thisworldofhurt

Archive for 2015|Yearly archive page

Quirks, Ticks, and other Oddities

In children, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, wives, Women on December 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I’m not sure how we measure up against the rest of the inhabitants of this fast spinning ball of rock we call Earth, but I am certain when I say: Human beings are an unusual lot. Along with opposable thumbs and larger brain area, we also have unusual personality traits and bizarre eccentricities. And through creating mechanisms in order to adapt our surroundings to fit our personalities, we develop rituals and traditions to cope with the world around us.

I am fascinated by how uniquely different on some of the simplest things we all are. For instance I have one child who is terrified of clowns—no circuses, no rodeos—while another child is equally afraid of moths. That’s right, moths. Those little, nocturnal, mostly blind, butterfly-like insects, that in my daughter’s world, bring infant amounts of painful agony and death at the slightest touch of its teenie tiny, itty bitty, dust covered wings.

I have a friend that is completely freaked out by cross-eyed people, while another refuses to eat red M&Ms, insisting the red dye is still a leading cause of cancer. I have a number of personal oddities, such as I eat my meals one item at a time, deciding where to start by which food item holds in heat the longest. The things that cool down fast get eaten first. I am also not a fan of speaking the word “Tripod”. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s a weird word to say.

The rituals we develop within our world is no less strange. They become more complex as we grow and gain experience into adulthood. When we get married there is a whole new set of rituals we create to either work with or work around our spouse, and to adapt to changing surroundings.

For instance, when my wife and I moved to a new bedroom, one side of the bed was against the wall. I am an extremely heavy sleeper, therefore I wanted the side closest to the door. My reasoning was because if there was a fire in the house, and my wife woke to the smell of smoke and fire, she could panic, get up and run out of the room, leaving me to sleep through my own demise. However, if I slept between her and the door, no matter how heavy of a sleeper I am, a panic-crazed woman scrambling across you in the middle of the night will wake you up. No doubt about it.

When the baby came along, that all changed. Mom needed to be close to the baby, and now I sleep in the fire danger zone next to the wall.

Now at the end of the day my wife will take any measures necessary in order to make sure that she gets into the bed first. This way I am forced to go through the house turning off all the lights she has left on. Most nights she turns in before me as I tend to stay up writing or reading for a bit before bed. However, if for any reason that we choose to hit the sack at the same time, she kicks her nighttime rituals into overdrive. I have no proof of this of course, but I’m certain she is thinking something like, “My hair has been in a clip all day. How dirty can it be? I’ll get a shower in the morning and get to bed sooner.” Or maybe something like, “I’m sure that just one night a week, I can gain an efficient amount of oral hygiene from 25 seconds of brushing instead of the full 2 minutes.”

And as a result of her preparation and planning, I am stumbling around attempting echolocation to avoid the countless obstacles in the now dark house.

My wife has a few quirks of her own you understand, one of which is she does not like the closet doors to be left open. She claims it is because an open closet door jacks with her feng shui. I think it’s because she still believes in the closet monster, but either way, she would prefer doors to be closed.

So, after stubbed toes, banged shins, and a few colorful metaphors, I fling the closet door open and crawl into my side of the bed next to the wall, sniffing the air for smoke until I drift off to the unconscious nether regions of This World of Hurt.

 

Shop Like a Man

In Baggage, children, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, shopping, wives, Women on December 15, 2015 at 10:41 am

One would think in a house full of women, to have a wife that hates shopping would be a good thing, and for the most part, it is indeed. I however, unlike most men, enjoy shopping quite a bit. But, I shop like a man.

Many people have a misunderstanding when it comes to the shopping man. Psychology majors the world over would have us believe the modern shopping man is nothing more than a descendent of the hunter gatherer from the stone age. The truth has been lost to over analysis and decades of honey-do-lists. It has been the invention of shopping list that over time has skewed reality. The cave man didn’t have a specified list to follow. He didn’t head out into the wild and say, “I shall bring home no less that 3 medium size, Grade-A pterodactyl eggs.” No. He woke up and said, “Me go kill something. … Ugh.”

The point is: Even when not tied down to a list of items, men shop differently than women. Men may not know exactly what we’re looking for, but we do have an idea, criteria, a shadowy outline of what it is were after. Women on the other hand, have indecision. The red one? Black? Maybe the green one? No, definitely the red one. The yellow one’s nice.

Men walk in and say, “Great, they have the thing I’m looking for. But no blue one. … Next.” And off we go until we find a blue one. Then if the price is right, we buy the blue one, and leave.

