Thursday, October 07, 2004
Burn baby, burn!
The Mrs was in North/Central NJ yesterday so there was no chance that she would be home in time to accompany me to Child Reeducation Camp to get our two little dissidents. I managed even though Alexis has firmly insisted that she is not interested in being in any sort of restraining seat. So I go pick up the kids and when I ask Alexis if she would please sit down so we can go home, she makes a bee-line for the front seat. Why am I surprised? We get into a death-match struggle which I eventually win, but then have the unrelenting complaints to contend with all the way home. We thankfully get home even though the entire distance between the Manor and the CRC is packed with SUV driving Grannies, teens in Lexus/BMW/Mercedes and lost Tractor-Trailer pilots. For a residential road, it sure gets more than it's share of through-traffic. Probably because the bridge here over the PA Turnpike is the only North-South one for miles around. Bad urban planning, but it was here when George Washington and York marched up and down it when they had their battles in the area 200+ years ago.
When I got home, the Twins were shouting at me to let them go play on the Towers and since I'm such a push-over, I went along with it. They were actually pretty well behaved and didn't wander too far. The dogs were there so they would follow them where ever they went once they left the sand-pit. It's not to hard to spot 2 giant yellow hounds dancing about a 25-30 lb toddler. The kids can't get very far either with that kind of interference. They actually surprised me too with their insistence that I let them do the swings by themselves. I get to spend some time just watching them since there will be no wood-chopping tonight. After some time, I grab Alexis and head inside. I have learned that it is not a good idea to ask for recommendations as to when would it be a good time to go inside. 'Never' would probably be the answer 99% of the time. Jacob tails me as we all march and stomp inside. If you make it fun, they don't notice as much. Shake the sand off the shoes, dust off the pants and send them into the kitchen. Engage in 'Seat Fight' 2.0 and get dinner rolling. This isn't as bad as I had anticipated. By the time the Mrs gets home, the dinner is over and it is time to play again.
Bed time comes soon enough and the only thing that will get them out of the tub is to pour water on their heads to wash out the soap. Either they understand that it is the end of the bath or they got soap in their eyes. They seem ok with getting water poured over their heads at the start of the bath, so I might be the later explanation. Of course, they take great pleasure in splashing water on the nearest adult doing the bathing so I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Bed time is that last hurdle the Exhausted Mrs MDMHVONPA and I must make it past before we can get a moment to catch our breath. The kids didn't drink their entire bottles tonight which made me a bit concerned. They must have had their fill of fluids tonight. I knew, however, that Jacob would probably wake up in the middle of the night with his typical complaints. Before we could put them down, they have to collect their night-time things that they cannot do without. Blankies, pillows, stuffed animals, pacifiers, towels and pretty much every thing that can buy them a few more seconds before they are put to bed. Recently, Jacob has been obsessing over a little Thomas the Tank Engine catalog that the Mrs had picked up. He treats this thing like an Ancient Illuminati Relic. No rips, no folds. He gently and with purpose, turns each page as he lies next to it, fully absorbing each image on the page. This time, the catalog was left downstairs and he would not budge till it was returned to him. If I can get my hands on this thing, I should take a look at it. It probably has all the secrets of the universe in , but recorded so only a child would comprehend it.
As expected, Jacob was up at about 0300 and did not drift back to sleep. I asked the Mrs if she wanted me to take care of it and she was pretty insistent that I just let him go. After a few moments of listening to his complaints, I guess she re-considered and went off to console him. I hear her go into the Twins' room over the monitor and he hushed up pretty quickly. I nodded off and didn't realize that she did not come back until some time later when I rolled over and didn't find her there. I assume that she came back quite some time later when I woke to the sounds of an ambulance going down the street behind the Mansion. It seemed to go on forever, and then the Hounds heard it. They began to howl and sing like it was the end of the earth. I could not believe how much noise they made. It would have been funny if it were in the middle of the day, but there was a good chance that if they had carried on like this till the ambulance had passed, the Grumpy Twins of Sleep Deprivation would wake up. Then there would be trouble. The Wife jumped out of the bed, stomped her feet on the floor and yelled for them to "SHUT UP!". Then here was silence from within the halls of the Haupertonian Mansion and only the receding echo of the sirens outside.
It was a rough night for everyone and it is only Thursday.
DAMN RUBBERNECKERS! Since I didn't get on the road till 0700, I knew that I would not get in all too early. Fate had a nasty little trick up her sleeve for me. As I'm leaving the house, the Mrs had turned on the tv for the kids and a news cast was up. It was reporting on a car fire on the turnpike. It was in the Eastbound lanes so I assumed I was going to be ok with it. Not so. As I make my approach to the turnpike, I get near enough to it at one point to see a mass of traffic backed up in the west-bound direction. Knowing that this will result in a mess on the inter-change that I use, I re-route to Path B that takes me around to the south side onramp rather than the north side with Path A. Ahhh, I'm sooo clever, aint I? Soooo, I was right and the interchange is a mess, but I slip into the right most lane and pass most of the melee between the Truckers and the Starch Collar Slaves. The traffic is barely moving and I know why. The accident at the next interchange five miles away has caught the attention of the west bound rubber-neckers and it has caused this mess. It is probably backed up all the way to the Rt 1 interchange. That is about 5 miles to the east so at least my Karma has spared me that grief. The jumble of cars slowly sift through the EZPass gates (did I mention that I adore EZPass?) and slowly shakes out from 4 lanes to 1 with some jockeying and jostling. I find that if you can get the driver in the next car to look you in the eye, he will invariably motion you to go forward. Only if it is a 'he' mind you. Not to cast stones, but if the next driver is a female, she will assume you are looking at her so you can tell her to go first. Most of the time. With the former case, either I have that look about me like I'm about to kill someone or I have learned the elementary fundamentals of the puppy-dog look from Alexis and Jacob. Eventually, I get past the backup and everything is going much quicker than I like so I park my rear in the slow lane and dawdle along at 65-70. Mind you, its a 55 zone but people are PISSED and in no mood to waste any more of their lives on this god-forsaken paved strip of despair. Yes, it is the 'Bumper Sucking Love Fest' that gets the heart pumping for these poor tortured souls. As I get a periodic glimpse of the east bound traffic between the Trucker Missiles and SUV SCUDS I am horrified. The traffic is backed up from the Fort Washington interchange all the way out to the Valley Forge interchange (KOP) where I exit. It is not moving at all either. That is about 15 miles of concentrated fury and angst. It almost makes me feel bad about getting to work at 0800.