Does it say something about me when an hour after going to bed, my son gets up to go potty then comes into the living room, where I'm watching TV, and asks me, "Where's the tree, Daddy?" (Meaning the Christmas tree that has adorned our living room since the day after Thanksgiving until Wednesday; eighteen days after Christmas) After that long, he must have thought the tree was there to stay.
Granted, my wife doesn't want us to take down the tree until after Three Kings Day (Jan. 6), when my kids got thee more “small” gifts each, instead of the twenty (or so it seems by the mess in their room) they got for Christmas, but I could have taken the tree down during the weekend.
You probably heard of the saying, "Don't leave until tomorrow what you can do today." Unfortunately, one of my many constant battles in life is with procrastination (my wife might say it’s just plain laziness, which would not be too far off the mark).
I struggle (is that the right word?) with putting things off. Yes, the Christmas decoration boxes are still spread all over the house and the lights are still placed outside (it took hard work to install them and I feel they should be kept for an appropriate time in accordance to my effort) but, we did take the tree and the wreaths on our front door down; finally! (I guess it could be worse, one year I didn’t get rid of the Christmas tree from my backyard until August)
I do have a tendency to do things in phases; I take the Christmas tree decorations down on Sunday and our cleaning lady takes the tree outside on Wednesday. I place the dirty dishes in the sink (sometimes until the following day; oops, Ixnay on the Ishesday. This is a sore subject with the wife), then place them in the dishwasher and our cleaning lady clears out the dishes when she comes. I pick up the morning paper and put them in a stack in the kitchen, and our cleaning lady takes them out (notice the pattern here?). You might say that it’s a good thing we have a cleaning lady. Unfortunately, we can only afford her once a week.
Probably the biggest fallout I have with my wife is when she’s doing laundry and I’m sitting on the couch watching the Heat (or Mets, or SportsCenter, or EWTN’s Journey Home, or Word on Fire with Fr. Barron, or American Pickers, or Sarah Palin’s Alaska, or, well, you get the picture). She hates doing laundry! And, even worse, when I'm sitting in my boxer shorts in front of the tube while she's doing it (not that bikini briefs would make a difference).
I can usually sense the tension building. You would figure that by now, after twelve years of marriage, I would have learned my lesson and offer to help her, but that would mean interrupting my television watching (struggle two; selfishness). She usually pretends she doesn’t care, which I allow her to pretend, until she blows up (and it’s not pretty!). She has been known to come out with the basket full of laundry and dump it on top of me on the couch without saying a word. “Oh, you need help?” I ask (knowing perfectly well the gig is up). You can say getting lucky, or even suggesting it, is definitely out of the question that night.
So, procrastination, also known as acedia in the Seven Deadly Sins, and its father, sloth, also known as laziness to my wife, often get me in the dog house (Fortunately, now that my two dogs passed away, I have more room).
Seriously, if there is one thing I hope to improve upon in 2011, aside from the 40 lbs. I’m hoping to shed and to continue studying and growing in my faith, it is to be more helpful around the house (and finally getting around to preparing the budget I have been promising my wife I would do for two years).
Although, I have made some small strides, especially since becoming more aware of my role as husband and father, as many, I’m still a work in progress. I have a loooong way to go.
So, this weekend, as my wife and older daughter go on a school trip to St. Augustine, I will be taking care of my two little ones, ages six and three, and hopefully starting to overcome my procrastinating nature by taking down the Christmas lights from our front yard and putting the gazillion decoration boxes into storage (we have a lot of junk).
We'll see how that goes...