On a shopping trip with my in-laws, my nephew said to me, “Stores always have plenty of stuff for women and almost nothing for men.”

I told him this was not true. Every store has a cash register.

At least that’s how it is when we to through the checkout line. And this isn’t because of some chivalrous gesture on my part, nor is it because of some traditional concept of “the man is the head of the household”. And it isn’t because I’m the one with the money. I’m not her sugar daddy. I’m her husband. In fact, technically I’m her employee. She just doesn’t want to hear how much we stuff into that cash register, so she goes to start the car before she hears the total.

Not that it matters, we don’t have money. We have children instead.

Therefore let me pass on a few shopping tips to my fellow men as you prepare yourselves for this upcoming holiday shopping season. As whether you like to shop or not, you’re shopping.

First of all—and most important: If you have a place to ditch the kids. Do it.

I’m not suggesting you leave your kids wandering around the clothing depart while you head over to the auto parts store. I just mean find some friend or relative to stash the munchkins with for the day. Taking kids to a store is like taking them on a road trip. … if the inside of the car was the size of a football field. You have a task you must complete and it requires your concentration. After all shopping isn’t easy. The kids sense the distraction and exploit it.

Best if you leave them with Aunt Suzie.

Next, if possible, all of your wife’s purchase decisions should be based on weight. Think about it. You are not only the wielder of the wallet. You double as a pack mule.

And lastly, every chance you have to offer your wife food or cocktails, do so. I promise you, another slice of pizza or a vodka-sour can shave hours off your scheduled shopping spree.

So, ditch the kids, buy the red one—it looks less heavy than the green one—finish up those fries, and have one more round, because everything’s half off in This World of Hurt.

 

Who needs a GPS?

In Baggage, children, daughters, GPS, Humor, husbands, life, love, Parents, Travel, Uncategorized, wives, Women on November 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm

There will be many families hitting the highways during the upcoming holiday seasons, and mine will be among them. I consider myself to be an adequate driver, somewhere around average, but I have, unquestionably, one of the worst senses of direction of any person alive. My internal compass malfunctioned shortly after childbirth, and has yet to be repaired. So, don’t follow me, I only drive around in expanding circles until I recognize a place I’ve been lost in before.

However, I understand directions, and have developed good skills with a map and a compass, and I will admit that I often rely on GPS, and frequently use Onstar. My wife on the other hand, is the only person I know who will tell the computer generated Onstar voice that they are wrong. Her problem has never been knowing the way to get to where we’re going. Her problem is deciding on where we’re going.

For instance: Like most men, I really don’t care where we eat. So, the old Abbot and Costello routine plays out every time we face hunger.

“Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know. What do you feel like eating?”

” I don’t know. What do you feel like eating?”

That is, of course, unless I’m really hungry, and then I will make a quick decision. And then, of course, my wife tries to talk me out of that decision by asking me if I want to eat at just about every restaurant that we pass along the way.

And it goes like this:

“Where do you want to eat?”

“Taco Bell. Quick. Tasty. Cheap.”

“It’s the other way. You’ll have to turn around.”

I turn around.

“There’s Wendy’s… How about KFC?… We could go to that sandwich shop.”

So, basically our road trips consist of: a pilot with no sense of direction and a navigator with issues in decision making. Now, take them, and lock them in a car for 10 hours with 5 girls.

It goes like this:

“Sounds like our exit’s coming up.”

“Onstar is wrong. It’s the next one, I’m pretty sure.”

“Dad, tell her to stop using me as a pillow.”

“Mom, she took my thing.”

“That’s because she took my thing.”

“Her feet stink.”

“She’s touching me.”

“She’s breathing my air.”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Now couple all of that with the fact that, although my wife knows exactly how to get there, she has a total inability to tell me how to get there, at least not with any consistency.

She chooses a different method of direction giving every time. Sometimes she will give me cardinal directions, which are excellent, if the sun is up—It’s not like I carry a compass in my pocket. But she tends to reserve this one for nighttime driving, usually when she is giving me directions via telephone. So, there I am driving around in circles with the phone to my ear and my head out the window looking for the North Star.

Other times she will call out the directions in simple commands: Right. Left. Straight. This is my preferred method, provided of course she is paying attention to where I’m going. Otherwise, she will look up from a recently sent text message and say, “You should have turned left back there.”

She often incorporates the point method. I don’t like this one because I never see it coming, and even once I have been made aware of the method chosen, the finger pointing system requires a level of observation and multitasking I do not possess.

