The Traumatic Changes to One’s Life that are the Result of Getting Married.

No one ever warned me of all the changes that take place when one gets married. Just when you think you have it all figured out, along comes a wife who takes your neatly organized bucket of life, and dumps it all over the floor.

My own wife could have warned me about her intentions with my apartment before we were married and she moved in. It’s not like she hadn’t ever been there before. She never mentioned that there were issues with the way I had things set up . . . she just moved in and started changing things.

The first thing she did as she entered our newly shared home was to walk straight over to my large Pink Floyd wall banner (that I had won at the fair) and remove it from its’s place of honor on the living room wall.

“Wwwwwwhat are you doing?” I asked nervously.

“This has to go,” she answered as she replaced the banner with two candle holders that were infested with fake flowers and little mirrors.

“Ummm… can’t we talk abou-” but before I could state my case, she had already moved on to the bathroom.

Little did I know, this seemingly small incident would set the tone for the next several days . . .  actually years.  It was from that exact point in time that the household was no longer mine, nor did I have any say in what happened within its walls. Our domestic relationship became one of her running around “doing things” to the apartment, while I followed behind saying things like, “Well, are you sure we should- . . .  I mean . . .  I really liked the way it was . . .  How about we talk about . . . ”

But to no avail.

Immediately following the desecration of the Pink Floyd banner, she went straight to the bathroom carrying a huge box of variously scented hair, skin, body, and face products. There was every type smell and flavor under the sun . . . mango, rose petal, pineapple, maple, passion fruit, and many others that were even more perfumery smelling. The combined smell of all of these smelly things gave me a headache and made my ears ring whenever I had to spend more than a minute in the bathroom.

Next she brought in another box that was filled with electrical hair altering devices. There were hair dryers, hair straighteners, hair curling machines and even one that put small waves in you hair so that you looked like you belonged in a Whitney Houston video. My single wall plug next to the light switch had suddenly become extremely inadequate.

Why on earth does a human need all this stuff in a bathroom?  When I was single, my bathroom had been a fairly simple room. It contained toilet paper, a dirty clothes basket, a basket for clothes that were almost-but-not-quite-yet dirty, and a towel. The medicine cabinet contained a toothbrush, my baseball card collection, and the bar of soap that I showered, shampooed, and brushed my teeth with. The only thing in my bathroom that needed plugging in was my electric knife which I used for filleting fish that I had caught.

But all that was gone now, or buried under the tonnage of her smelly stuff. She had even removed my collection of vintage fake vomit and poop from the shelf above the toilet, and replaced with “Precious something-or-other” figurines with creepy huge eyes.

The trauma from these changes was a shock to my system, and made it difficult for me to go to the bathroom . . .  so much so, that I had to relieve myself behind the apartment dumpster for a week until my psyche was able to adapt to being watched by the creepy large-eyed figurines while I did my business.

Next in her sight was the kitchen. Once there, she attacked the refrigerator, which was emptied of nightcrawler containers and all similar matter of live bait. The beer crisper drawer was emptied and filled with various vegetable matter. Flowery curtains were also added to the windows where my dream-catchers once hung.

But the changes were not just limited to the objects in the apartment. Rules were also added. Rules that did not seem logical to me. In fact, I had such a difficult time remembering and adjusting to the new rules, that a list was posted on the wall in the dining room that read like this:

  1. Clothes must be washed after each wear (instead of waiting until they failed the sniff test).
  2. No showering with the dog (my attempt at water conservation).
  3. Pizza can only be ordered once a week (I lobbied for cutting back to every third day, but again, was soundly vetoed).
  4. Showering is now a daily event (instead of waiting until I failed the sniff test).
  5. And finally, I was expected to discuss with my wife prior to deciding to skip work and drive to the Star Trek convention, rather than letting her know from my hotel room in Toledo.

 

Over the course of the following year, more changes were implemented . . . too many to even list. But I slowly became accustomed to them, and eventually even felt like things were getting back to normal.

That is, until the arrival of two daughters. Where once again my neatly organized bucket of life was dumped out all over the floor.

The Way it should BE.

As I walked in the door after my long day at work, I was met by my two daughters.

“How was your day, dad?” they both asked as they gave me a big hug.

