Sunday, August 24, 2008

Things you need to know about my life

1. If you have been upstairs getting children to bed--i.e. overseeing their lavatory skills (bath, pajamas, hair brushing, tooth brushing), and then you move onto  the bedtime reading portion of the night time ritual, it will not matter how long you read or how tired your children might become. You might read for ten minutes or you might push on through for twenty minutes, thereby making your throat soar. You might prepare ahead of time, get yourself a small glass of water from the bathroom, using one of those paper Dixie cups (or if you are economical, a generic Kroger brand Bathroom Cup). You might periodically sip this water while reading, allowing yourself the chance to go thirty or even forty minutes into the reading of several small library books and possibly a good third of a chapter from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . . . you might do all of this, but within three minutes of you telling your children to go to their beds and taking yourself downstairs,  you will hear the footfalls of one child (it doesn't matter which) coming down the stairs for some cockamamie reason or another--sharpening a pencil, too hot, too cold, I'm afraid, whatever.

Set your watch and just see if I'm right.

2. The amount of time that it takes a child to find a printable activity on the Internet, print said activity, read instructions, cut, fold, tape, and construct said activity is in direct opposition to the amount of time a child actually plays with this fully formed activity afterward the building phase is completed. 

Oddly, however, the amount of time it took to construct the item in question is about equal to the amount of time the unplayed with activity will sit forlorn on the end table afterwards . . . multiplied by 25.

3. An unassuming piece of paper sitting in a pile of unread mail, various drawings, and credit card applications becomes increasingly vital the further down the pile said piece of paper goes. If this paper reaches the bottom of the pile (especially if this steady downward progress has taken a  week or more) this previously unassuming and unwanted piece of paper becomes the MOST important item in the house and following this existential transformation, two further things are absolutely certain to occur: 

a.) I will throw this piece of paper away--oblivious to its radically enhanced status and 
b.) Lynda will (within 24 hours) ask "Where is that piece of paper? It had some REALLY important yada yada yada on it that I need RIGHT now."

Please note that I am trying not to blame Lynda for this. All of God's creatures have a role to play in this universe. I am not in a position to tell her how to live the life she had been predestined for.

5. The quicker I have to get out the rest of the family out of the door and go somewhere else, the longer my children will stare in the mirror at nothing in particular.

5 a. If the children are currently unclothed, the amount of time spent staring in the mirror increases by a factor of 2.

5 b. If the children are upset or crying, the amount of time spent staring in the mirror increases by an approximate factor of 15. (They love seeing their wretched faces when they are unhappy!)

6. I try to be as efficient as I can possibly manage. For example, I was getting some laundry started on Thursday night when we got home from work. I sorted through the piles of stuff sitting on the basement floor that had been tossed down the laundry chute over the past week. Colors, whites, towels, gentle cycle are my four categories. Once the sorting is finished I assess which pile is the largest, which contains clothing items that are the likeliest to be needed first, and then choose a load to begin. On this particular night I chose Colors. (I was to discover the next morning that I had made a mistake in this . . . but I'll  try to get back to that later.)

The efficiency part is this: I started the washing machine and let a quantity of water build in the basin while pouring the liquid soap in. Once an always varying amount of soapy water had accumulated in the bottom of the rotating drum, I dumped in the Colored clothes. As I closed the machine lid and prepared to return upstairs, I realized that I was wearing black slacks that could use a washing. Determined to achieve some level of success, I promptly took off my slacks and dropped them in the agitating machine. Success! Efficiencies achieved! (Sure, I looked a bit of a dope as I climbed the stairs to the main level in my polo shirt, boxers, black socks, and black shoes. Sure, Lynda noticed, but I was on the way up to the second floor to change into shorts anyway. A small bit of humiliation was no big deal in the face of such work-related efficiencies.

(My aforementioned laundry mistake? Well, on Friday morning, as we prepared to dress for work, Lynda asked if I had washed her jeans--it was Jeans Friday. I said that I had washed Colored clothes, but I had sorted the jeans, denim colored though they are, in with the whites to help even out the quantities.  That's one efficiency that I goofed on.)

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