She now has a newly developed and implemented verbal system I am calling IVANS (Indistinct Verbal Ambiguous Navigation System). Until this new system came online, I had no idea that-a-way was an official direction.

So, wherever you may be traveling to this season, when you see the Suburban with the Texas plates, the one full of girls, with a lone man at the helm and the good looking blond in the seat next to him, looking at her phone and pointing in no particular direction, slip in behind us. We will be diving in expanding circles until I find the North Star. Then we will be taking a right, a left, and a sharp turn that-a-way before pulling into the driveway of This World of Hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

Area 51… Or Maybe Just My Bathroom

In Abductions, Aliens, Chicktography, Dads, daughters, dresses, Footwear, Humor, husbands, Investigations, Laundry, life, love, Men, naked, Parents, Sandals, shoes, UFOs, Women on November 19, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Every home in America contends with laundry. A home with six permanent and two part-time residents generates quite a bit of it. When five of the six permanent residents are girls, two of whom are teenagers, the home tends to generate the average American family’s weekly laundry allotment in about sixteen hours. For those of you who may not be familiar with teenage girl wardrobe selection protocols, please allow me to give you a brief summery of the manual.

Actually, the previous statement was a lie. I cannot tell you what is contained within the pages of this manual, as I have never seen it. It is a strictly guarded secret in the female realm, much like their special language. The language where the wife speaks the words, “I am so thirsty,” which could be translated into “Honey, I would like you to bring me something to drink,” or perhaps, “I am so tired of summer. I can’t wait for fall time,” or “Does anybody know where I sat down my glass of water?” or it could mean, “I am so thirsty”. Who knows? Not me. All I know is when my wife speaks in this way, there is a 70% chance I will interpret her meaning incorrectly.

Why? Because I have never seen this manual containing this language, rules, interpretations, addendums, or in this case, dismissed wardrobe selection protocols, that’s why. And even if I did stumble across one, it would take a special decoder ring in order to actually read what was printed on the pages inside. Therefore all I can do is give you my assumptions based on observations I have witnessed over the last several years.

In the world of the teenage girl, the mere consideration of wearing an outfit for the day deems the outfit mentally soiled, thus requiring a laundering service. Basically, thinking about wearing something makes it dirty. And apparently, prepubescent girls have a condensed but similar manual.

In the elementary version of this textbook there is a different set of clothing protocols. While there seems to be nothing specifically about wardrobe considerations, there is some kind of parameter that states the dirty clothes hamper is a perfectly acceptable overflow container when the dresser drawer is full. At least this is my assumption as I can think of no other reason I would find layers of neatly folded clothing beneath piles of dirty ones.

And this constitutes only a small portion of the laundry we create. These are the clothes not worn. The remaining articles of clothing, the ones actually worn, those requiring soap and water, take up a considerable portion of one of the rooms in our house.

A couple of years ago we built onto our home in order to accommodate the growing size of our family. One of the things we did was to build on a bathroom large enough to install a washer, dryer, and hot water heater. With a double sink, toilet, and bathtub, as you can imagine, this bathroom could easily equal a small bedroom in many homes.

Not long ago, after skipping a few days of laundry due to extra time spent working at the newspaper office, I stepped into the back bathroom to catch up on some household chores. I was concerned, if not shocked, perhaps even momentarily terrified at what I saw.

The clothing lay strewn about the floor in a most curious fashion. There were shirts, inside out, hair ties cinching the fabric to better fit the form of the slender body that no longer remained inside. I saw pants along side the shirts, inside out, underwear still attached; in some cases, socks peeking from inside the cuffs of the legs as if some mysterious force sucked the body from within the garments. Empty shoes, boots, and sandals tossed about the floor, a floor I could no longer see. This was either the epicenter of one of the worst laundering accidents experienced by mankind, or this was the scene of a massive alien abduction.

In the end, I figured if the aliens had them, they better hope they had one heck of a laundry facility aboard their interstellar craft, because they had abducted an entire squad of laundry generators. I smiled, alone with the thoughts of just how foolish this “superior” species had been to abduct my crew. I set about my task of triaging the scene by color, which was promptly ignored when the girls had returned home, apparently not abducted by aliens after all.

So, for now, I will just continue to buy the industrial size detergent box, keep looking to the stars for potential UFOs, and make sure the Maytag Man is on speed dial, because the quest for whiter whites is an uphill battle in This World of Hurt.

