Last week my wife took our three chidren down to Philly to hang out with her sister, and let our children play with their cousins. She left Monday and we agreed that she’d return on Wednesday (maybe Thursday).
Although I’ve often fantasized about what a quite home would be like, I never dared to think that my dream would actually come true. Three whole days of utter peace and quite. Even though I still had to go to work, and couldn’t fully bask in the glow of a quiet house, I was going to enjoy it nonetheless.
But there was a caveat. Isn’t there always?
The caveat came in the form of a list, and threatened to turn ‘Operation Silent Home’ into ‘Operation Silent Homework!’
Attached to the refrigerator, via magnetic souvenier lighthouse/thermometer, was the LIST, which I found when I arrived home from work Monday evening.
There were seven items on the list. Who does she think she’s kidding with this?
1. Paint Chima’s room and re-arrange the kids rooms. After this, should there be more? NO!
2. Water the garden. Take the hose from the garden and attach the sprinkler. Like I don’t know how to water a f*cking garden!!
3. Contact Kumon and let them know the kids won’t be attending this week. Duh!
4. Contact YMCA and let them know that the kids won’t be attending this week. Considering number 3, double duh!
5. Pay Rolda. The check is on the fridge. I ain’t paying nobody nuthin’!
6. Something I can remember. But I’m sure I completed.
7. Something else I can’t remember. But I’m sure I didn’t complete.
I decided to tackle what I figured would be the most time-consuming and challenging item on the agenda – painting and re-arranging the kid’s rooms.
You must understand that my wife has been talking about this for almost three years (since our second daughter arrived on the scene). It’s placement on the list made it abundantly clear that she fully expected me to make some progress, as payment for the one she was taking for the team.
The goal was to give my son his own room and have my two daughters share another. This involved switching my son out of the room he currently shared with his older sister, into the room currently occupied by our youngest daughter.
But I couldn’t start painting until I: moved the sleeper sofa out of the baby’s room; took down the shelves from the wall and plastered the holes; removed the girly wall lamp from the wall and plastered the holes; disassembled the crib and removed it from the room; removed the dresser/changing table; fixed the closet (the door of which never closed correctly); removed the carpet; and primed the room.
That was day one. I think I collapsed around 1:30 am.
On Tuesday I returned home like a man on a mission. Although Chanel said they might return Thursday, I knew that three days in a house with 10 kids (oh, her sister has 7) would test her last nerve, and it was more likely that my brood would be returning the day after. So there was no time to dilly dally.
I threw on a tam (to keep paint off the dreds) and dingy tank tee and some holey shorts and set to work. Wait…where are the rollers? Where’s the pan? Paint brushes? I my haste, I failed to assess whether t I had the requisite supplies for the task. Damn! Damn! Damn! Hope the hardware store is still open.
Fly around the corner – it’s closed. Damn! Damn! Damn! Wait! Maybe Brian (Saltzman – my neighbor down the block) has some stuff. Sure enough, Brian came through in the clutch. He stared at me dreamily when I told him about the quiet child and wife-free house down the block, and waved wistfully as I pedaled my bike back down the block to resume my mission. No time to talk Brian, there’s work to be done.
I painted like a mad man for the next four hours, pausing occasionally to admire my work, snap a flick or two, before resuming. By 3:30 am, the room was fully painted. Sure there was green paint running over the molding in places and on the floor, but it was nothing a little turpentine can’t fix.
Wednesday came, and I confirmed that the wife and kids were returning that day. After work I was literally like a man in fast forward.
Remove the door from the girls’ room; put the sleeper sofa in girls room; replace the door to the girls’ room; disassemble the bed in the nanny suite; reassemble the bed in the girls’ room; disassemble Chima’s bed in the girls’ room; reassemble Chima’s bed in his room; move Chima’s dresser from the girls’ room; put Chima’s dresser in his room; switch Chima and Duran’s clothes into their respective closets; switch the curtains; assemble the dollhouse in the girls room, etc., etc.
When they pulled into the driveway, I was putting the sheets on Duran’s bed. I had accomplished the most important item on the bucket list in the nick of time.
The kids were ecstatic and the wifey, genuinely impressed.
I was Super Dad for a day, but Operation Silent Home was a complete wash.
I’ll take Super Dad any day.