Monday, May 15, 2006

A Made-Up Holiday

It's some kind of conspiracy, I tell you.

Mother's Day went better than expected. The big benefit this year was that HannieC was finally old enough to actually care about Mother's Day enough to make and execute plans. For the past week, she had been making little construction-paper hearts with happy, happy Mother's Day notations on them in sparkly glitter pen which she squirreled away in a box for the Big Day. She also planned a grand breakfast in bed that she, herself would make. A breakfast of brown bread toast and Snotella. In fact, HannieC has such big plans that she told all of us to stay in bed, not just The Mrs.

Convincing MaxieC that he should stay in bed past 7am is an impossibility, however, no matter how good intentioned. He was up at about 6:50, and I was up with him.

The day before, The Mrs. had taken HannieC out grocery shopping, and MaxieC and I snuck out to another grocery store where we picked up a bunch of flowers and a "Happy Mother's Day" Mylar balloon. And a case of Keystone Ice, which just happened to be on Shopper's Club for $0.39/oz. What luck!

MaxieC was his normal adorable self at the store. He wouldn't ride in the cart, but insisted on being carried. Then he insisted on holding his balloon. And then he insisted on bopping me on the head every 5 second with the balloon and saying, "bonk," then laughing hysterically.

A chip off the old block, that one.

When we had returned home, we got completely busted as The Mrs. had just pulled in ahead of us and was unloading groceries. HannieC was able to sneak the balloon into the house without The Mrs. seeing it, or at least with her pretending not to see it. But the flowers were another story. It was like 90 degrees, and I have a black truck that I have to park in the sun in the driveway. Not such a great place to hide cut flowers. So I had MaxieC give her the flowers and say, "Happy Mother's Day." The Mrs. put them in water.

Then, of course, my dad busted me again when he emailed The Mrs. some pictures of the flowers I had sent my mom. They were nicer. However, I'm going with the following justification. See if it makes sense:

  1. The flowers for my mother were the only present, whereas The Mrs. was getting much, much more than just the flowers.
  2. The Mrs. isn't a gigantic fan of floral arrangements. She appreciates them, but she's not one to get all swoony over flowers.
  3. If The Mrs. wants nice flowers on Mother's Day, she should consider convincing her childrens to get higher-paying jobs. After all, she's not my mother.

So, on Mother's Day itself, HannieC finally rolled out of bed around 7:30, about 40 minutes after MaxieC and I got up. Then, she immediately wanted to begin breakfast preparations for The Mrs. I had to talk her down off that ledge. For the next 45 minutes, I played the role of pacifier/distracter while I kept trying to head the kids off at the pass before they could get upstairs to wake up MommaC and tell her how much they loved her. Cuz the last thing in the world a mother wants is to be awakened by her loving childrens on Mother's Day.

Or is that a page out of the Father's Day manual? Hmm.

We have this anti-childrens stair gate across the bottom of the stairs, which is no small feet given that our stairs are precisely 5' 6" wide. You gotta buy one of these wicked-expensivo gates that screws into the wall on both sides. Oye. Installing the one at the top of the stairs is when I learned that the previous owner had had some electrical outlets put in at the top and bottom of the stairs that had had the wiring routed by cutting grooves in the wallboard , running the wires across the fronts of the studs, and then spackling them in.

Needless to say, I learned this while screwing the gate-mounting hardware into the stud. But that's another story.

HannieC can open and close the stair gate, but she generally chooses only to open it. Not unlike her technique with the patio door. MaxieC can neither open nor close it. And FreddyC can jump over it coming downstairs, but not upstairs. All of this would have been fine if FreddyC wasn't so attached to The Mrs. If she's in bed, he has to be in the room with her. Unless he hears anything involving food downstairs, in which case he hustles down, jumps the gate, and checks stuff out. Then he sits at the bottom of the stairs and barks to go back up. If HannieC is there, she opens the gate to let him up, but does not close it. Then MaxieC hears the gate and goes tear-assing for the stairs. I intervene at various points, depending on how full my hands are. MaxieC only got to the top of the stairs once, maybe twice, in the 45 minutes.

Then, finally, we could start "cooking" breakfast. MaxieC demanded breakfast sausages (which are his equivalent of RyanC's (no relation) grapes, though they're a heck of a lot less portable than grapes). I fired up the griddle to heat up some Brown'n Serve Sausages. Maple flavor.

Hey, speaking of grapes, I'm going to do a little aside here while it's fresh in my mind. I hope you don't mind. About 20 minutes ago, my lovely daughter, HannieC, was at the dining room table doing her math homework. Today it was subtraction where you had to borrow across two columns. Then, for whatever reason, HannieC said something about Momma being funny. I said, "Momma isn't funny. I can't even imagine what Momma being funny would be like."

Now, I know you're figuring this is all a lead-up to me using the new catch phrase, "She's like the Ellen Degeneres of comedy," but it isn't. It's better. I said, "Hey. Here' my impression of Momma telling a joke:

M,CB: Knock knock

HC: Who's there?

M,CB: Plum

HC: Plum who?

M,CB: Plum turns into a prune if you leave it in the sun too long.

