A week or so ago, the Puddinette was presented with a very special opportunity to see “South Pacific” tonight at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati. Actually, several tickets were available and she briefly wondered if I might be interested in joining her. Luckily, she came to her senses rather quickly and realized that the odds of me coloring my hair flame red and dressing up like Scarlett O’Hara (crinolines* included) were better than those of me attending with her. For the record, “South Pacific” and I are not likely to ever share an evening with my wife. Why? Because:
- I don’t do musicals
- Babysitters are hard to find, especially on a weeknight
- I’m not paying a babysitter to see a musical. Reds game? Sure. Monster Truck Rally? Probably. A new Transformers movie? No doubt, with or without Megan Fox. Star Wars marathon? Hells, yeah!
- See #1
She also briefly considered not going, because she’s a wonderful wife and fears that I might struggle at home if she left me to my own devices. Rest assured, I quickly disabused her of that nonsense; I actually encourage her to go out. In my opinion, she doesn’t do it nearly often enough. She has the occasional dinner with the ladies that make up half the group of friends we see much too rarely, but that’s about it. Anything else makes her feel guilty. Which I completely understand, of course, because I totally feel that way whenever I head out to the sports bar with the guys. For at least 1.43 seconds. But then I start the car and begin considering whether I think the nachos or Buffalo wings will be the Bad-Idea-Bar-Snack of the evening.
For the record, Buffalo wings usually win.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Puddin, how can this be? How can you manage it all alone? Dinner…bath time…bedtime?! Seriously, I suppose there are a handful of men out there in the world with a tendency to freak a bit when faced with the need to manage cooking a meal, successfully minding four small lives, and getting them into bed without having a follow-up call from Child Protective Services.
I, however, have no such fears. For one thing, I like to cook stuff; I can handle dinner. Tonight we dined on a fabulous baked spaghetti dish made with whole-wheat pasta and a vegetable-rich sauce. No one goes hungry on my watch.
For another thing, I have The Voice of Doom, which is not to be confused with The Voice. The Voice makes me want to grill and eat an entire side of beef to keep from having to share it. The Voice of Doom, on the other hand, is a particular volume, tone, and inflection used when speaking that instantly conveys the notion that fooling around Will No Longer Be Tolerated.
Funny story: I used to occasionally use The Voice of Doom back in The Day when we had dogs. Once, back in those days when there was but one child in our household, Aunt Babysitter was on hand to watch the Puddinpop while the wife and I went out for dinner. Before leaving, one of the hairy beasts did something they shouldn’t have and I offered a sharp rebuke using said VofD. Aunt Babysitter later confessed that she was so taken aback by the instant change in my voice that she was startled and somewhat frightened.
So, I got that going for me.
At any rate, my responsibilities for the evening included feeding myself and the kids, keeping them relatively safe, preventing large scale home destruction, and baking an apple-based dessert for the second graders to enjoy tomorrow. I have little doubt that the Puddinette was expecting to come home at 11 pm to find our kitchen ablaze, our four children covered in toilet paper and running freely throughout the house while throwing jelly-jar glasses at each other, and me sitting disconsolately at the kitchen table, head-to-toe in spaghetti sauce and all-purpose flour and muttering to myself about oven temperatures as I stare at a pitch-black square that should have been a delicious apple cake but is instead a piece of charcoal with a center of pure, raw cake batter**.
Instead, all the kids are fed and bedded, the cake is golden brown and delicious-looking, and there was even the picking up of toys.
Why, yes, I do rule, thank you.
But I still don’t do musicals.
*Yes, I know what these are, but only because I got married once and there was The Great Hunt for Many of Them. Also, thank you spell-checker; I never would have spelled that correctly without you.
**This may be the favorite run-on I’ve ever written. Definitely top five!