Sunday, August 17, 2008

They Made It Too

This week I put in 102 hours on the jobs. Yeah, that's all the hours you were awake, plus a few... working. Here's a quick break-down so you can play along at home at the narrative unfolds.
  • 6:00 am - Roll off the couch (because that's where I sleep lately so my early rising doesn't disturb the peaceful slumber of my Peeps) fully clothed (because why undress when you sleep on the couch)
  • 6:45 am - Jump in the truck
  • 7:00 am - Arrive at the shop to receive orders and load trucks
  • 7:30 am - Arrive at job and begin killing self with back-breaking labor, direct sunlight, and the stress of running a crew of people who aren't good at what they do and don't care (nice fellows though, great to have a beer with)
  • 5:00 pm to ? pm - Finish work whenever The Boss says we've had enough and drive back to the shop to clock out
  • ? pm to 6:30 pm - Stop in at the house to check in with my Peeps
  • 40 milliseconds later - Leave for the show
  • 40 milliseconds later to Midnight - Mix audio for youth theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar with all the nonsense that accompanies it.
  • Midnight - Get home, eat, decompress, fall on couch snoring.
  • Repeat for six days

The biggest problem with this scenario is that despite the buckets of money that wind up in our bank account at the end of the week and the tremendous feeling of accomplishment that comes with working two difficult, full time jobs for a week, the short people really suffer.

Now ol' Dad can deal with the stress with various methods available to adults. Blasting heavy metal while chugging coffee on the way to work, chain smoking on the job, cussing, blasting heavy metal and chugging Mountain Dew on the way to the gig, wowing the children with my audio prowess and witty commentary, sobbing in the parking lot, and so on.

The short people though haven't evolved such a complex and nuanced array of coping skills (Bourbon, I forgot bourbon) to get through such a hellish time of separation. They've got whining and that's pretty much it.

We've done our best to equip them for the chaos of our lives by doing the only thing we could do: Not a single thing to protect them from the chaos of our lives. There's no regular order to anything we do. Sometimes we have bedtime, mostly not. Sometimes we do stuff after dinner, mostly not. Mostly we go to church, sometimes not. We just pack them along on everything we do, and change plans constantly.

So, after the first couple days of screaming and whining after my 40 millisecond stop-over, they started to mellow out. By Wednesday they were using their nice voices to ask me how the show was going and wishing me good luck on my way out the door.

It makes me sit back and wonder why so many parents spend so much time and effort working on routine, when all it does of them is make strife trying to accomplish it and meltdowns when they're not able to maintain it. Sure our kids fight us when we say it's time to go to bed early, but then we can remind them that we let them stay up till midnight the night before to watch fireworks. Shit, life's hard enough without imposing all kinds of artificial structure. My advice: just go with it.

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