The Byford Files

The Real Housewives (er, Husbands) of Wolflin

People are mad confused about the housewife game. Those women on TV are just drunk teenagers with chauffeurs and a limitless spending budget. I mean, seriously, are you really a housewife if you’re paying a nanny and a maid and they spend more time at the house than you do? You’re not a housewife, you’re just rich. A socialite who fills her emotional needs by frivolous spending. A real housewife puts in crazy work. Crazy thankless work. You gotta keep the house running smoothly. Housewives cook. Housewives clean. Housewives run errands. And now, for two weeks as my lovely wife is in bed rest recovering from major abdominal surgery (don’t forget, Ms. Lovely got col’ cut open), I get to experience that life. I get to be the housewife and, like Doom, I came to save the game like a memory card.

I must preface the obvious before I go forward. My intent is to not belittle the housewife’s experience. I’m taking care of a capable bedresting adult who is still fully aware and physically able. Doc’s orders is for her to stay off her feet. And my child is one solitary week old. She sleeps, eats and craps and in that order both sequentially and in duration. She sleeps about 18 hours a day. She requires some holding, some sunlight and the occasional change, but she’s pretty easy still. This isn’t the terrible twos where they’re throwing their feces like a caged monkey and melting crayons in the oven while you nap. Of course, I don’t know what beagles give me in extra credit. I’m taking care of two of them as well.

Now on DAY FOUR of housewifehood, let’s look at what a typical day consists of.

6:30AM

Wake up from mostly a challenging night sleep. Imagine waking up at 6:30AM feeling like you drank whiskey until 3:00AM. That’s probably the best way of describing sleeping with a newborn. Ask my wife who is doing the feeding and she’ll probably tell you there is no such thing as sleep. My duties at night that I’m getting down to a science where I can do it half-asleep is to wake up at the sound of Ellison’s crying which usually happens intermittently as she feeds. When I awake, I see my lovely wife and baby sitting in the chair across the room. I rise, go grab the supplemental bottle of Similac from the fridge (precisely two ounces) and a water for the lovely wife. Gotta stay hydrated. Deliver them to the room and take any trash or empty bottles from previous feeding to the kitchen for “rinse-and-repeat.” We’re mostly breastin’ it now because “the breast is best,” but sometimes supplement with Similac (what Black Sheep was talking about). I’m the formula mixer too. I can do it with my eyes closed like a soldier assembling, loading, emptying and cleaning his gun. It’s like roping cattle. I’m fast, exact and complete. You don’t wanna play. If the baby needs to be awakened, it’s my job to assist with that. I take her from the boob and walk her around, put her in the crib, tickle her feet, sing Tears for Fears to her. And, at the end, I change her diaper which has now turned to poo. My lovely wife carried all the overnight duties last night and let me sleep. It’s a partnership. I feel bad about it today, but I’m fresh. Ready for a new day of getting down and col’ housewifin’. So that’s the state at which you’ll find me at 6:30AM. This is about thirty minutes later than I normally wake.

6:45AM

Put leash on one of the dogs and take for a mile walk. Keeping up with their exercise and routine is vitally important to establishing harmony in the house. It’s my job to keep things harmonious.

7:15AM

Return to the house. Feed the dogs. Water the dogs. Clean kitchen a little while listening to Redman or some miscellaneous funk madness. Gotta stay up on your musical content.

7:30AM

Stir the lovely wife with breakfast which consists of one split and toasted cinnamon bagel lightly buttered, a fistful of grapes and sliced cantaloupe. Water. Her regiment of pills and vitamins.

7:35AM

This is my own time to kinda do what I want. Baby is usually still sleeping getting ready for the 9:00AM feeding. Lovely wife, after a torturous night, is probably sleeping. I normally use this time for writing, reading and a little arithmetic. Catch up on the news, baseball standings, weekend plans. It’s a nice lull in the action. I think this thirty minutes to an hour is probably the best time of the day. Coffee is hot. I’ll have a muffin, banana, glass of juice and two hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce. It’s also your job as housewife to make that kid stays asleep. Keep her from popping off and waking up mommy. Mommy’s sleep is mad important. A tired or frustrated mommy can’t nurse. This morning, I was using this time to catch up on some podcasts, water flowers, do the dishes, fold some laundry, take out the trash. Miscellaneous tasks really that all happen on the opposite side of the house leaving the sleeping tenants sleeping. And then I heard an incredible explosion of screams from the bedroom. I rush in there and grab little Ellison and dash away from sleeping mama bear, brought her into the sunroom with me for, what else, sun. Pop her in the swing, bust a binky in her mouth and set that thing a swinging. Enter sandman.

