Monday, August 21, 2006

Looking Forward to Seeing You Next Week

DQ reader Erik Taylor forwarded me this e-mail written by his brother, Niels. It's a masterpiece.

Mom, Dad, Erik:
I'd just like to thank you all for volunteering to go to the beach, and I wanted to take a moment to prepare everyone for the upcoming week. I feel strongly that we will be able to get through this with a minimum of emotional or physical injury, but it will require a high level of commitment and dedication to the task before us.

My two shaved monkeys are just starting to understand their core skill sets and individual areas of expertise. They are both now well aware of the effects of their powers of both vocal amplitude and (especially in Boo's case) frequency, chronic loquacity (Ben), and astonishing locomotive energy (both). However, all of this pales in comparison to the most recently acquired power, a superpower, actually: they now understand precisely what buttons to push for maximum annoyance effect on any given adult. For instance, in Becky's case Ben has learned the art of precision fart-noise making using a simple yet stunningly effective mouth-based technique.

I'm telling you this as a warning. You will have something like a 6-8 hour grace period Sunday before they have fully recognized and analyzed your specific weaknesses and assimilated a response into their repetoire. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Use this time to locate suitable emergency shelter and to build appropriate defenses. Becky and I have a self-imposed restriction on the use of the most effective defense: we will typically not take a drink before 4PM, even on weekends, although we are conducting ongoing discussions regarding the usefulness of this policy. Of course this restriction will be much looser while on vacation. However, even under the types of extreme duress we will be experiencing, decorum frowns on alcohol consumption before 11AM. OK, OK, 10:30.

The most sound strategy will be to use the available offensive and defensive capabilities to maximum advantage. Working as teams in staggered shifts, we will need to alternate marching the boys up and down the beach and into and out of the ocean and the pool non-stop during daylight hours.

Occasional intermissions will be allowed for rehydration and personnel changes. These breaks will be most effective if done in conjunction with burying one or both boys up to (at least) their heads in the sand. DO NOT allow yourself to let your guard down during these breaks. This is just the kind of opportunity that they will be waiting for, and they WILL take this chance to attack. This strategy, along with a policy of no naps and very little food, may, I repeat MAY, result in them tiring themselves out to a malleable level by 5-6PM. If we can time it perfectly we should be able to get them fed, bathed, and in bed in time to have approximately 15-30 minutes of "adult time" before we too collapse.

So stay focused on the positive and try to keep your eyes on the prize: it is only 1 week, 7 days, 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes. Don't look too far ahead, lest you lose all hope; take it one day at a time. And take solice in knowing that after it is all done you will be able to return to the peace and relaxation of your own homes, miles away, and you will be better, stronger, for the experience.

Hugs and kisses! Looking forward to seeing you next week!

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