Saturday, July 09, 2005

Mr. Mom

This was a sad week for Tracy. It marked the end of maternity leave and the return to work part-time. I will be working part-time also, so that someone is always home with the kids. I don't know if this is a comfort to Tracy or not. She called home from work four times on Wednesday to see how I was doing.

"How am I doing?" I asked. "Do you think I'm going to have a breakdown?"

"Well...no, not really," she said.

Tracy won't admit it, but she has this paranoid fantasy about what will happen when I stay home with the kids. It goes something like this:

The answering machine at home picks up.

"Hello Eugene," Tracy says worriedly. "Just calling to check on you. I haven't heard from you all day. I wish you would call me back."

I don't get her messages because I am out golfing all morning. Not all day, just the morning. The kids won't sleep all day.

When I get home I head straight to the fridge for a beer. I need to fortify myself to handle the kids for the rest of the day. This is why I don't hear her calls in the afternoon. By one o'clock I'm passed out on the couch in my underwear.

That's where Tracy comes home to find me. The children are on the floor, crying in dirty diapers. The room is littered with empty Budweiser cans. There is violence and nudity on the television. Sharp objects are within reach. And, at the moment she walks in the back door, the neighbors and our pastor come knocking on the front door.

"That's just ridiculous," I tell her. "You know I don't drink Budweiser."

"Well...," she said.

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