Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Tasmanian Devil lives at my house!

 I kid you not. My son Wesley is the Tasmanian devil...Everywhere he goes, everything he touches, he leaves a huge mess in his wake. Even standing still he can make a mess.

His room looks like a tornado hit it ( more than once) clothes everywhere, empty soda bottles on the shelves, garbage overflowing. I am tempted to leave it all, but then I can't imagine what kind of "critters" would decide to come feast in my home.

Connor is not so bad, but he exhibits the same similarities as Wesley. His room has the bottles, the laundry on the floor and the garbage overflowing. Why anyone can't think to empty the garbage pails is beyond me.

I had started literally following Wesley around picking up after him, but that got old very quickly. Now its going out privileges taken away if their rooms are not clean, laundry not put away and garbage pails not dumped. It works much better, and stops me from having to run around constantly.

Today however was a first even for Wesley. I got a brand new large capacity front loading, stainless steel LG washer and dryer delivered to the house THE DAY BEFORE. I had already done 5 loads with them and there were no incidents. One load of Wesley's jeans ( with a whole pack of chewing gum in the pocket) almost brought down both appliances. ONE DAY! The washer is fine, the dryer I needed to clean off with a Clorox wipe or two to get the dried on stains off ( The gum of course was the very red 5 fruit flavor kind with Shaun Whites name on it). It took me the better part of an hour to get it all off the sides, the inside of the drum, and the front glass.

Even if it still was under warranty, what do I say to Home Depot? ...Well, the Tasmanian Devil got to it of course!

Girls have got to be at least cleaner and neater...Don't they?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beware the word "WE"

"We" used to be such a great word. It signaled collaboration, togetherness, pairings, working side by side,  a spirit of 2 (or more).

Today, in my testosterone jungle, it really just means "me" in disguise. I know better than to use the word "we" in my house. I am very careful to use either I or me. Why? Because "we" has turned upside down and become "Me". My kids seem to know better. They use I or you. They very rarely use the word "we". There is hope for them yet!

My husband however is a different story.  I get statements like;  "we" have to... When he really just means that "I" have to. Me, not we, not him, just me. I try to turn this around on him all the time. I would say "we" need to clean the leaves up in the yard ( knowing full well that I am not out to do it.) Or, simple things like "we" need to get the oil changed in the cars, or "we" need to drop off the garbage. All the while really meaning that "he" needs to do it.

I am very sly sometimes too. I will even go so far as to start helping him with a job "we" start it,  and let him finish...A way to motivate him to start and finish the job. Otherwise, left up to him, he wouldn't have started it, or finished it. So I guess that is "we" at least in the beginning.

So, fair warning, beware the word "WE".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When the tupperware spouts legs!

I've mentioned it before, but I am stuck on this- Why can't men finish anything? They unload the dishwasher, and I have to put the "last" of the things away. Mainly the tupperware sitting on the counter that will need to spout legs to crawl to the cabinets if I don't do it. Or, the leaves that are now sitting along the back fence, that need to be blown to the front to be picked up (you know that won't happen anytime soon) Those leaves are going to be there cone spring. So, we will have to burn them so they are out of the way of the fence gate so we can mow the lawn. You want to guess when that will happen? My guess is after the snow flies!

And then there is the laundry. They take their laundry into their rooms, but it NEVER gets puts away. My husband keeps his on the floor at the end of the bed, Connor will keep his on his papasan chair, Wesley will put his on the floor of his room. Doesn't ANYONE feel the need to put this stuff away? Apparently not!

So, lets move on to the garage. The NEW snowmobiles and my mother in laws stuff is on the left side, my car has room to go in on the right side (that was after a great battle with my husband on which car was actually going in the garage).  I was moving things around the other day ( so if they fell, they would not scratch my NEW car) and found some interesting things my husband didn't even realized we had there. His ski pants for one (why they were in the garage I have no idea) Or the 5 ( yes 5) coolers we have sitting on the ledge of the garage. At least 3 of them were broken, and I asked if I could throw them away and got the ultimate answer "Why are you going through stuff in the garage?" "Well", I said, I am trying to de-clutter so that I can avoid having things fall and scratch my NEW car." I should have said, "I am moving the junk to the other side so it can sit on top of your new snowmobile" that would have gotten his attention! And probably sonme things moved to the trash. But, as it was, I had to put it in the "throw away" pile.

