TGIM: Hectic Family Weekends

Montrealers used to mock Torontonians, saying they only cared about money and lawn sprinklers and their little petit bourgeois existences; whereas Montrealers cared about culture, friends, food, had passionate arguments about art, they dress better, have more fun nightlife and esprit and joi de vivre, etc.

All of which may be true: my main observation when I go to Montreal is how many people wear turtlenecks. And what beautiful turtlenecks–so carefully chosen! Certainly, though it may have suffered setbacks elsewhere, the turtleneck is alive and well in Montreal!

The ultimate sniffing dis Montrealers used to drop on Torontonians (and perhaps still do, Mack’s not sure) is that Torontonians had so little clue what to do with themselves on weekends that they would say: “Thank God it’s Monday.”

If that is indeed true then perhaps Mack at long last is turning into a true Torontonian.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the weekends and enjoy spending time with the whole Mack Daddy brood (three boys, ages 6, 9, and 12).

But holy freakin’ hockey puck the weekends are busy!

I keep waiting for downtime to kick in, but a strange inversion has taken place and our weekends have become busier than our weeks. Not only that, we have to get up just as early if not earlier! It’s sick!

The main culprit is hockey, methinks. This weekend, our middle child, J.J., had not one, not two but three hockey-related events: two games and a practice. And often his games (I think because he’s a kid and is down the food-chain a bit in terms of ice-times) begin at an unholy hour, like 8 a.m.!

For each hockey thing he has to suit up in his gladiatorial gear, be driven to rink, etc. Throw in the activities of the other two; the need for the youngest to be babysat aka “parented” (i.e. supervised, fed, and amused); the need for grocery shopping, food preparation, a certain amount of minimal house-tidying, and Mack and Ms. Daddy are both busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest for the entire 48-hour experience.

Of course I miss it all when Monday hits, and my theory is that when we grow older Ms. Daddy and I will miss “the busy years.” We’ll miss being busy and stretched so tight we twang.

But I confess I feel a slight twinge of TGIM action when Monday rolls around, just as Montrealers accuse. Mack’s a writer, so I spend my weeks in quiet contemplation, alone, tapping on a keyboard and thinking and musing on the human condition. If I crack a book over a steaming bowl of pho at lunch I can even justify it: “research.”

My week-days are very calm and peaceful, in other words.

It’s Ms. Daddy you should feel sorry for. She’s a television news reporter. She runs around all weekend, then during the week races out of the door where a camera truck is often awaiting her, blasts off, and zooms all over town, poking her mic in people’s faces, always racing against the clock, trying to get the story.

I should get her a coupon for some time at a spa. She’s earned it.

The only question is: when would she ever use it?

Answer: she wouldn’t.

Spas stress her out, she says. Her mind’s always racing the whole time, thinking of all the things she really should be doing.

Poor baby. For her, truly, it never stops. Still, I think she likes it. It’s the engaged life, baby: always on the run!