Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Return of MathMan

MathMan returned from his trip to Washington D.C. yesterdy morning. I fetched him from school and drove him home.

Because we're nothing without our patterns, within minutes of arriving home, we'd stuffed our faces with greasy fast food, hidden the trash evidence so we wouldn't be questioned later about who ate Sonic?, and were pleasantly ensconced in our matching black swivel chairs in front of our laptops. We sit across from each other at a big desk. It makes for some interesting conversations and some tense moments, but you could have guessed that, couldn't you?

In the quiet of the nearly empty house, MathMan searched for video of the trip to post and I toggled between annoying friends on Facebook, leaving obnoxious comments on the blogs of others and learning how to use the webcam with my clothes on. I was supposed to be working.

As I watched his drowsy eyes flutter to stay awake, I reflected on how glad I am that MathMan is home so that I can push the care of The Spawn off onto him for awhile. Normally, I am the one who travels and he is left with a whip and chair and tranquilizer darts to make do, so his lengthy absence (lengthy is a relative term) took it out of me.

When I return from trips, MathMan provides a buffer zone so that I can at least drag my bags into the house, have a moment to dispense with the necessities (I'm trying out new, ladylike terms for popping a squat), and draw a deep breath before launching into a shrewish frenzy about the state of the household.

As I begin with the rhetorical questions such as "Who left this corndog stick on top of the television?" or "Why is there a sock on that cat's tail?" and begin pulling the sofa cushions off so that I can see what nasty, half-chewed suprises await me there, MathMan smiles sheepishly, beats a hasty retreat for the far end of the house, abandoning me, rightfully so, to be fallen upon by the needy children who can't find a trashcan and who don't know that they should brush their teeth every day.

I must say I don't blame him. I really, really, really don't. And I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I did the same.

However, yesterday we got lucky. The timing worked out so perfectly as to allow us some down time before The Spawn returned from school. The Parenting Gods were obviously smiling down upon us because The Dancer called to let us know she was on her way home and I remembered to ask her to stop to retrieve Cupcake from Art Club. This saved us an extra trip and the delight of waiting in the long, snaking line at the elementary school. Parents of young children can relate to what a gift that can be.

We passed a quiet afternoon until The Spawn started drifting in to wish their father a happy return, frisking him for gifts, before leaving skid marks on the floor as they raced to the kitchen. The always return home from school starving. Things remained quiet for a bit and I noted that it looked like I would be off the hook for preparing dinner. Sandwiches would suffice. No one rifled through the trash and found the Sonic contraband. The singing Pussies for Peace were appeased and all was well.

Then it started. And by the time it was over, Cupcake had declared that she hated math and maybe she wasn't really daddy's daughter after all because she wasn't good in math! I slumped in my chair and put my head in my hands. MathMan simply looked at me with that look that said "I've got this." He tried reason, he tried calm. I listened to him explain long division to someone who really just wanted to watch Little People, Big World or some other TLC creation.

Calm was restored when Cupcake was banished to her room. Never one to let well enough alone, The Actor, decided to use his mother's favorite word and found himself summarily dismissed to his room, as well.

Mathman and I breathed a sigh of relief. I allowed myself the passing thought that The Dancer would come home from the studio sans drama and we would all finally go to bed without another shriek, another tear, another threat of karate chops. My optimism was rewarded. I think I might try that again soon.

Finally, MathMan reached his limit and headed off to bed. I was glad for a few minutes alone to finish up what I as doing and noticed that my webcam, forgotten hours ago, was still on. I disconnected it from the laptop and panned it across the quiet, softly lit room and just enjoyed capturing the moment as it flickered across the screen.......

25 comments:

  1. Does this mean we are soon going to get to see and hear it all? Not that we don't trust your account, but still... A web cam means you have the technology to make the live blogging really live doesn't it? Since I didn't have siblings to fight with and no family of my own children to have to referee, I'm intensely curious about the way the spawn fight with each other and with you. I know, it might sound creepy, but I'm not asking for porn or anything like that.

    Welcome home Mathman. We're hoping you have all your digits. I know it was bitter cold in DC. I will stop by your place later. I have a date with my nurse practitioner, grocery shopping and other little errands, so later.

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  2. I was so happy when my husband came home after two weeks in Korea. Single parenthood sucks, even for a few days. Welcome home, Mathman!

