One man, two children, 48 hours: Welcome to my nightmare

Make y’self comfortable. This’ll take a while.

Circumstances conspired to leave me, a 37-year-old male in reasonable health, in sole custody of two children over this past weekend. I may never be the same again.

My stepson and I had planned a trip (along with his Cub Scout troop) to the USS Alabama, a decommissioned battleship that’s permanently docked in Mobile, Ala. as a tourist attraction. This would leave my wife, the lovely and talented Aries28, in sole possession of Casa Sauron from Friday evening until Saturday afternoon, when we would return.

Except it didn’t. A couple of weeks before the trip, she merrily chirps that she’s going to Chicago over that weekend to party with some folks from LiveJournal. I very carefully explain that our budget cannot absorb continuous assaults of frivolity, that we have already overextended ourselves with the basement-finishing project, and that we only had eighteen gallons of Mayfield Turtle Tracks ice cream in the freezer, so any extra money we had laying around would obviously be needed to overcome that egregious shortfall. She nodded, agreed completely, and then continued to make her plans to go.

It used to be that being a Dark Lord garnered some respect. Ever since I told her I liked ABBA, though, she has viewed me with barely disguised contempt.

(Incidentally, we are now down to only four gallons of Mayfield Turtle Tracks ice cream with absolutely no financial way to replenish the supply, thanks to her incredibly selfish ways. I have called my good friend Donald Rumsfeld to have DefCon-1 status invoked.)

Anyway, the upshot was that The Mother-in-Law of Sauron would watch the Tiniest Minion of Sauron (who was no more than two) on Friday, while I took the stepson to Mobile and my wife winged her merry way to Chicago. Upon my return, I would swing by the Mother-in-Law’s house, pick up the Tiniest Minion, and then attempt to survive for 24 hours with the two boys until my wife returned.

Icarus had a better chance of reaching the sun than I had of carrying out this folly.

The battleship trip was okay. It lacked the suspense and snoring of my last overnight trip with the Cub Scouts, but it more than made up for it with the agony of exploring a 680-foot ship with a handful of overcaffeinated boys. I learned a few things of interest while I was there:

[li]Attempting to keep up with a pack of seven-year-old boys while they scramble around a World War II-era battleship is next to impossible, particularly if you’re slightly hobbled by a sprained ankle suffered earlier in the week.[/li][li]U.S. sailors in the 1940s apparently were four feet tall, because all of the doorways came up to my sternum.[/li][li]If you tell a group of seven-year-old boys that the main guns on the battleship could shoot a 16-inch shell 10 miles, they will not shut up until you attempt to actually fire the guns. [/li][li]USS Alabama park employees are not amused when a 37-year-old man attempts to bribe them with a twenty to “just shoot one shell out of the big guns.” [/li][li]They particularly don’t like it when the man says “I’ll bet you another $20 that you can’t hit that big building over there.”[/li][li]A battleship is made of steel, and at night, when approximately 200 boys are all bouncing and running and screaming 30 minutes after lights-out, it sounds like the world’s worst mariachi band is playing at full volume inside an amplified tin can taped to your ear. [/li][/ul]

I decide to take a break from the mayhem and call my wife. She had surprised me, just before frolicking her way onto the Chicago-bound plane, with a cell phone, so we could keep in touch throughout the weekend. I thought this was an excellent idea at the time. So I wander up on deck, dodging overstimulated Cub Scouts and park employees who want me arrested for some reason, and attempt to call her.

Now, I’ve never owned a cell phone, although I’ve used them from time to time. I notice that the message indicator is blinking on my phone. Apparently my wife has already tried to call me. However, I cannot for the life of me access the message. I can CALL my voicemail, and leave myself a message if I get a wild hair to do so, but I can’t LISTEN to the messages that are already on my phone. Exasperated, I give up and just try to call her directly. I get her voicemail. Of course.

The rest of the trip passed somewhat uneventfully, and so by mid-afternoon on Saturday I return to Casa Sauron. I have stopped by the mother-in-law’s house to pick up the Tiniest Minion, who, I am assured, has been “a perfect angel” and “quiet as a lamb.” Sadly, this condition is ended when the Minion is possessed by a demon during the ten-minute drive from the in-laws house to Casa Sauron. You would think that if the Alabama Highway Department knows that demons are crossing a well-used highway and have the potential to possess small children, they would have the courtesy to put up “Demon Crossing: Beware of Possession” signs. I intend to sue once I get my hearing back.

The seven-year-old and the two-year-old begin fighting over everything possible to fight about. The fights are interesting in the sense that they’re incredibly repetitive. “No!” “Mine!” “No!” “Mine!” Ad infinitum.

