Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cyclists

So I get this email last week:
From: TrophyHusband@midlifecrisis.com
Subject: racing sat and sunday combined race
Date: June 17, 2008 1:12:38 PM
To: DoctorMama@overextended.edu

There is a mid day fri short part (home in time to pick up HB no problem). Sat 9am start to 2 hour race (so leave here @ 7ish, then back by @ 1-2). Sunday early start and 1 hour race...home by 10am. Would figure out some reasonable time to catch up on sleep.
I was not too upset about this email, because I have been trying to have a Good Attitude. I have also been practicing saying No at work (which is pretty hard, as it turns out; one thing I had to say no to three times. Someone also went out early on maternity leave, and the system has been stressed yet more. But if I never waste ANY time—no blogging, no lunch break, no chitchat—I can make it happen).

No problem! I say. I have been trying to arrange a date night for some time, but I will simply work around these parameters. I find an early movie and line up the babysitter for Saturday night.

Friday night I confess I do occasionally glance resentfully at our new kitchen cupboards, which despite my discomfort that they even exist in all their bourgeois glory, are really cool. The resentment arises from the fact that I am not allowed to restock them because I developed a rotator cuff injury from emptying the old cupboards in record time at 10pm on a Sunday night after HB’s birthday party because TH forgot that the workers were coming the next day. TH has promised to restock them, but hasn’t found the time. Which is cool, I’m in shape, nothing wrong with my legs, I can run up and down the basement stairs: need salt …. down … up … need a spatula … down … up … need a measuring cup … down … up …. etc. No problem!

Anyway, Friday night cannot involve cupboard restocking, because before each and every bike race there are hours of arcane preparation involving not just a bewildering array of greasy bike parts but much consulting of the computer, rearranging of the car interior, phone calls, etc.

Saturday morning I have a really lovely time with HB. We eat breakfast on the patio, then I pay some bills while he plays relatively quietly and only shoots a plane at my head once, then we go downtown to put the change in the coin counter at the bank as per his request, then we wander around and have lunch. At noon my cell rings: it’s TH. Maybe home in 2 hours? As long as I get my run in and we get to our movie, I say.

HB and I head home. Phone rings at 2:00. TH: Maybe home in half an hour? Oh, and I forgot to mention, I invited Jack and his mother over for a playdate this afternoon. They’ll be there any minute.

Fine! No problem! As long as I get my run in and we get to the movie in time!

Jack and his mother arrive. I don’t know her, but she seems very nice. I neatly avoid having to say her name, since I can’t remember it, if I ever heard it at all. (I am THAT mother at daycare, the one who doesn’t know anyone’s name.) HB and Jack play in the wading pool. I find out that Jack is on “the Spectrum,” which is why he always has a tutor with him at daycare. I tell his mother that I just thought it was because he could already read so well that they gave him a reading tutor. I don’t think before I say this, and I hope afterward that it makes her feel good. I tell her that I worry about HB being a bully. She tells me that she gets daily reports on how Jack interacts with all the kids, and HB is NOT one of the bullies. This makes me feel good. Everything is good! No problem!

TH finally arrives at about 2:45, and I run upstairs to change into my running things, leaving the play date to him. I go for a glorious run. When I get home, the play date is still in full swing. I remind TH that we have to leave by 5:00, and our guests take their leave. I take a shower. I ask TH if he has fed the neighbor’s cat yet, which he volunteered to do over the weekend. He has not.

We make it to the movie in time! My dinner is a cheese stick and a beer, but that’s OK! As long as beer is involved, it counts as dinner to me. No problem!

I have chosen Iron Man, because it seems like a no-lose proposition. I am willing to watch Robert Downey Jr. do just about anything—he is, after all, on my List—and I figure TH will be happy with the gadgetry and the explosions. We haven’t been to a movie in a YEAR. We used to see a couple of movies a week.

I enjoy myself immensely. I could have done without RDJ’s overly precise facial hair, but compared to TH’s shaven legs (and the unavoidable resultant “hair shorts” effect), well …

As we exit the theater, I smile and point out a little girl who is yawning and stretching in her father’s arms. “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a kid who would sleep through a movie?” I say.

“It’s PG-13 FOR A REASON,” TH hisses. He then launches into a rant about how they should ban torture scenes in movies, and a laundry list of other complaints about the movie.

Now, we have a problem.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all week,” I say. “And you’re ruining it for me.” (I feel like such a trite asshole for even saying this. Then I feel mad that I’ve been turned into a trite asshole.)

He did apologize, and he didn’t go to the last part of the race on Sunday (though partly because it would mean waking up at 4 am and because he’d been “shelled” on the Saturday portion, I believe), and he did restock the cupboards.

But I’m still feeling bereft.

He used to make me laugh. He used to watch my back. He used to talk about subjects other than how to avoid razor burn behind his knees.

Do I have to change his nickname?