Saturday

My Saturday usually starts by being kicked out of bed at 0900 when Jessie (my wife) comes home. Sometimes I get lucky and she lets me sleep longer, but being a night shift nurse, her sleep pattern can be easily disrupted. If you’ve worked night shift or lived with someone who has, then you understand. Some days it’s hard to come home after a 13 hour shift and try to sleep as the birds are singing and the sun is burning off the dew.

Matt and Garrett (my sons, 12 and 10 respectively) spend Friday night binging online games with their friends since they can’t play on school nights. So either they wake up super early or sleep in from being up late. Usually they rotate who plays first and trade off who sleeps in on Saturday and Sunday. My wife is a gamer girl, so when she wakes up in the afternoon, she will jump in and play Fallout 4 on xBox as they find something else to pass the time.

And they all deserve the respite. She spend 12 to 13 hours in an ICU setting dealing with children with cardiac issues. Some of the hardest stories you’d ever heard. Some of the hardest stories I wish I’d never heard. So, she likes to destroy DIGITAL ghouls and build settlements and dress the settlers in each community in various themes. One settlement is all formal wear, another is all lab coats, one is dedicated to making donuts.

And the boys, if they make it through a week of school focused and doing what they are supposed to, then they can spend as much time as they want (within reason) learning and executing the various gaming platforms. That’s what they want their profession to be, digital design, et al. Then they are doing both relaxing and educating. Plus, it’s not like it was “back in MY day…” (Oh no… Here we go…) when we played video games for hours on end we were seen as antisocial or reclusive. Now, players are interacting with people from all parts of the globe, team building, executing prepared strategies, and completing various objectives cooperatively!

As Matt points out, “why can’t we play during the week?” Good question…

Yet, me… I don’t get a weekend off. I am “on call” 24/7. I am “Johnny-On-The-Spot” when things need to be done. When someone gets sick, when something comes up, when we need toilet paper, “Come, Captain Greenback. To the Grocery-getter… AWAY!”

The dishes don’t clean themselves on the weekend. (sadly…) The floors still get dog fur all over them on Saturdays. And allergy attacks in the middle of the night still happen on Saturday. Though not as much as when they were younger, they still need  some assistance. We are lucky to have one parent at home. Not everyone can have that.

And we do it a great cost. No doubt. It is hard to make ends meet, let alone get above water with one person at home. It can lead to some heated arguments about money. It’s not easy, for a guy, to be a “housewife” in our society. It is becoming more acceptable. But the stereotypes persist. It can take a toll on a person mentally. It demands self sacrifice that not everyone knows. My needs have to be the needs of the family. Even if my needs are the most important focus of the day, I cannot plan on anything concrete, because I can be called to pick up a kid with a fever from school, asked to get snacks for an ICU full of nurses that someone forgot that it was today and needs it in 2 hours before she has to go to work.

And all of that can be upended by the weather. It is Springtime in Kansas. No one here doubts for a second that, at any time, the sky could decide your game is over. It ads a bit of urgency to your day when black clouds roll off the prairie. It forces a person to take note of what matters most. And to work toward protecting that as best as you can.

As my wife and I struggle to keep it together, financially, as we put so much time, money, and effort into making our house a “net zero” house, with self sufficiency and climate change preparedness our priority, doing the “right” thing over the “wanted” thing is hard. As I sit here writing, and hear a “baby boomer” roar down the street on Harley-Davidson, I wonder if I should have not spent money on the granite we put on the outside of our home, the R30 insulation in the walls and attic, and the wind turbines I still need to install.

All of my time, effort, and money is invested in a future outcome. Gambling, in a sence. With such high stakes, I hope I get it right. Granite’s not as fun to ride as is a Harley-Davidson! It will last a bit longer, though.

Keep your head UP!!

Author: jackcharbonneau

Husband, father, housewife, musician, theoretical astrophysicist, Presidential Candidate in 2020, and all-around human guy.

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