When we finally get home, Tiniest Minion is making The Face. The Face can be interpreted many ways – “I’m attempting long division”, “I can’t quite read the stock ticker on MoneyLine”, “I’m trying to picture you with long, frizzy hair” – but usually on the Tiniest Minion it means “I’m in the process of passing a turd the approximate size and shape of an overripe yam.” Sure enough, when I get him out of the car seat, his diaper weighs more than he does. (To quote Jeff Foxworthy: “They don’t kid around on those diaper sizes. When they say ‘25 to 35 pounds,’ they mean it. Those diapers won’t hold much more than that.”) So I bring him inside and lay him on the bed while I change his diaper. My wife, in her infinite wisdom, has put the diapers way the hell over by the window, so I have to stop in mid-change (always a dangerous move), sprint to the window on a bad ankle, and grab another diaper before Tiniest Minion decides to fling yam-shaped poo all over the walls. This is apparently high entertainment in Baby World.

I successfully change the diaper, and carefully place the diapers and wipes next to the bed, in case I need them again. See, that’s foresight. Why my wife doesn’t show it more often is beyond me.

I decide to try to call my wife again. This time, I am successful.

“Hey!” she warbles. “I’m having the best time! I’ve been to Lincoln Park Zoo, and this really cool bar, and we had brunch at Kitsch’n, and we’re going to the Disco Ball tonight, and I’ve met a ton of people!”

“That’s great,” I mumble. “Any hotties around?” (“Hotties”, in case you are unaware, have been defined by my wife as “Guys who are incredibly hot, so you want to have a one-night stand with them, but aren’t steady, relationship material like you, dear.”)

“And we played Trivial Pursuit, and I’ve learned a little bit about playing the drums, and …”

I notice the attempt to deflect the question.

“Any hotties around?” I ask, more forcefully.

“Oh, dear, you know I love you,” my wife responds.

Hottie presence confirmed.

Meanwhile, the two boys have apparently noticed that they’re sharing the same air, and so they’re fighting over who owns it. I tell my wife to have a good time tonight (“But not too good,” which only makes her laugh) and attempt to separate the boys. Which is impossible, because the only thing they like better than fighting is to be around each other.

I go into the kitchen to make supper. I’ve been in there a grand total of 27 seconds when the Stepminion reports in. “The baby is throwing wipes all over the bedroom.” Then he wanders away, his duty completed.

I hobble to the bedroom, and see a veritable snowstorm of baby wipes covering every single flat surface. The two-year-old is sitting on the floor, merrily throwing the hell out of the diapers and the wipes. I scold him and spend twenty minutes picking up baby wipes and diapers, all the while mentally picturing my wife flirting insanely with a bevy of hotties. After the cleanup, I carefully place the diapers and wipes over by the window again, out of reach of the baby.

So we finally eat supper (although I honestly can’t remember what I fixed) and then I give the boys their bath. They don’t fight much in the tub, which is good, because I’m about to pass out from stress and exhaustion. I put the baby to bed (technically an hour earlier than he normally goes to sleep, but at least it only leaves one for me to chase around) and watch television with the seven-year-old. He’s watching a World War II documentary about battleships on the History Channel. Halfway through the program, he looks over at me and says “I can’t believe you didn’t get them to fire the guns for us.” So off he goes to bed.

I spend the next four hours doing laundry, thinking it will be a nice surprise for my wife when she returns from her trip: no big pile of laundry waiting on her. I stumble into bed at midnight.

The next morning, as I’m dressing the boys for church, the baby begins making The Face again. I reach for the diapers and wipes, but they’re not there! Where could they be? By the window! Who the hell put them way over there by the window?

And so it went.

My wife returned that afternoon at four p.m. We met her at the airport. “Honey, I had the best time,” she gushed. “I partied and danced and laughed and drank and stayed out late and just did everything I’ve wanted to do ever since we got married.”

She’s planning to go back to Chicago for ChiDope in May.

I wonder how much it would take to bribe those park employees to shoot me out of one of those big guns.

Hey you got sex twice since I’ve been home on Sunday so STFU. :wink:

Welcome to the world of being a parent. Remember when you went to TX? I had the kids by myself. I don’t seem to recall it being so damn hard.


What kind of bribe are you offering the ChiDoper who might know who at least one of the hotties is? (Not that I’m confirming there actually are any, just sayin’.)

Just think of it as her way of convincing you to come with her in May.

Sounds like a hell of a weekend.

Sounds like the following week will be worse, the doghouse and all.

Oh, I’m sorry – I was under the impression you enjoyed that, too. My mistake.

[Doug Whiner]But you’re betterrrrrr at it than meeeeee.[/Doug Whiner]

Eva Luna: My lovely wife is on record as saying “You shouldn’t go to ChiDope; I’ll have to behave if you go.”

I know when I’m not wanted. Sniff.

I had a wild and crazy time at NYFest 2002. I had a wild and crazy (well, sort of) time at Chidope 2002.

I had a less wild and much more sane time at Chidope 2003 with my SO.

