Friday, January 08, 2010

Diminishing Returns

My thinner, neater, and just-generally-better half has been gone all week for mandatory work fun (MWF). I shall hereby take this moment to wax insanely bitter about it... and then I shall get on with the show.

MWF is called "kickoff" and implies a certain organizational collaborative strategory planning orgy of business readiness and profit margin fireworks. In reality, it is drinking, eating, lectures, drinking, eating, lectures, free time, drinking, eating, drinking, fun and games, drinking, eating, lecture, free time, eating, drinking, eating, free time, fun, fun and drinking. I think I have pretty well summarized the week's itinerary. In these winter escapades (note how easily that word turns into escape), I mean "kickoffs," which are always the first week in January (you know, right after the holidays, first week back at work and school, just to keep the whole funness thing happening...for them), activities have included, bowling, deep sea fishing, super long zip fly through a canyon and other distinctly profitless (ad)ventures. In the meantime, we have been at home in sub-freezing temperatures trying to get back into the swing of things. Sniff. He comes home tonight and that's a good thing, cuz the house needs to be cleaned. And he's good at that.

Here's how we have fared without him:

Monday: D leaves and I resolve that we will have a peaceful and unharried week. Nutritious meals will be eaten and voices will not be raised. There will be no occasion for time-outs. The wine in the fridge will not be consumed.
Monday night: Reasonably healthy dinner is consumed, thanks to the spinach I snuck into a tray of baked ziti (with brown rice pasta - thank you Tra.der J.oe's!) made on Sunday. Children are relatively kempt and peace, however tentative, is maintained.

But, sleep is scarce. Son worries loudly to his worry dolls about "villains, sharks, Eva and death" but seems relieved and unburdened thereafter.

Tuesday: Alarm does not go off in the morning for the second day in a row. I thought I fixed this problem (yeah, apparently I did not suspect the pesky volume culprit)! I wake to the sound of the children playing by themselves because they do not want to "bother" me. All, however, is not lost. Nutritious breakfast (organic vanilla yogurt, with lowfat granola and fruit) is still prepared. We manage to rally and work together and we are fed, caffeinated (um, just me) cleaned, dressed, bundled and strapped into our car in under an hour. We are champions and we know this. Son asks, "Is this a record?" Satisfied, I tell him that it just might be.
Tuesday night: Pickup motorcade is a slog. Both children have gotten less than stellar reports from school. Disagreements between the children occur regarding dinner and the right of the other child to continue to exist. Mother compromises by offering a mix of Asian and Italian favorites on the same plate (a state of affairs that WOULD NOT STAND were D present). Hidden spinach is still nobly appearing in the roll of vegetable and I hope against hope that the shu mai has some cabbage or something mixed in there. Mother consumes wine. Highly anxious son ends up in mom and dad's room that night.

Wednesday: Mother is required to appear at place of employment at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast is coffee cake because there is no dilly or dally over delicious baked goods in this house. I think there may have been some bruised fruit also. We three stoicly trudge to the car at an unreasonable hour only to arrive at son's school before the morning care program starts. Trudge back to car and wait with heater on full blast. Daughter tells teacher at dropoff that she had cake for breakfast. Mother avoids eye contact with teacher and scurries away, arriving only 15 minutes late for work.
Wednesday night: Welcome reprieve from normal commute. Son is sullen as always when going to his sibling's school, suspicious and on the lookout for any potential injustice in the distribution of familial resources. Dinner is tater tots and chicken burgers. Vegetable = ketchup. Mother ponders beverage options. Voices may have been slightly elevated but only so as to make my meaning Quite. Clear. My dear friend visits, leaves at midnight.

Thursday: No alarm snafus as children cheerily wake me at 6 a.m. Based on the forensic evidence found later, they were probably fed fruit leather in the car on the way to school, but I can't guarantee that.
Thursday night: Back to the long slog commute. I can't remember what was for dinner other than the terrible Muscat I choked down with seltzer. You can be quite certain there was no vegetable...

Friday: I woke up with a cold and my son sleeping next to me. Saw snow on the ground and skipped the caffeine. Experienced palpable relief on the discovery that schools were open.
But then I got to work and saw an e-mail from my boss in which he indicated that he was going to be late because [the same system as my son's] school was delayed. What? Where is my son? I remember dropping him off! With an adult! I think! A quick check of the appropriate (read: not the one I checked from home) website revealed... PHEWW... we were both right. School was delayed, but the before-school care program was only slightly delayed. My son is probably playing shoot 'em up games on the computer as I type.

All this is to say, we really missed you, better half.

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