Friday, September 27, 2013

Jocie's Tale #2

This morning, Jenny and Joey had an 8am meeting at school, so, I again got the joy of dropping the kids off at school.

Jessamyn helps me usher them into the car so that we can jump into the early-morning traffic gridlock that plagues elementary schools everywhere.

As we inch forward, I see through my review mirror that I can see two heads (Julie and Jess) and one pair of shoes (Jocie's).

She's laying face-down on my back seat with her head hanging down into the footwell and her feet up top on the headrest.

She doesn't seem to be sobbing, so, I figure this is just another one of her many life-inspired yoga poses and do nothing more than giggle.

I get Jess and Julie out in the car-loop, but no Jocie. On inquiry, she points out that she only has one shoe on since she didn't have time to get the other one on as Jess was "hurrying" her too quickly.

Ok, return trip #1.

Get shoes.

+15 minutes now (takes a while to get out of the traffic jam too) and we're back at a now empty traffic loop.

I go to get Jocie out of the car and she now says: "I can't go to school because I don't have a snack."

"Ok, don't worry about it. Either mom or I will grab one and bring it to you later."

"No, that will never work because you don't know what I feel like today."

"Well, can you tell me what you want."

"No, I have to stand in front of the snacks and see which ones talk to me and want me to eat them."

Ok, return trip #2: (now +25 minutes)

Snack in hand, ready to go:

"You forgot to get me a water to drink."

"Let me guess, you're not going to let me drop you off and go get it and bring it back to you."


Ok, return trip #3: (now +40 minutes)

At least this time I remember to grab her jacket AND her water.

A happy Jocie jumps out of the truck, give me a hug, and dashes off into school just in time for Jenny to get into my truck so we can head off to our next event of the day.

Jocie's Tale #1

 Jenny's got to be to the school by 8am (kids start at 8:37am), so, she darts out the door leaving me to finish getting the kids ready, feeding them breakfast, making 4 lunches, making sure backpacks get packed up, homework folders put together, etc.

Its school picture day, so, since we always want to tithe to my bruised ego as a photographer on these days by allowing me to setup my own studio for taking the kids pictures on those mornings so I can pretend I'm just as good as the school photographer, that means that I'm already distracted and running behind our rigid schedule.

That means its 8:20 and I've just started on doing that whole list above.

I get Joey and Jess out the door by 8:30 and promise I'll bring them their lunches.

Julie helps me with the remaining tasks around the kitchen and we load up and prepare to head to school.

Phone rings... It's Jessamyn telling me that I need to bring all 4 kids picture envelopes with money in them to school so we can pay to have the "real" photographer do their job of capturing that wonderfully awkward elementary school photo that'll haunt our first high school date's "meet the parents" moments for the next decades.

Ok, I can handle that... I think...

Get Julie, lunches, folders, a coat, picture envelopes, and myself into the car for the ride to school. I noticed Jocie's backpack, so, I grabbed that assuming that she must have gone with mom... or something.

9:00am (23 minutes late for school)

Get to school, go through the winding security process they've instituted to get from outside to inside and I'm finally walking Julie to class... if we can figure out which one she is in (its my first time in the school this year and my blessed "goldfish"-like memory can't recall her teacher's name).

We're wandering aimlessly when I notice Jocie's teacher's name on the wall and I quickly gaze in and find that they are lining up to go to a "special", so, they are all visible right there at the door.... but, there's no Jocie.

Ok, calm myself since I'm already running late with Julie tagging along by my side and need to get crisis #1 solved before digging into the next one.

Julie's class is right across the hall from Jocie. Julie figures this out and gives my kneecap its usual loving hug as she departs to join her class. "Bye daddy!"

I find Joey and drop off his lunch and photo form.

Jenny is teaching Jessamyn's class this morning, so, I run into them and give Jessamyn her lunch... but, she didn't want a lunch, she was eating school lunch, thats why Jenny put out only 3 lunch boxes (yet I was sure she'd made a mistake and so I made 4 lunches). No biggie here, I'll just eat Jess's lunch for her.

I've got Jess's homework folder, but no picture form, Jenny is nice enough to tell me.

Oh great... I tell her I'll go home and look for that. And in passing, I just casually mention that I've just figured out that I have no idea where Jocie is and that I'm working on that aspect too.

Quickly turn and head out before the shock-and-awe sets in on Jenny's face.... Fortunately, she's teaching class and can't do anything other that smile, look pretty, and hope that I'll be able to easily locate our chronically absent daughter.

Upon returning home, I run upstairs to see if Jocie's in her bedroom or bathroom. But, I can hear tears coming from our master bedroom.

I find Jenny's closet door is off its track and tilted in a nearly closed position with a little Jocie hand sticking through the apple-sized gap at the bottom.

"I've been crying up here for hours and nobody heard me" she pleads.

I'm smiling by this point because this is just perfectly Jocie.

I try to put the door back on its track: "I already tried that but it didn't work. I'm stuck in here forever. You might as well go get another daughter and forget about me."

Well, I succeed where she had failed with getting the door back on track and I'm rewarded with a hero's hug from a very red-faced and teary eyed 6 year old.

Upon asking her what happened, she informed me that she "had gone in there to play with her little light-operated bug catcher and I turned off the light and tried to close the door but it just fell off. I was ok at first and just played with the bug catcher, but then I got bored. So, I tried on mommy's shoes, but they don't really fit me, so, I started calling for anyone to come let me out, but no one came except Sony, but all she did was lick me."

