

8:00am.  Socks on.  Shoes on.  Backpacks in place.  We open the door and go outside and see the two kids from across the street already waiting.  The boys run to join them and at 8:03, the bus arrives.  Daddy, who usually gets the bus-waiting duty, and the mommy of the kids across the street look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say almost simultaneously, mission accomplished.  Whew!

Things will be better tomorrow morning, I tell myself.  Haha.

Birthday Party

Mommy (hereinafter SMM or Sergeant Major Mommy) comes to me and tells me that is my responsibility to plan the boys’ birthday party this year.  I suppose it would have been easier if she said it was my responsibility to find Jimmy Hoffa.

In previous years, the boys have celebrated their birthday by huge and extravagant parties which lasted days, cost thousands of dollars and involved more than 132, 000 people.  Sending out the invitations alone took almost a year.

But now, I (me, moi, numero uno, big daddy, Mr. Right) have a week.

The first thing I need to do is hire a concierge.  After all, she can’t really expect me to do all of the planning, coordination, decorating, guest management, gift buying, label printing, envelope stuffing, food preparation and chauffeuring all by myself, can she???  Even SMM has a heart.

Check that, the first thing I need to do is plan the location, of course.  Where is it going to be this year?  All they’ve been asking for is an elephant ride. Unfortunately, a safari in Kenya is out of the question. I can’t get the time off work.

No, no, no, the first thing I need to do is take a break, get something to eat and take a nap.  SMM will surely let me eat something.

Oh ok, it’s the boys, gotta take care of the little buggers first, don’t I?

The real first thing I need to do is read my emails, check my Twitter account, update my Facebook page, edit my blog, then take out the trash, clean the kitchen, put the laundry in the dryer, clean the boys’ room, mow the front yard, trim the hedges, paint the garage door, put the dishes in the dishwasher, sweep the dining room, pay the bills, balance my checkbook, make all the beds, go to the grocery, drop off my shirts at the cleaners, dispose of the old TV, solve world hunger and of course, then, finally, solve my own hunger.

About this time SMM calls and ask me how it’s going and how far I’ve gotten.  I tell her that I’ve had to take care of a few things first, but that I am well on my way to solving the Birthday Party riddle and that it will be done before she gets home.  Luckily, it is my day off and I am now primed and ready to tackle the assignment since all my chore prerequisites are taken care of.

But, where do I start?  Oh yeah, the checkbook.  Well, this year has been a tough one financially since we’ve spent extra money on Archibald’s tutoring and daddy hasn’t done so well on his fantasy football only because Joe Namath is not interested in playing football anymore since he retired thirty years ago.  Ugh!

That’s ok.  We can still have fun and be together as a family and have some friends meet us somewhere, even if it is only local corner grocery where we can share some big mouth slushees.

Finally, the first thing I need to do is check the finances.  Done.  Check.  No finances, but now I know.

The SECOND thing I need to do is…. eat.  All of this planning has really helped me work up an appetite.

The second second thing I need to do is sleep.  I’m tired.

Well, it’s now almost two weeks later and Daddy failed miserably in the task he was assigned.  Ok, maybe it was not failed miserably in the execution of the birthday festivities, but it was horrendous in the planning.

On the day, SMM and moi were very tired and the little buggers were more than happy to go to that place that serves cheezy pizza and has a million thousand pinball and video games.  Of course, we had to take Grandma (Gma) who wanted to attend and help the boys celebrate.  The boys loved it and so did Gma interestingly enough.

Gma’s birthday is only in three weeks and we now what she likes and, of course, the boys would like help her celebrate.  It seems my planning for Gma’s bday is a lot easier.  Now, I can have a snack and lay down for a few minutes to “rest my eyes”.