Wednesday, February 17, 2010

does the iPhone have an airbag app?

So, I'm at this business meeting in Los Angeles. And because my colleagues only get together once every few months, we always try to do some kind of special team building event whenever we meet. Tonight, our team building event involved us descending upon a very small comedy club in the LA area.

We arrived at 6:00 PM, enjoyed appetizers, drinks, dinner, and dessert while watching one comedian after another come out on stage. Now, I've only been to a comedy club one other time in my life and after tonight, I'm convinced that if you think stand up comedy is funny while you're watching it on television, it is even more so when you're in an audience, 10 feet from the stage, while sipping an ice cold Corona.

Meanwhile, back at home, Charlie is trying to take all four of the children to the girls' ballet and tap class. Most Wednesdays, either I'll stay home with the boys - or I'll take the girls. But never do we take the boys to the girls class because Henry has a way of making things insane.

It's probably the "two" in him that allows him to take crazy to a whole new level. Because that little stinker my beloved boy has been kicked out of the church nursery three times in the past month and has earned himself the nickname "Henry the Hurricane."

So there's Charlie at ballet. And he's outside with the boys, looking in the window so he knows exactly when he needs to rush in and change their shoes from ballet slippers to tap. He's waiting and watching, waiting, waiting and when he sees the moment, he rushes in with the boys in tow. He said it was like making a pit stop in a car race. As fast as he possibly can, he squats down and WHIPS the ballet slippers off, PULLS the tap shoes from the backpack, fumbles with the tap shoes before STUFFING the girls' feet in, lacing them up, and then turning to find his two-year-old running full force headlong in to the wall of mirrors while William is chasing after him and yelling, "Henry! Noooooo!!!"

The girls finish their class. They make their way in to the bathroom so the girls can use the potty. I call right about that time he is squeezed in to a small stall with four children and ordering, "THIS PLACE IS GROSS! DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" I can hear the echo of his voice, bouncing off the walls, and instead of saying something like, "Sounds like you're busy, let me call you back," I gush, "GUESS WHAT I'M DOING TONIGHT?! GUESS WHO I'M GOING TO SEE!" and Charlie can't really talk, seeing as he's got our children in a heinously disgusting men's restroom. So I reluctantly hang up and begin text messaging him. "You'll never guess where I'm going. But try. Please try! I can't wait to tell you!"

He never responds.

My text messaging continues.

He still never responds.

Hours pass.

Tonight, when I returned from my comedy show, I called my husband at home. He sounded so exhausted and defeated. "What's wrong?" I ask even though I'm bubbling over with excitement to tell him about MY night. But no, I need to hear about his night first.

(Because I'm a good wife that way.)

"Well, I had a bit of a meltdown," He tells me. As it turns out, he brought small pieces of chocolate for the kids so that when they came out of ballet, they'd get right in to their seats and buckle up. Because - yeah - even though our kids know that they need to put on their seatbelts when they get in the car, that's just something they'd rather not do. For that matter, they very rarely do anything that would help to expedite any process or task that we are attempting to accomplish, at all whatsoever. Without my interference, I'm certain I could plant a seedling blueberry bush and yet have a full harvest in the time it takes our children to put on their coats.

Alas, we have discovered that if we tempt them with prizes (aka: chocolate) not only do they put on their seatbelts, they will get dressed in record time - make their beds - clear the table - put away 12 loads of laundry - and cut the back 40. But when they arrive at the car, Charlie receives a call from his client and only partially buckles Henry in to his carseat. So as he's talking to this important business contact, the triplets are screaming because their brother has slithered out of his partially buckled carseat and is now stuffing all of the chocolate in to his face that their father had brought for them.

Charlie tells his client (twice) that it's a really bad time to talk. He finally gets off his phone, turns his attention to Henry who is now covered from head to toe in chocolate - with cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk - and totally macking on candy. The triplets are screaming. He pulls the chocolate away from Henry and tries to get him in to his carseat and now Henry starts screaming. So there's Charlie with four kids. All of whom are screaming.

No, make that SCREAMING.

