08 August 2008

The Unbearable Weightiness of Morning

In case the 80 of you are wondering why I didn't post yesterday, my Spongebob Band-Aid and I will tell you.

Wait, time out, let me kill the dramatic suspense and skip to the end-- I'm lazy and disorganized. But if you want to hear about the seed of a reason that I would give if pressed for an acceptable excuse instead of being fired from my own blog, continue reading.

Due to my wife's and my lack of practiced social skills and outgoing...ness, combined with our somewhat nomadic lifestyle during the past four years, our kids haven't gotten a chance to go to many* birthday parties. But yesterday, we had an honest-to-goodness party to attend, though given that we had to show up by 9:15am at the latest at a place on the Near North Side of Chicago where we'd never been, this event was most definitely playing against our strengths.

For those who don't live in a densely-populated metropolitan area like Chicago, or who don't have any children, or who are even remotely competent or organized, you may find the fact that this place being 12 miles away meant we had to set our alarms for 7 o'clock in the morning quite surprising. On the flip side of that coin, those of you who are morning people by choice or chance, such as having children who are in bed by 7 and up at 6 every day, may want to slap me. All I can say is our lifestyle and body clocks are what they are, and 7am is as early for me now that I get up at 8 as it was when I was getting up at noon in college. I am nothing if not hardcore, and this part of me will never die.

So we were staring down the barrel of 9am, though not for the first time, and I knew we had to be ready for this or it would never happen. To grind the story to a halt once again out of a compulsion to clarify something not suited for a footnote**, I had finally gotten into something of a rhythm of doing this parenting thing by this spring, just in time for J- to get out of work for the summer, and the combination of both of us being around to take turns on things and generally hang out a lot (to make up for all the lost time during the school year of 12-hour days) has almost totally killed my progress.*** Hence I had a not-so-well oiled machine to rely on for getting us out the door in the morning.

To combat this, I planned ahead the night before and picked out clothes for all four of us and laid them out in the hallway, I shaved... I even oiled the three-story firefighter pole I installed next to our back stairs.**** Even farther in advance, I had printed out the invitation we needed to show the people at the door of this place, along with a release voucher (there are few better indicators of good times to be had), and the directions to get there. The following is a schedule of how our morning actually played out. Keep in mind that this is considered a startling success for us:

7:00 - We are all sleeping soundly in our bedroom. (The heat has gotten too much in the past few days for even the kids' miracle window fan to overcome, so they are on the floor of our room to share our conditioned air.)
7:20 - J-'s alarm, somehow set for 7:20 instead of 7, goes off.
7:40 - J- actually wakes up, then wakes me up, and goes off to put waffles in the toaster and then shower.
7:41 - M- wakes up smiling and happy as usual.
7:41-7:50 - I lay there willing M- to spontaneously learn how to get out of her own bed, dress herself and her brother, and make breakfast.
7:50 - I finally lift her out of bed and set her on the floor, hoping she can finish waking up her brother in a way that will leave him not cranky.
7:50 - She immediately does as subconsciously ordered, by marching around the room pointing at D- shouting "D- sleepin'! D- sleepin'!!" before sitting on his pillow calling his name.
7:51 - I blink hard and then leap out of bed much like a pearl diver heading down for an especially deep patch of oysters.
7:52-8:10 - A blur of waffles, clothes, and whatever else makes time pass by faster than I think it does.
8:11-8:20 - ???
8:21-8:30 - Getting out the door-- normally a 45-second process, at the most, for a single person.
8:31-8:55 - Crawling steadily despite stop signs and other obstacles even in extremely light rush hour traffic, hoping some miracle would allow us to get there at 9 as suggested on the invitation.
8:56-9:00 - Hoping the GPS was horribly miscalculating its frighteningly accurate arrival estimate.
9:01-9:14 - Beating my head against the steering wheel and considering initiating a high-speed chase just to assure myself of a clear path and the ability to ignore all those sadistically timed traffic lights and (let the incredulity drip from your tongue as you read this) stop signs Chicago likes to put on major thoroughfares.
9:15 - Putting on a happy face to spite the Gods of City Driving, then dropping off J- and the kids to begin experiencing the super-awesome fun zone.
9:16-9:18 - Hoping my tired eyes would unswell-shut as I walked the couple of blocks from my parking space.

I know by now you must be dying to hear from me and Mr. Squarepants about the wild party itself, but you'll have to wait till Monday to hear more. Or, if you are reading this in The Future (dun, dun, dunnnnn!), you can just skip to the next post.

* "Many" being defined as more than one non-family party between them in their lives.

** Regular readers may be equally shocked to find that I have standards for footnotes, and that I would pass up an opportunity to include one. Well, all I can say is, check me out-- I managed after all, didn't I?

*** I've learned from this collapse, though, and I'll post about it next week.

**** See, J-, when I put it in there with all the true stuff, doesn't it sound not only plausible, but a good, safe idea???


Kat said...

Nice job on the footnotes. I should attempt them once instead of all the parenthesis I have running a muck in my posts.

Lola said...

I feel your pain, man. For me to be anywhere with my child by 9:00 would require me getting my ass out of bed by 6:00, and I just don't do that. My son would never even hear about a party that started that early, because that's just the kind of mom I am.

Anonymous said...

I have to get up at 7:00 to make make sure that we make gymnastics on time at 10:00. If I had any sort of metropolitan traffic to contend with all would be lost.

I have no idea what we will do once kindergarten starts. I'll be the mom walking Caroline in wearing my jammies.

I'm just trying to say, I'm glad it's not just me.

Jenny Grace said...