And now on to actually doing some work at home. It's like pulling teeth to get ANY of them to do work at the house. My husband actually said to me "I don't have to" when I asked him what work he was planning to do at the house on a particular weekend. WHAT?? How did that happen? Do you live here too? Living here requires that ALL people in the house help- Not just me. That has been a very tough lesson to teach to any of these guys. I figures, like the tupperware, if I leave things where they put them, it might get clutter4ed enough at a later date for them to put stuff away (all the way away).

I think I am going top try a new tactic...If you were supposed to put it away and did not, it stays where it is.  PERIOD. In fact, I am going to take pictures of the counters daily to see how long it stays there. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Today is Thanksgiving. And , despite the bad days, the ups, the downs, and the totally unexpected, I am thankful. I am thankful that my first son, who spent his first of week of life in the Neonatal unit at Mass General is a pretty normal teen. His infant complications could have caused him to have been paralyzed for life ( if he made it past the first week of his life).

I am thankful, that even though there is serious mental illness affecting members of my family, that only one member of my family gave in to the illness, and is no longer with us. Even though it is not an easy or pleasant thing to deal with, it can be dealt with and people can live long lives despite the demons and stigma.

I am thankful for having good health, despite the stupid blood disease I have to live with the rest of my life. It could be worse. As I witness every time I need to go to the cancer center at Dana Farber. I think my situation is a pain ( which it is) but I don't have to sit there all day, feeling sick, getting chemotherapy. I get to leave, go to work, and survive another day. Something they may not be able to do one of these days soon.

I am thankful for my friends. I can be very difficult and they put up with me and help me no matter what. I have lost a few friends, and some never call or check in, but the ones that I have are the best and better than I could have expected.

I guess, all in all, everything is good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Finishing things

Somehow or another I can't seem to get any of the men in my house to finish things. Cleaning their rooms means still leaving clothes on the floor, vacuuming the carpet means leaving the vacuum in the middle of the floor with the cord still lying on the ground. Emptying the dishwasher means leaving the tupperware and the big serving dishes on the counter. Taking a shower means leaving the towel on the floor. Cleaning up after dinner means leaving he big pans out and not wiping down the table or the counter...Makes me crazy ( and you know that is why they do it). I wanted to at least research why it is that they do these things... Low and behold, this is what I found. Lyrics that say it all..

Friday, October 7, 2011


In the never ending struggle of defining priorities between men and women, I always find it odd how far apart we are when it comes to what is important. In my house, the priorities of my 3 men are (in no particular order) Sports, TV, cars. You notice that NONE of these have anything to do with their living situation (like cleaning their rooms or picking up after themselves) Or making sure there is enough food, drinks and snacks in the house. Here's another example;

After rushing to do grocery shopping this weekend ( because I had to work at a conference Sunday afternoon) I was informed that I forgot to buy some items we had run out of.  My response? If we were out of them and you knew it, why didn't you stop off and pick them up? ) After all, my husband had jury duty this week and was home earlier than "normal" for the last 4 days.

I mentioned that he could always pick these things up ( especially since he wasn't as busy as he normally is due to jury duty) and I got the " you have 5 heads" look. It was a "deer in the headlights" moment. One he wasn't going to get out of (at least not this time) and then ...silence.

It's usually easier to tell me we are out of items than to take it upon yourself to pick up these things up.  I supposed if it were motor oil, car filters, and some other outdoor/vehicle item I would never be asked to pick them up, but everyday household items? Aren't those my responsibilities? Well, simple answer...NO!

