INSIDE STORY: When his wife is away, this husband will pay
Our assistant managing editor, Erik Tryggestad,spent the first part of the week in Southern California, reporting onchurch relief efforts after the recent wildfires.
However, Erik’s absence didn’t really affect me or the production of the Chronicle too much.
Laptopcomputers, e-mail and cell phones being what they are, Erik can do hisjob as masterfully from 1,350 miles away as he can from the office nextdoor.
I was jealous that Erik got to drive along thePacific Coast Highway and spend time at Pepperdine University, thatslice of heaven in Malibu that must rank as the most beautiful collegecampus in America.
But the staff member’s absence that really threw a monkey wrench into my week was that of the Chronicle’s online editor, Tamie Ross.
Tamie flew to Honduras to work on a future feature on medical missions and left me to care for her three children.
Granted, my name is on all three of their birth certificates, too.
But these kids — Brady, 14; Keaton, 10; and Kendall, 8 — really need a mother.
You’dbe surprised at how often kids that age are accustomed to eating. Inthe case of my children, I learned that my wife has conditioned them toexpect a minimum of three meals. That’s every day, mind you.
WhenTamie is home, I usually do the dishes, which is to say that I spraythem off and stick them in the dishwasher. That’s one small miraclethat God granted my wife at some point along the way of our 17-yearmarriage.
Generally speaking, though, Tamie decides the menuand cooks the meals. Under extreme conditions, I can make chili orspaghetti, but I try to avoid such circumstances.
Therefore,with the knowledge that my wife would be away for five nights, I faceda dilemma: Eat out every meal or do the responsible thing and cook athome.
Devoted father that I am, I enlisted my children’s helpand input in making this important decision. Suffice it to say that weenjoyed Pizza Hut on Monday night, Wendy’s on Tuesday night, Arby’s onWednesday night, a popular Tex-Mex restaurant on Thursday night andWhataburger on Friday night. (At this point, I am really hopeful thatTamie is so exhausted from her trip that she forgets to read my columnthis month.)
Seriously, my wife is much too accomplished a reporter for me to get away with any of what transpired in her absence.
To prove my point, here are real quotes that Tamie passed along from her extensive interviews upon her return:
• “The only vegetables eaten all week were by the guinea pigs.” — Keaton
•“It was past my bedtime and I was still up. Dad never really saidanything. He just walked by and gave me a weird look.” — Brady
• “No one was here to make me comb all the tangles out of my hair every morning. Those were good times.” — Kendall
•“Theworst part was having to make my lunch every morning. The best part waseating whatever I wanted for breakfast, though. One morning, I had cakeand Powerade.” — Keaton
•“When was your last shower, Keaton? Was itafter (insert name of TV show from a few nights before)?” — Dad, inresponse to a query from his wife at the airport
Kidding aside, Tamie’s trip proved professionally and personally rewarding for her. Her story will bless many Chronicle readers when it’s published.
Asfor the Ross children and me, we were reminded just how special a womangraces our home — and just how much we miss her when she’s gone.
Welcome home, honey.