Friday, April 30, 2010

"Taking Care of the Kids"

Today’s flood victim is my husband.  Okay, truth be told, in an actual flood, I’d grab on tight and never let go.  He is a great guy and I love him dearly, but I’m not feeling well today and he just happened to get on my bad side.

Why is it when he is sick I have to play nursemaid to him, take care of our three children, the house, the bills, the dishes, the laundry, etc., but when I am sick, all he can handle is making sure our three kids make it through the day alive?
I get it, watching three kids under six is hard. I have been doing it for years.  I have been doing it, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, making dinner, paying the bills, carpooling, and dealing with every single miscellaneous thing that pops up (the broken dishwasher, the flooding bathroom, the sick kids, the service men that can’t ever come when they say they will and inevitably end up ringing the doorbell ten minutes after you have gotten the baby down for his nap, the cable going out, the car needing repairs, all of it).  Trust me I know it is hard.  But it is necessary.  And if I am too sick to do it, he should. 
It shouldn’t all be waiting for me when I come downstairs.  And as all you moms out there know, we always return sooner than we should because we don’t have the luxury of paid sick days where the world doesn’t collapse if we stay in bed.  Our world does collapse and then we have to pick up the pieces.  It’s just easier to suck it up and get back to business as usual. I mean really, every time I am sick I end up feeling guilty, like somehow he thinks I WANT to be tethered to the bathroom not sure which end to point toward the commode.
If he’s ill, he gets to call in sick and lay in bed all day and recover, but unless I am actually physically unable to move, I have to get up and do my work feeling like crap.  Any moms out there know how hard it is to handle making lunch for your kids when you are ready to toss your own.  And it is not uncommon to do exactly that, put them at the table with their meal, waiting for that moment when they are all occupied so that you can finally rush into the bathroom and release the vomit that has been burning its way up your throat for the past half hour.  I can’t even recall how many times I have had to beg my oldest to “be good and keep the babies happy while mommy runs to the bathroom.  Mommy’s not feeling well bud, I’ll be right back.”  I wonder how that would go over at the office.  You are in the middle of a presentation about to toss your cookies and you say to the board of clients sitting in front of you, “Now you five just wait here patiently, I’ve been really sick and I just need a minute to throw up and then I’ll get back to telling you why your company should spend thousands of dollars with mine.”

But I digress.  It all boils down to this:  When I am done with my 24 hours of flushing everything, and I mean everything, out of my body, I get to get up early with the kids the next day while my husband gets to sleep in to give him a break. (Poor him because he’s had to do my job, no one says poor me that I still feel like death).  Anyway, I get up and go to change the baby, but of course there are no diapers at the upstairs changing table so I need to run downstairs with her, change her there and then come up and get my three year-old dressed.  That is a chore on a good day.  My six year-old is out of underwear because it never occurred to my husband to put in a laundry.  So I throw one in hoping that I can get it washed and dried before my son needs to leave for the bus in 40 minutes.  In the meantime, I tell him to wear the pair he has on (yuck!)  He wants to borrow his brother’s but I think day old underwear is the lesser of two evils.  When everyone is finally dressed, we are now running late. I go downstairs and I find a stack of dishes sitting in the sink so that I can’t even access the tap to clean what I need to make their breakfasts.  The baby is crying because she wants her sippy cup, which is sitting in that mess in the sink.  The other two are complaining that they are hungry but my husband used the last of the cereal.  When I finally get that ironed out.  I start to clean up all the dirty napkins and paper plates from the night before and find the trash is so full I can’t even stuff those in.  I have to empty the trash, which spills all over the floor.
When my husband comes downstairs, he hears me mumbling under my breath, complaining about the fact that apparently I am the only one that knows how to do dishes, laundry, or empty the trash.  And the argument begins, because, God forbid, I be allowed to blow off a little steam.  I mean it is not like I said anything directly to him, and if I had been mumbling under my breath “do you think you could stop by the market” he wouldn’t have heard that!  But instead, because I am still sick and tired, I ask the inevitable, why are these dishes here, why couldn’t you empty the trash, is there a reason you left me with no diapers?  And the answer….I am sure all you moms out there have heard it before…many times…”I was taking care of the kids”…said with that air of annoyance. 
Well then by all means you are excused. 
Why would I ever expect that you, a forty year old man, would possibly be able to stick the kids in front of the TV half the day AND wash a few dishes, or take out the trash.  Silly me, and here I thought that was part of the job all these years.  Good to know.  So tomorrow when you get up and wonder where your underwear is, or why there is no gas in the car, or why I haven’t paid the credit card bills and we are getting hit with a huge penalty, I’ll remember the magic words to make it all go away: “I was taking care of the kids.”
 I wonder if that will work with the IRS?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Common Courtesy RIP