Take me to the Mountain

In Babies, baby, Baggage, children, Dads, Humor, husbands, life, Travel on November 9, 2015 at 12:05 am

Over this last weekend, The Middles packed their bags, traveling with the Rotan Yellowhammer Marching Band to the State Marching Contest in San Antonio. In his traveling-by-bus wisdom, the band director restricted the bag limit of the band members. I was amazed at how much the girls were able to cram into the few bags they took, which got me thinking about how much I wish I had the authority to enforce such protocols in my family’s travels.

As one can imagine, with 9 people in the family, we do not travel light. Even the baby has more than one bag, although one of those is a diaper bag. And just on a side note here: my wife made fun of me when I came home with a diaper bag I was quite proud of. Not some dainty thing with minimal cargo room, no. I brought home the type of bag a swat team member might carry for necessary tactical gear.

Right now there are moms laughing out loud, or rolling their eyes and shaking their heads saying, “Men.” Conversely, there men reading this, also laughing, but saying, this guy is a genius.

Laugh if you want, but I’m telling you: You will not find a better container to transport the essential items necessary for infant field operations than a SOG tactical bag. Baby wipes, diapers, Sippy-cup or bottle, blanket, extra clothes, burp rags, toys, pacifier, snacks, ointment, powder, lotion, all within its own zippered compartment. And with the removable, un-foldable, padded pistol pouch, we have a nice comfortable place to lay the baby while we change them. After all: even barbarians understand a baby needs a comfy place to lay their naked bum.

It is easy to draw the conclusion, even a simple trip to town can be daunting for the luggage-packing department, i.e. me. We live some 15 miles outside of town; therefore, we like to make sure we have everything we need when we head into town for work and school. It was just such a return from work trip I was reflecting upon when I had the wish to establish a bag limit.

We pulled to a stop under the carport. Everyone hopped out and grabbed their stuff. I ducked into the backseat and extract the baby, and then swung around the back of the car to retrieve work items and baby gear from the rear hatch. We all moved around one another in some kind of chaotic ballet. I ran down the list of items of my responsibility: Satchel? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop case? Check. Incredibly efficient and totally functional diaper bag? Check. Baby’s push toy? Check. Baby? Check.

I closed the hatch and was plotting a course for the front door, when I heard the laughter. I look up to see my wife on the porch, a single purse nestled in the crook of her elbow, cell phone in one hand, and the index finger of the other poised ominously over the phone’s screen. Maybe she was texting, maybe she was Facebooking, Instagraming, Twittering, or otherwise preparing to post the picture she was undoubtedly about to take.

And why not capture the moment. While she stood there comfortably on the porch, I looked like a Himalayan Sherpa. Bring it on Everest. My bags are packed.

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Which is true in a sense. My life with my girls is very similar to my life as a firefighter. The briefing is always vague, and I never know when I’m going to get toned out. I just need to be prepared, and have my gear in a state of readiness, as I rarely know what’s going on.

My wife says this is because I don’t listen, and she’s probably right, but I like to hold fast to a different theory. I think during certain times of the day the isotope content in the air builds up, momentarily disrupting the frequency of the female voice, rendering it inaudible to the male ear. During times of sun spots, solar flares, and some phases of the moon, the effects of this anomaly can be increased, sometimes spanning several hours or days. Groups of men can also create a bubble of frequency disturbance, especially if said frequency is received via telephone. I call this the T-effect, or testosterone effect, due to the heightened levels of testosterone men experience when performing macho acts with other guys, especially close friends. That’s the theory I’m going with anyway.

But I know this, that group of guys can pack all they will need for a weekend trip in a Ziploc freezer bag. 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear (optional), toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a brush for those who still have hair: packing complete.

We are men and require very little space. Which is a good thing, because cargo room is a limited commodity when traveling across This World of Hurt.

Salty Tears and Somersaults

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Personal space has been in short supply in our house for quite some time. We have had kids doubled up in rooms for years, and we actually have quite a few rooms. However, things changed a bit over this last summer. The oldest, who has been attending South Plains College in Levelland TX, found an apartment in Lubbock TX, and branched out on her own. We are proud of her, but The Middles were ecstatic. (The Middles are my two freshmen girls for those of you not having read This World of Hurt before).

There is a term, Dead Man’s Shoes; it’s rarely used anymore. Nobody really knows where it came from. Maybe an ancient nautical term dating back to when shoes were hard to come by on a sailing ship, or perhaps it references battlefield promotions during war, or it just be a position with no designated retirement age, but they all tell the same message: You’re not getting this until somebody dies. Thus Dead Man’s Shoes, and that’s what The Middles were so happy about. Somebody dies, and somebody else gets promoted. Somebody moves out, and a room becomes vacant. Somebody else moves in.

