Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long Weekends – Revisited

Long weekends are great.  Long weekends allow me to have two days to enjoy my family and spend extra time with my boys, if I rush around on Saturday and complete all of my chores.  The downside of a long weekend is spending extra time with my boys.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I love spending time with my kids, I really do.  We play games, watch movies, go hiking, etc.  But it doesn’t matter what you do, what cool activities you have planned or how many things they have to play with, as time goes on the more their boredom level rises and the harder they are to please and the less time they will spend doing any one activity before wanting to move on to something else.

Children are amazing creatures.  They could have every toy imaginable, but they would rather play with a cardboard box or dig a hole in the dirt.  They could have ten kids to play with within a fifty foot radius of the house, but they don’t want to play with any of them.  You could run them all day long, but their energy level never drops, they just become more difficult to please and to deal with. 

I have begun work on a mathematical theory to calculate a child’s or a group of children’s behavior at any given moment. Since their behavior is directly proportional to their level of boredom and also their brazenness, you can use this equation to solve for either of them as well.  The theory is not complete and there are many more factors involved, but this is what I have so far. 

Henry’s Law of Childhood Behavior:

As you can see, the longer the time between when school ends and the time it begins again, the worse their behavior gets.  You can attempt to lessen the effects by spending more money, but as time goes on, you are screwed.  I am sure I will have much more data in the next few months on which to expand my theory.  I wonder if they will give me something to write with in my padded cell? 

Here is an example of the formula in action.  We promised the kids we would break out the water guns and water slide on Monday.  So, I spent 30 minutes filtering through two 40 gallon Rubbermaid storage bins filled without outside toys to find all of their water guns, of which they had about ten last summer.  They, of course, wanted to play with every other toy that I took out of the bins.  Once everything was put away back into the bins, I tested each one out.  I found one that worked.  The rest were so packed with sand and rocks that they triggers were completely disabled.  I cleaned them out the best I could, but to no avail.  Others were missing vital pieces, like the water reservoirs.  Luckily, the 6 YO had gotten a brand new one for his birthday, so they each had one.

I filled a large 20 gallon tub with water and let them loose.  This was supposed to buy me some time to dig out the water slide and get it set up.  I stepped out of the garage ten minutes later with the water slide and all water gun play ceased immediately and they began to hover over me like vultures.  The set up, which would normally take about ten minutes, took more like 30 because I constantly had to step around children.  And then my children started to multiply.  I no longer had two kids up my butt, now I had five.  I felt like I was Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, if I built it, they would come.  Water slide inflated, water on, let the fun ensue and my leisure time begin.

Thirty-two minutes later, they were done with it.  Thirty-two minutes!  It took longer than that to set up!  I hadn’t even had time to sit down yet.  And then they had to the balls to say, “You know what I want to play next?  The eating lunch game!”

I have never beaten my children, nor have I beaten a neighbor’s child, but I must admit that I came very close to clubbing them each over the head with an aluminum baseball bat and swearing under oath that they all received blunt trauma to their heads from jumping off the water slide, which, your Honor, I told them specifically not to do several times.

My wife graciously played short-order cook, and served up ten hot dogs with a side of Flavor Blasted Xplosive Pizza Goldfish.  I got the part of waiter and busboy.  After the meal, they all lounged in the sun while I broke down the water slide.

Life is good.

Later that night, the very fabric of reality began to rip.  The boys prepared for their showers, complaining that they didn’t need showers because they played in water all day.  My wife and I were shouting orders because they some how forget how to undress themselves, bathe, get dressed again, etc.

Child: “Do we really have to?”

Other Child: “He goes first, I went first last night.”

Wife, shouts from the baby’s room: “Make sure you put your clothes in the wash basket.”

As clothes hit the floor, nowhere near the wash basket, Me, growling: “Did you hear what I just said?”

Wife: “I said that.”

Me: “Said what?”

Wife: “To put their clothes in the basket.  You didn’t say it, I did.”

Me: “Oh, yeah maybe you did. But to them, anything that passes from our lips should be treated as the word of God and it shouldn’t matter who really says it.”

In other news, my wife and I made a pretty good meal on Sunday.  We made Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore from AllRecipes.Com served over whole wheat spaghetti.

My rating:

  • Taste: 4 – very hearty, flavorful meal, probably better suited for a chilly fall or winter day.
  • Prep Time: 2 – the recipe says 15 minutes, but it took me about 30-45 (this may be due to the fact that I had a golden retriever follow me with every step I took around the kitchen), and it takes at least 8 hours to cook in the slow cooker, so it not something that you can just whip together.
  • Health: 3 – moderate calories, fat and cholesterol
  • Cost: 4 – The pork and the mozzarella cheese were the only things I had to purchase that I didn’t already have in the kitchen.  The recipe calls for 28 ounces of diced tomatoes, I only used 14.  I also used two peppers instead of one.
  • Kid Friendliness: 2 – yup, too many weird looking things floating around in the sauce.  Tried bribing them with s’mores, no reaction.  They ate some of it, very reluctantly.  They typically eat the pasta at least, but the whole wheat spaghetti did not look right to them.  If we dare make it again, it would be wise to have a back-up plan.
  • Overall: 3

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