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December 22, 2005
Honey Don't Ever Leave Me

My wife is a miracle worker. I know this from the fact that every day I come home and the children are neither dead nor in the custody of the state. I like to think I have some organizational skill. Hard-won discipline. Decision-making ability. I get paid for all these things, for crying out loud. By people with little tolerance for failure.

So consider the scene. Trying to be a good husband, I offered to take the boys to the grocery store -- the Wal-Mart, no less -- while the wife did a little shopping and had some nice alone time in a coffee shop with her book.

Because I'm a saint that way, and because I am an idiot.

The boys and me wheeled into the slushy grocery store parking lot and made our way inside without, I would like it noted, any loss of mittens, caps, or other little person anti-cold paraphernalia. Inside, with the older two in tow, I secured a cart and then went through the combination of origami and kung-fu necessary to secure Isaac inside the cart. I took off his coat and gear, which seems way too complicated for such a tough and fat baby, and then turned to remove his brothers' coats.

But the boys were gone. Not in the cart section. Not in the entrance way. Not outside playing in traffic. After a frantic visual scan in the face of hectoring from an exuberant greeter, I saw them about thirty feet ahead, in produce.

Caleb was looking wildly about, beginning to get irritated. I could read his mind from where I stood: How did Dad get lost?

Eli, meanwhile, had attached himself to the front of someone's cart, oblivious to the fact that despite being dark-haired, this man looked nothing like his father. The man stood there with his wife, both unsure how exactly one safely and legally detaches a strange child from the front of one's grocery cart.

And that was just the first five minutes of our Wal-Mart shopping experience.

If I were a better husband I would get my wife something like a one-person vacation to Maui for Christmas. Instead I'm thinking of having her fitted for one of those ankle devices that allows people to track your whereabouts.

Posted by Woodlief on December 22, 2005 at 07:53 AM


Wal-mart should rent ankle devices so parents can track their kids around the store! Maybe YOU should be the one to get the trip to Maui!!!!!!! Or to the Vatican for Sainthood! I have seriously considered the leashes that you can lock at a pre-determined length or if they are about to grab something that might break or give them the flu. Probably against some kinda law or something.

Merry Christmas to the Woodlief family!!! Thanks for the taped Christmas card!

Posted by: Mike A. at December 22, 2005 8:14 AM

(winces in sympathy)


Posted by: MMM at December 22, 2005 8:23 AM

"the combination of origami and kung-fu necessary to secure Isaac inside the cart"


"trunk-fu" - the martial arts technique required to get a large double-stroller into the small trunk of a small car.

"body origami" - the skill necessary for a large American male to travel in Southeast Asia, with even greater skill required if one travels coach, or in an auto-rikshaw with 4 other people.

Good luck with those rambunctious boys!

Posted by: Deoxy at December 22, 2005 9:10 AM

Heh. :)

We Moms have special super-secret talents.

Posted by: Jordana at December 22, 2005 9:37 AM

Been there, brother. How do they (wives, mothers) do it? Classic line about Caleb visibly wondering in an irritated way about how Dad could have possibly gotten lost already. Love your Blog, Tony. I send it frequently to family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: DSB at December 22, 2005 10:11 AM

Only a guy would think my husband deserved a vacation alone to Maui for a one hour trip to the Wal-Mart (his first trip alone in public with all three I might add).

Good grief.

And sainthood? I was finishing the Christmas shopping, some of which was for his family, so the cider and book never materialized. Though the thought was beautiful and documented on my heart as a true gift. Besides is was nice to do said shopping with no one in tow.

So...kudos - yes, sainthood and a trip to Maui - no.

Posted by: the wife at December 22, 2005 10:17 AM

I don't know about sainthood or Maui, but the leashes may be a good idea - until they decide to run around you and wrap your legs up.

Congrats on your first time out and back home with all three. Hopefully it will get easier with practice.

Posted by: MarcV at December 22, 2005 2:00 PM

lol @ your trip to Walmart...A for effort Tony! Sorry to hear thewife didn't get quality time with her book and drink! Next time??

Posted by: Rachel at December 22, 2005 5:26 PM