Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Single Life - Day 1: Budding Artist and Exhibitionist

As many of you know, Emily packed her bags on Friday and left us. Its not like we didn't expect it, She really deserves better than what we have to offer, but all the same, we are struggling with the transition.

We dropped her off at the airport so she could go see Rome and Austria with my sister and cousin. Thats right, a single dad for the next 10 days. I am going to chronicle my experience here, because anyone who knows me well, knows that this is going to be one clusterf**k of a week.

And for anyone who doubts the above, you should know that my mother and mother-in-law, both of whom I love dearly, and who love me (most of the time), have called, stopped by, offered to take the kids, invited me over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and generally been available every step of the way. I am very appreciative of their care and support, but I am growing slightly suspicious of their opinions of my parenting skilz.

This week is the culmination of a whole series of solo vacations Emily has taken this year. Between Exponent, Sunstone, and just plain ol vacations, she will have been gone for 16 of the past 75 days. I don’t mind. I am very happy that she is able to diversify her life, and excel at the things she wants to do. It would be pretty selfish of me to try and keep such a hot commodity all to myself.

That being said, every single time Emily leaves, I end up with some sort of massive time demand related to my work. I am an economics consultant, people hire the company I work for to solve problems and answer questions that no one else can answer. Typically we are a last resort, after people sue each other, and they need an expert to explain who is in the right and why, or how much damage was caused by one parties actions. Sprinkle in a fair amount of business valuation, and private equity investment analysis, and you have my life.

The job is great, the boss is great, but the predictability of work is horrible. I can go from having nothing to do, to working 18 hour days for a month literally with one phone call.

The correlation between work flair-ups and Emily’s absence is so strong, that I suggested to my boss that he pay for Emily to be permanently on vacation so that the office will always be busy.

With all of this, let me begin documenting my decent into my own personal hell – life as a single parent:

Day 1:
8:20 - We drop Emily off at the airport. Hugs and kisses, everything is cupcakes and roses.
8:23 – Luke is screaming bloody murder at the realization that his mother is getting on an airplane without him.
8:25 – Asher is screaming bloody murder because he is not getting on an airplane (with or without mom, preferably without).
8:27 – For a few brief moments I seriously consider running the minivan off the freeway and into the Salt River. Suicide/homicide voids my life insurance policy on the boys and myself – and knowing my luck I would kill them, but not myself, leading to even greater misery than that of a single parent.

I drop off the boys at my mother’s house, and head to work. Today is a major deposition for my boss, and he has been preparing all week. I need to be ready to answer any questions, or solve any problems that come up during the deposition as quickly as possible.

Deposition goes well, and at approximately 6:00pm I get a text from my boss, “We will likely need to be in LA next Wens…there is tons of work to do.” Yep, send Emily on vacation, the key to small business success. Even if I am lucky enough to be the guy who holds down the fort next week (ie not in LA), I am going to have to tend to all the other work we have going on. I was planning on taking off Wednesday to Friday to watch the boys.

Skip to evening. The boys are doing surprisingly well for their first night. Both are bathed, brushed and in bed by 8:00pm. By 8:30 both appear to be out for the night. At 10:30 they come into the movie room together complaining that, “there is no water in their rooms for them to drink.”

It was obvious that they were conspiring against me. They realized that I was a man down, and if they worked together they might actually be able to free themselves of the fascist tyrants who claim to love them, and wipe their asses for them.

I put them both to bed with water and a stern warning, then go back to the movie room. At 11:45 I am tuckered, and head to bed. When I get to my room, I hear some little boy noise coming from Asher’s room. I head in to find Asher sound asleep, and Thor, reading a book with his back to me.

I scoop Thor up, more than a little upset, and am shocked to see his face covered in red. In the dark light it looks like blood, but after a few nervous moments, I realize it is hot pink highlighter. I laugh, then I look up at the wall…I stop laughing. I turn around, I am getting angry, I go out in the hall, I am furious.

Pretty pink railroad tracks all over the walls,

and a jungle scene (or possibly a cowboy) on the chalkboard.

Thor knew his gig was up, when I put him in his crib, he didn’t complain a bit, time 11:59.

5:30.00 – “Dad, its light out, do I have to go to school today?”
5:30.05 – “Dad, get up, its light out.” (repeated until 5:35.00)

Asher is going strong at 5:30 am, Thor is up by 7:30, both are trying to back to sleep by 10:30.

The day is uneventful until late afternoon, when the lack of sleep and hard work is getting to me. I take the boys to the library to drop off Emily’s Europe travel DVDs. I pull up to the curb, and think to myself, “I can’t take everyone in, because we just went swimming, and Thor doesn’t have any pants on.”

“Asher, can you take these shows to the box?”
“Yeah dad.”

Too late, I realize it was Asher who wasn’t wearing any pants. I snapped this photo as he was getting back in the car.

I tried to get him to come back, but he wasn’t listening once he got out of the vehicle, and don’t you worry, at least 10 people were coming and going from the library while he meandered about depositing the DVDs in his tighty whiteys.

Day 1 stats:
Bedtime – 8:00pm to midnight
Breakfast – Cold hotdog and dry fruity cheerios
Lunch – PBJ for Asher, no idea if Thor ever ate anything
Dinner – Fruity Cheerios, bean burritos, and sour worms
Number of time Thor yelled my name while I wrote this: 22 (seriously)
Number of fights that broke out while I wrote this: 1

And the entirely qualitative measure, a photo of the kitchen after 24 hours of no mom.

Trainwreck incoming in 5…4…3…2…


Kate said...

You can do it, Nate! Loved this post. And I hope Emily is having a fabulous time.

Jessica Steed said...

I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard. I am seriously crying. This is awesome.

I hope you keep up the writing, but I fear the exhaustion will prevent it.

We'd love to have you guys over for dinner.

k said...

Oh boy, let the great experiment begin!!

Tim and Jennifer said...

This is awesome on so many levels.

SLP said...

I actually used the word clusterf**k at work this week - channeling Nate!
Loving your day by day action shots - KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Your favorite Boston Baked Beans,
Stacey & Taylor