Monday, December 10, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Parents

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". -Murphy's Law.

Murphy wasn't an optimist, he was a parent! If fatherhood has taught me one thing, it is that plans will never, ever survive engagement with your children. It simply will not happen and it is a fool of a father who things for a moment that it will.

Have I mentioned that I am a fool?

Now admittedly, many times the plan changes are not always the fault of said children, or at least not deliberately done so, but I'm willing to bet you buttons to dollars that at the end of the disaster, you'll find a kid at the bottom grinning up at you while you tear your hair out in frustration.

Take, just for example mark you, my previous weekend.

The Plan: Lacking wood and a snow-storm a coming, we would get up early and go get 200 bundles (Wood, for reasons I'm not too sure of, is sold in the bundle in Japan instead of cords. A bundle is, supposedly, about 3 to 5 cut pieces of wood that adds to the enjoyment of burning during the winter as now you have sharp wires to cut and dispose of before they perforate things you do not wish to be perforated, such as small boys). We would borrow a small pick-up for the occasion and I would tarp the back of our mini-van. The idea would be that we would get the wood at 8:30 am, and hopefully make only two trips and be done with getting it to the house by 10ish.

The reality: Hikaru got sick the night before. Beloved reacted by flat out laying down the law that she would not allow him out of the house on a cold morning (The snow being an overachiever got an early start) and thus I would have to shift all that wood by myself in the little truck. Even worse, the wood was not bundled as advertised, but instead came in a cubic meter, loose. So instead of slinging, I'd have to stack and take four trips while doing so.

Oh, and since it was snowing, I couldn't just dump the wood, I'd have to stack it as soon as I got it home. Which did kind of work as out I discovered that we had far more wood than we had storage meaning I was going to have to build a temporary storage area. In the middle of it all, I had to deal with Makoto and Hikaru fighting as well as Hikaru pitching a fit and a half because Makoto was allowed to ride along for one trip. Final finish time 2:30pm.

The Plan: After finishing getting the wood in and calling back Stateside, we'd head out to DoCoMo to finally change our address, a home store for some shopping, and then to the supermarket for the weekly shopping.

The Reality: After finally getting the damn wood in, both boys had gone to sleep. Beloved of course wouldn't wake them as both of them are unholy terrors when they don't wake on their own (And in Makoto's case, even when he does). This meant we left the house, finally around 5pm and the shopping now included needing to get freaking building supplies for construction of that temporary wood storage. This also meant that we wouldn't be having a home cooked dinner, but would have to stop by Hotto Motto, a Japanese fast food joint that does bento boxes. 

And this caused Beloved to cry. Why you may ask? The reason is familiar to any woman who spends hours each day working in the kitchen to make her family delicious and healthy foods just to hear her darlings state about how much they love McDonald's. Makoto and Hikaru's take: "Hotto Motto! YAY!" Beloved: "I cook for them everyday!"

Add in that DoCoMo had an hour wait and the longer shopping time, we didn't get home to dinner till 7:40 and dinner itself wasn't finished until well after 8.

The Plan: Given that the next day we would be at a luncheon where I was supposed to make chili, after returning from the store mid-afternoon, I would prep a bit and then spend the rest of the afternoon, early evening boning up on kanji. Then early to bed.

The Reality: After getting home so damn late, we ended up with a whirlwind of activity of attempting to get medication down Hikaru, both boys fed, cleaned, bathed, and shoved into bed. We finally manged to do so by 9:15, just in time for me to go and start getting ready for the chili by browning 5lbs of meat, soaking the beans, and then getting to kanji (Many of which I failed just because of being so tired). Finally got to bed around 11pm.

The Plan: Wake up around 7ish, enjoy a lazy breakfast and prep the chili. Go to the community center around 9 or so and enjoy cooking, lunch, and helping clean up. Home hopefully around 3pm at which case I would get some badly needed cleaning done, do my kanji, and get to bed early.

The Reality: Get up at 5am, go out into the snow to build temporary wood storage, move food until about 8:15, madly toss together chili and then go out to move more wood while watching two little boys enjoy themselves in the nice, warm, living room while they grin at their father struggling in the cold. Get to the lunch about 2 hours late with the chili and after cooking time, get told wife has been drafted as staff so I would have to watch and feed both children... as well as play Santa when the time comes. Help with the cleanup and watch in horror as an impromptu meeting happens afterwards that drags on to well after 3:30, leaving me again with watching both kids. Get told by Beloved that she would treat me to Starbucks by way of thanks, but realize that there simply was no time for this. Finally get back home at 4:30...

To find that Hikaru was dead to the world, thus no vacuuming for me. But I would need to go out in the snow to get more stakes for the tarp on the temporary wood storage.

Oh, and Beloved was told that she needed to make pickles today, so would I please go to the store and get pickling stuff... And oh, please watch the kids after getting the pickling stuff... oh, and please go back out into the cold as we got way too many veggies for the container so we need a bigger one... and watch the kids some more, brush their teeth, get them ready for bath, dry them off, read a book, and get them into the futon.

Finally get to the goddamn kanji (Which again I missed many) and to bed at 10:00. 

And by the way, wake up call for next morning would be my normal 5 am... and I would wake up to snow.

Now some might note that many of the problems here were not caused by the kids themselves. They didn't set the wood up, or the meeting, or planned the wood storage. They certainly didn't make Beloved make pickles like crazy on Sunday night, and I have to admit, this is true. But I look at it akin to the small pebbles that start an avalanche  It was all down to Hikaru's getting sick and both boys sleeping so much. Those were the monkey wrenches in my plans that caused everything else to go haywire as causality just ripples outwards making each moment a disaster in terms of getting things done at a nice time and without drama.

Like I said, Murphy was a parent, he knew exactly what happens when you attempt to plan around kids.

1 comment:

  1. I don't even plan anymore. Everything happens and I try to keep up. If it's important my wife will tell me. If it's really important my wife will remind me again.

    You would make a million if you posted video clips on Youtube with Adsense...

    Remember the little people when you're famous.

    Mark L.