The Thursday Conspiracy

Below is the the email I just sent to my mother-in-law. She is coming into town to help us with our weekly Thursday afternoon/evening transportation gauntlet. Normally this would be me doing most of this with Mom stepping into the gaps. But tomorrow Mom’s employer has their annual employee recognition dinner. And dammit if Mom didn’t do something to get recognized. Upon learning this info I had a menu of options from which to choose to express my feelings:

1)The congratulations option
“Congrats! Can’t wait to go to the dinner. Don’t worry about the kids’ stuff, we’ll make it work. Get your Mom or somebody to help out with logistics. No problemo.”

2)The Are you f’ing kidding me option
“Are f’ing kidding me!? Three dance classes, an orchestra concert, a softball practice and a softball game all the same time and um, here’s an idea, let’s add a dinner that both of us have to attend so nobody is available to cart the kids around. How about that? Awesome. What is the freaking deal with everyone, and I mean literally everyone on the freaking planet scheduling stuff on Thursdays? This didn’t happen in the 80’s. Everybody was home watching Cliff Huxtable. Who, by the way, would not have put up this! Just because Thursday is adjacent to Friday on all calendars does not mean people have nothing to do. This isn’t college. Plus according to recent polling, Thursdays approval ratings are in freefall. Down there with Don Johnson’s music career and broccoli flavored popsicles. So, I mean aside from that, great job with the recognition dinner and everything.”

3)The conspiracy option
“Seldom do I believe that something nefarious is afoot. But there is simply no other rational explanation regarding the propensity for additional activities to be scheduled on Thursdays. Someone is behind this. Someone is maniupulating the whole system. Somewhere in the shadows exists a group that thrives on the stress and anxiety of parents. Big oil, the major car companies and Col. Sanders before he wents tets up could all be in on it! I mean that rumor about the ghost of the little kid in Three Men and a Baby turned out to be true…right? So we’ll go to the dinner but if we go to the bathroom and come back to the room and the place goes all Three Days of the Condor, well, I told you so.”

Anyway, here’s the email to my mother-in-law:

“Pick up Kinsey/Bailey from school at 4.

Bring girls home, get Bails changed into dance stuff and take her to dance by 4:45.

Leave dance and go to other dance to pick up Rye at 5:30. She’s never out to the car before 5:35.

Go back to first dance and drop Rye off at 5:45 and pick up Bails at same time.

Take Bails home, pick up Kinsey and get her to the 9th grade building at 6:00 or close to it for orchestra concert. You are probably going to be behind schedule at this point. So Kinz needs to be dressed and ready with all her orchestra stuff. Not sure how long this lasts, probably done by 7. Bails may need to bring her softball uniform/equipment with her to the orchestra concert and change in the car. Or you can leave her at home and pick her up after the concert. Either way we’ll have her uniform and equipment ready for her when she gets home.

Take Bails to her rec league softball game at 7:15. Game starts at 7:30 and is on the field right by the concession stand.

Rye is getting a ride home from dance at 7:30 so you don’t have to worry about that.

If the concert isn’t over by 7, you’ll have to bug out and take Bails to softball and then go back and get Kinz. The dinner is supposed to be done at 7 so we might be able to run to the orchestra concert and pick up Kinz if you’re already out at softball. But we’ll touch base at the end of the dinner.

Thanks for the help. Any questions, let me know.”

Seriously, I’ve had it with Thursday. It used to be so cool. Magnum, Seinfeld, $5 pitchers of beer in college. Thursday, what the hell happened to you?!


Ignoring Things

You ever notice how a new TV show will debut or you will discover a new one and you are as loyal as the day is long to it…for awhile. Then you just sort of drift away from it. Kinda like my relationship with Facebook. This is what happened with Seinfeld and The Simpson’s. Not sure why. And Riptide now that I think of it. To be honest, I think I actually started cheating on Riptide with Moonlighting before I just broke up with Riptide once I became totally infatuated with Moonlighting. What? David Addison was a major influence on my life. Nick and Cody in Riptide were too. I don’t want to minimize the time investment I made there. Same thing with Thomas Magnum and Sonny Crockett. And Axel Foley, Dr. Peter Venkman, Ferris Bueller, and Prince Akeem. Wait, probably Fletch, Otter and Goose too. And Sam from Quantum Leap. But I’m getting off topic.

