Lost Weekends

An Iraqi mourner shouts during a funeral procession for Mahmoud al-Hashimi, whose brother, Tariq, heads Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political party, April 14, 2006, in Baghdad.
AP Photo/Mohammed Hato
There are three things that mark a typical weekend at the Howald house in suburban New York: a little chaos, last minute logistics, and an ever-growing list of things to do.

What does it sound like?

Allison: "I just need to get money and gas and then drop off the dry-cleaning."

Dan: "If you don't want to go to the hardware store, I'll do that."

Allison: "I have to bring her swimming suit over to Emily's. And I'll go to the playing field and pick up Jason."

It's Saturday morning, and 9-year-old Jason has two soccer games.
Twelve-year-old Amanda has soccer practice and a softball game.
And in between it all, their dad, Dan, needs to mow the lawn, put in the air conditioners, fix a broken pipe, pick up the dry-cleaning, oversee the soccer league and take care of some work he brought home from the office.

And his wife's list?

It's just as long. Allison needs to put gas in the car, go to the bank, do the gardening, run the laundry, buy groceries and return a half dozen phone calls.

"I'm not kidding you, Dan writes me where we have to be at what time, all day," offers Allison.

"I give her a little worksheet," he admits."

"He gives me my directions--gives me exactly where I need to be, and that's what it is because we don't really see each other."

And as crazy as it seems, it turns out that kind of schedule is perfectly normal across the country. A new study by Life Magazine concludes the American weekend is endangered.