While I was having adventures in Costa Rica, my husband and two teenage boys were at home. I turn my blog over to them today for a report on what was happening on the home front.
From Daniel, age 14:
The Week of Man had no femininity in it. It was all destruction, burning, and excitement. There was next to no cooking.
Sunday: We went to a go-carting place, and I won. Others accused me of spinning my brother and my cousin out, but they ran into me. We then went to the Pez factory and got a ton of Pez. The first day in the Week of Man was manzillarating.
Monday: We took the hard route hiking up to Castle Craig and were late for a tennis clinic. It was not an especially manly day.
Tuesday: This was the day of destruction. We needed to clear out room for a new Bowflex home gym. We moved a lot of stuff off the basement shelves, and then we smashed them all with a sledgehammer. There’s nothing more manly than destroying things and then watching them burn down to nothing in the backyard.
Wednesday: We were mystified trying to find the pieces of the Bowflex because they weren’t labeled. We finished at around 8:30 p.m. and went to Glenwood for the best hot dogs in the universe.
Thursday: This was the second best day in the Week of Man. We went on a high ropes course in a group of only five people including my dad, my brother, and me. We took five zip lines, and it really got my adrenaline pumping to fly 75 feet in the air. We also climbed across a cargo net and a small rope, and we ran up floating swaying stairs, 40 or 50 feet in the air.
Friday: This was the day of doing absolutely nothing all day long.
Saturday: This was the best day in the Week of Man. We went paintballing. What could be better than running around in the woods with guns and balls of paint? I got out almost all the rounds. One person got me in the neck, arm, and leg in three shots. I got sweaty wearing the big helmet, but I was thankful for it. If it wasn’t there, I would be missing an eye and have bruises on my face.
It was a fun week, but at its end, I was ready to see my mom again. You can only eat so many hot dogs before you realize that … well, actually, I never get tired of hot dogs.
From David, age 15:
Based on my experience with watching Malcolm in the Middle, the proper order of things and the entire household system breaks down and descends into chaos once the mother leaves. So when my mom left for Costa Rica, I feared for the worst. Within days, I knew, I would begin to see signs of the house’s unstoppable descent into ruin. Dishes would pile high, unwashed, until none remained and my dad, brother, and I were forced to eat whatever food we could scrounge up with plastic forks and knives. The cupboards and refrigerator would be barren, and finding food to eat would be a struggle.
The reality of what later became known as “The Week of Man,” however, was quite different. Day after day of carefree fun and manly activities filled the week, from go-carting to paintball. Adrenaline pumped through our veins and fun was had by all.
Despite my fears, the household integrity was maintained; in fact, the house was better than ever at the end of the week (of man). Dishes and clothes were washed, food was eaten, and the house was kept clean. The Week of Man really taught us all to get along better and cooperate, both while dismantling basement storage areas and flanking the enemy in paintball. Even though the Week of Man was a blast, it was a relief to see my mom again Monday morning.
From Randy, my husband:
With my wife away, I figured it might be fun to try to make the time go quickly and smoothly by making a bit of a spectacle out of it. With two teenage sons, I thought it might be fun to do “man” things that their mother may have not been crazy about doing. Marcy cooks wonderful home-cooked meals and their absence was likely to cause some emotional heartache amongst the three of us remaining at home. To counteract the loss, I figured we men should go out to eat often — burgers, hot dogs, pizza — again, things Marcy may not be crazy about.
While in the house, I tried to find “manly” projects to do. We had recently been given a new Bowflex machine and needed to make some space for it in the basement. Manual labor moving a bunch of stuff followed by the removal of permanent shelves with sledgehammers and crowbars seemed fitting. It only seemed natural to take those shelves and burn them in a large fire in the backyard. The building of the Bowflex required hand tools to put together the large steel structure — manly, for sure.
Outside of the house, we decided to do some high-ropes activities and zip lining at Empower in Middletown — a good thrill that took some strength and courage to complete.
Lastly, we felt that shooting at each other would be a natural fit. Paintball at Yankee Paintball in Oxford was our host for half a day. We mostly spent time on the same team (so we didn’t shoot each other). The highlight of the day was an “Attack the Castle” scenario. Our attacking team of seven split into two squads, attacking from opposite sides. The boys and I cooperated really well working our way around the left flank and up closer to the target. Covering fire by two of us while one of us moved up worked well enough for us to take out the defenders on our side and capture the objective. Serious fun and only a few welts and bruises! Manzillerating indeed!
How does your household change when a spouse goes away?