Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Hazards of Going Out

Sometimes I get to go out to a friend’s house for some fun without the immediate family. Usually, when I do, it means Dirk is in charge of the house. This term is used loosely. He will insure the children are fed, safe from harm and kept alive for one evening. I can’t say the same for the house. The house suffers an assault so brutal it ought to be captured live on CNN with a follow-up series on its recovery.

So here’s a handy list for the Happy Homemaker heading out the door (aka escaping):

1) Dinner. It has to be planned with the least amount of utensils as possible. There will not, I repeat, WILL NOT be fewer dishes when you get home after your pleasant evening out. In fact, a few of the Good dishes will be gracing the coffee table and the arms of the couch upon your return. The antique soup tureen from Aunt Betsy will be filled to the brim with stale chips, globs of dip that didn’t quite make it and some unidentifiable substance best handled with a Haz-mat suit. The best choices would be pizza (not homemade), fried foods, and microwaveable fare ~ all to be served on paper plates, no forks and plastic cups. This is not the night to plan on a Cordon Bleu sort of meal.
2) Cleaning up before you leave. Highly recommended. Along with the dishes that’ll be waiting for you, there will be a three-storey fort made from various bits of furniture, cushions, every available blanket in the house and possibly the curtains if someone is having a Scarlett O’hara fit of whimsy. It’s best to attempt to minimize some of the damage before heading out for fun.
3) Empty out the garbage bins. Certainly, this goes hand in hand with cleaning before you go, but needs to be addressed separately. Since dinner should be served on disposable items, it will be necessary to make room for the post-meal detritus. No one will ever think to change an overflowing garbage bag, but will instead continue to add to the pile long after the can has been buried in the excess. It will then take a team of excavators and nimble archaeologists to recover your 13 Gallon Sage Green Rubbermaid Tall Kitchen Trash Can, Model # 2330. Pray that you needn’t go further than the Jurassic Period to find and re-line the bin.
4) Determine how long you’ll be out by how much cleaning you want to do the next day. It’s been proven by Quantum Physics that the longer one leaves the house with children and a male (sorry, guys) Significant Other, the more of a mess one is likely to come home to. I think there’s even a mathematical equation for it, but it eludes me at the moment. If your energy levels can handle redecorating the next day, then stay out until 3:00 am. If all you can manage is sweeping up the popcorn, best to make your night out short and sweet. On the other hand, knowing what will be waiting for you might only encourage you to leave the state and assume a new identity.
5) Do a head count. For instance, last night I left the house with the full knowledge of having four children ranging in ages from 12 to 7 in said enclosure. Of the four, I remember bearing three; thus in the realm of mathematical word problems, one of the children was not mine and therefore just visiting. When I returned at the ungodly hour of 12:30 am, I walked in to discover not only that our original fourth visitor was still visiting, but that another child had spontaneously sprouted in the living room. Clearly, said Significant Other thought it would be a neat idea to have a sleepover in the living room (please refer to October archives for my diatribe on All Boy Sleepovers). No one slept.

And there you have my list of handy hints on surviving the Return from your Escape . . . This does not apply to paid babysitters (or are they referred to as Childcare Engineers now?).

Meanwhile, back at the soda fountain, Evan’s socks have reached their destination. He likes them, they fit and, on some level, they might even be making a statement ~ something along the lines of “Make Love Not War” or “For the love of little green men, go make your bed!” Someone will get back to me on that, I’m sure. (The only way I'll ever be able to get images on the blog now is to make gifties and send them to people with digital cameras.)

And spurious notes on past activities: I knitted that G.Overy pattern based on my rewritten instructions and it’s coming out just like the picture in the book, by golly. Small sense of accomplishment there.

I also knitted up some gifts, but lack the funds at present to get them through the USPS. Different hazards apply; that’s another list.


impromptu-mom said...

Oh, this is so true!

I don't even have to leave the house. If I bargin with my hubby for an extra hour's lie-in of a morning, I can be sure that upon waking, I'll wish I hadn't... and we only have one little two year old daughter! I never can understand how it is possible to create such havoc in such a small amount of time. It barely makes the time away worth it! lol!

Ruth said...

May I cut the first part of this entry and post it to a list I'm on? I know that everyone will appreciate it.

Hey . . . did you get the envelope I sent?