RiptideI bring this up because I miss Riptide. No, not really. Well maybe a little. C’mon they lived on a boat. Next to another boat full of hot chicks. And it was the 80’s. Anyway, we have this closet in our hallway upstairs. It’s generically called a linen closet. Although in our house, as in most residences in these United States, it contains more than linens. Since we moved in it has been the home to towels, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, bed sheets, various crap and two screws which used to be in my knee. And crap. With some extra crap. You don’t really realize how much crap you put away instead of throw away. We, evidently, are skilled in the crap storage arts. You just put stuff away and just forget about ever looking at it. You paid attention for awhile but then it becomes uninteresting and/or complicated and it’s just easier to close the door. Like Medicaid.

A couple Saturdays ago, we made the decision to tackle the linen closet. We took everything out of it and item by item decided what to do with each one. I bet it’s a similar system to how Chicago Democrats count votes. Anyway, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit its contents. It’s like admitting that yes you do own the North and South Trilogy. Sure it’s a soap opera but it’s a Civil War soap opera.

Regardless, once we started we immediately realized we needed far more time than we had set aside. That and beers. We inventoried 13 bottles of sun screen. Various sizes with various SPF factors. Yes, there are 5 of us in the house but nobody needs that much sunscreen. We evidently are easily manipulated by sunscreen marketing. Also found 3 cans of Pledge. None scented. 5 spray cans of mosquito repellent. It’s not really summer without Off! I guess. 5 containers of shoe leather/suede protector. We obviously have a lot of unprotected shoes. 6 light bulbs. Yet the ceiling light in the linen closet hallway remains burnt out. Sewing equipment. Or tackle. Not sure the proper way to identify it. But it was all contained on or around a tiny barbie sized rocking chair. Yeah, it was weird. Scissors still in the packaging. Denim. Yeah, just oddly sized pieces of denim. The aforementioned screws from my knee. 2 unassembled door knobs. Several switchplates. A carpet cleaner. Carpet cleaner detergent. An air purifier with extra filters. A sealed bag of baby wipes. Please be advised that we haven’t had a baby in diapers that needed to be cleaned with baby wipes since 2006. 3 irons. 1 nearly empty can of spray starch. So I guess we can claim that use the irons. Or at least one of them. I guess. 16 beach towels including 5 princess themed beach towels and 2 I’ve had since college. And if you’ve been keeping score, Reagan was still president when I started college. A ticket stub from the ’96 Iowa State-Missouri football game. Troy Davis ran for 396 yards that day. Set a record. Just saying. At least 2 full sets of bed sheets that I don’t remember ever seeing before. Also suspicious that the pillow cases are breeding. 32 bath towels and 47 hand towels. The hand towels were somewhat interesting with the seasonal designs.

Who has that many towels besides Bed, Bath and Beyond?

Ended the exercise by carrying three fullsize garbage bags full of crap downstairs.

We were able to relocate all kinds of soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. from the bathroom vanities to the linen closet. Which freed up room for Rye’s full metric ton of beauty gear.

Now I’ll walk by the closet, open it and just enjoy it. Weird what happens after three kids and a decade and a-half of marriage.


It doesn’t happen all that often. And when it does you often fail to recognize it because it is so rare. Like Jay Carney displaying something other than condescension. But you’ll be brushing your teeth, looking at yourself in the mirror and its hits you. So you smirk, tilt your head slightly and nod in actual and true satisfaction.

This happened to me this morning. And I’m not talking about the satisfaction you feel when the Patriots lose. That’s something else. Or the satisfaction you feel when you perfectly place an Anchorman quote into a serious conversation at work and only the guy across the table gets it. That’s something else too. It’s not even the satisfaction you get when you finally remember the actress that Mom looks like. Google Rosalind Allen. She’s Mom’s doppelganger. She was in Seaquest DSV. Even had appearences on Riptide, LA Law and was the “it girl” in Seinfeld. Seriously, this is Mom in the mid-90’s. I’d post a pic but they all have some kind of copyright.

