Years and years ago, when I was a younger man, I started going to family events with DearWife. I like spending time with family, and she has a great and interesting family. And of course my family is perfect.
There were always two moments of stress that sandwiched the actual event: leaving for the event and leaving from the event. Now, you may be expecting me to say DW takes too long to get ready. That's not the case. Generally, I don't care how long it takes for her to get ready. And these days, I don't really care if we're late.
No, my problem has always been in figuring out how long the time is between when she says "I'm ready" and when we actually get out the door. When she says "I'm ready" before we leave for the event, she really means, there is no more she has to do to get herself ready. She's assuming (incorrectly might I add) that I have knowledge of and understand all the peripheral tasks that need to happen before the ignition is turned on.
I have only a vague idea what those tasks would have been pre-kids. But my firm belief has always been that there is a secret system for determining how long to make me wait like a moron with keys in my hand on the recliner before hearing "Didn't you know that we need to:" (unplug the coffee machine, triple check the iron has been unplugged, lock the back door, close the windows, etc. etc.). So I have made it a goal to unravel the secret system.
Leaving the event is very similar. First, and this is not an exaggeration, I cannot recall a single solitary social situation that we both attended where she wanted to leave first. She's a social butterfly, and I'm ... not. But that's fine too. Again, the problem is the time between when she says "It's time to go" and the time when we actually go.
There are several factors in play. When we leave my family, I say "see ya, talk to you soon" and we're out the door. I have the authority to just get up and go. With her family and our friends, it's a recap of the day, a knowledge dump of information learned, etc. And inexplicably, dear Father In Law, a man who I appreciate very much, always has some tidbit that is brought up right as my hand is turning the doorknob. I'm not sure if he's just torturing me, or if he magically just remembers these things as we are leaving.
While I do not have all the answers yet, I have proven correlation between these events and another unrelated process. Before we left for one of the 3 parties this weekend, I took out a Diet Coke when DW said she was ready. When it got to just above room temperature, we actually left. I swiped out the warm one for the cold one, and we were good to go.
Before we went to party #2 on Sunday, I did the same thing. And it was about the same temp as the one the day before. I think there must be some correlation between the number of extraneous things that DW will do before leaving and the temperature. If anyone else has similar experiences, please share them. As Count Rugen once said: "And remember, this is for posterity so be honest."