This was originally a series of daily Facebook posts that have been consolidated for ease of reading.
Today was day 1 of my lovely wife being out of town for 8 days, for work, in Hawaii. It was also my first day of being a temporary single father to a 6-year-old and 1-year-old.
Although I had been up since her alarm went off at 3:15, everything went smoothly this morning. I got both kids fed and dressed, we went to the library, taekwondo, picked up lunch, and then visit Mr. Bo at Druid City Brewing. We ate lunch, came home, and put Vera (my one-year-old daughter) down for a nap. I was feeling good about my dad skills.
Vera woke up from her nap with a 45-minute gas-induced scream fest, unusual for our normally easygoing child. I eventually managed to calm her, then got her fed, bathed, and put to bed.
I sent Franklin (my six-year-old son) upstairs to take a shower and was about to pour a bourbon to celebrate surviving day 1.
Then I heard Franklin screaming from upstairs. I ran up the stairs with horrific visions of how he had managed to injure himself and when I rounding the corner I could see a wet and naked franklin, blood on his leg, holding his crotch. I nearly panicked; convinced he had somehow managed to permanently maim himself after only 15 or so hours in my care. I then noticed that the blood on his leg was simply a scratch high on his inner thigh.
At some point during his shower Franklin had decided to get out of the bathtub, and without toweling off, pick up our tuxedo cat, Elvis, and try to take him back into the shower with him. Elvis strongly objected and dug a read claw painfully into Franklin’s thigh in his escape.
So I had a naked, half bathed, dripping wet, bleeding, six-year-old covered with cat hair stuck to his wet torso screaming outside of his sleeping sister’s door refusing to get back into the shower. That was child’s play compared to wrangling him to put some hydrogen peroxide on it so I didn’t have to deal with cat scratch fever.
Ultimately, I accomplished getting my oldest fully bathed, fed, and put to bed. I have thoroughly earned the right to sit in my chair in my pajamas with a glass of bourbon and watch YouTube videos!
Small victory, I remembered to turn on the heated blanket before bed last night so I didn’t have to climb into a cold hard bed. I also learned that having one cold side and one warm side has its benefits, I wonder if my wife would mind forgoing having her side heated when she gets back so I can cool my feet if they get too warm?
Vera, our normally great sleeper, decided that I needed to climb the stairs approximately 800 times between 12:30 and 1 AM, but eventually settled down and rewarded me for my efforts by sleeping until 7:20, I’ll take it.
Managed to get 2/3s of us fed breakfast, all of us dressed, and to church in time for the 9:00 service. I toyed with putting Vera in the nursery and going to both the 9:00 and 11:00 services, but I don’t think Franklin would have gone for sitting through church twice and it likely would have aroused the suspicion of our clergy.
Both kids behaved well in church, and I talked Franklin into giving the priest the picture he drew of the 3 Wiseman visiting the manger instead of the picture he drew of the giant guy with a giant butt and lots of little guys with giant butts. I’ll take my wins where I can.
Reinforcements arrive from the south this evening.
Survived night and morning with much help from Gramma reinforcement. Arrived to work only 45 minutes late. Apparently, we only have one set of tweezers, and they went on a work trip to Hawaii. If you see me today, that one extra-long eyebrow isn’t really going to poke you in the eye; it’s just an optical illusion created by the corkscrew shape taken on after I repeatedly tried to pluck it with just my fingernails.
I cooked Gramma a nice steak and potato dinner for helping out. We ate promptly at 8:00 pm. During dinner, Franklin regaled us with tales from his BM this morning. I’ll spare the details, but suffice to say someone or something was forcing someone or something else and nobody really knows who or what, but he pooped so I’m calling it a win.
I’m now out of Wild Turkey 101.
Pretty proud of myself for getting out of the house at a decent time, though it was largely thanks to help from Gramma.
Then I pulled into the most ridiculous 7:55 traffic. Then I heard Vera make the bowel movement I tried to wait on before I dressed her. By the time we arrived at her school, we were so late that her class was already at an enrichment so I had to change her diaper myself. In a suit.
My boss did let me use her tweezers though.
Midway through the day, I started feeling proud of myself for doing this thing and surviving, like I was on the downhill side of this mountain. Then I realized that it’s just Tuesday. Not sure if it was that realization that brought me back down to earth or when I looked down to see the can of Progresso soup I brought for lunch was VEGETARIAN.
On top of that, I forgot to take the hot-mitt I keep in my office when I went to heat my lunch, so I had to use the office ones which meant I had to take them back upstairs after lunch or Candace would grouse at me, something about her oatmeal.
