Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh, the Humanitarianism

As you may have heard, the neighboring town had a tornado whip through it on Thursday. This has put The Mrs. into a veritable frenzy of wanting to help. But she also doesn't want to not do any of the things she had planned for me to do this weekend, and thus conflict has arisen.

Those of you who know The Mrs. know that she is a little dynamo of energy. But, alas, she is also a dynamo of overcommitment and, because she simply can never not do any fool spur-of-the-moment thing that comes up, she simply drives her loving husband to do all the stuff she signed up for but really didn't have the time to do.

Now, the loving husband here has a plenty time-consuming job that is filled with all kinds of stress and conflict, and he also has quite an active life of yardwork and fixing up things that manage to keep him fully subscribed through all daylight hours. But, you know, it was a tornado and all, so I figured we'd have to modify our schedule some.

In order to lighten The Mrs.'s load a bit, I decided I'd pitch in and take charge of the housework on Saturday morning. You see, the house hasn't been cleaned since maybe February, and as far as I can tell, The Childrens haven't put away a single toy since Christmas. So there were virtually no places in the house where you could see that expensive carpet we put in when we bought the place because of the toys and various clutter strewn across every floor.

If you were to have entered our house, you would have assumed the tornado hit it.

Plus, The Mrs. had decided to cover my entire bar with the contents of the kitchen in case of another tornado, and this included filling up every plastic cup she could find with water and setting them on the bar. Nothing irks me more than when I can't get to my own bar.

So I began gently instructing The Childrens to pick up their mess lest I throw it out. My The Childrens are very unused to being told to pick things up, so they immediately ran off screaming to The Mrs. about how mean I was. Thus, The Mrs. saw an opportunity to snipe at me about how, "Well, I had hoped we were going to volunteer to help with the tornado victims, but I guess Daddy has other priorities."

MaxieC eventually caught on, as he has only been spoiled for four years instead of eight, and he started helping pick up in the basement. HannieC mostly locked herself in her bedroom crying about how unfair it was that she wasn't allowed to keep her stuff wherever she wanted.

I guess she learned this bratty behavior at school?

We never did find the DVD remote in the basement, despite all the cleaning up.

Then we moved to the first floor, where a big, giant box of Lincoln Logs was dumped on the floor. I instructed The Childrens to pick them up, and they went screaming to Mommy again. So, for motivation, I went into the garage and got a big empty garbage can which I then set on the floor in order to throw out any of their stuff they decided they didn't need anymore by leaving it on the floor.

This was, of course, accompanied by wailing and screaming, etc.

After a little bit of picking up, The Childrens got distracted with playing and whining and all those other annoyances, so I picked up one tiny little Lincoln Log and quite ceremoniously tossed it into the garbage can. Oh my, you'd think I had sold them to gypsies. MaxieC, however, regained his senses quickly, marched over, and dumped the garbage can out on the floor. Sadly, it had a good pile of garden dirt in the bottom.

Well, that was predictable.

HannieC went and hid in her room again. MaxieC got down to it and cleaned up all his stuff.

Then we headed off to the volunteer center that had been set up a couple blocks over in the headquarters of our rural electrical co-op. There had been a lot of media coverage about the volunteer center, and there was a pretty steady stream of folks coming in. They all had the same reaction we did when greeted at the door with, "Please fill out this form, and we'll get back to you if we need you. We're not using volunteers today."

There were a few families that had driven in from out of town. One group had Iowa plates. And they were turning us away in droves. We stayed to fill out the forms. It was humbling because I think of myself as a fairly handy guy, but the only skills they had listed that I could check were "Labor: packing/loading," and "Labor: cleanup." They didn't have a choice for building an inground trampoline.

So, instead, we decided to plant our garden. We "only bought as much stuff as we could plant and hook up the watering to in one day." Which means we bought everything for the entire garden. Oh, except we were going to a birthday party all afternoon. But not to worry, that just means that Me, CherkyB can double-time the drip system.

Naturally, I ran out of drip hose halfway through and had to run to Lowe's. On the way back, my low fuel light came on, meaning I have 30 miles of gas left, so I stopped at a gas station.

Just as I began filling up, a lady came over to me and said, "Are you in a hurry to get home after you pump your gas?"

Look at watch, it's 7:30. "Uhh...a little. My wife is waiting for me for dinner."

I did not know at the time that The Mrs. had decided we were skipping dinner cuz we had some tacos at the birthday party at 3:00. I didn't find that out until long after I got home.

"Oh."

"What's the trouble?"

"I need to find someone who knows about putting air into tires."

"Well, that's pretty easy. I could help you with that."

"Really, all I need is to know how much air to put in. There's a sticker on the door that says 2000 lbs. You think if I just put in 2000 lbs., that'll be fine?"

Ahhhh, womens.

"No. That's probably the weight of your car. You'll probably want to put in 35 lbs. Pretty much every car made takes 35 lbs."

So then I went over to take a look. She had a front tire that was 100% flat. She asked if I thought it would be safe to drive if she just filled it up to 35 psi. I said no. She negotiated me down to OK, if your house is really just one mile away, and you don't go on the highway or really fast, you'll probably be safe.

Then she sighed and said, "I guess then I'll need to find someone who knows how to change tires."

I guess so. Oh, look at the time! My humanitarianism does not run deep. Plus, I've learned life goes more smoothly if you realize that life never follows the plot of a porno.

Today, The Childrens had a lemonade and cookie stand for tornado relief. They made like $80.

5 comments:

ellie said...

cool!

Mabel Tootzalot said...

If you don't stop all that work you will get very very sick.

gordy said...

at least she wasn't crying. whenever i see a woman with a flat tire they are always crying on their cell phone.

RIO said...

I'd take my lemonade money and run away from home. Run all the way to the corner where I'd be frightened by a hobo, and then I'd run home and simply blame you for all of my problems for the next 10 years.

Ah, childhood!

blogauthor said...

I already blame CB for all of my problems for the last year and the following 9 to come.

School these days ... geesh, the influence!!