Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nine Days of Summer - Day 2 - Hit it to Me!

"These guys aren't very good hitters. They aren't hitting it to me."
This is the second in a nine-part series, one part for each consecutive day I'll be home on a vacation from work. "Vacation" in a corporate American-ish sense means I'll still be checking in, checking e-mails, and doing all sorts of work-related things, except without having to put pants on, but with small people draped on me. The following is on our list of things to do for the week plus before school starts back up again, my wife goes back to teaching kindergarten, and all Hell breaks loose:

Clean laundry room
Clean garage
Clean bedroom
Supervise kids cleaning their bedrooms (so just do it for them)
Ensure no other rooms in house get messed up
Re-finance house
Take kids to Ball Game (Wilmington Blue Rocks - Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals!)
Get cars looked at
Clean behind refrigerator
Schedule meeting with financial planner so he can remind us how rich he is
Power-wash house
Go grocery shopping
Complete and analyze 42 Fantasy Football mock drafts
Re-seal driveway
Get back-to-school haircuts
Take kids back-to-school shoe shopping COMPLETED
Go to Sesame Place - with kids

Day 1 is here.

Day 2:
Determined to make something out of this morning rather than let it rot away in bed like the previous morning, I tried to wake up before at least one of my kids, and succeeded in beating two of them up (not literally) by mere minutes.

Then we picked up where we left off yesterday and took turns cramming kids, one at a time, into a 12" by 18" wagon and pushing them down the hall into a box pile. In the year 3535, when people no longer have feet but their brains will download pleasure-nourishment pills that will last up to 53 weeks at a time, kids will still need to push a makeshift form of transportation rapidly down the hall into sharp-cornered walls. Some things you just won't be able to program unto a pill. Later, in the shower, I heard a noticeable thud that was probably followed by screams of terror, the wagon sacked by either a band of miniature bandits or some uneven carpet. I'll never know because I was off duty. Incidentally, the average shower in our house lasts 48 minutes.

The list above contains some difficult items, but the sneaky-tough one on that list is "Ensure no other rooms in house get messed up." If we get out of the next 8 days with only that having been accomplished, the whole week will have been a success, even if one or more kids falls down a well in the interim. Pillows, cups, shoes, more cups, straws, everywhere. All the time.

To counteract some of this rampant careless behavior, my wife has enacted the Golden Child award. The award is given instantaneously to any child who actually does what we say the first time without backtalk or grief. Used in a sentence: "Looks like <so-and-so> is the Golden Child." Because there is no tangible benefit such as a ridiculously expensive doll, or ridiculously expensive doll clothes, or even a quarter we found under the train table, our six-year-old has abdicated her Golden Child throne and is living the care-free lifestyle of someone who can turn any declarative statement into an argument as well as someone who notices and questions every facial expression you make. ("Why did you just laugh?" "What's funny?" "Why did you laugh that time last week?" "Did you just roll your eyes?")

On the other hand, the four-year-old has taken the Golden Child title to heart. He still needs to hear an official Golden Child Alert before he'll do anything helpful, but at least then he'll spring into action, ready to do whatever you ask of him and absolutely nothing you don't. With the little one too little to understand any of it, right now the middle child is the Golden Child, and literally so on the nights he goes to bed without having peed since 1:30 in the afternoon.

Due to some real-life job obligations and the difficulty we had ensuring the rest of the house wasn't being torn apart, we once again were reduced to crossing just one item off our list. The baseball game. My kids are blessed with attention spans that quite frankly outlast mine, so we can confidently go to any baseball game knowing we will watch all nine innings without having to worry about what the kids will do when they get bored. As long as we bring $4,000 for food. But there is an inflatable bounce house (an inflatable bounce house, I say) down the third-base line and none of my kids cared. I give them full marks for that.

A Wilmington Blue Rocks game is quintessential Minor League Baseball. A jumbotron that you need binoculars to see, vendors outnumbering fans hawking crap or chances to win crap, and multiple mascots that include a celery stalk that dances behind home plate every time the home team scores a run, even if that run scores on a rally-killing double play with the home team down five.

My son found his baseball glove (he actually calls it a mitt for some reason) and then found one for his sister because "we're going to catch something today. Either a ball or a hot dog." Love the enthusiasm, but alas, the Blue Rocks don't shoot processed meat out of an air gun into the upper deck, or any deck, you have to go to the big leagues for that. They did shoot three lousy t-shirts and missed us by a mile every time.

After going the entire game without a ball or a hot dog or a t-shirt, the kids got to run the bases after the game. The girl, free-spirited, like at recess. The boy, determined, like the seventh game of the World Series. "I was the fastest runner out there...did I make smoke [dust] when I ran?"

Yes you did. But we're going to have to make smoke to make a dent in our to-do list. we're going to need the help of several Golden Children.

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