Showering Genius.

Being the intellectual type, I can’t help but try to streamline daily tasks and duties.  Just because something has been done a certain way for long periods of time, doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon.

One morning I was standing in the shower when our cat suddenly came flying into the bathroom and through the shower curtain in a panic. Hot on the cat’s tail was our dog Pippi, who also came flying into the bathroom and then through the shower curtain. Once both animals were inside the shower, they proceeded to engage in an extremely vicious claw and fang fight.

Now, the dog chasing the cat was nothing new around our house, but the dog and the cat ending up in the shower with me was a new development.  The brain of an ordinary man would have been preoccupied with the multiple lacerations sustained on his legs and buttocks during the dog and cat scuffle which he had just been in the middle of, but I barely even noticed the pain and blood. Instead, my mental gears began to turn as I stood in the warm flow of water, looking down at Pippi.

I was in the shower . . . . . and Pippi was in the shower . . . . . . We were both already wet, so why not give the dumb dog a bath . . . or shower as it were. I had just taken two separate tasks, showering and dog washing, and combined them into one highly efficient event.

In the days that followed, I couldn’t help but be proud of my combining showering with dog bathing, and I began to think of other things that I could incorporate to make the time wasted in the shower even more productive. With the whole water/washing theme of a being in a shower, the natural progression seemed to be washing clothes.

I figured I could just wear whatever clothes I wanted to wear for the day while I was in the shower. I was sure that the scrubbing of the clothes will also seep through to my body and clean it as well. The only dilemma was whether I should use laundry detergent or body wash, so just to be safe, I settled on using a dash of both.

The combination did indeed seem to result in the cleaning of both myself and my clothes, but the drying of the clothes needed some adjustment. At first, I liked the idea of just showering with the clothes on that I would wear for the day, and then just walking out of the bathroom ready to head off to work. However, I discovered that it takes anywhere from three to six hours for the clothes that you had showered in to dry, which seems to also lead to chafing in “uncomfortable places”, (chafing that my wife delighted in calling “diaper rash”). So now, I shower with the clothes on that I will wear for tomorrow, and then hang them over the shower curtain rod, and put on the clothes that I showered in yesterday to wear for today.

I found that by showering twice a day, I could even help out with some of the rest of the family’s laundry (with the exception of my daughters jeans because I can’t fit into them). But my helpful efforts were not appreciated. In fact, I actually became the subject of anger and ridicule from my wife who happened to walk into the bathroom just as I was stepping out of the shower wearing the dress that she would most likely wear to church that Sunday . . . freshly laundered, might I add.

As time went on, I continued to develop more time saving activities that could be incorporated into my showering and have even come up with a daily showering schedule that looks like this:

Monday:

Morning shower . . . laundry (I’ve now gone to a two to three outfit shower by making one or more wardrobe changes).

Mid-day shower . . . dishes from the previous day.

Tuesday:

Morning shower . . . laundry or wash dog every other week.

Mid-day shower . . . dishes and watering of half the house plants (I can’t fit all the house into the shower at once, but I’m working on a rack system that would accommodate all of them).

Wednesday:

Morning shower . . . laundry and second half of house plants

Mid-day shower . . . dishes.

Evening shower . . . drapes and linen, alternate.

Thursday:

Morning shower . . . laundry and attempt to wash one of the cats . . . if, I’m feeling ambitious.

Mid-day shower . . . dishes.

Evening shower . . . bathroom throw rugs and scour the shower walls.

Friday:

Morning shower . . . catch up on any laundry or dishes.

The system seems to be working well in spite of spending most of my days with pruned fingers. I continue to look for new ways to improve on my showering activities. One idea of mine is to build a shower that you can drive your car into, so you can shower and wash your car at the same time. I would call it the “car wash” . . . well, ok, I know that someone already used that name, so maybe I’d call it the “car shower.”

Horse Freak.

To say that my daughter loves horses is an understatement similar to saying that I merely like bacon. She is a certified horse freak. Every Christmas and birthday list she has ever made had a horse listed as the number one item.

I hate having to decline her request to own a horse since she loves them so much, but our yard isn’t big enough for the horse, me, and large piles of manure. Not to mention, my wallet is not big enough for a horse and all its food and accessories. And on top of all that, I just know that it would be me that kept the beast from starving, or freezing to death, or getting the mange (or whatever it is that horses get).

Like I said though, I really hate that she can’t have a horse because she loves them so much. But I also really hate just telling her “no, you can’t have one.” You might even say I’m cowardly. So instead, I try to “creatively” discourage her desire for horse ownership . . . and I must say that I have failed miserably up to this point.

My first attempt was when she was quite young and had just discovered horses. Having only seen them on TV, books, or in parades, I figured I could end her relentless begging for one by telling her that many horses have been known to eat small children whole. . . . snatching them up in their dragon-like jaws, leaving only socks and shoes where a child once stood.

I thought that her wide-eyed look of horror was an indication that I had successfully ended the endless pleadings for a horse, but I was mistaken. I had obviously underestimated her determination and her level of gullibility. After a few discussions with less “creative” thinking adults over the following few weeks, confirmed to her that I may have been exaggerating a tiny bit with my cautionary tale of carnivorous horses.

During our next “I want a horse” argument, I tried to knock her off balance by telling her she could have one, but it would have to live in her room with her (a room that was barely large enough to house my daughter and her bed and dresser). She then looked up at me with no expression on her face and silently walked away.

I once again thought I had ended the horse debate by outsmarting her . . . until I went upstairs later that same night. She had not only cleaned her room, but had also managed to get a large pile of freshly picked grass and a large pan of water in preparation for the arrival of the horse. I was both annoyed and amazed at her resolve.

Feeling cornered by my own genius, I then had to resort to “researching” the local building codes, where I found that all houses that had livestock living on the second floor were required to have 48 inch wide stairs. Since our stairs were only 32 inches wide, we would have to wait until we could afford to widen the stairs. This seemed to be an acceptable, although disappointing answer to her.

The problem with most kids is they get smarter as they get older. And then they start rehashing in their little brains, everything you’ve ever told them. This was especially true with Natalie when it came to anything concerning the purchase of a horse due to my past track record.

We happened to be vacationing at Niagara Falls when she realized that the whole ‘horse in her room’ was just a diversion tactic and that I may have once again been exaggerating a bit about the building code requirements. This realization led to an impromptu horse argument as we all stood overlooking the falls.

Wanting to end the loud argument quickly, but also fearing that I would spend my afterlife being slowly roasted and pitchforked for using deception as a way end the horse debate, I decided to switch tactics. I told her that she could have a horse if she swam over the falls, and survived. Once again, she looked up at me with no expression and quietly walked away. I assumed her silence was due to her anger towards me, but at least there was silence.

Less than half an hour later, I was hailed by an angry park ranger who soundly chastised me for suggesting that my daughter should swim over the falls as payment for a horse. Apparently she had cornered him to inquire what type of accommodations the park provided for getting someone back up to the top of the observation area after swimming over the falls.

So now, after failing to dissuade my daughter’s horse ownership obsession by way of fear, exaggeration, deception, and ridiculous deal making, I am reduced to being that mean dad who just says “no” whenever the horse argument comes up (which is about every other week).

However, as atonement for my misguided and less than ethical attempts to discourage her horse freakness, we do now pay for her to take riding lessons which seems to be an acceptable compromise . . . . . for the time being.