I am writing this on a sunny, Spring-like Friday evening in M.C. (Madison County, you know like O.C. is for Orange County, CA.) The kind of evening that when I was younger filled me with anticipation of what fun I might have that evening, what friends I might see, what quality conversations my husband and I would have, what good food I might eat, what new movie or music I might experience. Yeah . . . those types of evenings have only been a distant memory for me for several years since becoming a parent.
Now, my Friday nights go something like this:
As I pull out of the parking lot at work, I try to remember if my husband is working tonight or not. When I get home, I try to remember if my kids have any activities or plans that evening. Based on my sketchy memory and via text communications, I determine if we are all eating dinner together. Then I try to decide if I want to cook (or, if my husband is not working, I ponder my ability to convince him to grill something), or I determine if I have enough time to catch my husband by phone with a plea for take-out before he comes home. After he is already in the carport, the thought of heading out again for cheeseburgers is less appealing to him.
After dinner is figured out and my husband goes back to work and the kids are deposited where they are going, I then try to determine if I want to start the 10 loads of laundry I will need to complete by Sunday evening, or if I am going to delay starting this monumental task until Saturday. After the laundry is decided, I then feed the dog, wrestle, and subdue her onto her leash and take her outside. Coming back inside covered in muddy paw prints and feeling deflated because the dog still thinks she is the alpha in our relationship, I change into my pajamas.
After wallowing in the bliss of being in my pjs by 6:30 p.m., I then head to the family calendar to see what birthday parties, basketball games, golf lessons, or church activities are scheduled for the weekend. Sometimes this helps decide my laundry starting time decision, especially if I know my son’s basketball shirt has been in the bottom of his dirty laundry basket since last Saturday. Then I decide when I am going to be able to fit in my mega Wal-Mart trip for the week and if I need to go before the birthday parties to buy gift cards, because I long ago gave-up the notion of shopping for the perfect gift for my son’s friends after they moved past the action figure stage.
Thinking of my Wal-Mart trip makes me remember that I should make my grocery list, so that I will be prepared for Saturday when I try to squeeze a Wal-Mart trip in between a birthday party and a basketball game. This makes me head to the kids backpacks to try to find school newsletters to see if I am required to send in cookies or books or art supplies next week so that I can add that to my list.
As I am making my grocery list, I remember to try to go through my coupons. I’ve been trying to be more frugal and attempt to make an inventory of my pantry and freezer and to only buy things we really need (and hopefully have a coupon for) to complete meals. I am not very good at this. Last week I used a coupon for some cinnamon rolls that take FIVE HOURS to prepare. Those will be sitting in my freezer for awhile I suspect. After the grocery list is complete, I try to find my reusable grocery bags to put with my list or else I will forget them for the 100th time. I examine my bags and determine if I need to wash them because I don’t like it when the checkout clerks judge me on the cleanliness of my bags. . . and they do judge.
It is now around 8:00 p.m. and if my husband and son are home, they have by now started watching their “Man Shows” as my son calls them. Man Shows are located on the cartoon channel and consist of a Star Wars animated program as the main attraction. Also, by now I have finally decided to go ahead and start the laundry.
So for the next 2 hours, I do a few loads of laundry and catch a few minutes of a Star Wars cartoon. If my daughter is home, I capitalize on the laundry excuse to enter her room several times to see who she is skyping or texting or what website she is visiting.
Around 10:00 p.m. I climb into bed and remark to my husband, “remember when we used to have fun on Friday nights?” He will reply with either a grunt as he tries to listen to the sports channel, or with a snore because he fell asleep 30 minutes ago.
That’s how I roll here in the M.C. on a Friday night, try not to be a hater, jealousy does not become you.