MicronesiaAnyway, this morning I’m walking into Kinsey’s and Bailey’s room to wake them up. Except the door opens as it should. As in there wasn’t any resistance. I’m temporarily stunned. Like Apollo when Rocky lands that left upper cut in round one of their first fight. Normally, I open the door and a dirty sock, a head band and a pair of shorts get caught between the bottom of the door and carpet and become one of those makeshift door anchors. It gets weirder. Then, after entering the room, I see the carpet. A nearly total and unobstructed view of the carpet. Most of the time the carpet resembles the Federated States of Micronesia and you have to navigate the islands of clothes, shoes, books, blankets and other assorted crap.

But the room appears to be clean.

I slowly back out, shake my head violently to make sure I’m conscious, then I physically touch the walls in the hallway to make sure I’m not in some kind of hologram training room like in X-Men. Hmm, things appear normal. So I flip the light switch tell the girls its time to get up. I execute a 90 degree left turn to go back down the hallway to my room. That’s when I saw it.

The bathroom directly across the hall from the girls’ room also appears to be clean.

“What the f…ukodome is going on here?”

If I didn’t know better, it looks as if the only thing on the counter is Riley’s flat-iron. Or maybe it’s Mom’s? But that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the bathroom, aside from all the shampoo, conditioner and soap containers in the shower/bathtub, looks like it’s being staged for a home showing.

Now I begin to get a little woozy. I tell Mom, “Hey, when Bails was up here by herself last night, I think she did some cleaning.”

“I think you’re right.”

But the weirdest thing is that NOBODY ASKED HER TO DO IT. She just did it. When questioned about it she said, “Well, it was dirty, I thought it needed to be cleaned.”


Actual evidence that something we taught them actually took hold. Um, which parents know what they’re doing? We do. Boom. That just happened.

Then I realized that my influence was even more profound. I had to pick up Rye from dance last night and on the way home we had to swing by and get Kinz from softball hitting practice. And it was kinda on the way home so I was already counting it as a win. One of the CD’s I have in my truck is Tesla’s Greatest. Rye gets in and The Way It Is comes on. From a parenting perspective, this song’s message is actually pretty good. And, FYI, it freaking rocks.

I am, however, expecting the normal eye rolls, feigned disgust and general 13 year-old condescension aimed at all the music recorded while I was in college. But it doesn’t happen. By the end she’s kinda humming along.

“Hey Dad, that was actually kinda good.”

I was like the guy in the AT&T commercial after the girl tells him about the werewolf.

“Um, what?”

So I put on Little Suzi as we arrive at hitting practice. We go in and get Kinz. As we’re walking back to the truck Rye says, “Kinsey, we’re listening to a rock song. It’s pretty good.”

Did you see what just happened there? Not only did Tesla’s awesomeness cut through generational lines and possibly even the fabric of time and space itself, but my 7th grader acknowledged out loud and in front of me that something I like actually is good. And she did it without sarcasm.

Boom. Shaka. Laka.

Despite the best efforts of my kids, the secular left and my penchant to use the 70’s Steelers as my parenting guide, I have in fact managed to positively influence my kids.

I believe my work is done for the day…

Drop offs, Pick ups and Zombies

Tell me if you’re Thursday went like this:
3:45: Leave work early in order to pick up 3rd grader and 5th grader so 3rd grader makes it to dance class on time. Reason? School bus transportation lacks urgency.

4:00: Pick up 3rd grader and 5th grader from school after waiting behind the Mom who breaks the “pick-up” rules by parking her car in the pick-up line and going into the school. This is the reason otherwise mild-mannered sane people key other people’s cars.

4:20: Leave house with 3rd grader for dance class. Thankfully 3rd grader is so conditioned to this routine, I do not even have to remind her or double check once in the truck to see if she remembered to bring the dance bag and a snack/water bottle.

4:40: Arrive 5 minutes early to dance class! Woo Hoo! Subtlety congratulate self on logistical awesomeness.

