I was up around Franconia, New Hampshire, on what my family always refers to as “yet another” girls’ weekend (while I typically preface it with “sorely needed”) when I committed a grave error. I texted my husband with a simple question: “How’s everyone?”
This is how he responded (I am copying verbatim from my phone): “Fine. D and C are out. Don’t know where J is.”
Allow me to translate. “Great!” I read. “I’m all alone in the house and just poured myself a giant gin and tonic. The one who just got her driver’s license after a six-minute test was so excited by the prospect of using your car all weekend that she took her little sister, dressed in pajamas and flip-flops, out for a drive in the darkness. Meanwhile, I’ve lost track entirely of the impulsive one with mischievous friends and poor judgment!”
When I threatened to blog about his ineptitude, he suggested I check his Facebook status. It read, “Sue’s away on another girls’ weekend and I’m left with the usual task list. I wonder which 70 percent of it I’ll get to.” Well, I’m glad he can make fun of the generous moniker I’ve invented for him, Mr. 70 Percent. But usual task list? Please. My instruction sheet said things like “Take C to birthday party” and “Soccer at 10:30” (as well as “Feed dogs”–but they would have starved otherwise!) If I were really going to leave a task list, it would most certainly include “Finish the tree house” and “Replace tiles in bathroom”! (See Yard Work is No Picnic). But I know how futile that would be.
Commenting on his FB status, several of his “friends” helpfully suggested that he install a man cave, throw a huge party or organize a poker tournament. One simply read: “Toga, toga!” Meanwhile, my cohorts and I, enjoying our third bottle of wine overlooking Mt. Washington, followed the exchange with mounting amusement and eye-rolling. “Maybe you could start by finding 70 percent of the kids,” my friend Annie chimed in on his wall. “Just a thought.”
As much as I would like to blame Mr. 70 Percent for poor parenting, I’m just as guilty of poor abdicating. I mean, what is the point of a girls’ weekend if I’m going to waste part of it asking how the kids are doing? For those few short days, they weren’t my problem; why did I insist on making them so? It’s not like I was going to get in the car, drive home and help look for them, even if they actually were missing.
Thankfully, everyone made it through the weekend alive, including the dogs. What exactly went on? I don’t want to know. From now on, I’m adopting a strict “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy whenever I go on yet another sorely needed girls’ weekend.