Monday, April 08, 2013

life really is a beach

Today was a beautiful day in Virginia.


The temperature was in the high 70's which was a blessed change after the frigid 40's that we experienced last week.  So when I traipsed off to work this morning, there was sadness and remorse in my heart that I'd be trapped in a building all day with nary a window in sight, when I could be at home gardening, tossing a ball with Louie, playing with Henry following preschool, and preparing for our second graders to come home on the bus.


Those feelings of remorse happen quite a bit, especially when the weather warms up. I start to feel sad and frustrated that I'm in a drab office when I could be at home and thus begins the downward spiral. If I let myself go down that slippery slope, the next thing you know - I'm calling real estate agents to list our house and trying to figure out where we could stretch our buck the furthest so I never have to work again.  Charlie doesn't it like it when I "Go There" because I tend to get a little punchy asking questions such as why am I still working?  Why hasn't my husband stepped in and physically stopped this madness?


Because sometimes you love your job, Jen. Remember? 

On this perfectly sunny day, I most certainly do not remember.

All I know is that you get to be home during the week while I'm in window-less misery.


Last week, Charlie joined a gym. He signed us up for a glorious gym that is mid-way between our home and my office so we can meet there after work.  In six days, we've been four times. And actually, no, I can't walk very well at the moment and can hardly lift my arms above my head.

Why do you ask?  

Going in to this endeavor, we both established some goals that I'll write about at a later time. But for now, all that matters is that this past weekend, Charlie shaved his goatee in to a Fu Man Chu until he is able to reach his health goal.  Yesterday he confessed that he is on a fast track to reach that goal because he said he feels like a freak walking around looking like this...


So when I called him from work this afternoon and told him that I was definitely planning to go to the gym directly after work and what time would he be there? He told me that he wasn't going anywhere because he'd had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  


Apparently, Charlie dropped Henry off at preschool while the birds were chirping and the sun was shining.  Henry was delightful and said hello to all the teachers and gave him a big kiss goodbye. Charlie then drove to Starbucks because he needed a little something in the form of a venti-sized hot caffeinated beverage and while there he bumped in to several friends.  One friend as he was placing an order, another friend as he was picking up his order, and yet another friend on his way out the door.  He told me that he felt like the King of the World.  This was his town!

He knew people!  

He walked out to the car with his sweet cup of Joe in hand and a big smile on his face. He got in to his car - looked to the right - looked to the left - and slowly started to back up only to realize that someone was driving at a faster than acceptable rate down the row, so he quickly hit the brakes.

(I should probably interject here that Charlie was in a minor accident two weeks ago so he is very, very sensitive to his driving at the moment. Please, don't mention it.)


He said that there was no impact - he was still far enough in the parking space so this person could get around him, so everything seemed fine.  Oh but, the driver of the other car, slammed on his brakes, screeched to a halt, threw his arms up in the air and started screaming as if someone had just trespassed against him with the most serious personal offense imaginable. 

Charlie's happy feeling of Peace on Earth, Good Will towards man was instantly eroded. And when the man in the other car continued to rant and rave and wave his arms about his head as he drove past my husband, Charlie with his Fu Man Chu said it took everything in his power to not back out of the parking space and ram his car in to the man's car as hard as he could.  My husband who has been going to church almost every weekend for the past year and embracing the message each week, said he wanted to ram, ram, ram the other man's car so badly so that all that would be left was a twisted heap of smoking metal.  But then he stopped himself from doing that because the police would come and he'd get in trouble and our insurance would likely go up. Yada yada yada. 


So instead, he got a hold on his temper, pulled himself out of that dark space, and patiently drove home nursing his coffee which didn't taste nearly as good as it had two minutes prior while pondering if his new mustache was creating this overwhelming feeling of machoism and destruction?

Fast forward two hours, he drives back to school to pick up Henry.  When he arrives, he spots Henry on the playground with his preschool friends - roaring like the dinosaur that he often likes to pretend he is. Charlie ushered our son to the car, drove home - picked up the triplets from the bus stop - tried his best to herd everyone together to unpack their backpacks, finish their homework and eat a healthy snack - and it sounds so simple, but do you have any idea how exhausting this work actually is? 

I'm tired just writing about it and imagining the scene.


Less than five minutes before I had called to say, "Hey! It's a beautiful day, let's go to the gym!" Charlie had snapped in two when Henry, once again playing out his dinosaur part, accidentally hit William in the face.  Hard. So when I was talking with him on the phone, my husband's voice was hoarse from a bout of yelling.  Why don't they listen to me? Why don't they pay attention? Sometimes I'm convinced the dog minds me better than these messy little creatures do! 

I told him, "You need to go to the gym. You need to leave the house - right now - put the children in the car and drive them to the gym and embrace the TWO HOURS of child care while you work out and sit in the steam room."  I continued, "I don't know much, but I do know that going to the gym is something you need to do this very instant."  


My husband took my advice.  And when I met him at the gym 15 minutes later, and we sat next to each other furiously pedaling away our frustrations on the bicycles, I concluded that there is no such thing as an "Easy Life" at this point in our existence. I tend to think Charlie has the most dreamy situation being home all day and he tends to think I have the most dreamy situation being at work all day.

When in reality, both of us are protecting our sanity like fragile castles made of sand against the inevitable tide that is life consisting of parenthood, work-hood, and crazy mid-Atlantic drivers.


Our children are our greatest blessings and nary a day goes by we don't thank the universe for them. But it's a good thing we have our senses of humor and the feeling that each day is a new adventure. Otherwise, we'd surely be doomed.