On my wedding day, I was given a slurred and drunken piece of advice by my Uncle Ed: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. My new husband and I thought of the many ways that such profound preparedness could be pertinent to a productive marriage.
1. Procreation – I’d always heard that it was best to be married for a while before having a child. The first year is supposed to be a time for experiencing each other, learning about each other, adjusting to being married, creating a new lifestyle and saving money. Three days into our marriage we were pregnant. Clearly the performance wasn’t piss poor, but the proper planning part was phenomenally not present.
2. Precision – I was always a creature of staunch organization to the point where all of my books were alphabetized by author’s last name and canned goods were alphabetized by product. Everything had its place and was impeccably ordered. As an only child, all of my things could be as I wanted them all of the time and would remain that way until I changed it. That precision changed markedly upon marriage and the subsequent birth of our first daughter. I still twitch when I see the disorder in the family room with the mountains of toys that scatter the floor daily, that my pantry looks like the supermarket on the precipice of a snowstorm, that the laundry room smells like a barnyard with everyone’s shoes, soccer cleats, ice hockey equipment and sneakers. I don’t know if proper planning could have prepared me for this, but preparation may have.
3. Preparedness – A wife and/or parent must be prepared for absolutely every blessed thing that could possibly happen, ever. I didn’t realize that so much preparedness would be predicated on the ill-timed urgency of bodily functions. I didn’t know an infant could poo so violently in a stroller in Sears that one hit would roll up her back and out the neck of her outfit. The NECK. That required the purchase of a new outfit and stroller. I didn’t know that a 7 year-old at a company Christmas party could leave Santa’s side,come to her mother and puke on her lap (while she was wearing her favorite, brand new wool pants) enough to fill a five gallon bucket. In front of her dad’s co-workers. All of them. I didn’t know that a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee plus a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich would cause such violent stomach pains that I would need to leave my panties in the garbage pail at Walmart. But because of these experiences, I am now better prepared. So there’s that.
4.Philth – Filth, dirt, squalor… It’s around me all the time. I hate it. The square footage of my home is not all clean at the same time. Pig Pen’s #1, #2 and #3 and the felines seem to drag it through the house willy nilly, scattering it with them wherever they go. Rolled up underwear behind a dresser, muddy cleats walked through the house, torn up pieces of paper everywhere like confetti, hardened pieces of Play-Doh under the kitchen table and smashed into the carpet, a spilled juice cup in the bed. The list goes on and on and on. I keep hoping one day I can clean the house in one day and enjoy it for longer than five minutes before a cup goes in the sink, someone defiles the bathroom or leaves a chocolatey handprint on the wall. But this, one day, I will miss. Until grandchildren come along that is.
5.Persistence – I had no idea the level of persistence a toddler would or could have. I simply don’t have the strength for it. I am a weak woman, very drilled down to my exposed, bare core, fighting for what little strength and sanity I have that is remaining. So when the toddler screams and yells and bullies me for a lollipop for breakfast, some mornings, I cave. I admit it. I am a piss poor parent some days and should be whipped. Self flagellation only goes so far, though. I need to be prepared for the demands and just hide the damn lollipops.
6.Paranormal Phenomena – Our house is full of paranormal activity (or maybe we just have kids). It is so evidenced at our house that we should be considered as the next Amityville Horror House. Things happen around here with absolutely no explanation what-so-ever. An over-turned bowl of cereal that no one did, a half drunk bottle of water that belongs to no one, an un-flushed turd in the toilet that no one produced. I relish my position as detective. Really… I mean that. Kind of.
So nearly thirteen years, three children and two cats later, I still see and value the validity of how Proper Planning can and does Prevent Piss Poor Performance. Thanks Uncle Ed!