Your suspicions are confirmed.

Yeah, hi, my name is ** NotWithoutRage ** and I’m * never * having kids.

iampunha: I knew it!

Go to Chidope with your wife; that way, you won’t be alone:)

Speaking as someone who was a hyperactive 7 year old boy once, is the USS Alabama still as cool as it was back in my youth?

And frankly, Dark Lord, you should be renamed The Dark Saint Sauron for putting up with the kids…and her.

What’s humorous is getting both sides of this sordid story.

Note to self: potential suitors should NEVER be told of the existence of either SDMB or LJ. :wink:

I really enjoyed my trip to the USS Alabama as a 42 year old boy. Helped not having kids, I quess. Helped even more that when I saw a pack of kids, I could grab my (ex)wife and scurry in a different direction. Sauron, is the submarine still closed? I was sorely disappointed; I guess a hurricane had messed it up. I’ve always wanted to clamber about a sub.

Oh, yeah, it’s as cool as all get-out. I didn’t remember the gun turrets being open when I went, lo, these many years ago. Now, though, you can crawl inside the 16-inch and the five-inch gun turrets. They also have some good self-guided tours throughout the ship.

Nah, you’re way off base on this. SHE’S the one who puts up with ME. I constantly have to pinch myself; I keep thinking I can’t be this lucky to be married to her.

And the kids are great 99.9 percent of the time. They were both just tired and cranky Saturday afternoon, I think.

This Year’s Model: I believe the submarine (the USS Drum) is still closed. At least, the parking lot in front of it was completely roped off. I remember going in the Drum back when I was maybe 12 or 13, and having to stoop and scrunch in places. I seriously doubt I could navigate most of it now.

Before anybody gets any ideas that my weekend in Chicago was a lot more exciting than it was…I behaved myself completely. And every guy I was around was a total gentleman.

I had a great time. Chicago people is good peoples.

Geez… GMRyujin why do you dislike me so? I know you’re probably just kidding around but it seems like you always have a comment in these things about how awful and terrible I am. Or am I being hypersensitive?

He had 2 kids by himself for a grand total of a day and a half while I was out of town. I don’t see what the big freakin deal is. I’ve done it before and managed to somehow survive as I’m sure most moms can attest to.

And yes, I plan to be in Chicago during ChiDope. I’ve invited him. He doesn’t want to go. It has nothing to do with whether or not I will act a certain way if he’s there or not.

I should also mention that first thing tomorrow I’m taking both of the kids to Nashville by myself for the next 2 days. I’m doing this to give him a few days by himself in exchange for my being gone last weekend.

I’m not as heartless as I might sound.

The latter. See, guys need someone to make sympathetic noises about how unappreciated and abused they are, otherwise their feathers get all ruffled.

Lost me there. Couldn’t even keep reading. What self-respecting Dark Lord gets their groove on to “Dancing Queen”? Could you imagine a Nazgul swooping down over the heads of poor pitiful human soldiers of their pathetic kingdoms while rocking out to “Bang A Boomerang”? I tell you, were I one of those soldiers I’d be soiling my armor, but not from fear.



I hear ya. “Should we have kids?” is a big question in Interroworld!? these days, and reading about yam-sized poo and Cub Scout trips to hell tends to suggest that the correct answer is, “What are we, nuts!?”

Still, funny. Sauron brings the funny. And if he and Aries28 are still this nice, kids can’t be all bad. Right? Right?

Oh, don’t mind Ryujin. He’d say the same to any married Doper. He claims he’s a Saint for putting up with me, for goodness sake.

The 16s were usually iffy. Sometimes they were open and you could poke around at will. Sometimes they were closed. I usually figured safety hazard cause, well, 16 inch gun turrets weren’t exactly built with hyperactive 7 year old boys in mind.

The Drum’s closed? That sucks. I remember the deck gun could still be moved when I went. My mom wasn’t thrilled when she turned around to find herself staring down the barrel of a gun…hee hee.

And pay no attention to what that wench says about me…

Aries it is clear that your poor, poor husband has suffered great emotional and physcological damage for being abandoned this past weekend whilst you were out gallavanting up north with nefarious types. My god woman, you should give him blowjobs every morning and night as some kind of recompense for his emotional trauma endured.

[That, son, was sarcasm]

I would like to note that Mr. Ujest every time he has the kids for an entire day *goes down to his mother’s house 30 minutes away because he can’t handle being at home alone with our two kids. *

As an added poke in the mental hemerroid that this gives me, * he does something(s) off her honey-do list. * He doesn’t do our/my honey do list. He does his mothers. I think I am having a stroke just thinking about this. *Because he can’t get anything done with the kids running amok. * Oh look, I can’t feel my left side and there goes that nervous tic down my face and the drool is starting. Not that I’m bitter.

Guys, I’ve decided, are decidedly pussies.