Monday, September 04, 2006


A road map to the deterioration of male communication skills.

We are a busy family. No busier than most, but busy nonetheless. We bought a house a few years back in the eastern suburbs of our fair city while the remainder of our lives (except for the kids' school) remained approximately 20-30 miles away (work, soccer, friends & family).

Hubby works as a technician and has the early morning shift from 6am to 2:30pm. I work as an office manager and have very flexible hours as long as I put in at least 8 each day (i.e. I'm not on the clock). We have worked it out so that I take the kids to school in the morning and hubby picks them up in the afternoon. On a regular "no activity" day they all stay home and I join them around 5 or 5:30 when I get off work. I check homework, make dinner, they take showers and everyone is in bed by 9:00.

Okay, that never happens. Why? Because something is always going on for someone. I've mentioned the 5 practices a week schedule we are on now. I've mentioned hubby's bartending job at HP Pavillion and, oh yeah, I don't think I've mentioned the small business (45 minutes away when there is no traffic) that we opened several months ago. In all fairness, we have an employee that manages the place and runs things on a daily basis, however, hubby's presence is required a lot of the time. Anyway, fortunately my job (with the flexibility) is also a convenient meeting place for hubby to bring the kids so he can dash off to his bartending job or tend to the business. At my work I have my own office with lots of room and a door. I can have the kids come in and there is room for them to do homework, read or draw until it is time for us to leave.

Wow, this is a lot of background information, but hang in there. I will eventually have a point.

On the days where somone has to be somewhere (read: almost every day), hubby will pick up the kids from school. He will take them home, feed them and get them started on their homework. Somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 he will bring them to my office. From there I will either take them back home, take them to practice or wherever else they need to be.

Okay, we're almost to the point of the story. Whew!

When we started the dropping-the-kids-off-at-my-office-thing the communication went like this:

1) phone call from home saying they just left and would be there soon.
2) phone call from the freeway exit saying they were 4-5 minutes away.
3) phone call from the parking lot (which I can see from my window, did I mention I had a window too?) announcing their arrival and could I please meet them downstairs?

Communication Deterioration Phase I: After awhile the phone call anouncing their departure from home was dropped, but I would still get the the "we're getting off the freeway" call and the "we're in the parking lot now" call.

Communication Deterioration Phase II: Then there was a fateful day where nothing was going right for hubby, the kids were not behaving, his car was acting up and he was running very late to work. I got a very distressed call from the exit of the freeway basically demanding that I be waiting outside the door of my building by the street so I could catch the boys as he nudged them out of the moving car he could drive by and drop off the kids quickly because his last nerve had been stepped on and he was L-A-T-E! Even though it was later chalked up to just a bad day, it set a precedence.

After that, I got only one call. From around the corner. Asking me to meet them outside.

Communication Deterioration Phase III:
Then hubby got the brilliant idea that he didn't need to call me at all! No time! He would have Buzz call! So I started getting "happy boy" calls from Buzz (he giggles when he talks on the phone). i.e.
"Hi mommy!"
"Hi Buzz, how are you!"
(giggling) "Fine!"
"How was school?"
"Good. (giggle) What's for dinner?"
"Not sure, what's up?"
"Oh, (giggle) daddy says we are around the corner from your work, can you come meet us downstairs?"
"Okay. bye."
"Okay, love you."
(giggle) "Love you too. Bye."

Communication Deterioration Phase IV: "The Game"
I used to love those calls. So sweet. Anyway. Soon hubby got an even more brilliant idea and made a game up with Buzz to see how short he could make his calls to mommy (our cell phones show the length of each call as soon as you disconnect). My next phone call went like this:

"Hi-mommy-it's-me-Buzz-we're-around-the-corner-can-you-meet-us-downstairs?-okay-bye-love-you-bye." Click.

WTF? Did my son just drive-by phone call me?

After the "game" was explained to me the drive-by phone calls went on for a few days with each one getting faster and faster so he could break his "record."

Communication Deterioration Phase V: The Game Gets Serious
Then one day I got a very serious phone call from hubby telling me that it was very important to answer the phone "right away" because Buzz was not getting the best "times" for his phone call and that he really wanted to break his record. Apparently the phone's timer for length of calls begins once the call is placed and not when the other party answers. So, I was instructed to answer on the first ring, only say "hello," and that's it.

These guys take their drive-by phone calls seriously. Alright, whatever.

A few minutes later my phone rings, I was on! I quickly picked it up and heard:

"Mommy-we're-around-the-corner-meet-us-downstairs-love-you-bye." Click

Apparently it was a new record! 16 seconds! He was thrilled when he got out of the car.
Again, whatever.

From there it went to:

"Mommy-we're-around-the-corner-bye." Click

Communication Deterioration Phase VI: The Final Phase
Two days later I get another very serious phone call from hubby explaining the absolute importance that I answer the phone as quickly as possible because Buzz was going for the all time drive-by-phone-call record (Alert the Guiness people, as in world records, not beer).

Twenty minutes later the phone rang, I picked it up before the first ring even finished, said my quickest "hello" and I heard:

"Corner!" Click

It has been like that for the last 3 months. From severeral phone calls with endless opportunities to catch up, talk about our day, you know actually communicate? To one call consisting of one word. (((sigh)))

Deterioration of Male Communication Complete.


Zephra said...

That was a funny one, I guess this is when it starts then. By the time he is married his wife be getting one word sentences from him.

Jen said...

Well..I guess it could be worse. They could just give you the "let it ring twice and if it stops it's us so come down and meet us"!! That would be bad!

Jodi said...

I am giggling. It's such a MAN thing, isn't it?? The last of the good communicators,for sure. Goodness. Your boys are getting some good ole' training there from dear old Dad, their future wives will thank him for that I am SURE, that was a VERY cute story though. :) :)

Suzi said...

Sad but funny.

Bonnie B said...

funny, but sad too-- I bet you loved the giggle calls