I’ve long felt that a man ought to have certain minimal standards for a Saturday of leisure. One should not enter lightly into a day of rest and relaxation. Here are a few basic principles:
- Sleeping in is a must
- No booting up the work laptop
- Sugared cereals – preferably several bowls, devoured absentmindedly while perusing some easy-reading fiction (I prefer Terry Pratchett novels)
- Hours and hours of uninterrupted computer game playing
- Children off visiting friends or playing outside contentedly (no fights, injuries, or difficult questions allowed)
- Ice cream for a snack or dessert (or both, if your wife isn’t watching closely)
- Pancakes for dinner – no skimping on the butter orsyrup.
- Absolutely NO HOUSEWORK, period.
If your blood isn’t fizzing from all the sugar, and if you can still focus your eyes after a hard day of gaming, it wasn’t a proper Saturday, I always say.
Sadly, into every man’s life a little hardship doth occasionally fall. In this case, Saturday dawned bright and clear (okay grey and cloudy) with only a single 30 minute computer game playing chip left in my possession. Thirty minutes has never flown by so quickly, and I found myself chipless before noon on a Saturday. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so I assembled my horde of children and entrusted to them a sacred mission:
“I’m sure I have some more chips somewhere in one of my desk drawers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate the missing chips.”
We turned the first drawer inside-out but nary a chip was unearthed. Other drawers were searched, but to no avail. After less than a half-hour’s search, we were forced to admit that I was truly (I shudder, even to write it) out of chips.
Ever since the chip-famine of April ’07, we’ve had a special codicil that allows the chip-impoverished to earn emergency chip rations by doing chores around the house. Daniel regularly invokes that rule, and Kathy gets a lot of extra help out of him, happily exploiting his weakness for computer games. Although I’m almost positive I was somehow shorted on the chip payment this week (how could I have spent 3 1/2 hours already!), I couldn’t convince Kathy (keeper of the chips) to extend me any grace. Nor were the children susceptible to bribery or threats. Sadly, I realized that the only way I was going to earn myself a fresh cache of computer chips was to work, or more specifically clean. Some things are almost too painful to write.
Kathy chortled gleefully all morning, cackling even, as the minutes ticked away and my last chip was played.
“Boy, this pantry is REALLY messy. I sure hope someone will have time to clean it today.”
Um, it’s not really that messy, Dear.
It’s never pretty seeing a grown woman act in such an immature manner. She almost seemed to enjoy my suffering and torment.
After putting the desk drawer back together and making a half-hearted attempt to shake one of the children down for a spare chip, I decided to accept the inevitable.
Most of the afternoon was spent emptying, cleaning and organizing the pantry. No doubt Kathy will thank me for my work in de-cluttering and re-categorizing the items in the closet. I found several things that I’m sure she doesn’t need at all and was diligent to get rid of them right away. I moved everything around on the shelves, arranging them in order by UPC code and sell-by-date. It was a delight to see her face when I showed her the New System I devised for the pantry.
Look, there’s a floor in here. I didn’t think you really needed the crock-pot or all those pesky cookie sheets. You don’t mind going out to the garage for baking supplies, do you Beloved?
It’s not often that Kathy is at a loss for words. It just shows how overwhelmed with joy she was.
I completed the job with my usual glacial speed. When I had nearly finished putting everything away, and had collected 3 hours’ worth of computer game playing chips, I was called away on an errand. When Kathy discovered I was graciously allowing her to put the last touches on the pantry and clear off a small amount of mess on the kitchen table, she was beside herself with joy.
Heh, heh, there’s just a little more to do, Sweetie.
But she wasn’t quite so speechless this time. “If you think I’m paying good chips so I can tidy up your half-baked job of ‘cleaning’ the pantry, you’ve been sniffing the 409!” she seethed. She’s really quite a hoot, as those who know her well often comment.
As Saturday comes to a close, I grip my hard-earned chips tightly in sweaty palms, agonizing whether to spend them now in a mad rush, or to hoard them in case I get some time to play, Sunday afternoon.
All ready and set to go.
I’d better be careful, though … Kathy’s been dropping not-so-subtle hints about the garage.
Project 365 – Day 258