It's time to blog, and I've got to do it in 8 minute segments. Wanna know why?
Well, my wife is at a pastor's wife's retreat. (Good luck trying to find the correct possessive form there, grammar police.) She left at 2:00 today and is coming home tomorrow at 7:00 pm.
I ask her "What are your normal Monday chores?" and she raises an eyebrow. Her expression says "You're feeling pretty cocky." But I get the complete list. In my pride, I think, "I'll be done this tonight by 10pm and we'll play all day with the boys all day tomorrow."
"Don't forget that Owen is potty-training right now," she reminds me. "And Ethan has a birthday party for a school friend tomorrow."
"No problem," I say.
One embarrassingly-long kiss later, she leaves.
I leap into daddy time like it's audition time for dad-of-the-year. We race. We wrestle. I build a fort under the piano. We play hide and go seek. We have a big laugh competition.
. . . in 18 minutes.
O.K. Now I'm exhausted. To be fair, I had a really stressful weekend of ministry, and normally take a quick Sunday afternoon nap. Also, it's "SPRING AHEAD" weekend. So, I take a break from the d-o-t-y audition, and set the boys up with a video, go upstairs and set the alarm clock for 30 minutes, and promise myself this is a small blip in a perfect two days of fathering.
I'm awakened by the sound of about $18 dollars worth of nickels hitting a tile floor.
"Wow," says Ethan (my four-year-old to his two-year-old brother, Owen). "That was sooo coool! Let's build a MONEY VOLCANO!!!"
This is about 7 minutes after I started the video. Worthless Jay-Jay the airplane. Yes, Owen's pants are soaked.
(BEEP! 8 MINUTES)
Clean Owen. Clean up the nickles. Set up Ethan with a writing project (he's working on his letters) and read a story to Owen. I get them busy. I get them active. I'm Doctor. James. Dobson. right now to my boys.
I set Owen up with a jumping game and go to check on Ethan. He's doing O.K., but is getting hungry. Fruit snacks. I go back to Owen. No wonder he was jumping so well. Yes, Owen's pants are soaked.
I get new pants on Owen. I get socks on Ethan and send him down to get his shoes. I get socks out for Owen, who tells me the socks I've chosen are "too big." So I get another pair, which are also "too big." Two more pair later, I figure out he's stalling me and hates to wear socks.
Ethan has not put on his shoes. Not really surprising, but it did surprise me that he was drawing some blue pictures on some paper at the new kitchen table. (Remember this part.)
I get them into the car. Owen is mad at me because he likes to get in Ethan's door, and I put him in the door by his own seat. Ethan wants gum. I announce "We're going to SKIPPY'S for dinner." This brings no break from the tears that I hear. I pull out of the garage and turn on the Christian radio . . . loud . . . in an attempt to settle them down. (BTW, it was Matt Redman "O No, You Never Let Go".)
We get to the restaurant. Ethan is sad we took Randall Road instead of Rt. 20, which he is convinced is a short cut. It's not. There's a motorcycle gang of 10 riders in front of us, who Ethan sees and wants to talk to. I say no way. Owen falls completely asleep about 2 blocks from the restaurant.
(BEEP! 8 MINUTES)
I get everybody out of the car. Owen is crying and trying to go back to sleep. Ethan says he's cold. I tell him the restaurant will be warmer.
We order (two hot-dog meal for the boys to split, burger for daddy). Ethan says he's still cold. Loving father that I am, I place him in a chair in a sunbeam. Providentially, my seat is facing a TV with the NCAA basketball "Selection Sunday" show on. (Side note: maybe we should make this part of a new church calendar. I mean, does anybody still celebrate Ascension Sunday? ;-))
"The sun is making me cold," says Ethan. I take Owen to the bathroom (he goes!) and when we come out, the food is there, but it's too hot for Ethan to eat. I'm getting "red dip" (ketchup) and drinks for the boys. Ethan wants a straw, and is still cold. I'm about to lose it with him when I see him convincingly shiver, and he puts back on his own coat.
(BEEP! 8 MINUTES)
We leave the restaurant, and I herd both boys toward the car. They both want me to carry them, so I do, accidentally banging Owen's head against the exit door. I put them both in Ethan's door (fool me twice, shame on me) and get them all buckled. Ethan still wants gum, so I let him chew a piece.
Driving back, Ethan wants it warmer in the car, so I'm blasting the heat. "Daddy," he says, "I'm very sleepy."
We hustle home. I feel his forehead, which feels (how am I supposed to know?) warmer. That's probably from how hot the car was, thinks the optimistic part of my brain. I go looking for the thermometer, and hear Owen laughing in the basement. Perfect, I think. Go for it Owen. I find the ORAL thermometer (a crucial distinction) and put it in Ethan's mouth. I've got about two minutes, so I head downstairs. Yes, Owen's pants are soaked.
102.9. And that's not a smooth-jazz f.m. station.
Clean pants for Owen. (No, Owen, these pants are NOT too big.) Motrin for Ethan.
(BEEP! 8 MINUTES)
I set up Ethan with a little electronic game in his bed. (Daddy, I got another Yahtzee.) Owen and I go downstairs. He tells me he has to go, and does, so he gets a treat. Daddy is thinking about some treats HE'D like right now, as well.
Ethan comes down, feeling better. Fires up the computer with his favorite game, Madden '02. (Where's Grossman, daddy? And who is Kordell Stewart? -- heh, heh, -- Who indeed, my son.) Call the birthday party mom, and tell her we can't come; console my son, who really wanted to go.
It's bedtime, and nobody (except me) wants to go to bed. They are not getting Daylight Savings Time. . . and I've explained it very carefully. I force everyone down. (Owen: No, daddy. No praying. No Jesus. Daddy: Oh, yes, Owen. Definitely Jesus.)
Time for me to head down for a little clean up time. Then I'll write a blog where I talk about my quiet time. Again.
I pick up Ethan's little blue pictures, and realize he's made them with blue SHARPIE marker. Yes. Yes. Yes. It's bled through the paper onto our new(ish) WHITE kitchen table.
I find some "oxyclean" under the sink, and spray it on. I let it soak for EIGHT MINUTES then try wiping it up. It's 10% better. Set a timer. Let's try that again.
Maybe I can write a blog while I do this.