This is the Way Winter Break Ends…

…not with a bang but a whimper.

Apologies to T.S. Eliot, but seeing as how I spent the final day of Winter Break grading and cleaning, the modification of the quote seems too apt to pass up. With any luck, I’ll be asleep in a few hours and consequently well-rested for the teacher in-service taking place tomorrow.

The cleaning left Al with a total of three pairs of pants, one of which are jeans.

The cleaning left Al with a total of three pairs of pants, one of which are jeans.

It looks like we weren’t the only Higas cleaning for the New Year. When I arrived at my parents’ house for brunch this morning, I was implored by both of them to try on all of the pants and shorts from a stack sitting on a chair. I was told I could keep whatever I wanted. “You should try some on,” Matty said. “I found $6 in one of them.” The University of Portland is a diploma mill.

I never got around to trying on any of them, I only took three pairs of shorts that I thought I had a shot to fit. “There’s something horrifying about wearing your dad’s pants,” I said to my mom. “Why, what?” she responded. “I don’t know; I have no problem borrowing Matty’s shorts,” I continued. I stopped there, but it’s more of a style thing, I guess. I avoided anything with pleats like the plague. “That’s a dead giveaway,” I said. “Of what?” my mom said. “That you’re wearing your dad’s pants!” I haven’t tried any of them on yet. I want them to be sooooo loose that I’ll be all I don’t even know why I thought they’d fit, they’re like, soooo loose. But I know that the opposite possibility exists, and man, I don’t know if I could handle that.

Surround sound.

Surround sound.

Madison and Lynnette went to meet up with Lynnette’s parents at Blaisdell Park for a picnic while I stayed back and finished my grading. Again, I am not only a member of the pro-procrastinators club, I’m the president. So yeah, I sat in the living room grading and tabulating and data entering. I chose to stay there instead of go to Starbucks because of my stomach. It stood to reason that if my stomach acted up, I’d be stuck at Starbucks in a one-person stall with a line of people waiting to use it. While the obvious upside would have been adding Waimalu Starbucks to the list, there was just too much downside.

I hit a groove and since the San Francisco/Green Bay game was so boring, I was really focused. Well, until my dad and Bijou took a nap at the same time and started harmonizing their snores. It really was incredible. My dad does this inhale that sounds like a hiss a predatory cat would make seconds before pouncing on its outclassed prey. There’s an almost imperceptible pause before he exhales and I am greeted with the sound of a winter-time North Shore swell crashing into a cliff side again and again and again. I have long told my father he is a saint for dealing with all of my mom’s OCD-driven insanity, but maybe if mom’s had to endure this every night for over 30 years, then they might break even.

And then there’s Bijou. When Madison went outside to play, Bijou was allowed back into the house and she came hobbling in slowly. “She moves like Yoda,” I said. “Yoda moves fast,” Lynnette said. “No, not Revenge of the Sith-Yoda, Return of the Jedi-exiled in Dagobah-Yoda,” I said. Lynnette nodded. My mom says that Bijou is 12, and that seems unfathomable, but that’s about how long I’ve been out of college, so that’s probably right. Well, not to be outdone, Bijou jammed her huge body into a tiny space behind me and took a nap with her master. She started cutting logs, too, and it made me giggle. I decided against taking and posting a video because I still want to be invited over on Sundays.

Mad and I share some less-than-desirable traits.

Mad and I share some less-than-desirable traits.

I’ve never put a lot of stock in astrology and horoscopes and all that stuff. Granted, it’s fun to read, and is a wonder example of how confirmation bias works, but I’m too logical (in terms of anything not related to sports) to ever completely buy in.

That said, I will never ever forget a profile of the Aries sign that I read in late high school or early college. The one thing that has always stuck with me is the comment about Aries not being able to finish things. In fact, the passage went on to say that Aries tend to start projects with passion, but quickly fizzle out. When I read that I was blown away. That single paragraph basically summed up my life until that point (and well, let’s be honest, even now).

As you know, Madison and I share a birthday, and I’ll be damned if she hasn’t already started showing a disdain for following through and finishing projects. She and Lynnette started decorating a jewelry box she got for Christmas. Madison worked on it for about 40 minutes before declaring that she would no longer work on the box today and that she would “save it for another day.” Typical Phil Madison.

Yes!

Yes!

When we got home from my parents’ house, there was still a glimmer of hope perhaps that maybe we’d do something adventurous to end Winter Break, but alas, it was not meant to be. I suggested driving out to the North Shore before realizing that I didn’t have a true destination or objective in mind. We stayed home and cleaned the house instead.

I’ve only been married once, so I don’t have have a whole lot of data for comparison, but I feel like Lynnette got extremely lucky marrying a man like myself who doesn’t mind doing the cleaning. I’m basically the opposite of whoever Robin Thicke was talking to in “Blurred Lines,” I’m super-domesticated. There are two things I am pleased with accomplishing this afternoon, and both can be seen in this picture. The first is a newly relocated work space in the living room, just a few feet to the right of where it used to be, but also exactly that many feet closer to the television. Win.

The second is that brown plastic bin on the left of the picture. That’s “Mommy’s Box.” Yes, there is some innuendo there, and yes, I am much more creative than that, but when it’s the last day of Winter Break and you’re trying to clean the house and there are no more football games on, sometimes simplicity wins out. So what is Mommy’s Box? Okay, first, I’m going to need you to call to mind that lady’s voice from all the commercials for “As Seen on TV” products. Ready? Good. Read the italicized text in that voice.

Are you tired of misplacing important documents? Are you tired of forgetting where you put random slips of paper and receipts? Are you tired of losing receipts because you so totally were going to go online and take that survey which would have assured you 10% off on your next purchase? Are you tired of fighting with your husband because he threw something valuable away because he had no idea of said something’s value? Well, if you are, then you need Mommy’s Box!

Quite simply, it is a box where all of Lynnette’s paper things go. She leaves things around and I don’t know what they mean or if they are important or if they’re just trash that can be safely thrown away. And, and, and if I move them or toss them, the cosmos will invariably make Lynnette ask me where said item is within a 24-hour time span, even if said item was sitting around for 4-6 weeks in the same place. It’s just the way the universe works, guys. There’s no fighting it. But now I don’t have to. Now, I just toss everything that isn’t mine and isn’t Madison’s into this box. When Lynnette says “Where’s that party invitation? We have to RSVP!” Mommy’s Box. When Lynnette says “Have you seen my appointment card?” Mommy’s Box. You know what? Let’s just shut down Winter Break right now, I can’t do any better than this.

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