Yesterday afternoon he got caught up watching Italy vs. England soccer while both kids were napping. He said he could turn it off anytime and bring Wally back out to the playground but he also said the game was amazing there was some whole long rivalry that made it epic he'd clean the whole house if he could just stay and watch the second half. So when Wally woke up I said I'd bring both kids out. Could have left the girl as she was content with him on the couch but she would have to eat soon enough anyway. With an infant and a five-year-old you can still just plunk yourself on the bench at the playground so it's not that big a deal. I actually find myself plunking much more outside than in because you're not surrounded by all the other things you need to do.
Okay about an hour after we got to the playground Alex texted that he was on his way and did I need anything. I texted back "Cut up veggies." He texted back, "Cut up veggies? Like what?" but I never answered so he decided not to bring anything. When he arrived I asked him of course where the snack was and he said since I never answered the text and he didn't know what I meant by that he didn't bring anything.
"What I meant by that? I meant go into the fridge, take out some veggies that can be ingested raw, wash them, peel them if necessary, find a sharp object and cut them up. Then put them in a container that is safe for transporting food items and carry it with you to the playground."
"I didn't see anything that would be good cut up. It was just like celery and carrots."
"Celery and carrots! Celery and carrots! That would have been perfect. That is what I always cut up. That is exactly the kind of thing people mean when they say cut-up veggies."
"To me cut up veggies is like spinach, mushrooms, potatoes."
(Horrified annoyed face) "I have never heard anyone refer to spinach, mushrooms or potatoes as cut up veggies."
"Yeah," he said, demonstrating happily with his hands, "You cut them up."
"Ugh," huge loud sigh from me, glance around the playground, feel starving, consider running to Taco Bell.
"And you never answered the text," he said, adjusting his sunglasses. How did he manage to look so free and easy?
"So there was nothing you could imagine me doing," (I was at that point standing up breastfeeding over by the jungle gym helping Wally change into his bathing suit) "that might have prevented me from checking my phone every five seconds to see if you'd written back asking what I meant by cut up veggies?"
"No, you're right," sheepish look. "Sorry."
But I couldn't let it go. Along with zero free time has come almost zero patience for Alex's foibles and the strange cultural differences between us that always seem highlighted in times of increased stress. "So what did you do? Did you open the fridge?"
"Yeah I opened it."
"Did you look in the vegetable drawer?"
"Yeah I looked. But I only saw the celery and carrots I was like - ack." Waves hand in a dismissive gesture.
Shaking my head. "I just cannot understand that. I just cannot understand that."
"My mind went blank," he reaches out to grab the baby from me.
"I can't, she's feeding right now."
"So did it occur to you to bring something for us to eat? Something else? Was there anything else in the house at all that you could have thought of? It's not like it had to be healthy. I was just trying to be healthy but it could have been pretzels, chips, anything--"
We got cut off at that point by a neighbor holding an orange hat and asking if it belonged to Wally (it did).
Back home later I was just appalled to see Alex had not only not cleaned "the whole house" he hadn't even washed the dishes from lunch. But it's true the dishes were left from a great Brazilian-style lunch he'd made and after the playground he proceeded to make a great dinner as he almost always does and as we were eating at one point Wally said to me, "Remember when you used to cook and it always came out horrible?"
I laughed. "I still cook sometimes."
"No, Daddy usually cooks."
"Usually, but I still..sometimes...and it's not horrible it's just not that..." My voice faded out. I flashed back to the scene at the playground. "Crudités!" I wanted to shout. "Crudités! You're honestly telling me you've never heard of Crudités before? You're the language guy, the culture guy, the guy who came from a country where you actually learn world history the guy who tell the difference between a Romanian and a Bulgarian from a mile away? Who knows which part of Latvia used to be in Lithuania (if any part of it did) who knows that the ancient name for Crimea was Taurica and that Norway is a constitutional monarchy you've lived in this country for 25 years now and you're honestly telling me you've never heard of crudités!!!??"
But "crudités" is a word that you can't really shout without sounding like George Costanza. And it would really be ludicrous, really be losing sight of the enchanted broccoli forest to harp on that mistake any more than I already did. I am like a pitbull sometimes, just grab on and never let go. Plus, I thought, if I have any free free time later, I can always mock him later on my blog, which he no longer seems to have the time to read. And it turns out I did.