I have been a little down lately. I guess it’s an early start to the winter time blues. Maureen, smart girl that she is, seems to have picked up on this and has been putting up with my somewhat foul mood, but I can’t expect her to continue. As with all couples, we have our up and our down moments, and at this point I seem to be dragging us into one of those down moments. I have to do something to snap out of it.
6:30 – Maureen’s alarm on her phone goes off. Usually, my alarm is first at 6:15 but since I forgot my phone at work last night our first hint at the dark morning comes fifteen minutes later than normal. Oh, we never get up at 6:15, it is just sort of a warning that the morning is about to begin and that we should prepare ourselves for the inevitable. We take our extra fifteen minutes anyway.
6:45 – Maureen announces that she now needs to get up since they are showing snakes on the morning news. And then something about the Shed Aquarium and fish not being able to live in the studio. Then it all fades to black again as I double check the insides of my eyelids for cracks. None are found.
7:00 - Matt Lauer’s voice tells me I cheated and stole another fifteen minutes. I hunt for a sweatshirt to guard against the morning cold and have it stuck halfway over my head when Maureen tells me she is perfectly capable of making her own coffee and that I should lie back down for a few more minutes. As tempting as that invitation was, I manage to pop my head through the sweatshirt and slug across the floor, but as I make my way to the door in the dark, the left lens of my glasses pops out and flies off into nowhere. Maureen tells me to stand still and flips on the light. I’m awake now. She hands me the wayward lens and I head down the stairs.
7:12 – That’s what the clock on the stove says, but the microwave is willing to give me an extra minute. Either way, I pass them both as I head to the coffee maker. I grab for a filter but of course get two, and for some reason the two do not want to be separated this morning. In frustration I almost just use them both, but I have had to clean that mess up before. Coffee just doesn’t flow though two filters as quickly as through one, and the resulting overflow of brown water and grounds would just delay the needed caffeine jolt. After much finger rubbing, I finally separate the two and proceed to make six cups, which of course in the real world means only four. With that complex task finished, I turn to the task of fixing my glasses. I have one of those eyeglass screwdrivers in the car. I leave it in the car because whenever I bring it in the house it seems to disappear into that black hole that also sucks up socks, pens, and Alex’s underwear. This way I always know where it is. It’s in the car. And I’m in my underwear and a sweatshirt. So I use a kitchen knife to tighten the tiny little screw that hold my glasses together.
7:17 – Coffee! Maureen has been kind enough to pour me a cup, and then she heads to the computer to kill a few people. Mafia Wars. It’s an addiction almost as bad as coffee. I finally tell her that Dyani had called to ask if we were coming to her daughter’s birthday party on the 8th. She actually called on Sunday while Maureen was at the store, but my bad mood and a certain football game had wiped it from my memory until that very moment. This is where the life of a divorced parent becomes difficult. You have to plan your life around this other person who most of the time you don’t even want to talk to, so if we go to the party, I have to make arrangements to drop the kids off later than usual. It should not be that big of a deal, but it has become a big deal on enough occasions that I tend to put off these conversations.
7:33 – After a quick trip upstairs to retrieve her phone and brush her teeth, Maureen is out the door. I give her a kiss and tell her to drive carefully. She rolls her eyes at me and tells me she will. I should head right up the stairs and get in the shower, but it’s my turn to kill a few people.
7:54 – I rush up the stairs and throw myself in the shower. More than likely, I am now going to be late, and since I left my phone at work, I won’t be able to call in and let them know of my tardiness. After a quick once over of all the important parts, I jump into my pants, grab some socks and head downstairs to finish dressing, because although I did fold some laundry last night, the shirt I want to wear is still sitting on the back of the chair where I placed it after I folded it. I dress and then check to make sure I have turned off the coffee pot, another mistake I have made on one too many occasions, and I head for the door.
8:13 - On my way out the door, I run into my son Alex on his way in. It seems he had forgotten his gym uniform and needed to retrieve it. Since today is now Tuesday, I can only assume he did not dress for gym yesterday, and since he also did not present me with a dirty gym uniform to wash over the weekend, I can also assume it is still dirty. And since Alex has to be at school at 8:15, his appearance in my doorway means he too is late. It also means that my ex-wife is parked in my driveway.
8:15 – I give a short nod towards the green Windstar Van and attempt to make a quick getaway. She rolls down her window. Damn! She tells me that they tried to call me, and I tell her I had left my phone at work the night before. She tells me that she doesn’t even know if Alex’s gym uniform is in my house, but that he “thinks” he knows where it is. I should probably take this time to ask her about the party and dropping the kids off late, but my gut tells me it’s not a good time. I wave at Molly in the back of the van next to their dog, and jump in the car. As I start the car, the radio blasts back at me just a little too loud. Eric & Kathy. I am so not in the mood for that right now, and just turn it off. As I pull out of the driveway, my front door is wide open, and there is still no sign of Alex and the errant gym uniform.
8:20 – The entrance to the expressway is jammed, so I decide to slip past and take the frontage road, which will mean making an illegal u-turn to double back to it. But there is a semi-truck trying to do the same thing so I go past it to the next road. The light is green but the left turn arrow is red, so in order to make the turn I would have to wait through an entire light cycle. I decide to take the next left. At the next corner, I am greeted by those infamous golden arches, and I can see clearly that the drive thru line is empty. What the hell, I am already late, so I take the right. I order a sausage muffin without the egg, a hash brown, and a bottle of water since I had already had two cups of coffee at home. The friendly voice comes back over the speaker and asks me if I would like two hash browns with my order. It would only be an extra quarter. What a silly question. Of course I would!
