Friday, January 24, 2014


My husband recently returned from a 2-month “business trip.”

I put “business trip” in quotes because I’m pretty sure that what “business trip” means is drinking at the hotel bar with the guys before ordering in some hookers. 

But that’s cool, because whatever it takes to get the heat off of me.  It’s like I always say—I don’t really do the whole “sex with the hubs” thing for fun, and we’ve already reached our 2-kid quota. 

When he returned home from the Bunny Ranch that Friday night, he threw himself right back into his daddy duties, herding our boys into the bathroom for baths just after the perfunctory cheek kisses and I’ve missed you’s while I sat on the couch and read a book.  It was the first true break I’d had in two months, and I was going to relish it.

The next morning, the hubs let me sleep in while he made the boys’ breakfast.

I hadn’t even stumbled all the way into the kitchen when my older son accosted me. 
“MOM!” he shouted in my direction as I wiped the sleep from my eyes.  “Look what DAD did!  My pancakes aren’t even cut right!”  He tilted his plate up to show me the indignity of it all.

Before I could even study the totally inadequate cuts of the pancake, I noticed something else.  “Where’s the syrup?” I asked my husband, who was busy defrosting blueberries for our younger son.

My husband grimaced my way.  “I don’t KNOW, Margo.  Why don’t you tell me?”

I opened the cupboard closest to me and retrieved the syrup as I responded.  “It hasn’t moved in the two months you’ve been gone.  You mean you were just going to make him eat dry pancakes?  Would you like pancakes without syrup?”

I flipped the syrup bottle’s lid and handed it to my son. 

“I’ll tell you what:  When I was a kid, if my dad gave me pancakes without any damned syrup, I ate the pancakes without any damned syrup,” my husband muttered as he sprinkled the blueberries with sugar.

I turned his way, a mischievous glint in my eye.  “Your dad served you dry pancakes a lot growing up, did he?”

I could see my husband trying to suppress a smile.  “I was just saying—"

“Plopped those bastards right down onto the table, did he, never any syrup?” I goaded.


“And all you wanted, just once, was a tiny spot of syrup…”

“Listen,” the hubs said, failing miserably to keep the chuckle out of his voice, which made his tough words sound even funnier, “I was just saying that if my dad had served me pancakes with no syrup—"

“—which probably never happened, not even once—"

“Right.  But if he had, I would’ve eaten them.”


“Damn right.”

I tried hard to swallow my own giggle as I leaned in to look at the way the pancakes had been cut.  I would have dropped the issue, really I would have, but my son was still holding his plate up for me to study.  And it was easy to see why he had taken issue with the cut of the cake:  My husband had apparently used a fork and had only sliced halfway through each piece, meaning that the “cuts” were more like indentations.

I didn’t want to further annoy the hubs, so I just grabbed a butter knife quietly and started making the cuts myself.

As the hubs walked past to hand my younger son his bowl of blueberries, he paused to watch me.  “Is it completely necessary that the—"

“--pieces are shaped like little pizza slices?  Yes," I finished for him.

“Holy shit,” the hubs breathed, shaking his head as he walked away.  “You’re turning these boys into spoiled divas.  Goddamned isosceles triangle pancake bites…”

He kept blabbering on and on about it, until the last thing I heard him mutter before he hit the hallway was “…need a damned protractor to cut the thing correctly…”

That’s when I lost it, laughing so hard that my belly hurt, and I know that’s the result the hubs was hoping for. I saw him shoot me a smile over his shoulder as he sauntered the rest of the way down the hall.

But, as I explained to him later, there’s reason behind my and my boy's pancake-cutting rhyme.  The bite-sized pieces of pancake are obviously less mess.  The way the hubs had cut it, my boy would’ve tried to take a bite, and the entire pancake would have come dangling up by a thread, resulting in him trying to chomp through the whole thing before it inevitably spilled in a sticky, syrupy mess all over his face and outfit—causing us to have to change his clothes, making us late for whatever we were doing that day.

And as the hubs explained right back to me:  “That wouldn’t have been a problem if you hadn’t given him the syrup.”


But still, I put the hubs through our usual intensive just-returned-home-from-a-business trip training, meaning that he spent the next few days re-learning how to cut off sandwich crusts, breathe correctly to enhance voice inflection when reading stories, and properly squat while portraying a monster deemed scary enough by the kids and me during imaginative floor play.

I’m not sure that the hubs will ever leave on business trips to the Bunny Ranch again.  There’s simply too much work to be done in order to get back into proper Dad form when he returns home.


  1. Two months?! 2 months? Dos Monthos? Holy shit, I didn't realize it was that long! And that's the secret to happy marriage, isn't it?

  2. Dammit! Now I want pancakes! With lots of buttery syrup! Cut into triangles!

  3. First I also have to exclaim: Two months! Was he on the moon? Haha. And second, it must be genetic how moms know how to cut kids' food for happy kids plus easy cleanup. Got to keep that balance!

  4. You know how my husband cuts pancakes? He tears them into bite sized pieces with his bare hands. Ok, so do I. Before we put the syrup on, of course. We're classy that way.

  5. Confession: I put honey on my 3 yr old's pancakes and a schmear of peanut butter on the 2 yr old's, because they're both thicker and less messy.
    p.s. When I was younger, a 2-month business trip might have sounded scary, but after just surviving ONE DAY my husband had off, I have to ask if your husband's work is hiring.

  6. TWO MONTHS? OMG. I'm impressed. I might have sent my kid on the business trip. At least for 1/2 of it. I'll bet some of the bunny ranch girls are really nice and would totally look out for him.
    And hell yes, there's a right way to cut pancakes. We roll ours up and cut them into strips and then cut those into strips (pre-syrup).

  7. You guys are too funny. And two months is way too long for you not to have a break!

  8. Can I actually leave a serious comment here for once, Shay? I really love this post. It's really outstanding writing (not that your other posts haven't been outstanding). It is such a window into your world and, at the same time, so universal. We all have our way of doing things, and bump up against each other when things aren't predictable. Also, the messiness that happens when we have been away from each other for awhile. How it can take awhile to get back into the groove. Great post! I loved it.

  9. Guess what? I heard just yesterday that my friend's husband is going for a 6 month business trip to Japan!! Yeah. it's business with the geishas, for sure!! :P

  10. Baahahahaha, poor guy!
    Just read this today and am feeling a little guilty:
    But of course you ARE right. Pancakes have to be cut the right way, no question about that!