Yeah neither my son or I are morning people. The plus side is that we get to sleep in on the weekends. The minuses are the other five days in the week, and the fact that he wants to go to bed at around 9:30 every night, and I feel like toddler bedtime should be much closer to 7:30.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

I am intrigued by your continuous use of footnotes, usually I have no idea where they were meant to clarify, even if I try to skim back in the post, but I feel happy when I do figure it out, like I got the joke ... but I'm a slow one, my favorite jokes usually involve the planet Uranus (possibly mispronounced) as a punch line - could that have been a footnote comment? Do you put the little footnote indicator , then immediately compose the footnote, or go back at the end and throw them in as part of an edit rewrite? I think footnotes are very cute. Also I painted my toenails (was that a foot footnote? see, the jokes are no good ... is it late? oh, yes it is, big trip tomorrow, batch of laundry in arms as I type - HAD to read your blog!!

Don't forget to explain the songe bob band aid ... wow, what an enticing teaser!

unmitigated me said...


*stellar read, as always.

Anonymous said...

it worked like a somewhat squeaky, rather than well oiled machine but you got there. The most perfectly planned timetable can all fall apart with a really bad diaper.

small town city girl said...

Love it! We too have a very hard time getting out of the house at a decent time. And I agree, 9 am is waaaay too early for a birthday party!

Anxiously awaiting the bandaid explanation.

Brittany said...

BFF Dan, I could totally relate to this! Except the part where you said you got up to help,because that never happens for me, but I do always get stuck behind a tractor on a two lane dirt road...so the rest is kinda the same!

Candid Carrie said...

Dan Dan Dan.

Really, a three story fire pole? We all know that this is nothing more than another attempt at seducing J into purchasing the Twirl Girl 3000*.

** consider the extended warranty

LiteralDan said...

Kat: Or you could try my method, and go for both!!

Lola: That was just awesome. And yes, I know that word is way overused, but I mean it in the purest, most original sense of the word. Can we all have a playdate one day at like 3:30 aka 4:23 or so?? You are like the My Friend's Cool Older Brother of parenting.

blissfullycaffeinated: I will be the dad walking D- to preschool looking like I just woke up in a vat of Pomade, the same way I used to be the dad looking like I just woke up in a vat of Pomade before walking him to daycare. In my defense, I was working from home most of those days.

Miss Grace: Early to bed/early to rise is absolutely the biggest tradeoff of parenting-- that's why I like to tape some of my best (read: longest) lectures and play them at full volume with the lights on for the first couple hours of "bedtime". It serves double duty in also blocking out all the cursing from all the R-rated movies and MarioKart.

Mrs. B. Roth: I do appreciate a good Uranus (ALWAYS pronounced "Your-anus", unless mocking the British and other pretentious people*) joke, and yes, I almost always compose or (or occasionally sketch) the footnote immediately after typing the mark, and the rest of the time I've just broken out a parenthetical bit that got more out of hand than usual.

I'm as impressed as touched that you couldn't even wait to set the laundry down in a giant pile before reading my blog. Or are you one of those neatniks who actually folds EACH piece before piling it on the floor for the taking?

I can't promise what Spongebob will or won't do, but I'll try my best to be sure he spills it. Prepare to be let down!

Middle Aged woman: I think the very notion of footnotes itself just imploded with your envelope pushing.

Mary: Coincidentally, I found that out today. For far from the first time.*

* The alliteration is overboard with Fs for good reason.

small town city girl: Maybe if I could stop staying up till 3am replying to comments on my blog, among other things, just because my parents are watching the kids, I'd find 9am much less threatening.

But could I stop doing that? I haven't always had a blog-- before this, there was... videogames... reading... watching movies... and Thinking of Things. Let's just start a support group to help us get past our noticing of our shooting ourselves in the foot.

Brittany: Don't tell me things like this, BFF Brittany, or it may just encourage me to linger in bed even longer, which will cause J- to linger in bed even longerer, and we'll never get anywhere and the kids will starve to death. You want that on your head???

Candid Carrie: Carrie, Carrie, Carrie-- I can't hang clothes and junk on a vertical pole, and that's the only use such a thing would have at our house. So why not use my precious handyman energy to hang up more than one picture in the house? Or... install myself a huge, awesome fire pole to get down to the yard in one terrifying second? You see how we go 'round and 'round in circles, always ending where I ever-so-correctly began?

LilSass said...

I used to live on the north side of Chicago in rogers park (I HUMP chicago)!!! You own a car? Barf-a-rolla! But I guess with kids this is necessary

Kori said...

I just want to hear about what kind of a party THIS was! And I want to go to one!

LiteralDan said...

Lil Sass: What's the universal symbol for Hump? Cause then we can put it on a t-shirt and watch the money roll in, my friend.

We live in the very near suburbs, where a car is more practical, though we do walk as much as we can in our neighborhood (which has almost everything we need).

Kori: You will, as soon as I finish writing it. I've gotta stop setting myself up like this. And procrastinating.

Chris M. said...

I called in sick to my own blog today...

How sad is that?

Weather Moose

Andrea said...

Ugh-who needs early a.m.'s on the weekend? You are a brave soul. This just reminds me that in just a few weeks I will be walking out the door at 7 a.m. with multiple kids. I will have the infamous "mommy up-do" and probably be wearing the same t-shirt that I slept in...but this feat will be beyond all difficulty for this night owl. Having said that, if I go to bed now...I will just make it before midnight. I will catch up later (I just can't seem to do that lately?!?) G'night!

Anonymous said...

this post makes me happy for my meds...and makes me want to sleep alot!

LiteralDan said...

Chris: Not sad at all! I'll have to use that one sometime.

Andrea: As a man, I need no up-do. I'm just lucky like that. But the rest of it is me to a T. Like any great hero would say, I'm only brave when I have to be.

MamaNeena: Most things make me want to sleep a lot. I imagine you may have the same issue. Though as I recall from a post awhile ago, you are one of those weird morning people.

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