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  3. Welcome home, Mathman!

    It's funny but we're having the same discussion right now about The Boy's homework. He hates us all and wants to move out.

    When this comes up (often...we suck) I copy DL Hughley and say, "Boy, don't nobody want your lazy, whining *ss but me."

    It works. I think he recognizes the truth in it. We are all 4 stuck together because no one else would have any one of us.

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  4. "I am the one who travels and he is left with a whip and chair and tranquilizer darts to make do"

    I'm glad that tranquilizer darts are last on the list of options.

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  5. Tranquilizer guns! Why didn't they tell me about the tranquilizer guns? And why isn't that in the parenting manual?

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  6. I had one of those "math moments" today with my son. He gets frustrated because he doesn't understand something, but he's either too proud or too ashamed to admit he doesn't know something, so he just tunes out and keeps repeating, "Yeah, yeah, I get it," hoping I'll move on to another subject.

    Some days I think if the only thing I teach him is that it's o.k., smart even, to admit you don't know something, then I'll have done my job.

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  7. I was stressed out with my husband in DC for the festivities and he was only gone for 36 hours.

    We don't have a webcam. Hmmmmm. It's a thought.

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  8. It's a good thing that you and MM can relax together and just be without kids around--because later on down the road the kids won't be around and some couples are only about their kids and once they're gone the couple falls apart.

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  9. I'm glad Mathman's home. But really, I can smell Sonic from down the block :)

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  10. It is always great when the pack is back together. World order and all that stuff. Crepes were good, wish you could have come, maybe next time. I will bring my laptop that has the webcam. Our next lunch is at my favorite Chinese place that leaves its Xmas decorations up all year long. Remember this is Spokane. As we say, East, Drink and be Merry because tomorrow you could be in Spokane.

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  11. I'm glad to hear he's home and well after what must have been an exhausting yet exhilarating time. I hope you won't be ticked off to know there are pictures of mathman on the nets blowing kisses to Michelle.

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  12. I keep meaning to say this and forget: I love the photos in the strip along the top of your blog... :)

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  13. I think we may have the same family and house.

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  14. Tranquilizer darts? You definitely have a technological advantage we older moms lacked. I had to use a lasso and ether.

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  15. At least you have MathMan to pawn the Spawn off on.

    I'm doing this parenting thing all by my lonesome.

    :-(

    Sherice

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  16. Mmmm Sonic. Have a fresh lemon slush and some heavily salted fries for me, okay?

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  17. So, did he in fact bring home any cheap, Chinese-made trinkets of American patriotism? That economy ain't fixed yet!

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  18. That's the set up Ang and I need....

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  19. This sentence/ paragraph:

    "As I begin with the rhetorical questions such as "Who left this corndog stick on top of the television?" or "Why is there a sock on that cat's tail?" and begin pulling the sofa cushions off so that I can see what nasty, half-chewed suprises await me there, MathMan smiles sheepishly, beats a hasty retreat for the far end of the house, abandoning me, rightfully so, to be fallen upon by the needy children who can't find a trashcan and who don't know that they should brush their teeth every day."

    makes you the master (mistress?) on so many levels that I must bow down and wait for you to either kick me or pet me (either will do) in acknowledgment or some other suck crap to prove my undying love.

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  20. I love reading your blog because it reminds me of raising three kids and all the crazies and also reminds me to listen to the silence and paint for the next 6 hours, so lisa, you are a wonderful blessing in my life ;)

    mostly I sat here with a ridiculous smile on my face as I read of the homecoming of dear old dad and the joys of Sonic, which closed in the SF area in 1995 ...

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  21. I am glad to be back. Thanks for talking care of business while I was gone - and all the time.

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  22. Is it bad that I can totally relate to this and yet my child is only a year old, and I only have one? Right now Zeke is very clingy with me, and I frequently get very frustrated with the "Jesus Christ, you do have more than one parent" type of feeling. When, as now, I have a minute to go online and pay bills or comment on a blog, it feels like a freaking vacation.

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  23. Glad Mathman is back safe and sound and your world is back to normal! Looking forward to hearing more about his trip.

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  24. I laughed so hard at "pleasantly ensconced in our matching black swivel chairs in front of our laptops." LOL! That SO sounds like Iwanski and me! :)

    And by the way, I love your writing and your honesty about-er-bodily functions and such. Hilarious! :)

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