In fare Verona and all that,(look it up), I tell you this to set the stage.

My father was in town over the weekend, and we were spending a little time as a family. The moving process was smooth. The Middles talked it over, decisions were reached, one packed, and the other helped her pack. But as it tends to happen to all of us who have more than one place to keep our stuff, moving all of the belongings from one place to another continues to drag on. And this was the catalysis to the explosion.

My wife was scolding the Middles over the condition of their room, to which one blamed the other for the untidiness. To paraphrase, one said, “I’ve been keeping my room clean. The only thing on my floor, are the clothes that she left in there when she moved into the other room.”

As you can imagine, the comment elicited a response from the other, which in turn, created a snowball effect. Tensions became tight, voices became elevated, and they were displaying the same mannerisms they used to when they were 9, and I had to hold them apart while their angry fists swung at the empty air between them. My wife had instinctively assumed her feet apart, knees bent, hands flat, fingers extended ninja defense pose, her eyes darting from one child to the next, ready for action.

I was slowly backing out of the room, my head swiveling about looking for safe harbor, which I found, as my wise old father had already dropped anchor on the living room couch. Pirates stick together.

I looked at my father, and he looked at me, eyes wide. If we had popcorn, we would have popped it, because there was about to be a boxing match. Let’s get ready to rumble.

The arguing gave way to yelling, hands turned to fists, teeth clinched, and jaws set. And then. … something entirely unexpected happened. The lips on one of the set jaws quivered. A domino effect, a chain reaction moving from crinkled cheeks, to closed eyes, to slack shoulders, and then. … crying. This emotion created a desire to be hugged, and she reached for her sister. Despite the preparation to defend herself in bloody combat just seconds before, the sister returned the gesture, locking into an embrace.

Some kind of electrical current was exchanged, perhaps some kind of unknown female emotion sharing program that men are ignorant of, but whatever the science, the other one began to cry as well. There were exchanges of I love yous and laughter. It was like falling down an elevator shaft. First you’re here, and then you’re Ahhhhhh.

I looked at my father, and he looked at me, eyes wide. If we had Olympic score cards, we would have held them up, displaying straight 10s across the board for the feat of emotional gymnastics that we just witnessed; even the Canadian judge would have given them a 9.5 for the ninja pose alone.

I will admit, like much of my life living with my girls, I can understand part only of it. At least in principle. After all, men have a similar way of working out issues. We just don’t typically cry or hug. If some fella wrongs us, it’s not uncommon to go exchange a few words, throw a few punches, buy him a beer afterwards, and become best friends for 40 years. But like I said earlier, pirates stick together.

So, plot a sound course for safe harbor, and keep a weather eye on the horizon, because the winds of change move quickly when you’re in the middle of This World of Hurt.

 

Conversations on a One-way Street

In children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, husbands, life, Men, Moms on October 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Let me give you a quick explanation of the structural breakdown regarding my children, how they are grouped, and the corresponding nicknames that accompany those groups. Together there are 7 of them, and their groups are as: “The Oldest”—because she’s the oldest, “The Boy”—because he’s the only boy, “The Middles”—because they are in the middle, “The Littles”—you guessed it, because they’re younger than the Middles, and “The Baby”—this should be evident.

The other night I was part of a conversation, which took place between my wife, the Middles, and myself. The conversation was a fairly typical one that takes place between teenage girls and their parents all across the nation at the end of a long hard day: part personally informative, part gossip and conjecture, and part motivational and inspirational.

Admittedly, I was doing a bit of writing during this conversation, but I was keeping up with the exchanged dialogue, and I even chimed in when I had something worthwhile to contribute. In fact, I had just raised a question, posing it to my wife while she opened the door to the refrigerator. Then, all the sudden, something happened: a long pause occurred, and then it got weird.

Have you ever been following directions to some destination in an unfamiliar city? And let’s say the final part of these instructions was to make a right turn onto a one-way street—how about we use Washington Ave? Cities love to name streets for presidents. So, you make a right turn onto Washington Ave, and you don’t stray from this one-way street. You think you’re getting pretty close to your destination, and you look up at the street sign to discover that you are now traveling down Kennedy PKWY. It is a terribly disturbing recollection, correct? This is what had just taken place in our conversation.

