Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reality Bites

Here's the latest realization on what a jerk I've been to my sweet, patient, hard-working, misunderstood wife: You can't get everything you have planned done, so you better pick your battles. I'll admit that, on many an occasion, I'd walk in from work, see dishes in the sink from breakfast and lunch or the same pile of laundry on the couch that was there when I left in the morning and give Lish a disgusted look and retreat to my bedroom in pouty protest. Here it comes, and it's even written as proof: "I'M SORRY! I WAS WRONG TO JUDGE YOU! YOU ARE AWESOME!"

Here's what was on today's to-do list before my dad and stepmom arrived from Arizona (on Friday) in order to avoid any critical glances or comments with "Undertone." And today was going to be a hard one as Lisha had a double shift at Olive Garden. I had to bring my "A" Game or some other sports metaphor dads like me should know. Here's a metaphor more suited to my understanding and knowledge: The Force had to be with me today.

The Impossible List:

  1. Finish, fold and put away any and all laundry.

  2. Weed the flower bed.

  3. Mow the lawn.

  4. Weedeat the lawn.

  5. Chop down the dead tree in the backyard.

  6. Make beds.

  7. Vacuum.

  8. Keep up on the dishes throughout the day.

  9. Oh yeah, feed the kids.

  10. Sweep and mop the floor.

  11. Scrub every inch of the bathroom.

  12. Design and print Ally's baptism programs.

  13. Make a DVD celebrating Ally's life to play while she gets ready between her baptism and confirmation.

  14. Organize and clean the computer desk area.

  15. Get the girls to Dance Camp on time with the appropriate shoes and dressed in the appropriate outfits.

  16. Pick the girls up from Dance Camp on time and make sure they bring home their shoes.

  17. Get all of the milk jugs and newspaper to the recycling bin.

  18. Clean up the back yard.

  19. Talk to the neighbors about restraining their pitbull during dinner after the baptism on Saturday.

  20. Call a kid in my Young Men's group to make sure he has started his Eagle project this week.

  21. Oh, and write my talk for Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.

Eight. That's what I got done today. Eight out of 21 important tasks. If this was a quiz I had given my students at school, I would have failed miserably with a 38 percent. Yet, I feel like I got a ton done. I just need to do a ton more tomorrow morning.

Here's the problem that moms have after careful reflection. Your kids impede you from doing the other 60 percent of what you hope to accomplish in a day. The other 2 percent is, let's face it, down time that you have got to take. I used mine today playing the all-too-important distraction known as Facebook.

I love my kids. I do. But if I were home alone today, then I would have gotten at least 85 percent of the stuff done. In the afternoon, I just put Clark down for his name and started scrubbing the bathroom when I heard thunder. All three remaining kids sprinted through the door, screaming that they were almost hit by thunder.

"No, really, Daddy," Ally said. "The sky was all black and something happened and ... and ... and ... we almost died."

Her siblings nodded in agreement, wide-eyed. You see, in a sudden stroke of genius, I had shooed them out onto the freshly mowed lawn, laid down blankets in the shade and said (probably a little too forcefully), "Read!" Then I threw them some library books and shut the front door. They were out there for about seven minutes, allowing me begin the decontamination of our bathroom.

"Hey, calm down, you guys," I said, wiping sweat from my brow and quickly wishing I hadn't stuck my hand near my nose. "You can't get hit by thunder. Just lightning will kill you."

They all started whimpering and I turned back to the toilet. Then Clark started screaming from his crib and I knew I would never get done with the bathroom. Or the laundry. Or weedeating or anything else, for that matter.

I grabbed Clark out of his bed, held him for a few minutes and set him down a safe distant from all the chemicals and started to clean again. Not two minutes went by when Luke came to the door and said, "Dad, I think I need a snack."

I grunted and turned back to the toilet. "Dad. Dad. Dad. Daddy. Dad. Dad. ..." Luke is the master of annoying me until he gets what he wants, so I answered, rather sweetly, "What?! Luke, if you're hungry go have Ally make you some popcorn. I have to finish this before Papa Hansen gets here tomorrow!"

He bolted. I started cleaning once more, all the while keeping half-empty toothpaste bottles and assorted pony-tail holders out of Clark's mouth. It was quiet. I got the bathroom done except for the tub when my Spidey sense started tingling. The kids were too quiet.