And my husband, God Bless him, did what any absolutely rational human being would do when left alone for three whole days with four small children. He had an eruption of anger that resulted in his Blackberry sailing out of his hands and coming in to contact with the cold, hard ground. Much to his immediate and utter dismay.

Sure, it would have been better if he handled this incident in a more calm and collected way. And I'm certain he would have if he'd been taking tranquilizers. But since I've been that irrationally angry place before, I am not even going to remotely pass judgement for how INSANE small children can make you for something totally insignificant.

Let's face it: From the outside, a two-year-old scarfing down chocolate is really not a big deal. Maybe even cute perhaps? But from the inside, a two-year-old scarfing down chocolate when you've been home BY YOURSELF for three days and that chocolate was specifically earmarked for three other semi-volatile children is a big deal. A VERY BIG DEAL. Especially when it feels like it doesn't matter what you do, you are never going to get on top of the chaos and it might be easier to shovel a pit in gravel. Or grow a blueberry hedge.

I'm genuinely thankful that Charlie didn't break a window on the car, or slam a door or throw his phone AT the kids. Instead, he apologized profusely and then took them out for cheeseburgers and milk shakes because apparently the house is a disaster and he'd rather not be at home and now that I've been gone for a few days, he really does see how I actually keep the place clean and organized.

Charlie's telling me all this about his craptastic day and then he says, "OK. So tell me what YOU did tonight."

And with only a very small amount of guilt, I tell him that I went to an awesome comedy club where I got to see Kevin Nealon and Ray Romano perform. Who, I believe, are even funnier in person than on television, which seems impossible because those guys are outrageously hilarious, be thankful you didn't drink too much and are sitting close to a bathroom and wearing dark pants caliber funny. At one point, they took questions from the audience and I asked Ray - who is the father of twins - what kind of advice he would have for the parents of multiples. Which got us talking enough for me to tell him that I have triplets. (Because I'm an obnoxious human being that way.)

So there I am talking with Ray Romano and Kevin Nealon and having the absolute time of my life while my husband is at home with four children, totally frayed nerves and a decimated Blackberry.

Charlie, you are the bomb diggity.

I love you.

I'll be home tomorrow night and we can go phone shopping.



  1. The iPhone is everything a blackberry wishes it could be. They are so incredibly awesome & I wholeheartedly recommend one! :o)

  2. oohmygosh, I have been "Charlie" many a time when my husband travels. Even now with teenagers, it really isn't any better.

    My kids tap shoes have had buckles though and it really does help with them being able to do it themselves and time saving. I got them at the dance store. You have to ask though, they are over the counter. Good luck!

  3. Jen I tweeted you Bob Saget, because all I could think of was Full House! Actually I think it's good you didn't see him, I understand his act is quite "blue", as they say in comedy.

    What a fun experience! In the meantime, when you said type of cheese, I was like Bob Cheddar, Bob Swiss?

  4. Jenny,
    Ah yes, I had the feeling that our phone conversation was being recorded.....

    Let me explain....
    It was a momentary lapse of reason, that didn't bode well for my phone. It was the third day of semi-controled chaos that got to me. It was also that fact that I answered my $&#@% phone when I should have concentrated on the kids. I'm not a good multi-tasker. I should have waited until we were safely buckled in the van. Lesson learned.

    The dinner out was pre-planned and was not an apologetic gesture, and I reluctantly went after my episode. But then again, I had the kitchen fairly clean and was not in the mood to get it messy again.

    Everything else is good and all is calm (whew!), but it takes two to maintain this house in working order. OMG does it ever!

    Lastly, I miss you, I need you, I need a nice quite meal with a big glass of wine.

    I will also need a new phone.

    See you soon......very soon, I hope.

    Your DH,

  5. Charlie is a wonder, and such an organizer. He and Riener are cut from the same cloth. I am back to your blog, so keep up the good work, it is cold here, very unusual, think I will go south.

  6. So freaking cool about Ray and Kevin!!!!!
    Poor Charlie. My approach the other night was to strap everyone in their car seats, then close the doors with me on the outside. It was nice and quiet outside with the doors shut and everyone was safe (and crabby) inside.

