It’s not often you find yourself e-mailing the CEO of your company while you’re wearing a Darth Vader helmet (well, unless you’re Darth Vader), but that’s what happened to me earlier this week.
It all started innocently enough, as these things seem to do. (I don’t know if everyone experiences situations like this, or if they’re just drawn to me. Maybe I’m some sort of test-pilot for situation comedy bits.) The two-year-old Tiniest Minion had been complaining about his stomach hurting during dinner. I thought at first he just didn’t want to eat, but he proved me wrong on that point a few minutes later by standing up in his chair and throwing up a truly prodigious amount of stuff. I honestly have no idea how it all fit in him to begin with. Remember that scene from the famous true-life documentary Jaws where Matt Hooper and Sheriff Brody sneak down to the dock to cut open the shark, and all sorts of crap (including a license plate from Louisiana) comes flooding out? It was like that, except the license plate that came out of the Tiniest Minion was from Kansas.
The eight-year-old Middle Minion immediately yells “He’s throwing up!” and then runs for the hills. My lovely and talented wife, Aries28, grabbed the Tiniest Minion to dunk him in the tub, and I was left to deal with the mess in the kitchen floor. One thing was readily apparent – he’d eaten a LOT of green beans for lunch that day while he was at daycare. As I was cleaing the kitchen with towels, dishwashing soap, hand sanitizer, a shop-vac, and anything else that was handy, I thanked the good Lord that at least he hadn’t exploded on the carpet in other areas of the house. I couldn’t imagine cleaing all this off of carpet. Man, that would suck.
An hour later, after the Tiniest Minion had been bathed and everything was set to rights, he was walking up the stairs ahead of me – the CARPETED stairs – when he turned around and vomited again. The normal human reaction when someone begins vomiting at you is to move rapidly in a different direction, preferably in a car or jet plane. Parents, though, are brain-damaged, and every parent reading this right now will understand my split-second reaction: I screamed like a girly man.
No, actually, I lunged forward in a hopeless attempt to cup my hands and catch the vomit. I was too far away, though, and even more green beans – enough to fund the retirement of several Del Monte executives – cascaded onto the carpet. Along with the 18 gallons of bright-orange Gatorade the Tiniest Minion drank instead of eating his supper.
So as caring, compassionate parents, my wife and I made the immediate decision to sell our house and move to Kansas, rather than clean the carpet. Unfortunately the housing market now isn’t great, as you may have heard, and the number of people willing to pay us hundreds of thousands of dollars for a green-bean-and-Gatorade encrusted house at eight p.m. that night was very, very low. So in the meantime, I cleaned the carpet with gasoline and a flamethrower while Aries28 bathed him again.
The upshot of all this was I decided to stay home with the Tiniest Minion the following day, because obviously he was too sick to go to daycare. My wife was concerned, but I told her it would be fine – the Tiniest Minion would likely lay in bed all day and watch movies while he recovered, and I could check e-mails and do other work from home. It would be a relaxing, low-stress kind of day for both of us.
Other parents of toddlers could have told me what would happen: Once the Tiniest Minion woke up the next morning and got going, he displayed no sign whatsoever of being sick. He was as rambunctious as he could be, and he couldn’t understand why Daddy kept sitting down in front of the computer to work when there was playing to be done.
Naturally, I got an urgent e-mail from the CEO of our company, asking me to turn around a project that day. It wasn’t a particularly difficult project, unless he’s reading this, in which case it was a project that was solely responsible for our company succeeeding and is worthy of me receiving a significant bonus and a raise that would make Del Monte executives jealous.
So I’m trying to work on my home computer to complete this project while the Tiniest Minion urgently, desperately needs me to watch him run his Thomas the Tank Engine trains over Sir Topham Hatt over and over and over. I think Sir Topham Hatt has an even tougher job than I do.
Eventually I get the Tiniest Minion to compromise for me – I’ll watch him play with his toys if he stays in the room where the computer is hooked up. He’s happy with this for the most part, until he spots the Darth Vader helmet and plastic lightsabers his older brother left in there. Then, of course, the only thing that would make him happy was for Daddy to wear the Darth Vader helmet and have a lightsaber duel with him.
So there I was, a 44-year-old man wearing a Darth Vader helmet, sending an e-mail to the CEO of a $750 million company about an urgent project while fending off a determined, if somewhat undisciplined, series of attacks from a three-foot-tall Jedi who can spew green beans and Gatorade.
In the end, it all worked out fine – the Jedi defeated Darth Vader, the project was completed on time, the Tiniest Minion didn’t throw up any more, and the Census Bureau guy who came to the door during all this assured me his insurance would pay for the therapy he would need.
I hope your Wednesday was as successful as mine.