Thursday, March 15, 2012

finding our feet - part I

Kathy and I went to Oregon early in this month to celebrate the domestic partnership of two dear friends.  It was a long weekend full of wine drinking, celebrating, and lying around drinking coffee re-hashing the events of the night before.  Basically, it was like college, only in college it was Jack Daniels Downhome Punch or Old Milwaukee instead of wine.  The weekend was fabulous.

What was slightly less fabulous was diving into the workweek on Tuesday with two suitcases full of dirty clothes, a dirty house, and no groceries.  How could I have forgotten this horrible fact of being a dual-income family?  Without your weekend, no chores get done!  You start the workweek about 10 hours behind, and then frantically paddle, trying to not only keep your head above water, but actually make forward progress so you can get back on track. 

Each morning was a mad rush, packed with convincing the kids that three-week old bread with American cheese on it was a delicious and nutritious lunch and that those jeans aren't that dirty; in fact, jeans are designed to be worn more than once without washing!  Each evening was a load of laundry, a cobbled-together dinner made of things purchased at Sam's Club and stuck in the freezer when I wasn't working, and sorting through stacks of mail and other papers, trying to make sure no utilities were shut off in the meantime.  And then I had a business day-trip on Friday, so I had to leave the house at 6 am.

Saturday morning, when I woke up cranky, Kathy accused me of acting "horribly" throughout the last few weeks.  I thought this was maybe a bit strong, until I reviewed my behavior upon returning home from work most nights.  I walked/stomped into the house and rapidly identified each item that had not been put away through the course of the day, pointing each such item out to its owner so they could correct it immediately.  I opened the fridge and freezer and started tossing random items on the counter to throw together for dinner, shouting if someone tried to play the "poop song" on You Tube while I was cooking.  I snapped at anyone whose homework wasn't done before dinner (including Kathy) and grumbled about table manners throughout the course of dinner.  We put the kids to bed, Kathy did a load of laundry, and we cleaned up the kitchen -- all the while with me making snide comments about how no one (meaning basically no one under the age of twelve) was pulling their weight around here.  Then, we collapsed in front of the TV for an hour before going to bed, too tired to do anything other than sit on the couch glassy-eyed but too wound up to go straight to sleep.

Basically, I think the only complaint that was really valid was the one about the poop song.  So maybe, just maybe, my behavior was a little bit horrible.  But before you write me off as some kind of horrible B-word, let me explain.  Every night when I walked in, after a full work day, faced with a full night of chores, all I could think was, "This is my life now."  There is no time for novel-reading.  There is no time for blog-writing.  There is no time for exercise.  There is no time for Kathy.  There is no silence; there is no time alone.  There is only work, and endless piles of laundry, and 15-minute dinners.  There is stacks of papers from the office to finish after the kids are in bed, there is sweeping rice off the floor under the dining room table, and there is driving to the CVS at 11 pm because you are out of cat food and milk.  THERE IS NO FUN.  And usually, right at that point, someone would try to play the poop song, or my blackberry would go off, and I felt like my head was about to explode.

Don't worry, this story has a happy ending.  To be continued....

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