Dishes that are Full Bodied and Easy to Manage.

Out of dishwasher soap, and the store is a seven minute winter drive in a car that won’t even heat to above freezing in that amount of time . . . so don’t even give me the “just go buy more.”

My only option is trying to figure out the best alternative . . .

Gas? . . . No.

Bleach? . . . Maybe.

Shampoo? . . . It can’t be poison, or you wouldn’t scrub it into your brain coverings. It says it has vitamins . . . Vitamins are good. Plus, if it does the same thing to dishes as it does to hair, my dishes will be intensely moisturized and easier to manage.

Just have to be very careful on the amount used so I don’t repeat the “liquid hand-washing dish soap volcanic eruption of ’09”.

To Everything, there is a Season. . . Even Cats.

I like cats. I really do. You might even say that I’m a cat person.

But three is a lot for our small house. The hair and litter boxes are hard to keep up with.

Two of the three cats are very old and grumpy. They have lived good lives

Basically what I’m saying is . . . If the kitty-cat Death Angel came calling, I would not paint my door frame with lambs blood.

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

 

 

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.).

Somewhere.

Somewhere in this house is the place where I put things so that I don’t lose them. I don’t know where that place is. Wherever this place is, it must be full of things.

 Somewhere in another dimension, next to a pile of unmatched socks that I have lost, there is a huge pile of delicious food that I never got to eat because I left it sitting on a restaurant table in a styrofoam leftover container.

 Next to the pile of food is a single socket. It’s the one that is missing from my socket set.

 Somewhere in my brain is a box where I put important things that I want to remember. The lid to that box is locked to keep the memories safe.

 Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten what I put in the box of important things that I want to remember. And the chances of me getting to open the box to remember what I put in there are slim because the key to the lock is in a place where I put things so I don’t lose them . . . . and I don’t know where that place is.

 

 

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.”

I hate my lawn.

I hate my lawn. 

I’ve heard other guys say that, but they were referring to the fact that their lawn wasn’t perfect. I hate my lawn because it exists.

My wife doesn’t realize it, but I don’t plant pine trees all around our property because I love pine trees. I plant pine trees all around our property because pine needles kill grass. Dead grass doesn’t need to be mowed. 

I hate mowing. Mowing is such a waste of time. Time I will never get back.

My mowing lines aren’t straight. That’s partly due to the fact that mowing is so boring. To make it funner, I pretend that my lawnmower is a getaway car and I’m being chased around the yard by the cops. 

When I get tired of running from the police, I mow all the areas left where the police didn’t chase me.

I hate weed whacking too. I hate weed whacking even more than mowing ever since the “barefoot weed whacking toe massacre” incident. Now I make sure to wear shoes.

Maybe I’ll like my lawn more when I retire. Maybe then I will actually like time spent mowing. But until then . . . . I hate my lawn.

Gerald the Tree Frog.

  Meet Gerald. One can not tell my story of the last few years without including Gerald.

Last spring, a wave of tree frogs appeared in our yard and on our house and my shed. One particular frog soon found that he had access to an unlimited supply of bugs if he sat on top of our porch light at night.

I soon became accustomed to the little fellow’s presence on his dinner light and named him Gerald. I was always careful to make sure that his bug light was turned on.

Throughout the course of the year, I realized that Gerald might be benefiting a little too much from the bug buffet. He began to pack on some chub.

 
  I had been posting about Gerald on Facebook, and as his girth increased, so did concern over his health (can frogs have too high cholesterol?). There was pleading from Facebook friends to “TURN OFF THE LIGHT FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!!”

I considered flinging him out into the yard once a day to force him into jogging his way back to his light top perch, but I was too much of a softy and never followed through.

Anyhow, this spring I was very excited when this guy showed up on top of the light. 


But after doing an in depth analysis of the markings on his back, I realized it wasn’t Gerald. 

I can’t help but think that he is a relative of Gerald’s, and that Gerald might be responsible for pointing him in the direction of the bug gluttony light. Thus his name is Gerald II.

I’ve come to love my tree frogs and hope they return every year. . . . . And as Tom Bodette would say in the motel commercials, “I’ll leave the light on for you.”

Actual project time estimation formula.

After decades of starting innumerable house and yard projects, I have (with the use of experience and advanced mathematics) come up with a way to accurately determine how long a project will actually take.

Here are the steps to the formula. 

1. Come up with an initial time estimate for the project you are considering. So if you are going repair and paint the walls, trim and ceiling in your living room, you might make an initial estimate of three days to complete the task.

2. Double the initial estimate. Three days becomes six.

3. Convert time incremant up one level: minutes would convert up to hours, hours would convert up to days and so on. So our initial estimate of three days, which was then doubled to six days, is then converted from days up to weeks. Six days turns to six weeks.

So a painting project that is initially planned to take three days will actually end up taking six weeks.

Ahhh, Spring!

Ahh spring. I think it’s finally here. I know because my driveway has turned into a great expanse of mud,

The first signs of carpenter ants leaving their long winter hibernation and venturing out for a stroll across the living room floor and walls were spotted by my wife yesterday. 

Happily I will greet them, welcome them to spring time, and then squash them and spray deadly chemicals at them. 

Spring brings on a new season of yard work as well. I can see the weeds pushing up through the mulch, trying to get a head start on strangling my landscape plants. I plot their demise.

I actually mowed a section of lawn this weekend. Not so much because the grass had grown enough to really need mowing . . . . More because I use the mowing of grass as an excuse to mow up a whole winter’s worth of dog poop. 

That way it pretty much disappears without my having to scoop it. Well, I guess it doesn’t actually disappear, but at least it gets mulched up small enough that I can pretend it disappears.

The windows in the house will soon be wide open to let the fresh air in . . . . And the sounds of any family arguments and tantrums out for all the neighbors to hear.

But spring also means the return of bare feet, bonfires, fishing, and a trip to the ice cream stand. 

Welcome spring! I’m glad you are here.