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2:26 p.m. - July 16, 2005
Add Two Adults, Two Children, A Crappy Week, and Simmer.
My intention was always to write at least three times a week, but ever since Kristin was born I haven’t had the energy or the great ideas come forth from my brain to sustain my intended pace.

That probably could be expected. Newborns take more out of you than you think they do. All you want to do, after taking care of them and going to work, is to find a spare 20 to 30 minutes to snooze, chill, zone out, something that doesn’t require brain function.

Then, of course, there are other factors in my lack of recent writings.


Snow White, Liz’s best friend, came into town for four days, bringing her two kids and her adult niece.

Doing a quick count, there were four adults, a 10-year old, a 7-year old, a 3-year old and 5 week old in my domicile.

And they came at a particularly bad time, for me personally. It was the week before I go to Iowa at the behest of the Guru to present at a new conference he and his partner just started. It is also near the end of fiscal year end which for me means lots of report writing, number checking, and gathering material for the audit.

But came they did, and I tried to be a gracious host, without being surly, grumpy, or just out of it.

I do want to mention that the kids involved are nice and well behaved, but the 7-year old and Katie together can be a handful. Katie is very headstrong, and so is he, and they both know they’re right. So refereeing those arguements can be a chore.

Monday, I grilled everyone hamburgers, which gave me some alone time out there. I was definitely man in his element: a Red Stripe (hooray beer!), meat, charcoal, and grill tools, with new tunes on the iPod. We also had a birthday party for Snow White’s two kids, since their birthday was recent. So that was a pleasant night. I even got to bed before 1:00 in the morning, since Kristin co-operated on her sleep pattern.

Tuesday, I made my spaghetti, and actually played waiter for everyone, serving them and taking their plates away. Was there an ulterior motive? You bet!I wanted to watch the All-Star game – so I was the good host before disappearing with Red Stripes and TiVo remote in hand. The ladies all went to the other room to chat.

And they can chat, let me tell you. They can gab, gossip, chitter-chatter, pick-a-little, talk-a-little, you name it. I found out so many things about people I don’t know and probably will never meet. I could do a tell-all about nobody in particular.

After the game I was trying to watch a movie or two, and the couch got me – then Kristin woke up, and I never got into sync. So Tuesday night was weird all around. Kristin then woke up early on Wednesday so I had odd hours of sleep and just felt blah all day on Wednesday.

I also looked over my presentations for Iowa and had a fit of panic – that they weren’t good enough and I was going to blow my big chance.

Then I came home to a cacophony. Noise everywhere – and all I wanted was some piece and quiet. Not going to happen today. Pizza was on the menu, but they wanted to eat early. I was in a sour mood – I had a late lunch and I wasn’t that hungry. So I was grumbly and whiny.

Not exactly a positive behavior that you want to model before your child. I can just picture Katie scowling, and rolling her eyes like me in a few years. And I only have myself to blame – and I can point to the date (so Liz won’t have to. It’s a pre-emptive nag! Yes, dear, I know where she got it – it’s in my notes here.)

There were plans for cake and ice cream, but I had to make a pit stop. When I emerged, I was told that I had missed a call on my cell phone.

It was a call I had wanted to make for a few days. Hopefully, I was going to clear up a misunderstanding. So I said I had to take this call – and I went outside to talk.

Well, things were cleared up, for sure. That’s OK in the long run. But I again didn’t model great behavior. I stood outside trying to be private and not have everyone involved in my drama. Of course, what this did was just heighten suspicion and the spouse was a bit ticked. Which is worse, definitely, than leaving the situation that I was dealing with unresolved for another day.

Again, I didn’t want anyone to be sucked into my vortex of feelings, but what was I going to say. “No, this wasn’t my girlfriend?” “No, I am not Karl Rove’s source on the Wilson leak?” “No, I’m not a spy for CHAOS?” So I didn’t say much – which didn’t set well.

So I felt a weird cold shoulder when I got back in. I was a mess inside because of all the crap that was going on internally and externally from several areas. And of course, it was movie night, and they picked a crappy chick flick (of course) to watch while drinking margaritas, so I shunted off to the living room to watch Kristin, who was sweet but not being co-operative enough for me to get through the book I was reading or the beverage I was drinking. And then I fell asleep downstairs, again.

When you have houseguests you need to be on your best behavior, 24/7 and Wednesday wasn’t that day for me. Especially if it’s your better half’s houseguests – you need to be on your ultra-best behavior.

Don’t think you’re not still being judged if you’re good enough to marry your wife – since after all it’s HER best friend and she knew her long before you were in the picture. How can you win in that situation? It’s like a lifetime job interview!

So I felt like I was failing all the tests, and that I was going to be a topic of conversation not only the rest of the visit – but every other conversation for a year. “Is he acting better now? Is he still moping around about crap? Can you get him in gear somehow?”

As bad as Wednesday was, some air-clearing, some better sleep, and a fresh look at my Iowa materials made Thursday a better day overall. So I was back to being Mr. Host again Thursday night, and I think I saved my good name for at least until the next visit. I played with the kids outside – stayed out of the hen party – and quietly watched Kristin until about 1:00.

It’s not that I don’t like seeing these people – it’s just that they picked a bad time for me to be Mr. Congenial Host with the Most – plus add in a personal drama that’s almost from 8th grade (We secretly replaced Scott’s adult personality with his personality from the year 1979. Let’s watch what happens!), it was not as pleasant as it could be. Add to that a continual state of tiredness, the heat and humidity outside (I’m basting in my own juices, for sure), and the pressure of work, it’s a miracle I didn’t just go totally wacked out.

They’re gone now – and now I need to get ready to go to Iowa. I drive out on Monday morning. Oddly enough, I think I’m going to get more sleep at a conference than I will at home.

But at some point we need to get to Kansas, and I’ll try to pick the most inconvenient week to pop-in and visit. If only I could predict what that was. Where’s Criswell when you need him?


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