Then, I proceeded to extend the joke to grapes. And then I did, "Seven. The seven continents, North America, South America,..."

HannieC got into the groove on this as well with her joke that went like this:

HC: Knock knock

M,CB: Who's there?

HC: Race

M,CB: Race who?

HC: Racetracks used to be figure-eights.

Then, the inimitable HannieC said, "Though that's more of a history joke than a momma joke."

After cooking up the sausage and HannieC cooking up the toast and Snotella, I poured a big mug of coffee for The Mrs. I put in 3x the amount of sugar that anyone could possibly want, cuz that's how The Mrs. likes her coffee.

As far as I know, at least.

Then, I poured her some orange juice. For a special treat, I tossed in a shot of peach schnappers. Hell, Mother's Day only comes once a year. We deliver the food to her at about 8:25am, which is simply as long as I could hold off the vibrating childrens. They bring the balloons and cards, too. The Mrs. is sound asleep. Like completely, totally sound asleep.

Too bad for her. If you wanted a nice Mother's Day, you shouldn't have had kids.

The Childrens want to bounce on the bed whilst she eats. She sends us away. A good plan, overall. Later, when I'm collecting the dishes, the orange juice is still there. She says something to the effect of, "This is the awfullest-tasting orange juice I've ever had. Did it go bad?" Then, upon hearing about the schnappers, she tells me she never liked peach schnappers in her orange juice, and I must be thinking about some other woman I've dated/been married to for over 20 years.

I take the juice away. But it is not wasted. Oh no. It is not.

About 10:00, The Mrs. descends. She accuses me of having drunk her schnappy orange juice, and then accuses me of it being "not your first for the day."

Only one of these accusations is true. But protest I do not, as it is Mother's Day, and the thing The Mrs. likes second most about Mother's Day is taking free shots at me. But that's OK. I have a memory that will last until Father's Day.

After breakfast and showers and dressing, we are ready for HannieC's Big Plans. Yes, HannieC planned more than just breakfast. She also planned miniature golf. Off we go to Golfland. We play a quick 18-holes, though MaxieC gives up after about 9. HannieC managed to knock her ball off the course, down a 10 foot hill, and into the weeds on hole 14 or so. I went down there after it. There were three balls down there. I grab the first two, then, upon approaching the third, I hear some rustling in the dry grass and hear the telltale sound of the Western Diamondback. How about that. I had best be careful, lest I have to hear for the rest of my life how I cheated The Mrs. out of Mother's Day in 2006 by getting bitten by a rattlesnake. I retrieve ball #3 with the putter rather than my hand.

The rest of the day passed without incident. I grilled hot dogs for lunch and rack of lamb for dinner. I kept The Childrens out of The Mrs's hair pretty much all day. What does The Mrs. do with all this free time? Two things. First, she cleans the entire house. Cleans the toilets, the showers, vacuums the floor. Why? So she can mart about it later. The Mrs. never passes up a good opportunity for martyrdom. Why, just today we were eating dinner and she was saying how her Mother's Day was merely passable since she had to spend the whole day cleaning.

This is also the main reason I try to avoid doing anything whatsoever for holidays. No matter what I do, it is an opportunity for martyrdom. So why knock myself out?

The second thing The Mrs. decided to do with her day was to read a trashy romance novel called, "The Kitchen Witch," that a neighbor had given her. Every now and then, she appeared outside to go on about how stupid the book was, then to read some suggestive passage like, "She reached between to take hold of his burgeoning promise," and then she disappeared back into the air conditioned comfort of our home, leaving me outside with two mommy-starved little maniacs in 90 degree heat.

Thing is, that for like 3 days in a row (M-W), the wife was "reminding" me two or three times a day to send my mother a present. And then on Thursday, my mother calls me on my cellphone at work to "remind" me to get a gift for The Mrs. Now, I have never forgotten a Mother's Day*, so I can only read into all this reminder action less-than-pure motives. Like some kind of conspiracy.

* There was one Mother's Day, the very first one for The Mrs. after HannieC was born, where I did not get her anything because, as I said at the time, she was not my mother. We happened to be visiting my parents at the time (all the way across the country). I have never been forgiven for this transgression by either The Mrs. or my mother, but it's not like I forgot. I just did not know that it was the job of the husband to get something for the wife on Mother's Day. Now I have learned that no matter what day it is, it is the job of the husband to get something for the wife. Just today, for instance, I got shelter for the wife. And electricity. And water. And transportation. And dinner. And broadband internet. But will I get credit for any of that? No. Doesn't count cuz it didn't come with a greeting card.

Just to establish a baseline, I checked with a couple co-workers today on how Mother's Day went for them. One gave his wife "a rain check". Gutsy move on her very first Mother's Day. The other had to get up at 6am with their toddler cuz her husband slept in. See, so I'm clearly outperforming at least two husbands. In fact, of all husbands in the survey, I was the best. Not just squeaking in to first place, either. A clear and convincing victory.

But The Mrs. has just an OK Mother's Day cuz she had to clean the house all day. Poor The Mrs. Next year, I'll move us into a one-bedroom apartment. It'll be a lot less to clean, and therefore will likely be quite a bit less of a disappointment.

1 comment:


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