  7. You *ARE* gonna publish all this in a book, aintcha??? :D

    "I'm certain I could plant a seedling blueberry bush and yet have a full harvest in the time it takes our children to put on their coats."
    You SURE DO have a way with words! Lemmie no if I can have one of the first copies. I want it signed by your whole tribe.

    ~Cindy! :)

  8. I would have to day that your husband handled himself perfectly. I mean... I would have surely broken something worse then a phone. Talk about super dad! :)

  9. Hey Charlie, don't worry about instantly answering calls from your home-based business. If you don't answer immediately, they think you are in a meeting. Which you are, in a way, with your 4 most demanding clients. Get the kids settled and call them back. I always did that when my kids were little and it worked just fine.

    And frankly, I don't think a little justified parental screaming hurts kids-used judiciously of course. It just doesn't usually help.

  10. I'm sure you've been nominated before, but just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the beautiful Blogger Award! If you haven't done this yet, pop on over and read what to do! Love keeping up on such an AMAZING family!

  11. I learned a new word from you: craptastic. Poor Charlie! It sounds like crazy-land there! You are going to have to fly in there and act like nothing would make you happier than to be - ALONE - with your darling children. And give that poor man a break! At least that's what I always hope my hubby will do when he's been away, eating three-hour feasts and sitting in meetings all day.

  12. I love Ray Romano! He is soooo hilarious! Did he tell you that his kids are named Greg and Shmreg? He uses that joke a lot! hehehe...

  13. I just wanted to tell you how much I LOVE your blog. You make me cry laughing sometimes. I totally understand your husband going insane on ballet night. (I can't believe he has the coordination to take 4 children to the same place...and change shoes! Very impressive.)

  14. I bet Charlie is going for a long, long bike ride and he deserves it, Big Time. What a Guy.

  15. Charlie really is the bomb.
    And I am chuckling at the visual of Henry.

    Carolyn's Boards

  16. I'm so sorry that Charlie had such a hard time that afternoon but I am laughing - "and totally macking on candy". Oh, the laughing.

    I love a live comedy show. We've seen Brian Regan twice. *snort*

  17. Faithful reader, rare commenter. Just had to say I LOVE this post!! Was totally cracking up (in the "I know it wasn't funny at the time but it's funny now" kind of way). Poor Charlie. I can totally relate, and I only have ONE!!! Well, no, I guess I can't "totally" relate, just 25%... Anyway, I'd say he did darn stinking good to hold it together for 3 days before the meltdown! Kudos to super dad. :)

  18. What a crummy human being am I? I was so caught up in my own misery that I never thought to call Charlie to see if he needed a hand. Although, in the back of my mind I thought Charlie would/might call if he wanted(needed) help. I guess that was Dumb thinking on my part. I also intended to stop by and have the kids walk me and the dog around the block a few times. I guess I should have done that, we all could have used the break.

    I'm going to assume you're home, and things are back to normal. What ever "Normal" might be in a house with 4 little people (and a relieved Father) but in the future please don't hesistate to ask for help...(Charlieeeeee), after all, thats' what friends are for!

  19. Oh man....I bet your husband will be so happy to have you home. I love Ray Romano. How fun to see him in person!

  20. Sounds like a candidate for "super Dad". Nothing wrong with kids seeing that there is a limit to being patient and in control. A phone is a small price to pay.

    What if Henry had sat there quietly and he drove off not knowing Henry's seatbelt wasn't done up? - some things can be costly, but save something that is priceless.

  21. I'm not at all worried that he would have driven off with Henry's seatbelt unfastened. It's second nature for BOTH of us to turn around and check that every one is securely buckled before we put the car in gear. He stuck him in his carseat and fastened one side because: 1) he thought that would temporarily hold him while, 2) he answered his phone that was ringing with his client on the other end.

    We had discussed this very issue the night before and we came to the conclusion that you CANNOT effectively multi-task when you're solely responsible for watching little ones.

    Sure, you can, maybe when you're at home. You could probably boil water for spaghetti, talk to the kids and fold a load of laundry. But when you're out and about and you're trying to conduct business while also parenting small children, it's just NOT a good idea.

    $300.00 later, lesson learned.

    On the upside, he's really wanted an iPhone for a while now.