I had asked a question, yet we were no longer engaged in the same conversation we were just microseconds before. My wife’s response had absolutely nothing to do with the question I had asked. To make me even more confused, the Middles seemed to move right along without missing a beat.

I immediately brought this to the attention of the group, because I am a man after all. I’m not afraid of anything. … apart from arithmetic that is. “Wait a minute,” I said. “That didn’t have anything to do with what I asked.”

“Yes it did,” my wife said. “Don’t you remember the conversation we were having in the car on Saturday?”

A conversation from the car on Saturday had just completed itself in the kitchen on Monday. Fortunately, I did in fact remember the conversation from Saturday; however, I have no idea how the current night’s preceding discussion tied into it whatsoever. So, naturally, I said so. Because I am a man, and we just don’t give a lot of thought about things like this before we say them. “That conversation doesn’t have anything to do with the question I asked,” I said.

“Yes it does,” my wife said, and then proceeded to explain to me why.

Then it got bad for me. My manly memory could indeed recall there was a conversation on Saturday, and I could recall what it was about—mostly. My wife on the other hand, was able to remember each detail of the conversation. She pointed out that in subsection 9, paragraph 14, 3rd bullet point down in the conversation, such and such did this thing, and that led to so and so needing to do this other thing, and what happened next tied my question into the night’s conversation perfectly.

As she explained, I watched the Middles nodding their heads in sequential affirmation, and I knew I had no dog in this hunt.

You would think after all these years surrounded by my little ladies, I would have a better operational understanding. I do not.

All I can say is I will do my best to take better notes on the conversations I am allowed to be a part of. And next time I will hopefully have a better conversational map. For now, I will just have to try to do my best at navigating through This World of Hurt.

The Human Walkie Talkie

In Babies, baby, children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Moms, Parents on October 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

A bit more than a year ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our 6th daughter. Surrounded by so many women, one can imagine that I am pulled in a number of different directions. Or another—and probably more accurate—way to say it is: I get bossed around a lot. However, after a few months with the new baby, I realized something: My wife was no longer giving me any directions at all. Or at least not when the baby was around.

Nowadays my wife provides me with suggestions of what I need to do in soft, gentle tones, imbedded within conversations between herself and the baby. The baby’s’ name is Everleigh by the way. We call her “E”. She is going to grow up thinking her name is Missy, since she seems to hear, “What are you doing Miss E?” so often, especially since she is now walking. But I digress.

The point is: Now I have to listen closely to what my wife is saying to E in order to discern what instructions my wife is laying out for me. For instance, before the baby was born, and the family was preparing to head out to some destination, my wife might say to me, “why don’t you start loading the car so we can get out of here and hit the road?”. However, now those instructions are beautifully woven into the peaceful inflections my wife uses to speak, not to me, but to the child. She will look at the baby and softly speak, “We will be able to go, just as soon as daddy gets the car ready.”

And there you go. I am expected to “overhear” this conversation, and immediately jump into action, loading the car with no further instruction. And this is not limited to vehicular preparations; virtually any job duty imaginable may be delegated to me in this fashion. “Would you like daddy to feed you dinner so mommy can do a little work?” “Daddy is going to give you a bath in just a little bit.” This one is tricky because she uses the phrase “a little bit”. She says, “a little bit”, but she means, “Right now”. “Why don’t you see if daddy will change your diaper?” This last one also conveys a sense of urgency. This sentence could be boiled down to just two nouns: Daddy & Diaper.

My child has become a human walkie talkie. A covert message delivery system designed to trip up the male of the species in order to prove the much debated saying that men do not listen? Well of course we men understand that it’s simply rude to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations, yet once the babies come along we must learn this skill. We must become more than husbands, more than fathers, we must become international super spies, able to decode the encrypted messages exchanged from spouse to offspring so that we may maintain a state of readiness.

And to answer the question that is on the mind of so many first time fathers out there: No, this does not work in the opposite direction. This will be a one-way form of communication. If you soothingly tell your child, “I bet mommy is going to dress you in the cutest outfit,” she will move about her day as if you had said nothing at all. It is quite impossible to speak in a soft voice and be heard over the commotion of thoughts taking place in the mind of your wife. The female brain multitasks, every second of every day, while men have a difficult enough time feeding ourselves while watching the game.

Learn to listen my friends, to whomever your wife may be saying it to, especially the human walkie talkie. Breaker Breaker 1-9, listen up good buddy. James Bond only succeeded with the ladies, because he was wearing his secrete decoder ring. At least that’s how I see it, living in This World of Hurt.

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