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Deployment Triangle: Bernie Mac Style

Posted by on June 19, 2011
Today, my husband left for a week long training exercise. As, I help him to get ready, I look around and see the grass that I am going to have to cut. I see the dishes that I let pile up from our early Father’s Day brunch yesterday. I see the floors that need to be mopped. I wonder what I shall do with the kids this week to stay busy since they are out of school and then I wonder what meals I should make. I am quickly taken back to the last two summers when my husband was deployed.

I then remember the good, fast, cheap triangle. Have you heard of this? My husband and I still laugh about it. It is a contractor triangle we heard about in a Bernie Mac Show episode. I’ll explain. Bernie is adding an addition onto his house. The contractor shows him a triangle that looks like this:


Bernie is told he can only have two and he needs to make his pick.

You can have GOOD + FAST, but it won’t be cheap, because they will postpone every other job, cancel all appointments, and stay up 25-hours a day just to get your job done. BTW, this is what his wife Wanda wants, hence the expression in the photo.

You can have GOOD + CHEAP, but it won’t be fast because they will do a great job for a discounted price, but you’ll have to be patient until they have a free moment from paying clients.

Finally, you can have FAST + CHEAP, but don’t expect it to be good because you’ll get what you pay for, which usually means shoddy work.

So why you ask am I thinking of this triangle now? Well, during my husband’s deployment I came up with my own version of this triangle. It looked like this:


I concluded that I could have a CLEAN HOUSE with all of the laundry done and COOKED MEALS, but that the kids, would be neglected of my time. I could give the kids nicely COOKED MEALS and QUALITY TIME, but the house would look like a sty. Or, I could spend QUALITY TIME with the boys and have a sparkling CLEAN HOUSE, but we would be eating fast food.

At the beginning of the deployment I tried to achieve all three, however, something inevitably came up that wasn’t planned for. For instance, my youngest was potty-training. There were plenty of messes, including walking into their room one morning to find them “painting” each other with poop. I kid you not, I took pictures. Also, my oldest was emotional from missing his daddy so there were plenty of temper tantrums and consoling sessions. One day, he ran from his bedroom to escape bedtime and ending up running into the corner of the dining room table and gashed his head. Then, there was the random day where I found a bird in my house. Yes, a bird. Once, there was a squirrel that some how found its way into our storage area in our room over the garage. You can’t make this stuff up and it never seems to happen when my husband is home. Trying to achieve all three was a challenge, plus, I work part-time. So, once I accepted I could only have two on the triangle, it relieved some of my stress.

Yes, there were a few miraculous moments that I managed to have all three, but they were RARE and pretty much a guarantee that we were due for an illness, most likely me getting sick, and then I ended up being behind on all three.

I think the key is to find your balance. So I will take the boys strawberry-picking this week, cook a few meals, and clean the house, but not all in one day.

What crazy things have you experienced when your spouse was gone?


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One Response to Deployment Triangle: Bernie Mac Style

  1. Amy Thien

    LOVE THIS!! It completely puts everything into words that we all feel on a daily basis during deployments. It’s one or the other but can’t be all. And guilt should never be a factor. Thanks!

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