It’s not that we, the Gudek Family, don’t respect your time, we do. It’s not that we are lazy (our laziness has little to do with this), it’s not even that we have our hands so very full of chores and work and small children. It’s so much deeper than that, and I think it starts with the fact that Dave and I, though wildly different in the most obvious ways, share a few too many characteristics, that when combined, are actually quite dangerous.
A little about Dave, who is off-the-grid, (essentially I mean, he has no social media accounts, and enjoys tractors.) Dave is spontaneous, excitable, passionate and determined. He doesn’t get an A+ for follow through, or planning. In fact, therein lies the danger. Neither Dave, nor I, are what you might call planners.
Oh, we talk a good game. We know when things are coming. We discuss the things that are coming. We acknowledge how much time we have until that thing is coming. We even say, look at us, discussing in advance, that thing that’s coming up. We are on top of it. And then that thing comes up, and its here, and we are so confused. What happened to May? I don’t understand. I’m missing weeks here. Didn’t we do the stuff to prepare for the thing? I remember talking about the thing…
And then we make magic by hustling our butts off, pulling out a pretty good THING that would be considered STELLAR if everyone knew how little time we had allowed ourselves to get ready for the thing. Its like watching a movie over and over, you know what’s going to happen, you silently urge the protagonist to avoid his unavoidable missteps, and he falls into the trap and you knew it would happen, and you’re a little annoyed, but then you watch it again, because, I don’t know, there’s comfort in the familiar?
Okay, so planning obviously would help us leave our house an hour before we are supposed to be somewhere in an hour. Lucky for us, Dave knows all the short cuts, though, so we save 8 minutes on the drive and show up about 6 minutes late, right behind the family with the 5 kids and a baby and a million reasons to be late, but astonishingly, everyone’s outfit is clean and their hair is brushed. And since everyone’s looking at them anyway, we sneak in, unnoticed (we assume), right behind them. We totally pulled it off! Secret handshake, wink-wink; it’s really a good bonding moment for us.
Unfortunately, though, Dave and I have another thing in common – we are easily distracted. I often take a look around our house at the end of the day and notice remnants of half finished chores, crafts and well-meaning projects. I think the worst part is watching our conversations get derailed by each others’ distractions. We have both caught each other not finishing a story, or joke for that matter, (I swear the kids aren’t even in the room when this happens). We are hopeless, yet mildly entertaining.
And the saddest of all the traits we share: we are not neat people. Knowing my shortfall in this area I had always assumed I’d marry into organization. And once I met Dave’s parents, and I thought, Wow. Jackpot. Everything they own goes in a specific place, and that dedicated spot rarely changes. (WHAT?) And they are organized, and prepared, and orderly and their dishwasher is always empty. Think about that. The dishwasher, is empty. And clean. So they load up their dishwasher, turn it on, look at the rest of the dishes in the sink. CLEAN THEM. And put them away. And then when the dishwasher beeps. They empty it. Immediately. It’s always empty. I know. Mind-blowing.
Come to find out, Dave is an enigma in his family. He didn’t inherit the gene that urges you to put your possessions on your desk perpendicular to each other. Or to make your bed. Or to put things away after you use them. Which is really hard for me to remember, so how on earth am I expected to remember to remind him? It’s all very tragic.
And while my parents don’t organize with the fervor and child-like delight that Dave’s parents do, they still had their act together. I won’t say who is who, but essentially one of them balances out the other in that department. They married well. And I think I fell somewhere in the spectrum between the two. Also cleaning is boring, so in my youth, I avoided it whenever possible. I’ve matured and have begun to experience the pleasure of a clean house, but it’s not easy. Or fun.
I’m dishing out a lot of dirty laundry over here – even muddying up my metaphors in the process. The bottom line is this, when we arrive just outside the window of fashionably late to your event, its because we may have forgotten about it, briefly, and possibly got distracted on the way out, and then spent 15 minutes asking each other where the keys are. And Hayden’s shoes. All of this is, clearly, beyond our control.
So when we show up on time, please reward us, because we do really well with positive reinforcement. I enjoy cake.