I remember a segment in “The Beatles Anthology” TV special back in the 1990s when Paul McCartney told about how the band was on tour in Asia in the ’60s and they had a rare day off in the Philippines. While the Beatles were looking forward to a brief break in the ongoing Beatlemania, Philippine First Lady and de facto Empress Imelda Marcos had other plans and wanted an audience with the band.
The Beatles politely turned down Imelda and all hell broke loose. Imelda and her husband, the dictator Ferdinand, played it up like John, Paul, George and Ringo had burned the Philippine flag and all of her 3,000 pairs of shoes. Riots ensued and the Fab Four were lucky to get out of Manila with only their nerves shattered.
But to the Beatles, they had made their point. A day off was a day off.
Now, I am not a Beatle, but I know all about living with mania. It comes with the territory when you have two small daughters at home. Someone is always on edge, crying, whining, wanting a snack, needing a drink, demanding their show on the TV and, inevitably, needing a change.
And that’s just before the girls get out the door and on their way to daycare.
Because of always being on call with the girls, my wife, the Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, and I don’t get too much time to ourselves, together. And being able to get a Day Off, as I like to call it, just to do something on our own, is rare enough that the term, Day Off deserves to be written in all capital letters.
My wife had a Day Off on a recent Saturday and she definitely deserved it. She spent from morning until night out shopping with one of her girlfriends while I, bravely I must say, handled the girls at home all day. I did have some help in that my wife’s father was with me, but let there be no doubt: we were greatly outnumbered, as any parent is when there are two little ones involved.
The point was that my wife got a Day Off and I…banked the rights to my own Day Off in the process. However, because this is me, nothing is ever as easy as it should be.
For starters, my Day Off was not on a weekend day. In fact, as I am I writing this, I am in the early stages of my Day Off on Good Friday. My office doesn’t give us this day off along with the usual holidays, but since the stock market is closed, and thus, there is little business news for me to write about, we were “encouraged” to take a personal day today. Normally, I don’t like to burn my personal or vacation time on days when there will little actual work to do, but after the week that was, and knowing that my wife would be at work and the kids at daycare, I made a personal exception to that rule.
But, since this is me, I almost didn’t get to experience this paid day of freedom.
Our younger daughter, Little Sis, is not only still waking up four or five times a night, but this week, she came down with a cold that left her as congested as the Bay Bridge toll gate maze during morning rush hour. The standard nighttime wake ups have been accentuated by mucus-filled snoring and snorting. A fifteen-minute wakeup session has turned into a hour of hideous hysterics as my wife has taken an aspirator to our daughter’s nose in order to suck out all her snot. I can say this without fear: if the prisoners at Abu Ghraib had a choice between waterboarding and the aspirator, they would have lined up to get waterboarded.
With my Day Off at hand, all my plans for a day of productive slacking were thrown in jeopardy. Little Sis’ daycare said her cough sounded like it was moving into the Whooping category. So much for those three vaccinations, I thought. My wife got a hold of me, I called our pediatrician, and by 5 o’clock, we were in an exam room, with my dreams of a Day Off fading away and being replaced by the image of me and Little Sis at home, surrounded by a floor covered in used Kleenex.
And then the Doc. went to work. No Wheezing. Good. No fever. Even better. No signs of Whooping Cough or anything other than your standard infant’s cold. It wasn’t going to make sleeping any easier, but it didn’t mean that Little Sis would have to stay home.
And my Day Off was mine. The Beatles would have been proud.