That’s not Funny.

It seems to me, that when entering the world of having children, we are expected to leave our sense of humor by the door. Joking is permitted in nearly all aspects of our lives, with the exception of infants and children.

Shortly after the birth of my first daughter, Hannah, my mother-in-law arrived at our house and asked where the new baby was. I simply answered, “I put her in the dryer because she was making too much noise.”

She did not find it to be the least bit funny and in fact, you would have thought that I had just committed a murder right in front of her. I started to explain that I was just only joking, but then my razor sharp wit took over and I added, “The dryer only amplifies sound. If I was going to stick her in an appliance, it would have been the dish washer.”

This sent her into a rage, “YOU DON’T EVEN JOKE ABOUT SUCH THINGS!”

It would seem to me, that when it comes to joking about sticking infants into appliances, the general consensus is that if I joke about it, then I have to actually do it.

A few years later, I was left alone with my two daughters and four of their cousins while all the mothers went shopping. One young niece started singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.”

Before long, all of the other kids had joined in, and after ten minutes of the same phrase being repeatedly sung by six loud children, my sanity began to wear thin. To make the concert more bearable, I decided to compose a second verse to the song, and have them perform it when the mothers arrived home from shopping.

The second verse went like this, “The cheeks on my butt make lots of sound, lots of sound.”

The six of them performing this new verse in front of their mothers, did not go over any better than the daughter in the dryer joke. You would have thought I had taught them all to swear like sailors. In fact, one of my sister-in-laws still won’t let me watch her children alone any more.

Perhaps my brand of humor is a bit much when talking about something as precious as our little children, but I think everybody could lighten up a little bit too . . . because if you don’t, I will come to your house, and glue your children’s feet to the ceiling and wrap them in Christmas tree lights . . .  That is a joke, I would never glue their feet to the ceiling because the blood rushing to their heads would make them pass out. I would only glue children’s feet to the floor.

 

If you enjoyed this story, there is a whole book full of them waiting for you at Amazon:

Single Family Asylum

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.

Video can be a Horrible Shock to your Self Esteem . . .

My girls were watching a video from a family get-together that we had at our house last summer and laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, as I walked into the living room.

Both girls stopped laughing and acted as if they hadn’t heard my question.

“What’s so funny?”

There was still no response, so I turned my attention to the video. The camera that was recording the video had obviously been set on a table or chair and left to record the goings-on, the center of which was a volleyball game that had gone on for most of the day.

As I stood and watched for a few minutes, it became obvious that the girls had been laughing at one of the players in the volleyball game. His lack of coordination and overdramatic reactions to his pathetic attempts at diving for the ball made him a comical center of attention. Other players on the volleyball court chuckled behind his back on the video.

“Who’s the bald idiot?” I asked, still laughing at the poor player’s lack of skill.

Both girls looked at each other for a silent moment.

“Ummm, that’s you, Dad,” my daughter Hannah finally answered.

“Ha-ha, very funny,” I replied, but neither girl was laughing.

I narrowed my gaze at the video playing on the television. I recognized the Star Trek T-shirt that the “bald idiot” was wearing as my own.

“Hey, why is that guy wearing one of my…”

My face suddenly got hot with embarrassment, as I realized that the spectacle, the train wreck, the elephant on the court…was me.

I stood in shock. I knew my hairline had receded a bit, and the back of my head was getting a little thin, but I had no idea it had become bare; bare like the grassless spot on my lawn that commemorates the great hornet/gasoline battle of ’04.

My posture was slouched like a man who had been beaten down by years of climbing trees for a living and accented by a potbelly that was much larger than the one I see when I look down.

My playing skills were terrible…terrible to the point of being amazingly terrible. I had never been a volleyball wizard, but I could, at the very least, hold my own in a game when I was younger. But time after time, I watched myself on the video hit the ball out of bounds, into the net, off my face, or miss it altogether. Worse yet, with each failed bump, set, or spike, I would fall to the ground in an overly dramatic fashion that would best any cowboy movie showdown death. Then I would lie there, flailing like a turtle stuck on its back, until someone finally came over and gave me a hand getting up, followed by two or three minutes of “walking off” my injuries, while I made loud “walking off” my injuries noises.

The video was much too painful to watch. I could still hear myself encouraging other players to “COME ON, GET IN THE GAME!” And my exaggerated grunts and bemoanings coming from the TV as I walked out of the living room. The girls resumed their laughing at me when they thought I was out of earshot.

The video had been a rude awakening to my current state of degradation and lack of coordination. Ever since watching it, I have begun to see myself in an unflattering new light.

More recently, a video of myself dancing at a wedding reception enlightened me to my dreadful loss of rhythm and fashion sense. Mothers in the video are seen rushing to shield their children from my thrashing, dancing appendages. A young couple sitting a table near the dance floor are pointing and laughing at my twenty-year-old dress shoes that I occasionally revitalize with a fresh coat of black magic marker.