Coffee time continues. Also a good time for some musical exposure. Today, it’s a little Madlib. As far as the musical exposure, Ellison’s off to a fantastic start. This is the stack on the rotation right now. A little California funk which is absolutely delicious stuff. Hawdcore. Donny Hathaway continuing. That album is a beastly soul record. Kings Go Forth: third generation Milwaukee funk/soul. Their horn section can strip paint at the right volume and brotherman lead singer has got incredible pipes. Perfect morning music for a busy housewife.

Continuing, the Madlib is a some stacked jazz collection. Sun Ra, Mingus, Ornette Coleman. Gotta show this girl the ropes. The Cut Chemist is some illy little Afro-Brazilian mix jumped off with some Fela. Fun mix. And The Heavy is just some cool rock-soul material through Ninja Tune. Man, she’s mad lucky to have a dad like me. Also, I’m on hiccup patrol. This girl gets crazy hiccups. When they set in, pick her up, walk her around a little and massage her back. Takes about five minutes, but they’ll go away.

8:30AM

The rest of the world is awake and open and for business at this point. Good time to nail down any special phone calls or appointments that need to happen. Today, I think I’ll get a physician for myself. Something that I promised my lovely wife that I’d do. Also, I’m watering the backyard. Baby’s still sleeping. We’re shooting for a 10:00AM feeding today. She’ll need to sleep another hour and a half. If she’s not sleeping, she’s looking into daddy’s eyes with those goggly peepers. She’s a looker, I tell ya’.

9:00AM

Whatever you do, stay away from television at this hour. This the most rancid and pollutive hour of television of the day. This is going to sound very bad, but if you had testicles going into the 9:00AM timeslot, after thirty minutes they disappear. I’m not sure if they explode, shrink or just fall out and walk away, but they will be no more. This timeslot is not meant for you at all. It’s targeted specifically for your female counterpart. If you really wanna become a housewife (and a lonely and ugly one, at that), turn on the TV. Your manhood will be ripped from you. I’m opting for more typing today. In fact, typing this.

9:30AM

Lining up my day at this point. I use a little notepad to help schedule it out. I have to find sometime to get out of the house. Gotta go pick up an antenna. Maybe even install it in the attic. Trip to the store. Tear up the garden in the backyard. Do a little laundry. Know what we gotta blankie that was pee’d on so that’s a single alarm fire that could easily become a three-alarm fire if we don’t get it in the wash today. Really, this is a crucial period. You’re effectiveness during this thirty minute span will ultimately determine how productive the day is. I’m flying this morning. I’m like a biker on the best crank. This is also a great time to reserve for those once-a-week duties. Cleaning out the mail. Logging receipts. Shaving. Emailing once-a-week friends. Reading an extra chapter.

10:00AM

Captain Unpopular at it again. It’s my turn to go ahead and get mama bear up and wake up the kiddo for feeding. Get that binky out of her mouth, take off her clothes, agitate her till she’s at an awake and ready-to-eat state of awareness. Deliver one cup of lemonade water (two-thirds lemonade and one-third water) for the lovely wife and a just-in-case bottle of formula to the feeding zone. Upon delivering baby Ellison to mommy, I’ll check the diaper for any brown madness. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down. Brown is urgent. Yellow can wait until the backside of the feed. Once I get baby Ellison attached to the tit, hop in the shower and get cleaned up. This is your chance to knock out them duties.

10:30AM

Little baby goes back down. This is a good time to schedule any doctor appointments for the lovely wife since she’s just got done feeding the youngin’, she’s back down again and you’re showered. 10:30AM is the perfect time for an origin appointment. Just load up the kiddo in the car seat, roll out, do the do and you’re back without the baby even sneaking a peep. Since we nailed out an appointment yesterday, we decided to use the 10:30 slot to bathe baby Ellison. She’s somewhat sedated by the feeding, conked out on a full belly–taking the edge off the bathing experience. Yeah, she took it like a champ. Little crying, but no where near what it could’ve been.

Good time to put the baby down for another napping. The 10:30 TV time slot is good for joining up. My lovely wife is opting for a couple episodes of “Beverly Hills 90210.” Normally, I’m trying to fetch some sort of “American Pickers” or “Pawn Stars” marathon. Daytime television is littered with marathoning. “America’s Next Top Model” is my lovely wife’s personal favorite. Or you can just call it “The Oxygen Network.” There’s “Biography,” “Animal Cops,” “Bonanza,” “MTV Cribs.” Take your pick really. Make like a vegetable and just chill. It’s usually best to rock until the lunch hour.