To make it as clear as day, black and white, I decided the best thing to do was to write down all the things I had to do in the house and for the family as well as write down all the things my husband and sons had to do for the family. Care to guess which list was the biggest? Even written down, it wasn't registering-There was every excuse in the book why they couldn't get to the things on their list. Even the great quote from my husband "I don't have to do them". WHAT?? Well, I saw red, flames were coming our of my ears and nose, my hair was standing on its end....What do you mean you don't have to do them? I asked. His response "I am allowed to relax once in awhile too". Yes, yes, you are, once all the things we need done are done. Then my other comment; "Well, what if I decided not do anything either? How would that do? I don't think my husband had ever thought what would happen if that really was the case. But, reality speaking, I would never say anything like that , nor would not ever do NOTHING. Its just not in my DNA.

To his defense (I am sure you are noticing my sarcastic tone here) there were some ambiguous things on the list. Like getting rid of the paint cans that have been sitting outside on the ledge near the garage since July. We did rent a dumpster when we had some work on the house done, but you can't put paint in the dumpster- So, its been left where it was put-0utside on the ledge. My husbands excuse for not getting rid of them; "I don't know where I can dump them".  It will take him a few more weekends to get rid of the paint cans. My guess is that they will be covered with snow before they are tossed.

I am sure I am not the only one who wishes that menss priorities would at least sometimes include "family" chores, or even at the minimal, not use the phrase "WE need to do it" when you really mean "YOU have to do it".

All is a days work. Then some,  apparently.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anything can be justified.

My husband decided to borrow money from his mother to buy TWO NEW snowmobiles. One for him, and one for our first son Connor. It was mainly because theirs both had "issues" last year and it would be a much better experience for them if this year they had new ones. So, since Dave's s mother seemed to have $15K lying around, he decided to use it. Now, not for nothing, but there are MANY things in the house that need some attention, that even a portion of that $15K could have been used for (fixing garage doors, painting, new carpet, etc). But, as usual, it wasn't hard for Dave to justify using the money for the new snowmobiles instead of anything else. One thing to remember though, I have 2 sons. And only 1 has gotten a new $8K snowmobile gift. If I were my other son (whose birthday is coming up in October) I would have asked where my $7K gift is. After all, isn't that only fair? One kid got one, shouldn't the other? Good thing my #2 son is more like me and only asked for a new snowboard for his birthday! But you get the point.

And then there is the working around the house thing. Last Saturday, since I had to be in the announcers booth for the Gaels home football games from 8:30-3pm I had asked my men to do one job each. Dave needed to clean the hottub (it was way overdue)  and the kids needed to clean their rooms. I, thank god, had a night out ( for once).

As I returned home that night, I was hit once again with a dirty kitchen, laundry on the bathroom floor, and SURPRISE SURPRISE; hottub NOT cleaned (he took a nap instead) and neither of the kids rooms cleaned. Seemed that it was a very lazy saturday night at my house ( Oh, and don't forget they ordered out instead of cooking too). I asked why they didn't do what I had asked, I got the usual...We forgot....So, the kids had to clean their rooms sunday, but Dave had tickets to a NASCAR race, so he was up and out of the house by 6am.  And since we wasn't going to be home til after dark, cleaning the hottub had just been added to my list of things to do.

I have to wonder sometimes how men would survive only living with other men. They certainly would be broke (paying for ordering out all the time) and I can't imagine what condition their living arrangements would be in. Laundry certainly wouldn't get done, nor would any type of home improvement. But I bet they would all have really nice cars, and lots of fun mechanical toys to use! No wonder why so many younger men go back to live with their mothers!

I keep forgetting that everything men do is always about them. Any attempt made to look like or seem like its not is really just an illusion. I should know better after all this time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When the cats away. Its a dog fight when she gets back.

In my line of work I have to travel. Not to the great exotic places. No, I get to go to places like Effingham Ill, Eudora KS, Norman, OK. You get the picture. And, while I am away my boys seem to not only forget that they live inside, but they also forget many other things. Like how to clean up, put things away, do laundry (although you know from my other post that laundry is not in the male DNA), or even grab food out of the fridge.