“It wasn’t too bad” I replied, “What smells so good?”

“Oh, Natalie and I made nachos, tacos and burritos for dinner . . . after we finished cleaning our rooms and doing our homework.”

“That’s wonderful girls!” I said, giving each a big hug.

After a quick shower, I returned to the dining room where we all sat down to one of the best meals I had eaten in quite some time. In fact, it was so good, that after eating each delicious taco, I would get up and hug my wife and daughters and they would hug me back, telling me how wonderful my taco breath smelled.

Upon finishing the excellent dinner, the girls cleared the table and washed the dishes, and then the four of us retired to the living room to relax and watch a little TV. My wife brought out a heavenly double chocolate cake that had been made for desert.

“What should we watch?” I asked.

“How about something with rocket launchers and zombies!” replied my daughter, Hannah.

“Yes!” added Natalie, “and with fast cars and explosions!”

“Are you sure?” I asked, “Don’t you girls want to watch your stupid teenage drama shows?”

“No father, you have worked hard all day, we want to watch your show.”

“That sounds wonderful” I said as I hugged and kissed both girls.”

As I turned on the TV, my wife brought me a huge piece of the chocolate cake and my slippers.

“Thank you my lov- . . .”

Before I could finish my sentence, I was interrupted by a loud crash and a sharp pain in my nose. I winced in agony.

When I opened my eyes, my wife was gone . . .  and there was no sign of the chocolate cake she was about to hand me before the loud noise and the pain. Instead, I was lying on the couch with my daughter Natalie sitting on my chest. My daughter Hannah was standing at the end of the couch near my head, violently swatting at her sister with a tennis racket. Natalie was kicking back at her with her feet, in an attempt to ward off the blows. And with every second or third kick, her leg would come down with a thump on my face. Hannah’s racket aim left much to be desired as well, in that every other swat would crack me on the nose with the follow through. There was also a half-eaten piece of pizza lying face down on my forehead.

“WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!!!!” I demanded.

“Hannah stole the last piece of pizza!”

“Well Natalie keeps changing the channel from my show!” Hannah answered.

“I thought you girls wanted me to watch my zombie movie . . .” I said, somewhat confused.

Both girls looked at each other as if I had just spoken to them in Latin.

“Where did you get pizza? Aren’t you both full from the dinner you made me after you cleaned your rooms?” I asked.

Again they looked at each other and then both broke out in loud maniacal laughter.

“Made dinner? Cleaned our rooms? HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

I was more confused.

“Remember? You said I had worked hard today, so I could watch my show, and you guys made tacos and nachos and burritos for dinner, and we were hugging, and you said how wonderful my taco breath smelled . . .” I sputtered.

I stopped talking as my brain began to piece together the facts.

The girls started in with their wild laughter again, “HAHAHAHAHA! You’ve been a dead lump on the couch since you got home! HAHAHAHAH, he said his breath smelled good! HAHAHAHA!”

As the girls walked off, laughing hysterically, I began to realize that it had all been a dream. There was no taco dinner, or hugging or even chocolate cake.

My wife sat across the room with an amused smile on her face. I tried telling her about my dream, but had to stop when she began laughing as hard as the girls had been.

Being disappointed about not actually having a taco dinner or hugging, I decided that I wasn’t going to miss out on the chocolate cake. I rose from the couch and went to the little diner down the road from us, where I ordered a large piece of double chocolate cake . . .  a man can only handle so much disappointment in one evening.

Things to do While My Wife Watches Dancing With The Stars.

I’ve never been a huge fan of dancing or watching dancing. Nor am I a fan of watching bachelors and bachelorettes trying to pick a suitable mate. So it is no surprise that I don’t like watching TV shows that are about these things. It would even be fair to say that, for me, being in the room while these shows are on can be quite painful.

Yet, I do like to be with my wife and daughters each evening while they intently watch their shows. I know it’s not what you would call top-notch family time, but at least we are together.

At any rate, over the different shows many seasons, I have developed some things I can do while I’m sitting there enduring them. I will now share them for the benefit of any other husbands who find themselves in the same predicament.

1.The natural choice of time-killing activities is to see how long you can get away with making fun of and impersonating things that happen and are said on the show. This can also include doing dances that involve shaking your booty and making fart noises in front of the TV, blocking everyone’s view.

