6:17 p.m. - I am finally heading home. I have been at the office since 6:30 this morning and I am exhausted. I try to focus my attention on my driving, try to push the last bits of the crafted chaos of spreadsheets and calculations from the day's work out of my head. My drive is quiet but short.
6:28 p.m. - I arrive home and am greeted by the spicy smell of simmering taco meat and warm buttered tortillas. My youngest is the first to greet me. He is two and wearing a faded pair of his older brother's Buzz Light Year underwear. It hangs loosely around his waste and I'm sure that with the slightest tug this image would quickly turn R rated. My wife is next to greet me and informs me that it's not two but rather three times that she has had to change the underwear of my youngest--a trend that won't soon end.
6:40 p.m. I finish my last taco, head to my room to change and realize I have three followers. I usher them to the family room and find a pair of shorts and a T-shirt with a paint stain. I finish changing just as my followers return. I am quickly bombarded. "Dad can you help me find my soccer ball?" "Dad can you pull my loose tooth out?" "Dad can you come look at my puzzle?" I am a wanted man.
7:02 p.m. I walk into the kitchen where my youngest is sitting on the floor. Two things catch my eye. He is leaning far to his left at an awkward angle, and he is playing with the dog food. I soon spot a brown smudge between his legs and realize why he is leaning so far to the left. I quickly inform my wife that it is now four times that his underwear will be changed.
7:10 p.m. My two oldest are arguing for the sixth time over who is winning Connect Four. I begin to curse the game and those who invented it. I grab the ipod and select a dancing play list. Soon the family room is awash with little giggling bodies. I feel my lips tighten as a smile settles in. After a few minutes of twisting and shaking I sit on the couch and enjoy the show. All four kids jump and jive as we are serenaded by the sounds of Cold Play and Taylor Swift.
7:34 p.m. My two dogs are suspiciously sniffing around--a sign that they are either looking for food or looking for a place to do their business. They soon follow me outside. I stay outside while they do their business as I have learned that if I don't see them do it, they won't - until they get back inside.
7:38 p.m. After going to the pantry I notice that one of my dogs has reclaimed the trash can as his territory. Once again I am wishing he was neutered.
8:02 p.m. The ballet of putting kids to bed begins. As usual, it is a tough performance. My wife and I move from room to room getting drinks, reading books, getting toys, taking toys away, carrying kids back to bed, getting more drinks, getting more toys, reading more books. I feel as if I am being cast in a keystone cops remake.
8:41 p.m. I sit down on the couch and again realize the TV doesn't work. I watch as my wife walks down the stairs carrying another set of poopy underwear. She gives me the look as another request for a drink of water rings down from above. I realize it is my turn to fill the request. Again I read a book and get another toy.
9:01 p.m. I sit down on the couch again. My eyes begin to burn as the lack of sleep from the night before makes itself known. I soon hear the soft tap tap of footsteps coming down the stairs and I prepare to give a stern reprimand. My oldest pops his head around the corner. I ready myself to give a historic lecture on the importance of being in bed. Before I can commence he walks over to me and wraps his arms around my neck. "I love you Dad. Good night." I lean back on the couch and once again a smile finds its way onto my face.
9:02 p.m. I am content.