Not today. Oh, no. Today, I am going to share with you a little slice of the “Life of Chaos in Paradise” (a.k.a. – being a “father of five”) is all about.
After getting off duty at 3pm, I hop in my car and start heading home. A couple of miles down the road and I notice that the gas gauge is a little lower than I care to see it – so I decide to stop for gas.
The Mother of Five is working later tonight, and that usually means that dinner for the clan is my responsibility, so I make the decision to solve two problems in one stop. I take the exit off the freeway for a quick side trip to Sam’s Club where I can pick up a rotisserie chicken (I was planning on making Chicken Caesar Salad) and at the same stop I can fill up my gas tank too!
Seconds after pulling onto the freeway exit loop my telephone rings. It is #2 of 5. He is trying to tell me the car (which he is now driving) is “dead”. Having driven that car for the past several years, I am familiar with it’s “eccentricities” (the headlight warning buzzer not working being one of them) and quickly assess the problem with the car’s failure to start as likely just a dead battery. I assure him that I will swing by to give him a jump start just as soon as I can, but let him know that since I am so close, I am planning on stopping for the chicken and gasoline beforehand. (I am pulling into the Sam’s Club parking lot by this point.)
Once I finish my phone conversation with #2 of 5, I (try to) call the Mother of Five to alert her that the boys were unable to get home for when #5 of 5 gets off the school bus, and that she will be home alone for a few minutes. There is no answer at her workplace, so I leave a message to have her call me when she can.
I run into the store, grab my chicken and (like a 1970’s Hertz commercial) I snag some grape jelly on my sprint through the store. (We are out of grape jelly – which is a staple in my diet). I check out, load the chicken and jelly into the car then make a quick run to the gas pumps where I fill the tank and (simultaneously) call home to check to see if #5 of 5 (who should be off the bus by now) made it home.
I am relieved to hear that she has indeed made it home safe and sound. I explain #2 of 5’s dilemma to her, and assure her that I will be home within 20 minutes or less. She appears no worse for the wear, so after a short conversation with her, I hang up.
Another five miles down the road and my phone rings. It’s the Mother of Five. I catch her up with everything that has been going on. That’s when I find out that she came home on her lunch break, and started a crock-pot meal (which was quite tasty I may add) and that I did not need to pick up a rotisserie chicken.
She asked that instead of going straight to the school to jump start the car for #2 of 5 (remember, he is still sitting up there waiting for me) that I stop by the house and pick up #5 of 5 first. Then I can deliver her to the Mother of Five’s workplace – which is directly across the street from the Dance Studio where she takes lessons. (Whoops, forgot today was dance class.) I agree, but ask her to call #5 of 5 and have her all ready to go when I arrive.
All goes well for the next 15 minutes of my trip home. Just as I pull off the freeway when I arrive in town, I spot #3 of 5 and a friend walking home along the roadway. I slowly pull up along side of them, roll down the window and inquire - “Hey little boys, want some candy?”
Inside joke from way back? Yes.
Reason for concern, or to call the police? No.
I look around to make sure the police (or any do-gooder) is not watching me, and tell the boys to hop in the car. (Can you imagine the 911 calls that may generate?? I can!!) I quickly run #3 of 5 and his friend home. He lets me know he is scheduled for work at 5pm. NO PROBLEM (or so I tell myself).
Once the boys are dropped off, I located #5 of 5 who is indeed ready and waiting for me to take her to dance. I unload the rotisserie chicken and grape jelly… (Remember the rotisserie chicken and grape jelly?) put it in the refrigerator, then load #5 of 5 up and head for The Mother of Five’s workplace.
Once #5 of 5 is safely delivered to the Mother of Five, I head up the hill to rescue #2 of 5 who is still waiting patiently for me in the High School parking lot. Amazingly, he has only called to check my “status” once in the past 30 or so minutes. I arrive at the school, locate the car (with #2 of 5 in it) and quickly get the car running again. Since he does not work, he asked if he could head off to a friend’s house. I tell him to “enjoy”, and bid him a fond adieu.
Time to head back home to start
preparing cleaning the kitchen for dinner. One more quick stop for batteries (#3 of 5 needed them for a new calculator – which has my blood boiling and will be fodder for another blogpost soon enough) on my way home and I should be back cruising on easy street. As I enter the store, my phone rings. It’s the Mother of Five (again).
It seems that #4 of 5’s volleyball game (45 minutes away) was canceled, and that the team was upon the bus on the way home. I was asked to also make sure I was at the Middle School to pick up #4 of 5 by 4:45pm.
By now, my head is starting to spin.
I grab the batteries, and head home. I head inside the house, install the batteries, and plan on cleaning up the kitchen before the Mother of Five comes home for dinner when all of a sudden I hear voices
in my head from the basement. Whoops! I have completely forgotten #3 of 5 downstairs who still needs to go to work!
#3 of 5 came upstairs to tell me that his friend (who also works at the same McFastFoodJoint) was called by their manager and asked to come in today. I explain that I need to have the BOTH of them dropped off at McFastFoodJoint by 4:45 (or earlier) so I can run up to the middle school and grab #4 of 5. They agree. The friend runs home to get his uniform, and I prepare to head out yet again.
Once both boys are in uniform, I load them up and drop them off at McFastFoodJoint then quickly head up to the Middle School where I find #4 of 5 waiting with a friend. Apparently, there was a little confusion and the friend’s mother thought she was bring #4 of 5 home. Had I been even a minute later, the friend’s mom would have not been there, and I would have sat in the parking lot trying to figure out where my kid was at.
Once I pulled into the lot and was spotted by her friend’s mother - #4 of 5 jumped out of their car and into my car. Then, and we headed home.
I arrived home at 5:15pm – roughly two hours and fifteen minutes from the time I left work. In that period I bought dinner (that I did not need to) gassed the car, made/received four phone calls, found one of my kids wandering around town, brought that kid home, took another kid to dance class, rescued yet another one of my kids who was stranded, picked up batteries for some uber-calculator (don’t get me started), received another phone call, took the found wandering kid (and his friend) to work, picked up my daughter from the vollyball game that never happened and brought her home…
Oh yeah.. One other thing. During these couple of hours - I LOST MY DAMN MIND!!
Father of FIVE??? Sheesh… What was I thinking??