2.Eat a Kleenex. It’s not very tasty, but does occupy your mind and gives one a sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve mastered the eating of a Kleenex, you can up the ante, and try a bowl of dog food, or a tube of toothpaste.

3.Make the cat attack show watchers with the aid of a laser pointer, which most cats will chase with ferocity.

4.For the night’s that seem more torturous than normal, I will see how many thumb tacks I can stick into my body without making a sound. One night while I was playing this game, my wife actually thought that the tears running down my face were due to her favorite dancer getting a low score. She expressed how touched she was that I was so concerned about the well-being of “her” star.

5.And finally, one of my favorites, on night’s when the wife and girls are more focused on the show than usual, I will very discreetly see how many items of clothing I can remove without anyone noticing. I’ve not yet made it all the way down to only my underwear.

A hint though, for some reason, they will notice your shirt being gone before they notice that you are sitting in your underwear, so if you are shooting for total number of clothing items removed, go for the socks and pants before the shirt.

Who’s training Who?

When you have children, one of two things is always happening. Either you are training them on how to act like mature, responsible adults, or they are training you to act more and more like a child.

This revelation came to me just the other day when my two daughters and I had just finished watching the highly ridiculous cartoon that my youngest, Natalie, had chosen. Before that, we had watched an even more ridiculous children’s sitcom that my other daughter, Hannah, had picked.

I now figured that it was my turn to pick the show, but this was not agreeable to my darling children. An argument quickly broke out and soon escalated into violence. Fists were flying, teeth were gnashing and hair was being ripped from the roots.

After two minutes of this mayhem, I’d had it, so I announced in a loud voice of authority, “I’ve had it!”

And with that being said, I left to go tell mom . . . . . . I mean my wife, that they wouldn’t let me watch my show, and that Hannah had kicked me, and that if Natalie came and told that I had bit her on the arm, that she had pulled my hair first .

That’s when I realized, “Hey! I’m the adult here!”

So back to the living room I marched and said, “I am your father and you have to do what I say and I don’t need to go tell Mom . . . . I mean my wife . . . . I mean your mother!!!”

I then gave Natalie the most sincere, tongue-sticking-out “Nyaaahhh-Nyaaahhh” I could muster, stomped on Hannah’s foot, and sent them both to their rooms to think about resolving conflict in a responsible, adult-like manner.

I was then able to sit down and watch Bugs Bunny in peace, like a mature grown up.

How to Make a Dad Mad.

*Turn off the shower when you have finished, but don’t turn the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from coming out of the shower head, to flowing out the spout. So when dad goes to turn on the water, (which requires that he bends over, placing his head directly in the crosshairs of the shower head) he is blasted full force in the face with freezing cold water for the ten seconds it takes to swear and find the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from the shower to the spout.

*Repeatedly tell him how outdated his fashion choices are. Then, when he actually has heard it enough times to motivate him to buy some more current looking attire, tell him he looks like an old guy trying to look young.

*In the middle of a heated lecture on not taking care of your messes in the living room and kitchen, point out that his bowl that he used for his fruity pebbles is still sitting on the coffee table from that morning. . . . But be cautious . . . . He will turn red and sputter for a few seconds, after which, you should probably be out of arms reach.

*Let him discover that the source of a seemingly endless supply of fruit flies in the house, are coming from a bowl of some unidentifiable organic matter under your bed.

*Drag him around on a six hour shopping trip that covers thirteen different stores, and then a return visit to eight of them, in an attempt to find a pair of shoes like Emily has, only to return to the very first store we looked in and decide to purchase the very first pair of shoes you tried on. And then, for the bonus dose of fury, tell him the following day that you don’t like them and refuse to wear them.

*Don’t answer the phone when he calls and then tell him your ringer was off, even though he could see you through the glass doors of the school entrance when you pulled the phone out of your pocket and looked at it when it rang.

*In the middle of a heated argument about why your grades are so low, say something like, “maybe I’m just not the kind of person who gets good grades. Why can’t you just accept me for who I am?’’ Even though your teachers and placement tests indicate you are capable of performing at an above average level.

*Leave the screen door standing wide open while you talk to someone outside during the middle of mosquito season instead of talking through the screen provided.

