Saturday, June 26, 2010

Putting My Princesses To Work


Yet another summertime Saturday morning.

My faithful black lab Suzy and I are waking up on the deck by the pool – with a coffee – looking around at all the outside chores to be done yet again this weekend.

Well, I am anyway. Suzy is quite content to lay on the deck licking parts of her body that only dogs can lick.

But aside from the common destinations those chores take me today, we really have nothing planned.

How wonderful.

The frustrations of a week's work can be forgotten for these two days. The hectic pace can be replaced by the frustrations of domestic obligations.

But it's summer. The very thick of summer, although it's only a week old.

And I – being a Canadian who was raised in the deep south of the United States – well I am not a winter person.

So I want to cherish every second of hot days with the cool breezes that can only be found in the shade on the deck under the patio set umbrella.

But first I must earn my keep. My lovely wife Darlene does not like to see me lounge around all day – as she is of the opinion that lounging around is my professional occupation that I perform Mondays through Fridays.

Perhaps she is right.

My two little girls – used to waking up to play baseball games on Saturday mornings are already bored. Still in their pajamas they come outside to tell me they have nothing to do.

Perhaps I can put them to work?

What kinds of house chores can seven and eight year olds do?

They aren't big enough to cut the grass just yet. Cutting the grass is a work out that not even the finest Bow-Flex excercise machine can match – pulling the rip-cord some twenty times with all your might just to get the little engine to turn over – only to have it chug a couple of times and die – and to pull it another twenty times until it turns over again – and once successfully started – must be pushed around the yard in a complicated pattern to avoid the gardens, bushes, swing sets and climbers, pool and deck that comprise out yards.

So they can't cut the grass … yet.

And they damn sure can't use the weed whipper either. Limbs would be flying everywhere.

But oh I dream of the day when ….

They could water the gardens though.

But on second thought I picture the hose being turned on everything but the gardens – and two soaking wet little girls walking into the house leaving puddles behind them as they exclaim to their lovely Mother "Ashley sprayed me in the eyeball and now I'm blind".

The yelling and the screaming would of course bring the police. And we don't need to have that happen. Police cars in the front yard doesn't look good to the neighbors.

That also pretty much excludes them from washing the cars.

And I sure won't let them inspect under the hood of the Jeep to see why that mysterious engine light came on last week.

Perhaps they could paint their swingset and climber in the corner of the yard. You know the kind – made out of four-by-fours with a little house and a slide? We need to paint that to be the same color as the deck.

What am I thinking? They would be covered in more paint that the deck would be.

Perhaps there are chores they could do inside the house?

There is a picture down stairs that needs to be hung. A beautifully framed golf green flag from no place other than Augusta National Golf course – home of the Masters. My lovely wife Darlene "won" it in a silent auction.

Well, she says she won it – but what she really did was win the right to pay an exorbitant amount of Money for it – my birthday present. Still sitting in a corner in the sewing room waiting to by hung on the wall by the pool table.

I'm not complaining. But I can't let the girls do that ether.

The laundry is out of the question as well – all my shirts for work would be pink – and shrunk to fit the Ken dolls in their big Barbie doll house they never play with.

Vacuuming is out as well – as they would likely suck the cats up into the vacuum and then get dirt inside the canister all over the place trying to get the crippled little felines out.

That's no good either.

Their rooms are a mess. They could do that – all though they never do. Their closets become piles of everything that was on the floor. Playing cards and CDs and dolls and little game chips for their Nintendo DSi games – all piled up with dirty clothes that we don't find until they have long grown out of them.

But it's worth a shot.

My goodness, my two little princess girls are really quite useless.

Although they are fun to dress up and take places with me. They are nice decorations to give the outside world the impression that I am a wonderful father.

And you cannot question my wonderfulness as a Daddy either … I have the hand drawn certificates and cards left over from last Sunday's Fathers Day celebration to prove it – strewn around my desk at work with sentiments like "World's Greatest Dad" and drawings of me and them standing under a rainbow holding the strings of heart shaped balloons.

So I am well certified to be the Greatest Dad in the world.

If I could just put them to work somehow?

Just now Alannah, my oldest came out to again inform me of her state of boredom. She picked up a hammer used to pound in a nail to hang a planter on the deck. And she starts to simply pound on the wood.

"STOP THAT!", I shout. In a much gentler voice I suggest she and her sister put on their swimsuits and play in the pool.

We have to make use of this pool, don't you know.

As they splash and play in the water, my Lovely wife Darlene comes out to see what I am doing. I am typing madly now on the keyboard of the laptop.

"I can't do that now", I answer. "I have to watch the girls while they're in the pool!"

And suddenly the usefulness of my two little princesses becomes quite clear to me.

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