Why don’t I blog more often than I used to? Well, there are a few reasons. One is that I’m busy Gettings Things Done.
You might not think it to see my life from afar, but I do more than it seems. My ever-evolving To Do list waxes and wanes and never seems to go away, but I realized not very long ago that I do get a lot of things done. The three girls (or two girls, when Amélie is at college) create all kinds of mess and time-draining crises. All. The. Time.
Today, for example, useless #3, or Charlotte as she is known here, forgot to take her pill last night and again this morning. Is this a big deal? Yes, because she faints/collapses when she doesn’t. That means I get called back from work to take her home. Or to the hospital if she has collapsed and smacked her head hard enough. Does her mom help? Sometimes, but often not. So today, I had to stop by the high school, have her brought to the clinic, and feed her the pills. As I was driving to work from there (** OK, I was going somewhere else first — see below), my sweet #2 daughter, Brigitte, texted to say she was feeling sick. Hmm. Brigitte doesn’t waste my time with this. So I stopped by the side of the road to see what’s going on. After a little back and forth, I elicited that she was going to throw up soon, had a mild fever, and generally needed to be brought home. *sigh* I asked her to try her mom first, but her mom said that she was busy and had a meeting. As if I had planned to be at work after 10am and miss my daily 10am meeting. Right. So, off I went, back to the high school again, back to the clinic, to pick up Brigitte and bring her home. I hung around for a little while to be sure she was going to be OK alone. And headed off to work, arriving at 10:30am. Yay me.
** I was going to see my girlfriend, Lillian, to drop off the kittens. As the boy kitten is now quite adept at knocking over glasses to get to the water inside, it’s a recent Family Rule that no one can leave glasses of water lying around. As Charlotte tried to set a world record for this RIGHT AFTER I MADE HER GO AROUND PICKING UP ALL OF THE GLASSES FROM THE PREVIOUS DAY, I had enough and handed over the kittens to Lillian. But this was on my way to work anyway, so it doesn’t count. Right?
Getting back to the achievements rather than problems, I realized that (a) I don’t sit around doing nothing at home almost any time now, and (b) even though I’ve been going out with Lillian for 10 months now and can count on her support for many things, I am still a ‘single dad’ in some respects and spend a lot of time working on basic house things that I never to do before. A month ago, I was cleaning up the kitchen and thought to myself that I was going to yell at the girls and say, “Hey, I’m not your mom, clean your own mess up!” Reflecting on that, I caught myself in two ways. First, why was I assuming that only a *mom* should have to clean a kitchen? Just because I had once had a wife who was a stay-at-home mom and happened to clean up way more than I did doesn’t make it a gender-specific task. Second, I realized there was no one else, “mom” or not, to clean up the kitchen. That is, I am both a mom and dad to them most of the time. That second thought took me by surprise. Having done the single dad thing for over 18 months now, I forget that it’s not a given for the kids to have only me to turn to most of the time. To counter what I’ve just said, the girls’ mom has been somewhat more involved over the past few months. More importantly, Lillian has been a mother figure for them. She has counseled, laughed with, helped, and loved the girls since getting to know them. But she’s not around all the time because she has her own house and daughter (who she too sometimes tries to sell on eBay when no one is looking, as nurturing a teen is a little like nursing a sick cow with a flatulence problem — there are lots of explosions, and you never know when the next one will occur).
Moving past my efforts to keep the kitchen clean and tidy, there is …. wait a moment, why should I stop there? Hey, I demand a Hero badge of some kind! Those girls are…PIGS! They leave crap everywhere in the kitchen AND the dining room AND the living room and elsewhere! Their idea of “doing the dishes” is to pile dishes in both sinks so neither can be used. Hello? When I remind them of that distant time when I had to help wash and dry and put away every dish, plate, pot, and pan before leaving the kitchen, they look at me as if I’m some old icon recalling days of yore. Well, I am, but that’s not the point. If I had to do all that shit, it seems reasonable to expect them to do ‘complex’ things like empty and load the dishwasher. Back me up here folks.
Ahem, moving on…
Contradicting myself all over again, I don’t live a “single” life:
– I have the girls and all of their limo trips (“Jeeves, I need to be at Regina’s at 2pm, so cancel all your plans and make it so”), medical appointments (for apparently healthy kids, you would not believe how many there are), their emergencies (“Dad, I need additional hair color stuff NOW! I can’t go to school like this!”), real emergencies (“Dad, you know how I told you to get more ‘feminine products’ last week? How about you drop what you’re doing and go get some right now?”), and their musical support (Marching Band is almost every day in August, music lessons are at least once a week per child with catch-ups for missed lessons, rehearsals for performances are all over the place before a performance, etc.).
– I have Lillian and the time I eke out to be with her. This year we have completed all kinds of things. Laid down a kitchen floor, painted, worked on a basement, assembled Ikea furniture (*after* she swore never to buy more again because it requires assembly), bought and sold sundry furniture via Craigslist (which has involved minivans, roof racks, and the huffing and puffing of moving unwieldy heavy items around), assembled a table tennis table (with instructions that didn’t match the table itself — uggh!), emptied a garage-size storage locker and moved it elsewhere, visited multiple kids in hospital for multiple reasons, and so on. And that’s just the ‘working’ stuff as opposed to going out together shopping, walking the dogs, and other companionable activities.
– I have other friends that I get to see from time to time.
But I don’t live a ‘complete’ life either. I have too many things backed up at home. I have filed for divorce, but not finalized the legalities yet. Because Lillian and I are very close, I have a ‘half-life’ at both homes sometimes. I have to deal with one teen daughter whose opinion so closely reflect the misguided beliefs of my ex that there is no doubt I am being disparaged behind my back with various resentments and tension being created as a result.
Despite my super-busy life, I wouldn’t give it up. I wouldn’t give up the girls. I wouldn’t give up my time with Lillian. I don’t like that the house isn’t as I want it, or that I don’t have any time at all for TV anymore, or that I read but not as much as I used to (although I have become used to reading books on my iPhone 5 — how about that, TPG?!). Overall, my life is not what I expected it to be, but it’s turning out nicely. I’m on a journey and I can see there a few paths ahead of me, branching off in different directions. I don’t know which one I will be on yet, but I’m not in a hurry to find out. I’m alive, I’m healthy, I have nice people around me (yes, even my kids are nice…*grump*). Live life. Love it!