*Tell everyone that you caught him tearing up at the end of Bambi the last time the both of you watched the DVD.

*Spend the change from buying a movie ticket with the fifty dollar bill he gave you because he didn’t actually say he wanted the change.

*Scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the fifty items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the forty-nine items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. Repeat as necessary.

The Chaos of Home Organization.

My wife is an organizer. It’s in her DNA. At least once a month, everything in our house must be violently uprooted from its happy home, and relocated to a new home and new neighbors.

Being that we live in a fairly small house with limited closet and storage space, many of the objects in our house must coexist with other objects that are of a different species, such as the silverware/matches/battery drawer or the crackers/bread/canned soup/mitten and hat cupboard.

This all works out fine until one day when you open what you thought was the silverware/matches/battery drawer only to find that it has now become the pen/pencil/can opener/socks without a match drawer. And the silverware, matches and batteries are not only moved to a new and mysterious location, but they have also been separated and given new roommates.

So now, the batteries live in the battery/Christmas decoration/antiquated VCR plastic tub in the basement, and the silverware shares a home with the numerous phone chargers that no longer fit any of the phones that we own, in the silverware/obsolete phone charger/air freshener drawer, located in the buffet in our dining room. The matches are now living in a decorative vase that sits on the windowsill in our kitchen. I have yet to unravel the mystery of what far away Gulag the crackers, bread, canned soup, mittens and hats have been sent.

Now I’ll admit that I’m not an organizer, so maybe I just don’t understand the logic that goes behind these new location assignments. But I just can’t see the reasoning in deciding to do something like condensing the three overloaded cupboards we have in the kitchen into two, and turning the third into a palatial palace for the iced tea maker and tea bags that we use once a year. An entire cupboard with nothing in it but an ice tea maker!  It was as if she was somehow compelled to create a shrine dedicated to the worship of cold-brewed summer beverage makers. Meanwhile, the rest of our dishes and kitchen appliances are enduring inhumane overcrowded conditions in the other two cupboards.

It’s not just the complete loss of knowing where everything is relocated to, or my failure to see the logic in the organization that bothers me, either. The lack of any kind of warning that a re-organization has taken place can cause grief as well.

One particular morning, I was painfully unaware that the day before, my wife had determined that all my clothes needed to be switched from my side of the dresser to her side, and her clothes now lived on what used to be my side.

Since I wake up an hour before my wife needs to, I usually get dressed in the dark, so as not to wake her. It wasn’t until I actually got to work that I realized when I had reached into what I thought was MY drawer to grab a work shirt, I was actually grabbing and putting on a hot pink t-shirt of hers that said “SEXY LADY” in very sparkly letters across the chest . . . this is not something that the guys you work with will soon let you forget about. I can’t imagine the abuse I would have received if they had seen the pair of flower print panties that fate had determined I would be wearing that day.

 

If you enjoyed this ridiculous story, there are many more waiting for you in book form at Amazon: Single Family Asylum

 

 

The Un-Manly Art of Decorating.

How, in our culture, has it become accepted that the wife is the decorator of the house? Why is it such a crime for me to hang my Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” poster in the living room? What’s wrong with white walls? How many candles are too many in a given room? These are some of the questions that have been plaguing me since my wedding day.

Before my wife moved into my apartment and ruined everything, I had a cool living room. The Pink Floyd poster was the centerpiece on the wall, flanked by a battle-ax and a samurai sword that I had gotten awesome deals on at the flea market. On my coffee table sat a stuffed armadillo, and in the corner stood a one-armed mannequin dressed in a tan suede tuxedo and a Viking’s helmet. The refrigerator stood next to the couch, giving me easy access to the beer crisper drawer without needing to stand up and walk into the kitchen.

But it’s all gone now. There is not a shred of my original manly flair left in our current house. Every object decorating our living room falls into one of three categories: flower-plant, candle, or huge word. (The huge words are hung or painted on the wall and say things like “LOVE” or “FAMILY” or some cheesy saying that no self-respecting man would ever utter.)

The walls have been painted a baby poop yellowish-brown, except for the brilliant red “accent” wall, which makes my head hurt and my ears ring when I look at it for too long.

