Lists seem to rule my life. There are honey do lists (honey, take out the garbage, honey, put away the dishes, honey, get your hands out of pockets, it’s not a toy), to do lists, and grocery lists. And, of course, if you screw up and forget something on one of these vital lists, you end up on the s*#! list.
Of course, in order to keep track of all these lists, you need modern technology. Pen and paper is no longer acceptable. That’s no problem for me. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a work computer, and a home computer.
Therefore, with all this great technology at my disposal, you’d think I’d have all my bases covered, right? Not so.
There’s one major problem: listening. When my wife gives me a shopping or to do list, the list is never right. After a couple of minutes of dictation, my mind starts to wander. (Who’s winning the ball game? Do I really put my hands in my pockets that often? What the heck did she just say?)
So I end up with strange entries like Garlic ice cream—possible with my wife—or Welch’s grape petroleum jelly.
I know this isn’t right but I don’t want to ask my wife to repeat herself.
“Don’t you listen to me?” she’d say, clearly annoyed.
She’d continue to rant and I’d then start tuning her out again, which just exacerbates the situation.
So I grab my list, enlist one of the kids to help me, and hope I can figure it out when I arrive at the store.
I try to get my daughter to come with me as she often shops with my wife. Though Lexy is usually sweet, it can be hit or miss.
“Lexy, can you come to the store with me?”
“No, don’t want to.”
“I could use the company.”
“What part of NO do you not understand?” with her hands firmly on her hips, she’s not messing around.
“So it’s a maybe?”
“Mom, daddy is bothering me. I don’t want to go the store.”
“What’s wrong, Brad? You can’t go to the store yourself?”
I can’t answer that.
So I bring CJ who listens worse than me. However, he’s eager to go to the store—most likely to get a toy—and remembers everything, when he listens. Between the two of us we should be able to figure out something. Besides, I have my incomprehensible list.
When we arrive at the store, unfortunately, my list is still incomprehensible.
Then the word chili pops into my head. I have a brilliant thought.
“CJ, I need you to talk to Mom and ask her if we’re having chili for dinner tomorrow.
I dial the number, repeat what to say, and hand him the phone.
“Say it exactly like that. Got it?”
“Mom, Daddy, wants to know if we’re having chili for dinner tomorrow.”
Good boy—stick to the script.
“I don’t know. Maybe he lost the list.”
My heart sinks.
“She wants to talk to you.”
Disgusted, I pick up the phone.
She gives me the list again and warns me not to screw it up.
“Yes, I’ve got everything, hon. I won’t call again.”
I hang up the phone and immediately realize the store has chili with beans and without beans. Crap!
I take a deep breath and decide to text her. She didn’t say I couldn’t text her. See, I listen sometimes.
I fully expected a couple of angry texts including barbs such as, “do you need me to wipe for you, too?” However, it never happened.
“Hmmm. Maybe my question about beans wasn’t so ridiculous after all,” I said to CJ.
“No, Mom said she didn’t need the chili after all. She didn’t want you to get mad.”
Too late for that. “Anything else?” I asked with a scowl on my face.
“Can I get a toy now?”
Copyright © 2012, Brad Manzo