Wednesday, March 07, 2007

So, I have mentioned Geoff's work schedule before, right? He works seven days a week. He stays all night many times. It's crazy.
It's interesting to see where the walls crumble, how things come apart. Luckily our foundation somehow manages to stay intact. Geoff and I are both tired, cranky, sometimes irrational and we have even been heard squabbling in some incomprehensible dialect. But we love each other. We can still laugh. We still want to vacation together, ride in the same car, hold hands. And we love our children. Maybe some people think that should go without saying, but I don't agree. I am happy to repeat that we love our children. William, Alex, Max and Maria are the joy and the inspiration for everything we do, for everything we hope to do.

So, now that I have described the soundness of our foundation, let us turn our attention to those aforementioned walls. After many months of Geoff working triple time and all of us still trying to move-in and unpack, there are things that simply stop working and there are still other things that I somehow cannot or will not fix. The vacuum is one example. The new vacuum is dead. The receipt will never surface and there is nothing to do but pay for it to be serviced or chuck it. Haven't done either. The old vacuum could be serviced and tuned, but that would mean lifting it, carrying it to the car, driving to the repair place and waiting for a diagnosis, waiting for the repair and paying the bill. Not going to happen. We have found the limits of my strength or my ability to cope with seemingly simple tasks. Take the telephone. Since we moved we have not found more than one phone jack that works in this entire two story 3,000 square foot house. Our phone or the phone jack ( we don't know which) does not work well. The reception is horrible. People ask me to "speak up" or they say "you're breaking up." Our bad phone makes people irritable. They accuse us of deliberately being third world, of being annoying and difficult to talk to. It's gotten worse, because now the phone won't work to dial out. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. The boys couldn't reach me the other day, when I left them with Maria while I ran errands. I came home to a very sad daughter and three worried and frustrated sons. I got so mad, I kicked the phone, and you know what? I got a dial tone! Works every time. If you need to make a call out, lift the receiver and kick the telephone, then dial, and remember to speak up, because on the other end they'll think you are calling from a raft in the South Pacific.

There are two kinds of tired. The first kind of tired is from a long or hard day, or after a difficult night. This kind of tired needs nothing more than a thick slice of chocolate cake, a nap or a glass of wine with dinner. This kind of tired is the kind experienced by people without children and they think they are exhausted, but in truth they will recover by the weekend. The other kind of tired comes when you have a new baby in the house, or when you are doing night-watch in an Iraqi outpost, or when one partner works 112 hours per week and the other partner is home trying to keep four children fed, clothed, healthy, safe, educated, and entertained, while cleaning, unpacking, paying bills, clearing clogged drains and being a model of parenting excellence. This last variety of tired cannot be resolved so easily. It can only be juggled, shifted, and managed, so sometimes even the simplest chores will have to be left undone. I should proofread and perhaps elaborate my vague, disjointed statements, but that ain't gonna happen.

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