11:30AM-12:30PM

Chowtime. Get ready for your afternoon which will be busy, no doubt. This afternoon, I gotta print out the PDF form for our pediatrician’s appointment next week, pick up an antenna, head by the grocery store for my daily trip, go pick up a movie for tonight. I didn’t say they were all that strenuous of tasks. Get your mid-day news on. In case we invaded another country, Bob Dylan dies or another flight attendant goes off and slaps someone. You wanna be up on the news. Just because you’re a housewife doesn’t mean that you can be negligent in your current affairs beyond who’s sleeping with who.

12:30PM

Time to head out to retail. Retail is dead during the lunch hour because everyone’s busy eating and given the fact that you can call your own schedule, take advantage by heading out at the most opportune times. Retail is a 12:30PM and grocery is at…

1:30PM

I schedule a daily trip to the grocery store because it’s so empty and relaxing. I’m not used to being able to enjoy the grocery experience. When it’s middle of the afternoon, it’s really you and about 25 rich, white Wolflin housewives strolling about recreationally while reading copies of People and the Us Weekly. And there I am. In my Geto Boys shirt, khaki shorts and New Balance 574s. If you hit it during the right hour, you might find yourself browsing the aisles in the middle of some Gloria Estefan goodness like I did the other day. It sometimes hits levels of oddness rivaled only by episodes of the “Twilight Zone,” like the other day where a woman in produce circled the banana stand five times in succession without stopping or picking up bananas. In the end, she didn’t even get bananas. It’s like she locked up temporarily like Windows and then proceeded to the citrus. I usually pick up only about ten to twelve items leaving me more to go back for tomorrow. Plus, twelve items will still qualify you for the express lane (ten items or less…go ahead and cheat it…no one cares) which is unnecessary really because there’s no crowds. It’s just a convenience rarely enjoyed.

2:30PM

Power hour. Your energy is good at this point. I normally elect to use that energy to take on a project. Something that nails out a good hour and a half or so. Today it’s either putting an antenna in or excavating the garden in the back and preparing it for planting next season. Maybe even bathe the dogs. You could also use it to kick off a movie. Sometimes I have to use energy to do so because otherwise I’ll fall asleep. I sleep through movies. If the temperature is 95+, crack open a beer and watch a movie. That’s your plan. As housewife, though, you need to be aware so one beer will do. Don’t push it. You’re the driver in the case that your lovely wife needs one. And remember, you’re always on diaper duty. Don’t neglect those responsibilities. In the case that you start a project or a movie, inject a couple of places to stop and break. And the pause button is your friend.

4:00PM

At this point, draw your movie or project to a close for the day. That’s why zombie movies are perfect for housewives because you can squeeze them into an hour and a half. Screw James Cameron. Dude couldn’t make a commercial under 90 minutes long. It’s time to start planning dinner. Early food prep begins at 4:30PM so know what you’re going to have at 4:00PM. Clean up. Check the diaper for sludge/slick and begin working on dinner plans. In the case that you’re surrounded by awesome friends like ours, just make sure the microwave’s plugged in because that’s all your food prep involves. You just bought yourself some time to relax.

4:30PM

It’s your last thirty minutes of the “housewife work day” then you revert back to helpful husband. I’m usually using this time to spot little duties that I can kick off for completion the next day or even smaller projects that I can complete in fifteen minutes or less. Dust a table off, toss out the trash, fold towels, clean out the coffee maker, reset the cuckoo clock, pick up shoes (a constant problem for me), purge the mail, clean the bathroom mirrors, air up a basketball, delete recorded TV shows that you have no intention of watching, check the produce drawers in the fridge for expired perishables. Stupid little tasks, but that are necessary for maintaining harmony in the household. That’s your job.
Yeah, housewivery depends on what you put into it. You’re not paid for doing it in money. You’re paid in time. Time saved. Time earned with your family. Your efficiency is cashed out in minutes with your newborn baby and significant other. What I have to say of the modern popular housewife is a confused and oft undersold job. You gotta bust your ass to do it right. You’re your own boss and, again, there’s no money to be made. Your job is to increase the quality of life and I’m col’ increasing. B’lee dat.
Sincerely, Mr. Mom
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