4:41: Ignore crying newborn, thank the dear Lord Jesus Christ that we do not currently have a newborn in our house and under our care and then continue reading World War Z while waiting. Some people are drawn to the zombie genre because they like dark, ghoulish stories. Some just think its cool. Others, like me, simply can’t stop themselves. The Zombie Apocalypse is quite possibly the scariest thing I can think of. Nancy Pelosi back in as Speaker of the House, what the 70’s Steelers would have been like without the ’74 draft, having three teenage daughters in the house at the same time…all terrifying in their own right. But the Zombie Apocalypse, especially how it is described in World War Z, is not Michael Myers offing teenagers in Haddonfield, IL scary, it is disturbingly scary because it is so believable the way it plays out. Anyway…

5:10: Leave dance at Dance Studio #1 to go pick up 7th grader at Dance Studio #2. Curse Thursday yet again for being ridiculous with its after school activities. C’mon folks, there are six other days in the week. Monday is going to start suing over neglect if we don’t get some crap moved over there.

5:25 Get gas for truck. When do we start seeing the impact of all the drilling going on in North Dakota at the pump?

5:36: 7th grader enters truck for transportation back to Dance Studio #1. 7th grader has two dance classes at two separate dance studios on Thursdays. Regrettably, American scientists have not developed teleportation technology, not officially anyway, allowing me to get 7th grader to dance class at 4:30 and 3rd grader to dance class at 4:45. Thankfully, a friend’s mom takes her to the 4:30 class. 7th grader tells me Fire Woman by The Cult “isn’t really her vibe.” Asks to change radio station. Request denied.

5:47: Arrive back at Dance Studio #1. 7th grader dropped off, 3rd grader picked up. 3rd wants to wear shorts to school on Friday. Of course 3rd grader wants to wear shorts to school in January. Short discussion about the appropriate air temp for shorts. Decision tabled until further info is available.

6:04: Arrive home. Scavenge for food. Looks like its cottage cheese for dinner for me. Seems that 3rd grader is again dining at Dad’s Deli – turkey sandwich, chips, a pickle and some water. Mom lets me know that she dropped off 5th grader at rec league softball practice. She also lets me know that 5th grader decided to walk around the kitchen in her cleats. The same cleats she wore last Saturday during two games played on a muddy field. Translation? Please clean the kitchen floor while Mom goes to Dance Studio #2 for a “team dinner” and information session on this weekend’s dance competition in Omaha. Remind Mom not to forget to bring her assigned food contribution – a fruit plate. Thank all those concerned that I do not have to go to this “team dinner.”

6:43: 3rd grader is fed so leave to pick up 5th grader. 3rd grader insists on staying home instead of accompanying me. “Okay, but no answering the door, no going outside. Take a shower and then watch TV until I get back.” Think to self that this 3rd grader is pretty independent. Also think to self that I would never have left 7th grader home by herself when she was a 3rd grader. Funny what experience and fatigue will do.

6:58: Leave rec league softball practice with 5th grader in order to take said 5th grader to tournament league softball hitting practice. Because, naturally, one softball team isn’t enough.

7:06: Read text message from Mom asking me to pick up 7th grader at Dance Studio #1 and bring her to Dance Studio #2. She evidently needs to be there for some reason. Read text message from 7th grader asking me to pick her up from Dance Studio #1 and take her to Dance Studio #2 so she can be there for something. Drop head and slump shoulders as I realize multiple women telling me what to do is pretty much what I can expect until 3rd grader leaves for college in 2022.

7:17: After applauding myself for making excellent time to Dance Studio #1 while outsmarting the mobile speed camera cleverly mounted on the dashboard of a clearly marked local police car, I pick up 7th grader a bit early from her class and transport her back to Dance Studio #2. No extra revenue from me coppers!

7:31: Drop off 7th grader at Dance Studio #2. Read email from 3rd grader’s rec league softball coach about four practices scheduled between Sunday the 7th and Tuesday the 16th. Three of the four create no logistical issues. That is a win baby! Crank Cinderella’s Gypsy Road.

7:44: Arrive back at hitting practice, pick up World War Z and read for 15 minutes before entering batting cages. Check for zombies after exiting vehicle.

8:04: Leave hitting practice while 5th grader compliments herself on an excellent display of hitting at both of her practices. “Dad, at the first practice I was hitting them clear into the outfield. Then at hitting practice, even though my hands were super tired, I didn’t miss any from the pitching machine.”

8:16: Arrive home. Watch the NIT Finals. Then realize I missed Person of Interest. You know, John in Person of Interest is exactly the kind of guy who survives World War Z…