My wife left for the week on a well-deserved Cayman Islands and Cozumel Cruise with her four sisters – no husbands allowed. She left me at home in charge of taking care of five of our kids every day. This is the story of how much I miss her. It starts here.
Not wanting to repeat the events of the morning, I tried taking a melatonin when I went to bed last night. Twenty minutes later I lay awake staring at the ceiling, frustrated that it wasn’t working. Then all of the sudden my alarm was going off…
Still feeling exhausted, I dragged myself out of bed, happy that the morning was off to a good start. I zombie walked myself towards the linen closet to grab a towel for the shower. I opened it to greet a small, angry dust bunny scurrying to the back corner of the towel shelves. Other than the ornery dust bunny, the shelves were empty – memories of grabbing the last towel yesterday morning vaporized the grogginess out of my sleep deprived brain and replaced it with frustration as I confronted the fact that there was nothing available to dry off with. “Ugh”, I thought as I realized that the person who should have done some freaking laundry yesterday was none other than…. me.
I went back into my room to double-check whether yesterday’s towel was still functional. Nope. As is typical in a house with five kids in it, particularly when just Dad is in charge, my bathing towel had been used for some other mysterious, yet without a doubt very important, purpose. I sat down on the bed to think.
I bolted back to a sitting position as my oldest daughter’s alarm clock started going off… it was now 7 am, time to get the kids up and going. Now desperate beyond logical pre-conclusion, I checked the kids bathroom to see if there were any ‘clean’ towels in it. There was one wadded up on the counter by the sink, evidence indicating that it had been used to clean up spilled mouthwash. At least it had been cleaned up. There were two other towels crumpled up in the corner of the bathroom – I didn’t bother to find out if/what they had been used to clean up.
Resigning myself to college age tricks, I woke the kids up and told them to start getting dressed while I took a shower. Then I grabbed a bed sheet out of the linen closet and proceeded to try to salvage the morning. After I finished and got dressed, I took the sopping wet sheet and gathered up all the towels I could find and headed down to the laundry room to get them started.
I headed back upstairs, feeling better about the morning now that I had taken a positive step toward being prepared for tomorrow. I spent some time visiting with and helping the kids finish getting ready for the day and at 7:30 went in to the kitchen to get breakfast ready – right on schedule, WooHoo!
I grabbed a bag of cereal and the jug of milk from the fridge (chalk up another plus for there still being milk left after yesterday!) and put them on the table. Then I opened the dish cupboard to get the five bowls I needed. Somehow that same dust bunny was in there! I’m sitting there staring at the second empty cupboard of the morning, livid that there are no bowls in it! I yank open the dishwasher, for some reason expecting them all to be in there, and it’s empty. Then I look at the kitchen sink and realize that somebody neglected to wash any dishes… since the weekend. Now frustrated with myself I start considering options.
I found two small serving bowls that would do well enough for cereal and one that was big enough for the whole bag – oh well, it will do in a pinch! I reach over and pull the silverware drawer open to get spoons … and grab a knife out of the knife block as fast as I can! I stab that demon dust bunny through its center mass, extract it from the knife and throw it away.
I head to the sink and start trying to organize it so I can find and clean 2 bowls and 5 spoons. I scrub them clean with a brillo-sponge as quickly as I can and take all the food delivery devices to the table. As the kids start eating, I glance at the clock, “Guys, we should be leaving in 1 minute, eat quick!”, I tell my exasperated army.
After rushing out the door, I deliver them to the school – only five minutes late!
That evening as I’m winding down work, intending to leave in fifteen minutes – at 5 o’clock, my boss comes over and says “My boss just called and said he wants a full project update from you tonight”. I end up leaving at 6 to pick up the kids.
On the way home my oldest daughter reminds me “It’s Wednesday, I have to babysit for Megan from 6:45 to 9 tonight” “Crud”, I think – there goes my biggest help for getting anything done at home tonight. We get home just in time for her to leave.
“Who puked!?” I holler to everyone; it smelled awful!
“Not me!” I hear from an out of sync quartet.
“It’s Indy’s feet!” my son informs me. “It’s not my fault; I couldn’t find socks this morning!”, which started with angry yelling and ended with huge crocodile tears. “Get your feet washed, right now!” I fire back. “She should just take a shower, she hasn’t had one since Sunday”, my son informs me.
While they’re taking turns bathing, I get started on getting the dishwasher loaded and give them each job assignments while they’re waiting on and finished with their bath. Meanwhile, a buddy of mine stops by with a bag of treats. “I read about your situation this week. I thought I would stop by with some encouragement”. We visit for a bit while the kids are doing anything but their chores and my wife’s dog gets hyper that a guest is in the house. He heads back out just as my oldest daughter comes back home. “Grab a quick shower, please”, I tell her while contemplating how to bribe the kids with his delivery.
“What’s for dinner?” I hear from the other room. “Macaroni and Cheese”, I growl back, thinking that it’s my best bet for a fast solution. I hear something from deeper in the house and all I can make out is “homework”. It’s almost 9:30.
At 10:20 I get them all tucked into bed having eaten and done some semblance of homework. “Daddy, tomorrow night after school is Library Day, I’m going to get the next Ramona book!”, my youngest tells me excitedly – referring to my wife’s usual routine. I look at how anxious she is to go and tell her “Yup, we get to go to the library tomorrow!”, thinking that that is the last thing I want to be doing tomorrow night.
I go get ready for bed and take a melatonin, hoping to get some decent sleep tonight. As I’m about to climb in, I remember the heaps of wet towels upstairs and go gather them then get them started in the washer. While I’m doing that I notice that nobody really got very far with the chores I gave them; the house is looking pretty rough. I grab what’s left of the treat bag and head into my room to snack while I wait for the washer to finish. Thinking about the day’s events I’m feeling dejected about the whole thing – then I remember that tomorrow is the half-way point – my wife will be home soon!