As for the plant category, my wife is constantly bringing home some new potted plant that will only end up being the latest victim of her sadistic need to slowly torture and eventually kill houseplants. They start out well. For at least the first month of them taking up residence in our home, the new plant will be pampered. It will receive a daily watering and even fertilizer to feast on. But then as things get busy and other plants are introduced into the decorating scheme, the once pampered potted houseplant will begin to whither, droop, and inevitably die a slow and horrible death.

There are candles placed everywhere in our home. They are on every shelf, on top of every surface; some even have a small shelf dedicated entirely to the particular candle’s own existence. There are so many candles that if you actually light them all at the same time, it raises the air temperature a full six degrees. And if the rise in temperature weren’t bad enough, each candle has its own smell. When mixed all together, they produce the effect of a horrible three-way collision between a truck hauling fruit, another hauling flowers, and a third hauling spices. It can be overwhelming.

As for the huge-word category, it is probably my least favorite element of our décor. It would be one thing if the huge words spelled out the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song or a knock-knock joke or something. Instead, they always say something like “HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS” or “LOVE SPOKEN HERE.”

Once, in an attempt to introduce some sort of coolness into our decorations, I had my wife talked into allowing me to paint the phrase “LIVE LONG AND PROSPER” on our living room wall, which satisfied the huge-word-decorating criteria. But just as I was beginning to paint the letters that I had sketched out in pencil, my older daughter entered the room and blurted out, “Hey, isn’t that what the pointy-ear guy on Star Trek always says?”

My shoulders slumped in disappointment.

With a look of disapproval from my wife, my idea to sneak a little coolness into our lives was shot down.

I have since given up attempting to introduce coolness into hour home.

But the living room is not the only space that my wife has invaded and taken over with her brand of decorating. She has had her way with the bathroom as well. It’s been painted a light-purple color, and she has hung mirrors everywhere to make the small space look bigger. Mirrors in the bathroom are fine for the vanity, but why do I need one hanging where I can see myself sitting on the toilet? And not just one angle—I can view myself sitting from the front or side view—I never really realized what funny faces I make when I’m pooping. There is also a small mirror hanging over the back of the toilet that provides a near perfect image of my manly parts when standing in front of the toilet to relieve myself. A floral-print shower curtain now hangs where my Star Wars shower curtain once hung.

She has basically taken over the entire house. Like a virus, the candles, plant material, huge words, and mirrors have spread into every room. All I have left is my shed. It’s where my Pink Floyd poster now hangs and my armadillo resides. It’s where I go and sit to grieve over losing my man-inspired decorating themes.

It would seem that I have no say left when it comes to our choice in home fashion, but at least I still have my shed. If she ever gets the crazy idea to decorate my shed, I’ll burn it to the ground! I’d rather see it ablaze than defiled with the candles, plants, and huge words of cheesiness.

The Unspoken Language of Love

Learning to interpret the unspoken communication in a marriage is one of the most valuable tools a husband can have in the pursuit of harmony. While all wives have their own versions of this language, here are some examples of my wife’s wordless vocabulary.

Raised eyebrow  . . . . I’m not quite sure yet, but I suspect you are about to do or say something that will make me think you are an idiot.

“Huff”  . . . You are an idiot.

“Sigh”  . . . I disagree, but it’s not worth the time to argue about it.

“Huff, sigh”  . . . You are an idiot, but you already know that, so it is not worth my time to say it again.

“Chuckle”  . . . I told you that you were an idiot, but you wouldn’t listen.

“Groan”  . . . Please don’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts for the fourth time this week, let’s just buy a new one.

“Groan, sigh”  . . . I wish you wouldn’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts, but I know you are going to no matter what I say.

“Huff, groan, sigh, smile”  . . . You are an idiot for trying to fix things that are beyond your capabilities, and I can do nothing to stop you when you are on a do-it-yourself mission, but that is partly why I love you.

 

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Recognizing Life Patterns

 

It is a valuable skill for a person to be able recognize patterns that are developed throughout one’s life. By recognizing them, we can forecast, prevent, and more quickly assess situations that are present or upcoming

Case in point:

When I noticed that the office seemed to smell like dog poop, I should know by now not to spend time looking around and wondering who stepped in it . . . . My life pattern would dictate that I only need to look down.

Single Family Asylum