Hello to all! If you notice a sudden drop in grammer (inside joke there!) skills, its because this is Cliff, Sarah's husband, taking a crack at blogging. As some of you may already know, Sarah's birthday was yesterday (Friday.) Birthdays are a special time and, for the 5FC household, this is super duper special because mom is Supermom. Faster than a slowpoke husband, stronger than the smell of a soiled diaper, able to leap over two foot high piles of toys, Supermom was sent to our house to save it from its own demise. Taking on the forces of evil (that would be messiness and laziness), she singlehandedly saves an average of one adult, three kids, and four pets each and every day. Sarah is, quite honestly, an oak tree for the family. She provides shelter, comfort, the necessities of life, and is 100% reliable for anything we need. So, on this annual occassion, the grateful citizens of Chamorropolis get together to celebrate and praise the force of nature called "MOM".
Our story begins two days ago (Thursday). I called my wife from the outer reaches of the UP (upper penninsula of Michigan)regarding the possibility of taking the kids shopping for school supplies. Sarah, mild-mannered teacher/reporter/parent/jack-of-all-trades, saw through this thinly-vieled ruse and said, "While getting supplies, you may want to take them shopping for birthday gifts before tomorrow".
Curses, foiled again! "Uh, yeah, I can do that too! So, when I take the big kids shopping-".
"You mean everyone. I have an appointment tonight, which should be on your calendar."
I feel the subzero tempurature get even colder. "Uh, yeah, that's right!" I shuffle paper noisily near the phone, "yes, on my calendar, right here. Its in code, so I-"
"That's an impressive code, complicated enough even to stump you, my beacon of intelligence." I think I hear sarcasm in her voice.
"Uh, yeah" is the only thing I can think to say.
The story continues that evening, when I have three of the monkey children (Hatfield-Speak No Evil, Atticus- Hear No Directions, Paloma- Sees No Reason to Listen to Me) at the store, chaos breaks out.
"Daddy, Mommy wants this- a Snoopy snow cone machine!"
"Daddy, Atticus is thinking only of himself."
"Paloma," this is me, raising my voice, "come back here now, before the monster jumps out from that clothes rack to eat you!"
I have $30 bucks to spend- we are on a tight budget, I've agreed to a compact (i.e.- don't spend money), and $30 is the allowance the children have saved up that I can find.
I offer the kids various ideas, which includes gifts like a food processor, a book from her favorite author, and a heated blanket which fits her (I could say ours, but who am I kidding?) bed. The idea here is that we can get something I recommend and the kids and I can keep a secret as to the funding source. Everyone wins- Sarah gets a great gift, the kids see their mom smile, and I get credit for buying a thoughtful gift. I'm not a cad, I'd make sure to get a couple of inexpensive gifts and let the kids give them to Mom so that she sees they bought something too- they do get credit!!
Of course, the plan goes to hell seven days to Sunday. They hate my ideas, they don't want to pool their money together to get one nice gift. They choose, well, thoughtful gifts but go the path that suggests my influence (several inexpensive gifts to give the illusion of spending a lot of dough when little is spent). This includes a cake server utensil (what's it called? I have no idea), a pedometer (not bad, wish I thought of that), and a cake pastry thing-a-ma-jig (even better than the pedometer). The kids fight over the cards, except Paloma who decides that cards are prearranged confetti and is pulling them out of the sleeves and tossing them in the air (wheee!!!). I'm trying to keep up with the cleanup, Atticus is crying because he's tired, and Hatfield begins to raise her voice to Paloma- no,no, NO!
We race home, partially to get there before Sarah does for gift wrapping and partially because I need a drink. How does she go out in public? Paloma treated me like an ill-respected peer, laughing and running away every 20 seconds. Atticus and Hatfield acted like the Hatfields and McCoys, arguing over everything, and everyone looked at me like I was a bad parent (not that this matters, I could care less, and might even let Paloma wander in their way for spite while asking Atticus to run outside to the car to get my whiskey flask).
Anyways, we get home and what do I see, Sarah's there, cleaning up after baking her own birthday cake (how could I forget???) I leave everything in the car, tell the kids to rush upstairs, and proceed to tell Sarah about the screwed up time I had at Target with the kids. She seems sympathetic but I'm not sure- she's pulled out a violin and I can't see her face while she's playing a sympathy song.
(To be Continued)