14 October 2011

Looking for the Rational In the Rationale

The Captain is about to board  the red-eye flight from California. He left us Wednesday for a Thursday meeting, and will fly back overnight so he can be home all day Friday. He hates traveling, but he promised he would do a presentation, so he logged 6000 miles in less than three days. He's that kind of guy.

The Captain doesn't travel often, but when he does, I ping-pong between feeling resentful and relaxed. I've been trying to tease out the reasons for both reactions, because neither is logical. I do recognize that on busy days, when I spend all afternoon shuttling children, and all night wrangling them toward homework or bed, I resent not having his help. 

In my mind, my job is the more difficult one. Therefore, I think the Captain should come home after his thirteen hour work day and provide immediate assistance. After all, my work isn't done until all the pack members go to bed, which is pretty frakking late for the teenagers. Seriously; at the end of the day I tell them to just go away, because I'm tired of sharing my air.

I wrote "in my mind," because I have only passing knowledge of what the Captain's job entails. If I had just walked out of Penn Station, was lucky enough to hail the Cash Cab, and I could win all the money simply by knowing my husband's work address and title, I would leave empty-handed. Oh, I know what avenue he works on, and that's he's a vice-president, but I couldn't tell you the fine-print deets without checking his business card.

Why not? We don't talk about his job in great detail. This isn't for lack of interest on my part; it's more that I know he doesn't want to re-hash his day when he finally gets home. He would prefer to relax. Which is amusing, considering what goes on here. And which is why, conversely, my evenings are often more relaxed when he's away.

When the Captain is home, there is a general push to get everyone in bed, so we can spend some time together. Really, it's usually just to sit on the couch and watch a show we both enjoy. But, I kid you not, the moment my ass meets the leather, the boys come out of the woodwork. There must be some change in the chi that they subconsciously recognize, which alerts them I've stopped moving. This mixes with some Oedipal undercurrent that detects I am with another man. Suddenly, I'm surrounded by penii, which, in turn, provokes a response from the Captain, along the lines of, "God Bless America (or, dependent upon the age of the interloper, something more colorful), I just sat down with my wife!  I get one hour a night with her, and you're infringing on my time! I had her first!"

The weird thing is, when the Captain's not here, the kids couldn't care less about me. The big boys just hide in their rooms until I tell them to go to bed. Then I tell them again thirty minutes later, and thirty minutes after that they actually go to sleep. There's less drama, because I'm not trying to spend time with the Alpha Penis. Guy behavior is funny.

None of this will come into play tomorrow, when we have a wee amount of alone time before the kids intrude. In the hurly-burly of daily life, it's easy to forget that we had each other first. And now that I've purged some of my jumbled negativity all over you, dear readers, I remember that. For all that he does for our family, I love my Captain. Even if I still don't know his job title.


  1. Anonymous14.10.11

    (Fingers crossed that I'm still allowed in here.)

    We know this story so well. It invented the line: hey, I know you! Didn't we used to talk and have sex and stuff?

    It gets better, and it gets worse, and we are both amazingly blessed. Hug them all for me when you get the chance, I did it today to most of mine. It was delightful.

  2. Maybe it's the captain they're trying to spend time with?

    But I get a lot of what you're saying, and we're both fortunate to be married to "hands on" dads who come home from their long day and can then pitch in almost better than we can. Well, at some things he is better. I worry about my job security sometimes LOL

  3. I'm going to try and work "Alpha Penis" into conversation today. Just not when I'm volunteering at school. That would be bad.

  4. I only have one alternate penis in my house, but , oh yeah, that Oedipus thing kicks in big time, doesn't it! This just made me laugh. My guy just got home from a week away and while there are a few things I like about having him gone, mostly I'm really happy he's home again. "Alpha Penis" *snort*

  5. Yay I love this post!!!

    And I absolutely guarantee you have the more demanding job.

    I think it isn't just kids who have the radar though--it's a guy thing. I noticed last summer when I was shlepping around doing laundry and mopping while pregnant that as soon as my ass hit a chair dh would come in and say "whatcha been doing?" The cessation of activity creates an energy disturbance for them I think.

  6. I would just like to add that today's "Five Failure" almost made me pee down my leg. ;)

  7. Megan, I absolutely cannot wait to read your novel when you are done! You are hilarious. I love "Alpha Penis" and how you took your time finding Five's pjs because, dancing naked little kid? Hilarious!

    You make your life come alive in these posts. I feel like one of the family!

  8. Fabulous post, Megan. It took me down memory lane. : )Be thankful you have the romance novel to write, you know, for that girlie fix.

  9. The notion of children (or husbands) having a radar for certain conditions made me think of one of my favorite poems. A slightly different take, but might be familiar to some of the parents. From the point of view of a father:

    After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
    by Galway Kinnell

    For I can snore like a bullhorn
    or play loud music
    or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
    and Fergus will only sink deeper
    into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
    but let there be that heavy breathing
    or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
    and he will wrench himself awake
    and make for it on the run—as now, we lie together,
    after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
    familiar touch of the long-married,
    and he appears—in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
    the neck opening so small he has to screw them on—
    and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
    his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

    In the half darkness we look at each other
    and smile
    and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body—
    this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
    sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
    this blessing love gives again into our arms.

