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Food Calms The Crazies

For those of you who don't know, before the year’s long wave of somber-serious-inspiration, this blog had comic relief at its foundation. In the early days I used to crack wise about my experiences, mostly new – with the wife and kids. But as the experiences have become routine and I have matured, I’ve grown less interested in showcasing my family’s routine activities. And I’ve completely lost interest in poking fun at their expense or my own.

That doesn’t mean the craziness has ceased to exist. Take last week for example:

I wanted to take the family out to see a photo exhibit a friend had on display in downtown Atlanta. Maybe at some point when I get my act together I’ll be able to afford one of the pieces. I've eyeballed two that would roughly set me back about $5K. I’ve already seen it [the exhibit] two times before and figured it would be an opportunity for my wife and I to dream big, and a chance to show the kids something they don’t always get to see. The plan was simple: the wife was going to pick the kids up at school and I’d meet them there.

No problemo.

Muchas problemas, actually.

  • Before my wife could even park she was calling me asking why the parking lot I told her to park in didn’t list the name of the gallery/store? I didn’t know or care and besides, what difference did it make? I was there waiting for them so there was no way she could get lost.
  • After she parked, she absolutely refused to wave her hand to let me know where she was in the parking lot because she saw me walk past her car looking for her.
  • My son stumbled out of the car, shoes untied and as disheveled as he wanted to be from a hard day spent breathing at school.
  • My daughter, ever the chipper one was the only one who appeared to be ready an open for a Thursday night on the town.
Or so I thought.

Once we were inside we said hello to the photographer and his wife and because we know them the two wives scurried off together to talk about whatever it is women talk about when they haven’t seen each other in a month. My son literally sat down in front of the table with the hors d’oeuvres and began to eat as if he were at our dinner table and my daughter refused to say hello to anyone, but made herself at home right next to her brother, grabbing cheese cubes with her bare hands. I couldn't believe it. It's not like we've never been outside before. At this point I was thinking that maybe we should’ve eaten dinner before attending. I spent the rest of my time there extinguishing one major, four-year-old’s temper tantrum, threatening the life of her freshly carved pumpkin to keep her from jumping and running everywhere and begging my teenage son to cease and desist from cleaning out the table of hors d’oeuvres. All the while I watched my wife out the corner of my eye, mulling about the showcase as if she were attending by herself. As I swirled about in dysfunction I did what any grown man would do: I poured myself a glass of wine. And then another.

So much for dreaming big... My friend took time from greetings guests to tell me we were a walking sitcom. I agreed...reluctantly.

Sometimes as a parent, you forget the basics of parenting, such as food being the ultimate cure of the crazies. The next time, dinner first, outing second, even if the outing only lasts for thirty minutes as this one did.

How have you managed an unexpected/awkward situation involving family?

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