My dancing very closely resembled someone who was making fun of someone dancing…in his grandpa’s shoes. Once again, I was mortified to my core.

I now avoid being in a video at all costs. And in the event I end up getting caught on camera, I steadfastly refuse to watch the footage. The volleyball and wedding reception incidents have damaged my self-esteem so horribly that I don’t think I would survive another video episode.

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.

Easter (it will never be the same again).

One Easter a while back, I decided that I was going to create the Easter egg hunt of all Easter egg hunts for my three- and five-year-old daughters. I spent nearly the entire day before, purchasing and stuffing plastic eggs with candy, money, and small trinkets. With the aid of a crudely drawn map of our two-acre yard, I meticulously plotted and hid each little treasure. I could hardly wait to see the girls’ excitement as they searched for their Easter eggs.

The next morning, my wife and I led the girls out into the yard and gave each one a huge empty basket. I explained to my wide-eyed daughters that the Easter bunny had hidden Easter eggs all over the yard for them to find.

“What’s an Eeeter egg?” my younger daughter asked.

“You know, like an egg that a bird lays…only the Easter bunny brings it!” I answered, amazed that she didn’t know what an Easter egg was. “You’ll know when you find one.”

So, with a mixture and excitement and a touch of confusion, off they went in search of their Easter treasures.

After about ten minutes, my wife and I walked over to check on the girls’ progress. As I approached my younger daughter, Natalie, I asked, “How many Easter eggs have you found, baby girl?”

“A whooooole bunch,” she said, holding up her Easter basket.

Looking inside the basket, I was surprised to see that there was not a single egg in her basket. Instead, there were several round rocks, a bottle cap, and what looked like the pelvis and legs of an apparently long-dead rodent of some kind.

“Oh, no, baby girl, those aren’t…”

Just then, a blood-curdling scream came from the other side of the yard. My other daughter, Hannah, came wailing and running full speed from behind the shed, still clutching her Easter basket, which contained what looked like a football-size, egg-shaped hornet nest. My wife, who had gone to check on her, was fleeing in the opposite direction, swatting the air frantically.

Like a flash, I took off on a dead run toward Hannah, who was screaming in horror and from the pain of being stung. Snatching the hornet basket from her hand, I veered away from her and threw it like a grenade over the hedge that framed our property.

But there was no time to stop and check on poor Hannah. Instead, my next concern was my wife, who was very allergic to bees.

It took a few seconds of sprinting to catch up to her in the front yard. She was screaming and swatting with all her might at a single bee that was swirling around her head. Not knowing what else to do, I began following behind her, swatting as well and smacking her on the head every time the hornet made an attempt to land.

In her flailing panic, she fell to the ground and began to flounder like a fish stranded on the shore. I feared that her being a stationary target would make her more vulnerable to the attacking insect, so I began to drag her by her shirt collar, which ripped.

“I think it’s gone,” she managed to say between panting and sobbing, but I didn’t have time to even think about her words when a police car came sliding into the driveway, and two officers jumped out with guns drawn. I could only assume my neighbor across the street had noticed the commotion and called them…the very neighbor that had been less than friendly to me ever since my “trees are easier to burn standing, than after you cut them down” incident.

So there I was, red-faced and panting, standing over my sobbing wife, who had collapsed on the ground with a ripped shirt, and my hand raised high in the air ready to smack her on the head if the devilish hornet returned. Hannah, the one who had found the Easter hornet nest, was standing not far away, crying loudly. Her lip and the area around her left eye were swollen surprisingly large from what I could only assume were hornet stings. I had no idea where Natalie had gone to.

“Get away from her, you sick bastard!” one of the officers yelled with a great amount of contempt in his voice.

“No, no, Officer! It’s not what it looks like!” I said, realizing how bad the situation must appear.

“Did you do that, too?” the other officer asked, nodding toward Hannah, whose eye was almost swollen shut and her lip nearly as big.

“NO, I was just trying—”

“Hey!” the second officer interrupted. “Aren’t you the idiot who decided to burn his trees down last summer?”

But before I could even begin to explain the logic in the tree burning, Natalie trotted out from around the corner of the house and over to the two gun-holding officers. Smiling, she looked up and said, “My daddy says we can find Eeeter eggs,” and with that, she pulled a piece of hardened dog poop out of her basket and held it up as if to offer it to the officer. His gaze of contempt grew even more intense.

“It’s not what it looks like!” I pleaded, not even sure where to start. “We’re going to an Easter church service!” (I’m not even sure why I thought that would help, but I was desperate.)

Finally, my wife had calmed down enough to begin explaining the situation herself, and a questioning of my daughter Hannah eventually revealed that a hornet had assaulted her. I’m not sure they believed that I had actually hidden Easter eggs, since neither girl had anything in her basket other than rocks, a dead animal, a hornet nest, and dog poop, but I could live with that.