In Jocie's retelling of the story she went back and forth between crying and playing until she found some headphones and decided to wiggle the cord around through the door hoping to get someones attention but then she got the notion that maybe everyone had turned into Zombies and that she was really safer not to wiggle the cord around and hide in the closet instead. Apparently this whole "zombified world" thought occupied her closet-based incarceration up to the time that I found her...

Joey's Tale

So, I'm late getting to the office the other day (related to Jocie's Tale) and so I skip lunch in an effort to feverously attempt to get some tangible quantity of work completed. Packed with conference calls, emails, and rapidly approaching deadlines, I'm burning the keyboard trying to catch up so I can make a 4pm Dr. appointment when Jenny calls me from school. Apparently Joey has taken ill and needs to be brought home. As she's subbing at the school, that forces all emergent child care duties on me.

Its 3pm... Ok, I can manage. I race to the school to get him while calling my doctor to, again, reschedule my appointment, but I get to the school and find Joey in the main office waiting for me.

"My head hurts. Mom said for you to come and take me home."

"Your head hurts? Like you have a headache?"

"No. Like when my teach starts talking to me, my brain just hurts, so, I can't listen to her any more."

Ok, I'm remiss to solve this one as its already been given mom's blessing, so, I load-and-go and head for home.

As we walk into the house, I remind the kid that he's supposed to be sick and that sick kids need to be in bed to try and feel better. So, I use the bathroom and run out to the car to grab my work laptop so I can try to punch in and at least tackle something before COB hits.

Rather than finding his pillow, Joey's found the remote and is watching one of his many cartoon shows that plague our DVR by continually pushing mom-and-dad shows off of the recorded list as it tries to free what little free space it has to soak up even more of his programming.

Daddy-Correction-#1: Turn off the tv, remove remote from childs hands, and return him to previously directed location #1: pillow in bedroom.

So, that lasts for like... maybe all of 10 minutes before I decide just to do a "drive by" check on him in his bedroom....

Daddy-Correction-#2: Remove iPod Touch from childs hands and return him to previously directed location #1: pillow in bedroom.

Yay, I'm the hero, right? Well, at least to myself.

Back to work, try to get this little chunk of code finished. Maybe 2 minutes have elapsed from most recent correction.

"Amm, Dad, my heads all better, can I get on the computer and play Minecraft?"


"Can you go get my Playmobile out of storage for me?"

"No! I'm trying to work here..."

"Can you go get my Bakugan from storage for me?"


"Well, I'm bored what am I supposed to do?"

"You came home from school, you're supposed to be resting, I don't care if you're feeling better. Now please! I need to work."

Daddy-Correction-#3: successfully deflect attempts at Joey's escaping self-inflicted prison sentence of coming home from school to play.

Silence... right?

Another two minutes pass, and he reappears at the doorway with baseball glove and ball.

"Dad? Can we go play catch?"

Daddy-Correction-#4: Yeah.... well, ok, so maybe not... See, I have this internal rule that I set that anytime Joey wants to play catch, I'll drop anything I'm doing to go do it.... So, no correction on this one, and I promise we can go play catch in just a minute...

Its 3:58pm at this point, and I'm thinking I can play catch for 20 minutes and then get caught up on work, so, I save what I'm working on and start to head for outdoors to play catch...

... ring .... ring .... ring ... (I pick up the phone): "Is Joey there?"

Now, here's where I make the first mistake (at least that I feel I've done... I'm sure my wife could find a few more by this point)... I should have just said "no", told them they had the wrong number, or just hung up... But, I get Joey and give him the phone...

"Dad? Can I go over to Kyle R's house?"

Daddy-Correction-#5: "No! You're sick, you're staying here! What are you thinking?"

In an amazingly calm tone as an undertaker would use, he continue to utter the same phrase: "Please dad, can I go over to Kyle R's house?" while I try to bat back with whatever parental dogma I am spit out.

He continues in his monolithic drive while I start to crescendo both my tone and level of frustration in my responses.

This continues for probably 12 iterations, but I don't want to really lose it with him since Kyle R is obviously on the phone listening in.

Daddy-Correction-#6: Obfuscate my parental duties by sluffing him off onto mom (yeah, thats a good idea right?): "Fine, you don't want to listen to me? Then ask mom."

Calls mom, leaves voice mail.... Re-aim cross-hairs back on daddy and repeat question posted previously.

I try and fail miserably to shutdown his attempts at asking the question over and over again to the point that I'm now rattling fine china in the dining rooms of neighbors on the next block as I'm ineffectively communicating my point across to him: No. No. No. No. No.

Daddy-Correction-#7: So, voicing that he's broken my will to him will resolve the issue and stop this all, right? All I need to do is say that wonderful little line that used to work on me when I was a pesty little child: "Fine! I give up! You want to go to Kyle R's house? Then do whatever you want! I don't care anymore!"

"Thanks Dad..." and off he runs... while I've got smoke pouring out of my ears.

He comes back about a minute later: "Dad? What time should I be home?"

"I didn't even tell you that you could go there in the first place. You just got me to the point where I lost my will to fight you!" - I'm being smart here, right? Trying to again point out to him that this is not 'ok' by me?

"Ok Dad, I'll be home by 5..."

Kid:1 - Dad:0

Driving to School With Jocie

Me: "Wow Jocie, look at the tops of the trees, they are starting to change color. You know what that means... what season is coming next?"

Jocie: "Litter Season, dad... you know, when all the trees get to litter the ground with their leaves."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Life's Little Moments

I'm blessed to have a life that allows me to stop and cherish the fabulous moments and memories that we are generating.  Like Julie jumping on a swing at the local golf club that we had dinner at a few nights ago with the neighbors....