The part I ordered to replace the part of the refrigerator I melted with my wife’s hairdryer came in, so I decided to superglue myself to another part of the refrigerator to celebrate.
I finally found the old baby gates in the attic I’d been looking for. They’re too small for the “modern” doors of the “new” house.
I took away Franklin’s screen time for tomorrow before I remembered I’ll be the only parent here.
Nevertheless, I’m surviving. The kids are down and I’m enjoying a well-deserved glass of Old Forrester 1920 while sitting in my chair and watching some basketball. Tomorrow I tackle getting Franklin back to school and starting the rest of the week without Gramma’s help.
Packed everyone’s lunch and got the kids where they needed to go on time. Even managed to pack my own lunch and snacks. Without utensils. The yogurt I took for breakfast scooped up with two fingers pretty well, but the quinoa I packed for lunch was a real bear.
Franklin read an AR book over the last couple of days of break and made a 100 on his AR test the first day back to school, so I feel like I overachieved there at least.
Vera decided she wanted to eat immediately upon arriving home tonight and to just keep eating or complaining about not eating. Meanwhile, her brother, who she’ll outweigh by 18 months, complained about the fact that he was being forced to eat dinner at all. Little piglet ate a 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, thrown at her as a peace offering until I could get something better prepared, followed by some Crunchies (stinky toddler cheese puffs), followed by two scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese, followed by a mango-banana pouch, followed by some fruit snacks, followed by some more Crunchies. It was a sight to behold.
Franklin decided Gramma being gone was a great time for another shower incident. Tonight he called me up and said, “My throat feels like I swallowed something I shouldn’t have and it’s in my stomach.” This is of course exactly what I want to hear once I’ve finally gotten the baby to bed. After a long discussion about what it could possibly be, he seems to have just gotten soap in his mouth.
Good news on the refrigerator front, I got the new paddle installed, and it shoots out ice when you ask, and even better, doesn’t shoot out ice when you don’t ask. Still no water from the dispenser, but now when you ask it to dispense water it sprays water on your feet from under the fridge, so I’m getting closer.
When I was a kid, I decided I’d help my mom out by doing some cleaning. It seemed like a no-brainer that I could really do something special if made I made my own homemade cleaner by mixing all the cleaners under the sink into one super cleaner. That’s how I stripped some of the finish off my mom’s piano and learned that you shouldn’t mix ammonia and bleach.
I’m working on some household surprises for my wife when she gets back so I won’t say too much, but I learned something new tonight. Apparently, vinegar is one of those things that you are not supposed to mix with bleach. I’m hopeful both master bath vents on, the windows in the bedroom open, and the shower running, will clear out enough of the fumes for me to sleep in my bed. I have googled it enough I feel comfortable that the fumes won’t rise into the children’s bedrooms while they sleep.
It seems like I had something else to mention, but between tonight’s selection of Evan Willams Bottled in Bond and the toxic chloramine gas I can’t think of it.
I Ended up only getting about 4 hours of sleep last night between waiting for the master bedroom to air out and Vera waking up screaming at 3 am. But I got everyone dressed and to school on time, everyone’s lunches were right (except Franklin not having water), and I even packed myself utensils.
Went to visit my friends at the appliance part store to get another coupler for the waterline under the fridge to fix the toe wash feature. Somehow, my debit card chip stopped working and they don’t take American Express. Two trips to the appliance parts store and $6 later I am ready to get this fridge fixed.
Got stuck on campus between the sorority houses and the Starbucks on my way back about to the office around 10:00 am while some fella learned how to drive a cherry picker. I’ve been stuck worse places.
Picked-up both kids from school and rewarded Franklin’s help this morning with a trip through the McDonald’s drive-through. I decided to get Vera some chicken nuggets too. Given the speed she took down four and clamored for more, she may skip happy meals and go straight for the combo.
Have you ever had a giant container of toothpicks fly out of nowhere, break open, and take all 300 toothpick friends exploring in every nook and cranny of your gas stove? I have.
We’ve always joked that you can tell a first-time bedtime story reader if Franklin suckers them into reading The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, hands down the worst Dr. Seuss story. Tonight I had to go upstairs and make Franklin turn off his light and go to bed because he was up there reading it to himself, the child really isn’t right.
Got everyone to bed and I started my housework. Got the new waterline coupling in, so now a month and $40 later the fridge is finally back to the same level of broken it was when I started fixing it. Ordered that $9 Ice Surrender Frozen Waterline tool from Amazon I was trying to avoid when all this started. It will be here Saturday.
