It finally happened. The grandparents have left the country and I have to say that this time around it has been surprisingly underwhelming. In times prior there has been some sort of relief or change in temperature. I remember that last time they left the apartment felt very quiet and empty without them around. Not so this time.

Perhaps, I don’t have the relief because I already know that come September that they shall return and having a date means I don’t have any illusion that it might not happen.

Perhaps also I didn’t have time to notice. The continuing saga of school bus drivers being on strike (since Halloween) means that I’m spending an hour in the car every day dropping the boys off at the respective school and daycare. Of course with an hour before hand of getting everyone up and dressed.

Also, having wifey out of town at a conference this week also meant that I had little time for anything other than the domestic routine in the evening.

Solo parenting however really has highlighted just how insufferable my kids have become. Bed time with the little one is something close to a three hour ordeal before he finally surrenders to sleep. Meanwhile I full on ranted in the big guy’s face on Thursday after he had done nothing but complain and whine at me for three hours. It’s the incessant questioning that does it. What’s for dinner? When is dinner? Why are we having that? I don’t eat that, know? Why is the food too hot?

It’s the leaky tap (or facet) problem. No single question is entirely unjustified. But asking the same thing six times without listening to the answer is maddening. Maybe I’m the idiot for continuing to reply.

The problem is that at a certain point you finally loose your patience and then explode for seemingly small infractions. In this case, it was splashing water out of the bath and complaining that his brother was too close (but not touching) to him.

It just makes you hate your kids. Insufferable complaining about a life of luxury. Perhaps the solution is a cabin in woods without an internet connection and nothing to eat that doesn’t come in a can for a weekend.

Otherwise, there’s not much to report. Work didn’t really progress very much, but in my one on ones with the team this week it was clear that the apathy is strong. Almost everyone at this point is watching the clock until the project closes out. People are mostly keeping themselves busy, but equally are definitely not committing to anything that isn’t absolutely essential at this point.

Thursday was the company quarterly, in-person state of union meeting. Which was largely a waste of time from a dissemination of information perspective, but I suppose there is a hidden agenda of reminder people that the company has gotten big and to socialize across teams. However, with the kid pick up requirements this week, I had to quietly duck out of my usual social activities and allow the whisky club to gather without me.

The highlight for me however, was of going into the office, I paired up with my new French learning buddy, and managed to have almost a full half hour in coherent French. There were still a handful of times when I didn’t have the word, or a minor grammatical error. But I really did surprise myself. I expressed myself reasonably well. It’s the first time I’ve felt like I’ve actually been making progress. That’s pretty rewarding.

Now that I reflect upon it, I had a couple of intermediate group classes this week, and I didn’t feel like I was drowning. I felt distinctly middle of pack.

Which is all to say, having some tangible progress really helps to incentivize my continuation with the thing.

I’ve been saying to myself for a long time that I need to embrace the fear and just get a private tutor to accelerate progress. But the idea terrifies me. There’s no place to hide when there’s only you and I have a strong narrative in my head that I’m no good at languages that I picked up long ago, as early as I can remember.