We Need A Flood! Yes a flood. No I don’t mean the kind that ruins your basement and causes the president to issue a state of emergency where you live.  I mean one of biblical proportions where you have to build an ark and everyone who is not on it gets washed out of existence.  Who gets to choose who survives you ask?  Well me of course, and I’ll tell you, the other customers at Starbucks today do NOT get to come on board!

            No really please, have my seat.  I only left my computer, a book and a pen sitting next to it while I got up to get my coffee, but by all means, let me move everything because you are so self involved you didn’t notice. 
            I’ll take a new seat here next to the table with the two entitled moms who don’t seem to realize that their small children are pouring sugar all over another table and drawing in it, making a huge mess that I am sure they will leave behind for someone else to clean up.  “Honey don’t do that,” didn’t work five minutes ago, but you know, you go on sniping about a third person you are calling a friend although I have heard nicer things said about terrorist, and you let your daughters keep doing exactly what you just asked them not to because after all we wouldn’t want to interrupt your conversation.  It’s called parenting and sometimes it is inconvenient.  I know, I have three kids under 6, and you know what, not one of them would pour sugar all over a table, or scream loudly in a public place repeatedly.  You know why?  Because I wouldn’t let them, and if I couldn’t control them, I’d inconvenience myself by leaving, not everyone else by ignoring it.
            And if that isn’t rude enough, to the tall guy sporting the Bluetooth, really we all want to hear your overly loud one-sided conversation. I want to hear about what your wife has to say and what clients are bothering you and by all means I want to know when you’ll be able to meet for drinks.  I especially want to wait behind you in line while you hold up one finger signaling to the barista that your time is more important than hers or any of ours and that we should all wait for you to finish your “private conversation” so that you can order your drink.  God forbid you be polite and step aside so that those of us who have more important things to do than chat on the phone can get our cup of coffee and be on our way.
            All of you who have cell phone conversations in public, you do realize that phone conversations are designed to be between two people, or at most by a handful of people who have agreed to be part of a conference call?  The rest of us don’t want to be held hostage by your personal conversations.  Hard to believe I know, but not everyone thinks you are as interesting as you seem to think you are.
And to those of you fighting with your significant others while the rest of us are forced to listen in, you really should be careful about shouting out financial problems, institutions, home addresses, and phone numbers, someone who gives a damn might be listening.  And stop dropping the F bomb every five seconds.  First of all, it shows you as an ignorant idiot.  Secondly, the three kids sitting with their grandparents in the corner should not have to hear you pontificating with such obscene language.  Actually, none of us should.  Finally, where does the indignant attitude come from when people are staring?  Do you really expect the ten other people in this 20-foot by 40-foot room to pretend they can’t hear every single word you are broadcasting? You are the one shouting out obscenities and acting like a jerk.  We didn’t ask for this, so stop shooting us threatening looks every time our well justified annoyance registers on our faces. 
In my fantasies, I walk right up to these inconsiderate people and call them on it.  Excuse me, but do you know your daughter has just poured the milk all over the floor over there? You might want to get a paper towel and clean that up so no one else has to.  Or Sir, I am trying to work, would you mind taking your private phone conversation somewhere private.  Or dude, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?  No wonder your girlfriend thinks you’re a loser, but could you possibly berate her where the rest of us don’t have to listen to it? Just once, I’d like to scare up enough nerve to demand what used to be considered common courtesy.  Maybe some day I will, but for now, I’ll just bitch about it here and wait for that flood.