In the years following, Easter baskets were sitting next to the girls’ beds, already filled, when they woke up in the morning. The girls didn’t like talking about the Easter bunny any longer. They had reasoned that he was a bit like Santa, and if you had been naughty in the previous year, you would not find Easter eggs. Instead, you would be attacked by bees, and the police would come and point their guns at you.

 

If you enjoyed this ridiculous story, there is a whole book full of them waiting for you at Amazon.com: Single Family Asylum

The Nerve of some Bloggers (blogging paranoia)

Phone lights up telling me I have a WordPress notification.

(Hopeful wonder)

A new follower! 

(Exuberance)

Blurmuth6650 . . . . What kind of name is that? Just doesn’t sound like someone who would follow a blog like mine. . . . But beggars can’t be choosers.

(Wonder)

So is Blurmuth one of those bloggers with 10,000 followers who is just looking to add to his ginormous follower army? Is this how he got his 10,000 followers? Follow en mass and collect the follow-backs? A purely self-serving following? 

(Annoyance)

Or is Blurmuth a new blogger hoping to scrounge a fourth follower? Too lazy to get out there and blog an earning of followers like the rest of us?

(Arrogance and disgust sprinkled with bits of ego)

I’ll bet Blurmuth didn’t even read a single post!

(Indignant anger)

Hmmmmm. . . The Speakings of Blurmuth . . . An ok blog title but nothing overly impressive. Looks like Blurmuth likes to post about politics and NASCAR. What would make Blurmuth follow a blog like mine? I see he has 347 followers. . . That’s more than me . . . . I’ll bet I deserve 347 followers more than Blurmuth does. I just know Blurmuth is up to some sort of blogging nefariousness.

(Dismissal of the following as not genuine)

I have better things to do than engage with a blogger named Blurmuth who only follows other blogs out of pure Narcissism.

I’ll not even dignify Blurmuth with  the response of a follow-back. I’m going blog surfing elsewhere.

(Changing of blogging gears)

I’ll just browse through Reader and find a more worthwhile blog . . . . Like this one right here . . . Looks like a “Mom Blog”. . . . Mom Blogs can’t resist my excellent family humor. . . . And Wow, this Mom Blogger has 13,900 followers! A mention or acknowledgement from this blog would catapult my blog into the blogosphere!

I’m sure this Mom blog has interesting posts. I’m sure I would really like it if I had time to read one of the posts . . . . But I have other pressing blogging business to attend to. I’ll come back later and confirm that I do in fact like this Mom Blog.

(Click of the mouse)

There! I followed. Time to blog on.

This following better produce some followers of my own. I’ll bet that Mom won’t even check out my blog. She’s probably one of those “I’m too good to respond to the kind gesture of a follow by following back”.

She’ll probably assume I just followed her to serve my own blogging promotion instead of the fact that maybe I actually like the things that she posts . . . . Which I will confirm when I return some day when I have more time and actually read one of the posts.

It’s people like this Mom . . . . And Blurmuth that give bloggers a bad name. . . . . Ohhhhhhhh a Dad Blog! Dad bloggers just love my writing style! Wow, he’s got 5400 followers. . . . 

(Click of the mouse)

Our Family Justice System.

 

In our household, there exists a justice system that parallels the system here in the United States in some ways but also has many differences.

Our Family Justice System:

In our house you are not guaranteed a trial by a jury of your peers. In fact, any peers in the house will be instructed to go home before the trial begins.

There are two judges, a primary or day judge and a secondary or evening judge.

You may be held without bail until a judge and trial are made available. (“You can sit in your room until your father gets home.”)

You may be tried and convicted more than once for the same crime, especially if the primary judge has found you guilty and handed down a sentence but feels that you still do not seem repentant enough. She can then order a second trial when the evening judge gets home from work, after which, a second sentence may be added on to the first.

Or, if you are found not guilty by one of the judges, you still could be found guilty by the other judge based on new evidence, or simply due to the fact that the second judge had a bad day at work and wishes to take it out on the defendants.

You WILL testify against yourself when instructed to do so by one of the judges.

Sometimes being a witness (tattler) can get you into worse trouble than being the one who committed the crime.

Sometimes, the primary judge has had enough, which she will indicate by loudly stating, “I have had enough!” She may then postpone a trial until the secondary judge gets home from work, but when the secondary judge gets home from work and is met at the door by two sobbing defendants and a primary judge who has had enough, he isn’t sure what the primary judge is expecting of him, so he will then repeat in an authoritative voice, the words that the primary judge is silently mouthing from behind the two sobbing defendants.

And finally, your punishment WILL be cruel and unusual (a week without TV, iPad, etc.).

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.