We’re creatures of habit it turns out. I didn’t know I would need that in my life, in fact, I thought the thing to be was spontaneous and unprogrammed. This worked well for my constant mental flurry of ideas and emotions. And then it didn’t work well. I’m wondering if it’s that I hear all day about unplanned challenges that some of my patients and their families are faced with, many they can’t control, and then all I want for their lives and my own is some routine and predictability.
So in our household, we wake up, do the same dang thing every day, go about our day, come home, do the same dang thing every night, and take surprises as they come. Groundhog Day is the goal.
On Saturdays we’re out the door as soon as we can after a quick breakfast of pancakes or some variation of that. Saturdays are probably our least predictable day, except for the Costco trip. Here we have a shared list on our phones so we can be efficient in the store. I’m married to an engineer, so if we weren’t efficient I’m sure he would do a process flow map of some sort and identify the waste and redundancy in our routines – eek! This is a man who has gotten the same haircut since he was 14 years old, worn the same adidas for years, and until we started making smoothies three years ago, would eat the same bowl of cereal every morning since childhood. We’re definitely making gains on balancing our strict routines (Sergio’s influence) with my tangential oooo-something-shiny style. I run things by him now before I buy three boxes of chalk paint for my latest creative epiphanies. But just so you really know what he’s like, he also used to send me monthly household expense reports with pie charts and bar graphs – that had to end because I didn’t think an analysis of my Starbucks spending was good for our marriage.
In Costco Sergio always takes the kids straight to the books so they can pick out a few to peruse in the cart while I go out in front and start grabbing items on the list. We are a methodical, tactical, SHOPPING DREAM TEAM. Absolutely no wandering aimlessly through the aisles (ugh!) and NO wavering from the list.
But yesterday in Costco, we had a breakthrough. Sergio had to perform a pre-programmed routine DRUNK! It was so great. Just before our trip to the store, we went out for beers to celebrate his best friend James’ birthday. Four porters in, Sergio was drunk. Not that I can tell from the outside – he may have five more words spoken per minute if I focus hard on little signs of inebriation, but really I can only tell because he gives me the car keys. We arrived at Costco and split up as we always do. After we reunited and I had a basket full of produce to join with his items, I noticed he was empty-handed. No list, he said. But it’s in your phone Sergio, the phone in your hand! No list, he cooly shrugged. BAH! Do I laugh or scold?!
We left to our next stop: I dropped him off in Home Depot and circled the parking lot with a now crying, tantruming kid. Well Mr. Que-Sera-Sera,-I’m-Happily-Buzzed spent over 30 minutes inside!! When he came out he was still carrying the same broken well pump part and a new bagged item. He climbed into the car and said “I bought the wrong part for sure. Oh well, let’s go”. Who is this man?!
I was no longer amused when we got home after an entire ride home spent with a wild three-year-old who had thrown everything in his reach at the backs of our heads. Citlalli, meanwhile, can read her books through all the chaos. Thankfully, Sergio sobered up enough by then to recognize that although entertaining, our usual Saturday family routine had dissolved. I loved that he let go of the Rules and Regulations to have a chill trip to Costco, and yet, now I was shaking in a corner trying not to lock our kids out of the house. Parting from Saturday evening protocol, my awesome husband took one look at me and sent me out on a run.