Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Sad but Funny Truth

Sometimes I think having four kids changes you so dramatically that it is almost impossible and possibly inhumane to compare who you were to who you are now. My husband and I are in the midst of planning a weekend "away" for our somethingish wedding anniversary (if I tell you the exact number you will say, "Child bride?" and I will have to say, "No, just really, really old." So, let's just leave it at that.). And I am dumbfounded at how something so seemingly blissful, easy, and enjoyable has digressed into such a sad but highly amusing commentary on life as we know it.

It started with me innocently asking my husband what we were going to do for our upcoming milestone. Over his paper with his coffee in hand, he looked over at me and said fairly dismissively, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" So, I did something DANGEROUS that always has serious repercussions. I told the truth. "Go away somewhere we've never been together - like Chicago, or San Francisco." He looked back at me perfectly bewildered and speechless. It was as if I had said this in a foreign language (and not like Spanish - more like Chinese). Calmly and quite bravely he said back to me, "Oh. I was thinking more like getting a coffee at Starbucks and then heading over to Barnes and Noble."

Say what??? Did he even want to make it to the milestone???

So, fast forward a few weeks of silent treatment and we were ready for step 1. I am joking..................

Kind of.........

So, step 1. Secure Responsible Care for Our Four Kids For Three Days So That Husband and Wife Can Go Far Away to a Place They Have Never Been Together. Now see how that kind of looks like the title of a book? That's because securing responsible care for four kids for three days is just about as hard as getting a freaking book published. Thank God I have the best in laws on the planet.

Step 2. Decide what to do for three days with no kids. Now if you have four kids (or just two - or possibly one really hyper one) you are probably thinking what I was thinking. THREE WHOLE DAYS without the FOUR kids??? Holy Canoli. Is that long enough to fly to Europe??? Well, hold on to your panties. Thank God this was not a 12 step program because step 2 is a doozy.

We tried several ways to approach this decision. Such as: We consulted a professional. Turns out We Is Poor. So consulting a professional did not help much. She told us we could go to..............................Austin. That's a slight exaggeration, but we are on a budget and we do want to be able to feed the kids till December, so we opted to not go with the professional. We consulted friends. Turns out friends are overrated when it comes to making this kind of decision. And when all else failed, we consulted each other.

Enter: Real Life.

Which just by the name - you know it's not going to be nice.

Remember the good old days when you and your guy or lady would DO STUFF? And, I am not talking rolls in the hay here, either. I am talking STUFF. Like go to bars, listen to music, go to plays (y'know the ones that don't involve Cinderella?), take in a show (ANY kind of show), go dancin', enjoy each other's company. Now if you've not been married long or you are childless - this may be fairly simple. But, if you've been married since you were three sizes smaller, your hair was a different color, and you've had children who have sucked all your brains out of your head - - this may be a stretch for you as it was for me. I really have no words to describe what entailed, so I will just give you the following.

Here's a sample conversation:
Him: So, let's think. What do we like to do? That should help us decide where we want to go.
Me: Hmm. I'm not sure.
Him: Well, I know we like to do something? (say that with a little desperation in your voice)
Me: Yeah, well, I know it, too (more desperation).
Him: Hmm. Well, we used to like movies before there were bars and babysitters there.
Me: Uh-huh.
Him: What about museums? We love museums, right?
Me: Uh-huh (enthusiasm fading here).
Him: Okay, so not so much anymore. What about live music, the bar scene?
Me: Won't that mean we have to be up late?
Him: You're right. Good point. How about food? We like to eat, right?
Me: YES! (A little too excited). We LOVE to eat. Perfect lets go somewhere where there's food.
Him: It's settled then. We will EAT!!!
Him a little later: Well, we could just stay here to do that.
chuckling and then mad laughter
Me: Yeah, and we'd have your parents to eat with.
a quick digression into more mad laughter

We could think of one more thing we like to do (don't worry I will spare you the details and leave that to your imagination partly because I am insanely modest and also because I don't want you to poke your mind's eye out later) and we love, love, love to do this thing without four ears pressed to our door and continual knocking and asking, "Are you almost DONE???"

So, it's pretty much settled. To celebrate being married longer than Abraham, we are going somewhere that is close enough to not cost a million dollars, but too far for our four kids to walk to and bug us and this place must have food! Yippee! Can't wait!


Lucy said...

Can't wait to hear all about it in your next blog post!!!

william said...

Monica. You crack me up. Never new you had blog. This is too funny. Love you guys. Next time Billy and I want to watch the kids. Hugs. Happy anniversary! I know how many years. I am so happy for y'all.

l_citalia said...

Ok. I feel a need to chime in here with some sage advice from a couple who has been married just as long but has ****5**** kids.... not your measly 4....

1. Never send your kids to family for any time at all if you have more than 1 kid. Family (usually older and past the child rearing age) DO NOT remember what it is like to have and care for children and what they do remember is grossly inappropriate in terms of safety and psychological scarring. At one point they did have those skills - hence we were all raised - but that was long, long ago when the world was a simpler, safer place. You would be better off leaving kids with a wino at the bus station than with family for the weekend. Example: My Mom. She has a PhD in biology. She understands all sorts of natural things that I can't begin to grasp. She also needed a nap while watching our ****5**** children and let them play in the woods near her house... all day... unsupervised... my city born and reared kids. After the search helicopter left and the search party disbanded and the search dogs went home and the searching neighbors were thanked and sent on their way, we had to drive 12 hours home with kids covered, and I mean head-to-toe covered, in poison ivy. The wino would have taken them to OTB where they might have learned some good life lessons on the finer points of horse racing.

2. Don't pretend you are real people any more who do real things. This is an illusion 40-somethings use to hold on to the past. Do what you love to do right at home, only do more of it. Let Ed have that extra bean burrito, the one you normally glare at him for as he sheepishly puts it back in the garbage... You go ahead and wear your scratchy cotton panties with the matching shredded bra around the house. You know you love it - why wear something shear and silky for Ed anyway? He just wants to sit around in his underwear watching PBS news while eating his burrito - mostly off his chest cause you know those things get soggy sitting in the trash all night. Learn to embrace what you have become. That is what the 'Staycation' is all about.

and last but not least...

3. Next time you need some time away, call your friends to offer to watch their ****5**** kids for the weekend. That would be some place new and would cost you next to nothing. Afterall, what do you know better than watching kids? Go with what you are good at I always say. And, if in a fit of revelation and inspiration you are on your way here now, could you bring some calamine lotion? Paula and I are too busy packing for our trip to the Kings Court Motel over on rte 8... you know, the one next to Sizzler...

Jae said...

I am totally LMAO here! Love this!!! :)

Joan said...

Monica, I just had to respond to this particular blog because it so funny and true. I hope you don't mind. I hope you had a wonderful wedding anniversary! We will be married 47 years soon, and to make a long story short, will probably go to Chic-fil-a for our anniversary. I can't wait for our 50th anniversary - we'll probably go to McDonald's or maybe Burger King.