8:30 – I finally make my way onto the Stevenson Expressway by way of Joliet Road. My “short cut” has worked and the traffic is moving at a pretty good pace here. I had already wolfed down the first hash brown when I decide to turn on the radio. Eric & Kathy still. No. I flip over to JACK-FM and catch the middle of Spirit of the Radio by Rush. A good stopping point. The sausage muffin and other hash brown found a happy home in my belly as I weaved my way down the road. A woman in a BMW pulls up behind me and starts flashing her brights at me. Because she’s the only person on the road in a hurry, and there are not another dozen car in front of me. After passing a truck, I pull into the center lane so the BMW lady can pass. As she passes me, she instantly starts flashing her brights at the car that was in front of me, but he is not so quick to pull over for her. The left lane starts to slow, and I soon find myself whisking passed the BMW lady. The traffic gods are with me.
8:44 - I spoke too soon. Traffic has slowed to a more expected pace, but not quite what I would call stop and go. The lighted sign that spans the roadway tells me it is still 39 minutes until I reach the Dan Ryan Expressway where I will make my way south to 35th Street. Some quick math tells me I will not be arriving at work on time, and I start to wish I had dropped off the payroll before I left last night instead of leaving it on my desk next to my phone. It is not due until 10, but I don’t like rushing it down to the accounting department at the last minute. I fumble with the radio to find a more reliable traffic report, but I stop when a conversation about Mark McGuire being hired as the Cardinal’s new hitting coach peaks my interest.
9:04 – I pass that obnoxious billboard of George Lopez advertising his new late night talk show that is starting in November. Like he really needs a billboard to make his head look any bigger. I start to wonder who will be cancelled faster from the late night slot, him or Wanda Sykes. I am hoping it is him since I like Wanda quite a bit better, but I really don’t give either show much of a chance. I’m certainly not going to miss my late night re-runs of CSI:Wherever.
9:08 - The sport station is taking too long in commercial break, so I start the radio flip game again and settle on U2. Maureen and I had just seen them in September out at Soldier Field and they have already announced a return trip for July 6th. I know this because Maureen asked me to put this into our summer schedule. That means another call to Rob to get tickets. I think he still owes me a few favors from all the help I gave in 2005. Shouldn’t be a problem. Where the Streets Have No Name faded right into Somebody by Kings of Leon as I made the southbound ramp.
9:17 – Pulled into the parking lot just as the song was ending. Not as late as I thought I would be. I jump out of the car with the empty muffin bag and water bottle. I wave at Marianne who is also just getting out of her car. I toss the empties in the trash as I enter the lobby, a quick hello to Joe the security guy. Another quick good morning exchange with Jen and Laura at the front desk. Joe, Charles, Laura and Mary as I walk into the office. Hello, hello, hello, hello. I turn on my computer and check my phone.
9:20 - Two missed calls but no messages. I guess the gym uniform wasn’t important enough to leave a message over. I grab the payroll sheet and head for the door. It will take my computer a few minutes to warm up, so I might as well start the hike down to accounting while it does. I meet Mina in the hallway and wish her a Happy Birthday. It is not until tomorrow, but I know this because Facebook told me about it when I logged in to kill a few people this morning. A fast wave to the ladies at the switchboard, and a good morning to Jerae who is making the morning mail run. Morning Tommy Boy. I’m not sure why she calls me that. I am hoping it’s not because Chris Farley and I are of the same build. As I climb the stairs to accounting, I run into Terry. Morning. Then past Meg and Chris in their offices, but they are looking down and miss the wave. Marianne again, but this time an actual hello. Then I literally run into Nancy. She is who gets the payroll, and we both turned the corner at the exact time. She tells me to just leave it on her desk as she heads off down the hall. A brief conversation with John about the pension fund, and I promise to e-mail him the information he needs as soon as I get back to my desk. Hello and hello to Kathy and Kristy and I head back down the stairs. The smell of fresh coffee draws me into the break room where I run into Terry again. As I pour my third cup of Joe for the morning, I say good morning to the third person named Joe today. He makes a comment about it being a bad day to quit crack. Like there is ever a good day to quit crack. Cup in hand, I cut through the sales department to stop and see Dakin. We were having some internet problem yesterday and I wanted to make sure everything was up and running correctly. Past Tami, Julie and Mina again and it was back to the office.
9:35 – After a brief conversation with Ken about service charges, I finally arrive back at my desk. I drink my coffee as I run the morning reports and answer a few e-mails. Three cups of coffee and a bottle of water have finally kicked in, so I make my way past Mary and Laura to the little boy’s room in the back of the office. As I cozy on up to the urinal. I reach for my fly, but soon I discover my work has already been done. No need to open the barn door if it is already standing wide open.
9:40 – While sitting somewhat sheepishly back at my desk, I realize what an ass I am. Not because I just paraded around the entire building with my pants undone. Unfortunately, I have not learned my lesson there, and have done that a few time before. I just did it last week, not realizing it until after I returned from the cafeteria. No, I was an ass because I had let a rotten mood get the better part of me for the past few days. I think I owe a few people a big hug and a smile. I will start with Alex and Molly tonight when I get home. I was supposed to have a parent/teacher conference, but it was cancelled. I think I will let them pick someplace for dinner and just enjoy spending some time listening to them tell me all about their day. I might even give Alex a pass on the whole gym clothes thing. And then later tonight when Maureen gets home, I will humbly grovel at her feet. If she had a bad day, I sure do have a story to lighten the mood. I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive me.
Love you, Babe.