I headed back to work on the bathroom. I’ve learned several things over these last 6 long days, and the most important one might be that glass shower doors are actually forged in hell by Satan himself. I mean sure, I like seeing my wife in the shower while I brush my teeth, but at what cost?!?
I also learned that when using Rain-x in an enclosed environment it’s probably best to follow the part of the directions that instruct you to spray it onto a cloth and then wipe it on, don’t just spray a bunch of it onto the glass.
Did you know that you can clean a toilet seat too much? Also, apparently under whatever that coating is there’s wood. Hoping that in the middle of the night I’ll remember that the master toilet still doesn’t have a seat on it.
I added to my recent google history of “can you mix bleach and vinegar?” and “is chlorine gas lighter or heavier than air?” with “can you wash a toilet seat in the dishwasher?” (I didn’t, but apparently you can with amazing results that don’t include buying a new toilet seat).
I may almost have the hang of this. Going to enjoy this fine Good People IPA in my chair, and once again wait for the fumes to clear out of the bedroom and call it a night.
It’s Mama Eve! Like any big event, it seemed impossible, but as it approaches, the pieces have started to fall together. The fridge is no longer more broken than when she left, the shower has been cleaned with a well-calibrated mixture of chlorine gas, and the various miscellaneous items are finding their homes.
Though I may be red-eyed and beaten down, I’ve blossomed. I got both kids out of the house in record time and all family members had the necessary food and utensils packed in their lunches.
Just a minor hiccup when dropping off Vera this morning. If you don’t have small children you may not know this, but when someone says, “what’s that on your shirt dear?” It’s really just because they work in a Baptist church daycare and they can’t say, “I think you may have some baby shit on your shirt, I hope you weren’t planning to go to work like that.”
In reality, like most things with kids, I don’t know what the hell it was. Could have been poop, could have been leftover bananas; what is important is that a wet wipe took it off and I didn’t have to use a tide pen and deal with its vomit smell for the remainder of the day.
The faraway is upon us. The seemingly impossible, suddenly possible. Baby gates are up and already inducing profanity. The magnificently cleaned toilet seat, in place, the mirrors clean, the rugs in the washer, and the toxic fumes mostly faded away.
I could probably do a little more around the house tonight, but instead, I think I’ll kick my heels up and listen to the sound of the Roomba running violently into walls and furniture while pretending to vacuum.
Closing out my last night is a pretty good excuse for cracking open that bottle of Weller special reserve.
My wife boarded a flight home from Hawaii last night and assuming no delays should be here this afternoon. All I have to do is survive the day and one birthday party.
Because cosmic forces enjoy watching me suffer, what should be an easy Saturday of waiting is instead spent trying to keep my sanity with both kids and the 90-pound dog in the bathroom under the stairs while trying to find the details of the tornado warning that we’re now under.
My wife is somewhere in the air over Louisiana, but here I am shoveling Ritz crackers into a baby who is sitting in a highchair wedged against the toilet while a six-year-old wearing only underwear and a Spider-Man bike helmet plays the jingle bell music box over and over and over and over.
I can barely even hear suspendered local weatherman, James Spann.
Great, the dog farted.
Mama is home!
With the tornado warning and the birthday party, I didn’t get as much housework done as I wanted, but I cut my toenails so I know she’ll appreciate that.
Once the severe weather passed I took both kids to Target to get a birthday present and headed off to the birthday party, but not before Vera decided that Target would be a great place to poop her diaper.
I’m not the most graceful diaper changer, and changing Vera is like diapering an angry octopus, so the front seat of a Honda Odyssey is really not the best place for the job. I somehow managed without any major disasters, but if you step on a turd in the Target parking lot, sorry, that’s on me. Maybe park on the grocery side for the next few days.
Mama is home! The fridge is fixed! I have survived!
Over the last week I frequently forgot to feed myself various meals, but I never once forgot to feed the kids dinner. I felt especially proud of that fact tonight when we asked Franklin how much time was left on his Netflix show because it was almost time for bed, and he pointed out that we hadn’t fed him yet. Sure, we’d put some macaroni in the microwave 45 minutes or so earlier, but that was as far as it had gotten.
Going forward when I use the term “we” I probably mean my wife, but I don’t want to get in trouble. I’m a little nervous to continue this blog with her less than 4,000 miles away.
There likely won’t be a daily update, but I plan to keep the blog going so you’ll know the next time I do something dumb enough that I have to question whether I need the fire department. But for now, I’ll bask in a little self-satisfaction and enjoy a glass of this Old Pali Road Hawaiian whiskey my wife brought me.