The Proverbial Mile

It seemed easy. Spend four days and nights manning the home front, so my wife could enjoy a much-needed vacation.

Like most of the situations I get myself into, the enormity of my commitment didn’t hit me until she walked out the door that Wednesday evening and I turned around to find five sets of eyeballs looking at me with the obvious question, “what’s next?”

As it turned out, the answer was homework, baths, bedtime, breakfast, more homework, pack lunches, load the twins in a stroller, run to the bus stop, walk home, put the twins down for a nap, clean the kitchen, get the twins up from their naps, change their diapers, feed them lunch, put them down for another nap, mow the lawn, get them up again, change their diapers, load them in the stroller, run to the bus stop, welcome the three older kids home, prepare an early dinner, feed everybody dinner, clean the kitchen, run to soccer practice (only two this night), meet everybody back at the house, do homework, get everybody through the tub, change diapers, put on pajamas, say prayers, tuck everybody in and plop in bed exhausted.

By the end of the first day, it was obvious I was not only in over my head, but, quite possibly, headed towards a nervous break-down. So, I did what any man with half a brain would do – I called in the Auth National Guard. Her name is Grandma (I call her Mom) and, even better, she came with a fully functioning Grandpa. Suddenly, the odds were looking a little better.

In the end, the three of us managed to get kids to five sporting events in three different counties (yes, that’s counties, not cities), one surprise birthday party, and Saturday evening mass – all without any serious mishap.

It was enlightening and really drove home the point that you can’t understand another person’s point of view until you’ve “walked a mile in their shoes.” Personally, my wife can keep her shoes – I don’t want ‘em and I definately can’t fill ‘em. I have no idea how she does what she does, but I suspect a big part of it is due to planning and discipline.

After she got home, I found myself paying more attention to how she managed her time. She was always up early, before the twins, getting in her work-out, paying bills or just generally knocking things off her daily to do list before anybody else woke up.

I noticed how the kids packed their own lunches, made their own breakfast and, if homework was hanging out there incomplete, how she assigned an older kid to work with a younger one – even letting them sign off on the project as if they were an adult.

And, I now knew why dinner was always on the table when I walked in at 5:15 pm – the only time she had to cook it was during the twin’s afternoon nap – and, if everybody wasn’t fed by 5:30 nobody was eating till 9 pm.

Bottom line? She had the schedule figured out and she delegated authority with abandon. She didn’t whine about having to work out at 6 am or grocery shop after the kids went to bed – she just accepted that was the only time she could do it, so that’s what she did.

This issue features a lot of the same concepts. We cover ideas for using shade to limit patron’s exposure to summer sun (and the resulting skin damage), how to develop great lifeguards, how to transform sports fields using synthetic turf, how to plan a new stadium project, and much, much more.

As the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Well, here’s wishing you have a great plan to get you through the next year!

(If you need help, give me a call – I can forward you along to my wife.)

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth