We're at that important juncture on a Sunday morning, where if we can get our dog, Cujo, to close his red-rimmed eyes, we might sneak in an extra hour of sleep. I just want to roll over and not have to think about how to pay for Christmas.
Fat chance. Cujo has other ideas. Cujo wants to go out again.
By the way, there are four of them living with us now. That's right, four kids. We are almost our own suburb. We spend more on eggs and bread than France.
"Are you guys done?" someone asked innocently at soccer the other day while we waited for the boys' team pictures.
Are we done? We were done 17 years ago. Now we've got this 5-year-old soccer junkie, his three older siblings and this dog Cujo, the insomniac with stomach problems, all living with us.
Cujo actually belongs to my lovely and patient older daughter, but he seems to have latched on to me. Mad dogs and Irishmen. The more I yell, the more he adores me.
Thing is, with parenthood, you are never really "done." We were at a wedding the other day and a friend complained that her son called to say he was nearly out of money at college, down to his last $200, which "wouldn't even cover his speeding ticket." When I heard of his plight, I choked up.
My friend quizzed her son on why he suddenly seemed to be going through money so fast. He explained that last year he didn't really eat, so college was cheaper then.
"Are you guys done?"
If we were any more "done," we'd be the Red Sox.
Having four kids under one roof is virtually a new experience for us. When we had our bonus baby five years ago, the lovely and patient older daughter was off at college. She came back occasionally, but we never had all four kids at home for extended periods.
It's a little like an orphanage now. The wood floors are wearing thin from all the foot traffic. We cook cheap foods in big caldrons, like witches.
"What was the 2008 Depression like?" their grandkids will ask one day.
"Well, the pre-finished flooring gave out."
"And we canceled the premium cable channels."
But it's really way worse. Their mother, who is a different kind of pretty every time I see her, suddenly looks a little like Carol Burnett. When we were married, people used to say she resembled actress Victoria Principal. That's what 26 years of marriage will do to you -- turn you into a comedic actress holding a mop.
Speaking of my wife, Posh, I always find a wedding is a great way to rekindle a marriage -- witnessing a dewy-eyed public declaration of never-ending love, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Man of the House | Chris Erskine