I walked into the living room to find it full of the kids' blankets, pillows, a movie blaring on the TV and popcorn EVERYWHERE. Plus, the bag had been ripped open and butter licked off the side of the bag. The kids were no where to be found.

"What the what?" I said to Clark. Clark just looked at me and then the floor and bounced in my arms. "Great," I thought. "I can't even put him down or else he'll choke to death on popcorn seeds and I can't put him in his crib or he'll scream." I put him in his room, surrounded him by toys and shut the door.

I marched up and down the sidewalk looking for my absent children. I am not proud of this next part. Don't judge me! I found them at the neighbor's house playing. I lost it. "Get your butts down to the house and clean up the front room!" I yelled in front of the neighbor kids. "I want EVERY piece of popcorn picked up or I'm taking away your blankets. FOREVER!"

They booked it home and did what I asked. I looked up at the clock as they were cleaning. It was almost 6 p.m. I had started cleaning the bathroom around 3:30 p.m. Where had my afternoon gone? Now I had to start thinking about what to make for dinner.

You know, female monkeys carry their young as they do menial tasks around the jungle. Maybe my primal instincts were kicking in as I considered strapping Clark in our baby backpack and finish everything I needed to get done. However, I didn't have a pair of baby safety goggles to strap onto Clark and weedeat the yard. I didn't have a baby tox mask in order to finish the bathroom. And I didn't have a plastic baby bubble to shield him from bubbling stroganoff and noodle water. Here's what seperates us from our primate cousins: Duct tape. Tomorrow I should put a strip of Duct tape on the seat of the kids' pants and tape 'em to the floor. I'll turn on Barney and hypnotize them as I finish what I need to get done.

Mothers, once again you amaze me. How you get anything done in a day is beyond me. And you do it with monkeys literally clinging to your backs!


Sandi said...

I nearly spit out the water I was drinking when I read #2 on your list. I have SO been there! I used to make lists of everything that needed done, thinking that somehow I would have time. Now I make a list of things that HAVE TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW OR ELSE (like the kids that start their term paper the night before)and get half of them done. Then I just go to my happy place while I deal with the OR ELSE.

Keep the hilarity coming!

Shelley~Maren said...

Lish, I think every husband needs to be a mr. mom every once in a while. They just don't get it. I never had kids, but my ex-hub never understood it.

Ryan, Lisha is one of my most favoritest people in the whole entire world, and I'm so so glad that she has a SUPREMELY thankful husband. She deserves it, and I know now that you know that.

Side note, I'll be in Pocatello this summer. July 23rdish? If you're visiting Lish's parents at all... I'd love to see you guys!

Mike, Mary, & Maggie said...

Yes, Your wife is Amazing!!! I only have one and I can't seem to keep up with anything. I love the fact that Maggie thinks that when I'm cleaning up her toys that it means I'm playing with them and helps me play by taking them all back out as I put them in. Soon the house will always be too quite (so I'm told ;) )! Good Luck with PaPa Hansen and Happy Baptism Ally wish we could come!

Bonnie Young said...

Hey Ryan,
I totally feel your pain. I do the whole list thing a schedual, but things always pop in and alas my floors have yet to be cleaned in 3 weeks. My conclusion is chores for my kids. I've asked about 10 different mothers what works for them and have put together and experiment. Your kids are the same age as mine, and mine kinda think it's cool to help out right now. Have Lisha e-mail me if your interested in this, if not. I agree with Sandi, pick whats MOST important and if your family/friends judge you for trying the best you can do, then they're really not that good of friends/family. Nobody's perfect, husband or wife, but I admire your willingness to try!!!
Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

duct tape is inexpensive :D

sunnie said...

I have a feeling Lisha is enjoying the full time mommy break and loving working. I remember you guys doing this in Lamar when Lisha worked at Loaf and Jug and hanging out with you at your pool. Good times!

Fat Boy Graham said...

Ryan, these entries are great. They are so funny, and I can just see all of it happening. Thanks for the reality check!

Tandee said...

I love it! I'm proud of you for admitting that moms have it harder than most realize. I need my hubby to go through this. I have to tell you I love your posts. I had to go back and read them all! They're hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. And yes- we've all been through it. =)

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