Thursday, February 01, 2007

An afternoon in the life . . .

Today at lunch, Flipper consoled me while I lamented my inability to see any current movies by reminding me that I have a busy life as a full-time working parent.

And while that is absolutely true, that statement demands that I take a few minutes to break down my typical afternoon to see how busy it is.

3:15--I leave the office. (This is my week to Arrive Early and Leave Early. Lynda and I have worked out a system in which one of us begins work at 7 am and leaves at 3:15--in order to pick up Sarah when elementary school lets out. The other parent is responsible for getting the kids up, dressed, and out the door for breakfast at daycare and busing to elementary school. The second parent usually gets to work around 8 or 8:15 and stays until 5ish.)

Anyway, this week I'm on the 7 am to 3:15 pm schedule. As I leave the office, I feel a slight pang of guilt for "abandoning" my hard-working cube-mates, but hey . . . I was drinking my coffee and reviewing pages at 7 am!

3:35--After listening to too little (always too little) of "Fresh Air with Terri Gross" on NPR, I pull into the school parking lot to gather up Sarah. She's just come outside and sees me walking across the parking lot. She gives me a smile and a slight hug when I reach her. We head back to the car while discussing her day at school.

3:45--We pull into the daycare and head inside to get Grace. I can hear her from down the hall. (She has a rather sonorous voice sometimes.) She's at the computer in the three-year-olds room and all the other kids are gathered around watching whatever she's doing. As usual, one of the younger boys in the room announces the arrival of a parent, telling Grace that "your daddys here!" She leaves the computer behind and immediately begins telling me about the visit from Tommy the Toothbrush earlier today. She's very excited by his appearance, his delivery of a toothbrush, and the song he taught them about brushing teeth.

4:00--Now we've made it home. The girls put their coats away while I get them a small snack and they sit down to watch "Kim Possible" while I take a break to read the TWoP recap of last week's Smallville episode and Bill Simmon's latest ESPN story on Super Bowl week in Miami.

4:30--"Kim Possible" is now over, so the girls turn the TV off and pursue other interests. Sarah begins writing and illustrating a story she began yesterday entitled "Vampires Aren't Teachers," which is a homage to her latest book obsession, The Bailey School Kids books. Meanwhile, I begin putzing around in the kitchen, planning what to do for dinner while Grace is playing with toys.

Knowing that we don't have lots of meat in the freezer and lacking other immediate ideas, I decide to fix breakfast for dinner, which is always a winner with the kids. But I don't expect Lynda to get home for at least another thirty minutes, so I don't dive right into it. I take my time and start getting ingredients out for pancakes, bacon, eggs. Grace senses the beginnings of cooking and immediately gets ready to help. I tell her that I'll let her get involved when I am ready . . . which isn't yet. First I'll take my time cooking the bacon and getting out the electric skillet for the pancakes. I start measuring out all of the dry ingredients for the pancake batter, get the egg, and let Grace put those ingredients in a mixing bowl. Once I measure out the appropriate amount of milk, I let her pour that into the mix and begin stirring.

Once the bacon is all cooked, the skillet is appropriately warmed, and the pancake batter is ready, I begin cooking up the hotcakes and spend a few minutes listening to a brief 10-minute podcast on the announcement of the Harry Potter book 7 release date. As I cook a batch of pancakes, I keep them warm in the oven.

5:15--The pancakes are warming in the oven, the bacon is cooked, and I start scrambling the eggs while Sarah clears her book manuscript off the dining room table and Grace starts getting out the silverware and the napkins. Lynda arrives and helps get the rest of the table set while I turn on the coffee (you can't have breakfast for dinner without coffee!).

6ish--Dinner is done and we're clearing off the table. Sarah begins her homework while Lynda washes the dishes. I oversee Grace playing on the computer for a while. Then I help Sarah finish up her Social Studies homework while Lynda begins making some peanut butter cookies. (We don't have any dessert around the house, which is usually a no no.)

By 7:00, Lynda takes the girls up to get their bath and I start folding a batch of clothes. I also pull out the first batch of cookies and get more on the baking sheet. Once the bath is done all the cookies are baked and cooling on the wire racks. The girls eat their cookie and listen to some books while I begin this post.

8:00--The girls go upstairs to put themselves to bed (yeah, let's hope). Lynda begins reviewing her work and I keep typing while Smallville comes on. I periodically check on the kids who are playing together and eventually get into their beds. They aren't quite asleep yet, but they are on their way.

8:50--Now is now. Smallville is almost over and after that I've got some work to review. I might also watch 30 Rock later. But I also need to check what Sarah's lunch will be tomorrow and it might, therefore be a good idea to make her lunch tonight before I got to bed.

So . . . there it is in all of it's quotidian glory. Is it busy or simply normal?

I'll let you be the judge. After all, if you've read this far, you've probably got an opinion, if not a pulse.


David said...

I forgot to mention something.

(I'm sure that you're shocked . . .)

Round about 7:45 or so, while the girls were reading and I was done with the folding of the laundry, I took the folded clothes upstairs in the basket. I decided to put on the freshly washed pair of jeans for the express purpose of "breaking them in."

I've had these jeans for years, so it wasn't like they were new, but do you know how blue jeans are right out of the dryer, all stiff and wrinkled?

Well, I HATE that and so I often plan to wear newly washed jeans a night before I actually WANT to wear them so that they are comfortably broken in the next day.

I'm sorry if you are horrified by this bit of OCD trivia, but I think you should know these things about me . . . otherwise, why blog at all?

Anonymous said...

I suspect you are rebelling at your learned fatherly role, ala southern manhood, vs. the 'reality' of life in 21st century America in the su-burb-s.