Friday, July 14, 2006

#142 - Being a Dad Means...

...never knowing quite where you are at any given moment.

Example: I just went in for a late shower and to get dressed. (I'm working "virtual office" today, so I can get away with slovenly attire up to a point.) Now, I did take a leisurely shower. No doubt about it. But when I finally got dressed and exited my room, I stepped directly onto the set of a puppet show in progress.

Seriously. There was an improvised stage, and one Woodyette (the Doodle variety) was kneeling behind it holding up various dolls that were obviously meant to be puppets in a gripping drama. Jelly was sitting on Mommy's ottoman playing the part of the rapt audience. I cast a despairing glance (the same one my father perfected when I was a kid) at my wife who said, calmly, "This is a compromise. I like it."

I understood her meaning immediately. The girls had been at each other's throats moments before, and finally settled on a puppet show rather than Knockdown Monday Night at World Wrestling. So Mommy was understandably pleased. And the puppet theater disappeared scant minutes later. Some few dolls remain, but I'm confident that they, too, will soon become invisible, either because they get physically moved to one or more Woodyettes' rooms, or because I simply stop noticing them.

That, too, can happen when I'm working virtually. (Or is it, "virtually working?" This gets pretty confusing.) Mrs. Woody, for instance, will suddenly, out of nowhere, say, "Honey? Did you hear me?" As if she'd actually said anything and was rather unreasonably requiring some level of response from me. My brain says, "There was no question. She raving." But more than ten years of wedded bliss have instructed me to say instead, "Sorry, Honey! I must have missed it! What did you say?" Which of course calls her bluff and forces her to invent a question so that I have something to answer. In reality, I think she's just toying with me. She knows that I, like all husbands, have a guilty conscience, so I'll admit that I didn't hear her question rather than accuse her point blank of playing a prank on me. It's just safer.

The kids also take advantage of Daddy's concentration when I'm working. "Daaaaaaaddy," they intone. "Mommy said you'd get us something to driiiiiiink." She did, did she? So I get up and get them something to drink, only to hear Mommy say, "No, Honey. I told them that you'd get them something the next time you got up." Curses! Gamed again!

So what with the house reconfiguring itself every few minutes, and people taking advantage of my fierce concentration, I'm not sure this telecommuting is all it's cracked up to be. Except that I love the commute.

And the company I keep.

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