  10. @Julie: You know you're always welcome, just stupid Blogger forgot. Our extended family knows that they must separately tell me and the Captain information, because we don't talk to one another. If we do, it's in brief spurts, and may not cover all subject areas.

    The Captain would like you to know that conversation is the ONLY thing that occurs in "brief spurts."

    @chrysanthe: The Captain says the children never give him any trouble when I'm away, because there is no negotiating to get to me. Also, he does my job better than I do. It's annoying.

    @Amy: Yay, another Trimble! How did you do working it into conversation? It's tricky. You can easily use "Alpha", and even "Penis" in the proper setting. But the two together is tough.

    @KarenB: It's the strangest thing. I'm like the girl they want to date only because she's already with another guy.

    @lora: Right now, the Captain and the little boys are at the diner. I opted to stay home and enjoy the relative quiet. Pacing, and perhaps a hide-out, are the secret to job longevity.

    @Carrie: Finally, he said, "This feels funny. I need my pajamas to spin on the floor." So, it wasn't so much the floppiness of the situation, as the potential for rug-burn, the necessitated the donning of pants. And then he and Four had a dance-off.

    @Skye: You're welcome to join the family any time you like! I think you're crazy, but the door is always open.

    @Robena: I'm so happy you came for a visit! We are testosterone heavy around here, so sometimes I break out a girlie movie (usually when the Captain is away!). I swoon, and weep, and swoon some more, and my estrogen recharges.

    @Janet: How lovely! I wish I were a poet. We've finally weaned Four and Five from bedtime snuggling. I cave at least twice a week, when Five says, "Just two minutes," and then grabs my arm and wraps it across his chest.

    I'll actually miss it when they no longer visit me in the night.

  11. I don't know which was funnier--this post, or the great replies to it. You ladies rock.

    And I just found this all hilarious. One of my best girlfriends has a hard time talking to me on the phone, because whenever she does, her husband (who is normally to be found completely absorbed in some video game) immediately HAS to talk to her. Yeesh.

  12. WEBS! my family are all playing rockband, or in the case of AP watching and making comments. It's pandemonium. You've never heard such screeching/sining in your life!

  13. @Julie: the Captain would like to clarify that he only has a problem with the word "BRIEF," not "SPURTS."

    @Deborah:I had a dog growing up who would bark for treats the moment someone was on the phone. He learned we would give him biscuits just to shut him up. Hmmm....what do you think the husband wants?

    @Kate: Yay for Rockband, and screeching! I could send Five over for some naked dancing!

  14. I laughed all the way through this post but one sentence resonated so strongly it's eerie - "There must be some change in the chi that they subconsciously recognize, which alerts them I've stopped moving."
    The thing is - I took care of my dad when he had parkinson's disease and dimentia. The hardest part was getting anything done. Because of the opposite change in chi. If I was sitting, he was calm. If I was trying to do something like laundry, he would be trying to get out the door or walking into some space too small where he could fall.
    I swear I spent so much time sitting on the couch just to keep that man calm.

  15. Of course you have a hard job! I've been envious of Sean on more than a few days, and technically he's in a war zone. Imagine the luxury of having someone do the shopping, make the meals, clean up, and do the laundry! So you have to wear a uniform, work 7 days a week, and have people shoot in your general direction.....that really just describes motherhood anyway. AND he gets to talk to ADULTS like, all the time! About ADULT-type things! I am certain if the army put recruiting posters with this information in the grocery stores and pediatrician offices, there would never be a shortage of mother volunteers. Of course then the war would end earlier than expected with a budget surplus (Haliburton is going to be upset when the extreme coupon ladies show up).

    Anyway, I love the post and the Five Fail and you're Outstanding.

  16. @Judy, Judy, Judy: We do give off a heat signature, I think. Or, our charges can read our minds. In my house, I'm always trying to outsmart them so I can steal a few minutes for myself.

    @Sarah: I find myself thinking the same about the Captain's job. Sure, he has 75 minute train commute both ways, he has to battle New York crowds and potential terrorists, and he deals with a lot of difficult personalities. But he gets out every day, he has close friends, and hardly anyone tells him (to his face) that he sucks at his job. Some days, I'd really trade for that.

  17. P.S.: We're all Outstanding!

  18. LOL Oh my, do I know what you're talking about. I've actually had times when I've been hugging Magnum only to find a little boy pushing his way between us. Too funny. Also, it's been my experience that the boys never find the floppiness of the situation disturbing. I don't know why that is.

    ETA: My captcha code is hypeni. That's got to mean something.

    Fortunately, Magnum is famous for saying that my job is more difficult and he doesn't want it. So I guess I'm safe? Or something.

  19. Okay, I don't have any idea why my "edited to add" ended up in the middle of the post. Sorry for the incongruity.

  20. @Delia: I didn't even know what ETA meant. I was excited that you had an Estimated Time of Arrival! Woohoo, Delia's on her way! Oh, darn.

    Floppiness is not a concern. Nakedness is, for the older boys, although Three still doesn't care all that much. That will suit him well in the NBA locker rooms.

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