Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Everyday life

Sometimes people say to me, "Burb . . . what is your life REALLY like, man?"

You wanna know?

Here it comes . . . brace yourself.

After we got home from work this evening around 5:30, Tegan and I entered the nightly rituals. I got the mail while she shepherded the kids inside. We started thinking about dinner--a) what's available in the leftover format? Failing that b) can we concoct something easy, not taking too long about it? Tonight we went with option a.

But first, the mail. Normally I am the one that sorts through the mail, discarding into the larger pile all the junk that immediately gets recycled or thrown away. Tonight we decided to throw caution to the wind and look at the mail together. The connection that we shared over that pile of mail was almost indecent in front of the children, let me tell you.

"Yeah! What about the kids?" you're probably thinking. Well, tonight was an unusual night in that the kids were eating cake (CAKE!) while this was going on. I can hear you saying, "But you haven't even started COOKING dinner you wastrels!" Well, forgive us, but the daycare is in the midst of saying goodbye to the current director and hello to a new one. The large sheet cake was positioned right by the doorway. YOU try telling a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old that they can't have the cake that everyone else is having. And then, just try and tell them that they are allowed to have cake, but must ignore it's presence until some undetermined point in the evening after we have decided upon, and then cooked, and then eaten dinner. It just isn't that easy. So, shoot us.

Anyway, while Tegan and I were getting hot and bothered over the pile of junk mail (really, I'm just kidding about that) the kids were eating cake. And when the cake was gone, we broke out a new surprise for Ariel and Ruth--a new educational software game which we had received in the mail the previous day. The girls were aided in their reading skills by Reader Rabbit while Tegan and I unloaded the dishwasher and got dinner prepared.

We ate leftover chicken from Spec's party, some freshly cooked corn-on-the-cob, and a side of leftover spaghetti. An odd combination, maybe, but again . . . shoot us, okay? During dinner we had the usual kinds of meandering, pointless conversations that escape my memory a few hours later. I do know that near the end of the dinner, Ruth starting singing "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" but she consistently left out the shoulders part. Ariel tried to help her out, but Ruth continued to do it her way. Halfway through the singing, it occurred to me that this might make an interesting audioblog (assuming, of course, that the dial-up number decided to function today). So, I got up to locate the cell phone, buried somewhere inside Tegan's purse. I couldn't find it and gave up. The kids had stopped singing anyway.

I do remember now that during part of the dinner conversations I was watching Ruth eat corn and thinking about how I have a familial connection to the simple act of eating corn. Because my dad made a living creating corn hybrids and each of us worked for dad at some point, and because I have many memories of shucking several wheelbarrows full of fresh corn each summer . . . the act of eating corn is (to me) a family ritual. It makes me happy to see my kids eat corn because it makes me feel that they are connected to their grandparents and their aunt and uncles in ways they may never understand or appreciate. I, however, appreciate it.

While wool-gathering on that issue, I also thought about how you sometimes hear people say that becoming a parent is a narcissistic act. But I don't understand that at all. My kids aren't going to be like me, any more than I am like my dad. Sure, there are mannerisms and superficialities that connect us together. There are even similarities in belief that tie us, but I am not him and they are not me--never have been and never will be. Their life experiences will greatly diverge from what I lived through and there is absolutely no way I grew up as my dad did.

After I finished daydreaming on such thoughts and wondering if/how I might convey that in a blog entry (I'm always thinking about that sort of thing now) we ended dinner and the next phase of the evening rituals--cleanup and the long transition towards bedtime.

Ariel and Ruth went back to more Reader Rabbit edutainment while Tegan helped me clean the kitchen. After a few minutes of this, T. took the girls upstairs for their baths and toothbrushing. I sat down to finish folding some laundry and read a Newsweek story on Karl Rove. Ruth came down to kiss me good night while Ariel went back to more Reader Rabbit. I let Ariel play on her own for a bit while I read some more. T. finally got Ruth to sleep and then I heard her putting away the laundry upstairs. I then pulled out my small bit of work that I brought home and got that underway.

Tegan came downstairs to deliver a freshly dried pile of clothes and get ready to go back to the office. But before she left, she read Ariel a story. Then I read two stories of my own to Ariel and started convincing her to head upstairs. It took a few minutes but eventually she got up there with some paper to color on. I came back downstairs to fold the aforementioned pile of new clothes. After a small interval, I heard Ariel come downstairs (as I knew she would). She needed me to position her fan . . . oh, don't ask. But then she was done and in bed.

I came down, finished the laundry while Sex and the City was on. (Yeah, I KNOW, okay?!) But normally we have our bible study group on Tuesday and so I don't have much TV knowledge of Tuesday's schedule.

Got the laundry folded, re-basketed and staged it at the foot of the stairs. I'll take it upstairs later tonight and redistribute the appropriate piles in the appropriate rooms tomorrow.

So, here we are. I'm blogging, Tegan's at the office working, the girls are asleep. $40 a Day is playing on the Food Network.

Exciting, huh?


lulu said...

In between hallucinations, I noticed two things:

1. What the hell is Tegan doing? Once you leave the office, STAY OUT of the office.

2. You feigned ignorance of a TV schedule. What a crock o' crap. It's all a lie so you don't feel guilty about watching Sex and the City instead of reading your Bible.

3. (OK three things) "Reader Rabbit"? What idiot marketer came up with that bonehead name?

Sven Golly said...

After driving to work this morning listening on NPR to Paul Anka brag about Sinatra asking him to write "My Way," I saw a happy man get out of his little red car and walk in to work with a smile on his face. Now I know his secrets: corn, cake, "connecting" (while opening the mail), and cleanup.

David said...

Its true.
Paul Anka singing Nirvana and The Cure is the best way I know of yet to start your day with a smile.

For all the sonic glory of "Rock Swings" go here.

Sven Golly said...

The Vegasizing of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" breaks new ground for lounge lizardry. Frankly, I prefer "OHHHHH PLEEEEEZE stay by me, DIANA!"

David said...

I think I look "dangerous."
Someone not to be trifled with.