Saturday, June 13, 2009

Household Routines

Our daily routines usually start with me at five in the morning. I hate sleeping in and have a workaholic complex so I'm usually up fairly early and before everyone else. I leave the house to pick up some coffee from down the street. Coffee is a part of my startup cycle - I'm a product of the Pacific Northwest - and it gets me started for the day. I return back home and talk to my daughter a bit before she leaves for school.

Usually around this time, PF and PG will descend for breakfast and eventually PG will leave for work and their daughter will head out to the school bus. PF and I work out of the house. PF is a massage therapist and her clients will come in and out during the day; I work as a tech guy and teach online. The kids will eventually be home around three and PF and I share kidwatch responsibilities while we're working through the rest of the afternoon. Admittedly, PF does more with homework task mastering than I do. Dinner gets started by one of us, PG will come home, there'll be food, talk, cleanup, time with kids, then their bedtime. Eventually, we'll go to bed - PF will randomly alternate sleeping with me or with PG just depending largely on schedules and obsessions (sometimes, I'll be working late or PG will be busy doing gaming stuff).

Having a mix of three adults in the house is great. On garbage day, I can clean up the kitchen while PG is circulating through the house, gathering the trash, and getting the cans to the street. PF and I will alternate days for food prep. When one or two of us wants to go to the gym, there's usually one of us that will stay behind to watch the kids. Sometimes, like last night, I'll watch the kids so the married couple can catch a date night, and when I'm teaching onground in the evening, they're able to watch mine. When one of us wants to go on an outside date, we're able to arrange and adjust our schedules to accommodate - yay Google Calendar. Somebody is always available for the kids. PG and I are pretty tech savvy so having two men in the house to install, configure, break, reinstall, and spend hours of grumpy time pissed off in front of a consumer electronic. The yard is my responsibility and the garden outside is something PG attends to, and PF handles a lot of the internal domestic stuff. Grocery day isn't all that bad - PG and I will alternate going with PF to go shopping and bring the food home. And the dogs? Well, they're everybody's responsibility.

It also presents a balance of opportunity. Where it's essential for me to concentrate on my work, I've got the ability to focus on that problem without necessarily disappointing or isolating PF since she has an "internal" option; when PG has a date or some RPG interest, then PF is able to spend time with me. When PF is gone, PG and I can manage the kids or do our own respective things; every now and again, we'll play RPG's or go to cons together - it's nice always having a friend around. And when I was dating a bit last year, I was able to run-about and drag the prey home knowing PF wasn't being neglected (grin).

Aside from the logistics, there's a natural economic benefit to having three adults in the house. We're able to balance risk in this economy since two of us at any given time wouldn't be out of a job. We achieve a favorable economy of scale on domestic purchases and utilities. There's practically no childcare expenses between us any more unless we're all out doing things together. One of these days, PF swears she's going to get rid of her car... I think there's lots of little opportunities down the road to live a little greener and produce a smaller carbon footprint.

Across the street, we have this neighbor who's mom lives with them or something, so this older woman is always out on the porch. She seems to smoke a lot. She sits, smokes, and stares... idling away her remaining time in the Universe, hastening her demise by inhaling carcinogens. She sees me wake up in the morning and head out to my coffee. She's there when I return. She's there with PG leaves for the day and she's there as PF's clients trod in and out of the house. When I come and go during the day, sometimes she's there, sometimes not, but her dog will circle around and bark at me, or at our dogs when the kids take them for walks. The "man" of the house (PG) will come home in the evening and the kids lights get shut off at nightly bedtime. And when I go to bed, she's still out there when I close my blinds: sitting on her porch, legs crossed, in a flannel night gown, just watching, and sucking on a cigarette. Her time is ticking. I wonder what she sees, and I wonder what she's thinking.


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