My husband has to cook in our house ( he gets home earlier) and does have many decent and quick items he can prepare. But, when I go away, it seems to be an open invitation to go out for dinner. Not just one night (which is ok occasionally) but every night I am gone. And its not just McDonalds or KFC. For three (or four of them if my mother in law goes too), it averages about $100 every time they go out. So, when I get home, I am faced with a defect of almost $300-400 for their nightly follies. iTs a great excuse when I am not home, since I am the one who lists what meals happen what days. It is even put up on a wipe board in our kitchen, so everyone knows what was bought, and what is expected to be used that week for food.

Not for nothing, but my grocery bill averages $200 each week, and it includes some pretty good meat items meant for dinner. So, when not used, they either have to be thrown away or frozen. A tremendous waste of food and of money.

Another amazing thing that happens when I am away is the amount of laundry, trash and clutter that accumulates in all areas of the house; bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room. You name it, there is something in every room that doesn't belong there. I have pjs in the living room, soda cans in the bathroom, important school paperwork in the kitchen ( with stains on it), and of course the catch all room that has everything in it- the laundry room.

I'll walk in the house, through the garage, peek in the laundry room and literally have to stop and gasp at the condition of the room! It's unreal! Clothes out of the basket, on the floor, dryer door wide open (and the dryer stopped mid cycle). What used to be clean clothes in the washer, now smelly because they had sat too long wet, not moved to the dryer, muddy shoes on top of the clean clothes in the laundry basket, cat food cans on the laundry room sink ( instead of being thrown away in the garage 5 feet away), unfortunately the list could go on and on.

I would love to go on vacation or on a business trip, and be able to be happy to come home to a clean, uncluttered house, but that won't happen until I find a maid. And one that can not only clean the house, but put clothes away, and cut through the clutter (and that is a pipe dream).

Even though I have tried many times to strongly condemn these actions and suggest the right course of action, it always seems to fall on deaf ears (or selective listening as its known in the male species).

Friday, September 16, 2011

The obvious escapes them.

 I have yet to meet any man who can see the obvious. Lets list some examples: 1) The men in my family will walk out of the kitchen, after they have gotten a snack, lunch, drink, etc and leave things out, cabinets open, crumbs on the counter, and occasionally leave the oven on. 2) After taking a shower, there are still clothes on the bathroom floor, the towels are not hung back up, and all the essential "beauty" products are out on the sink ledge. 3) When going out anywhere, if they pass ANYTHING on the floor (mail, clothes, keys, etc) they don't think to pick it up, they just leave it there.

I just want to yell, "WHO DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO PICK THESE UP? Well..DUH, the answer is simple...ME.

It wouldn't be the first time I stoop to the all time low comment of "What would you do if I wasn't here". But, as you read in one of my other posts, their hearing seems to always be affected when I say something, and the comment goes in one ear and out the next-totally wasted.

Although, it is quite interesting that there are some things that never escape them...1) When a big baseball game or football game is on. 2) When snowmobile vacation plans (in February) need to be made. 3) When their cars need ANYTHING (new tires, new struts, a window fixed, etc) My car, however is out of luck... 4) Anytime NASCAR is in New England and tickets may be available, especially PIT Passes...5) When their birthdays are coming up, the "big" item that they want.

People wonder why I say I am going to sell my home and buy an RV when I retire. Well, isn't it obvious? No rooms to clean up after, and I can go anywhere and NO ONE can find me. Of course by then, I won't have any energy left to drive anywhere, and probably no money left for gas!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Laundry just isn't in a man's DNA.

 I have come to realize in my many years of having men in my household that doing laundry, carrying laundry downstairs, or even folding and putting away laundry is NOT in the male DNA.

I go away for a few days, and laundry piles up, even to the point of overflowing the hamper. I leave the dirty laundry in the basket at the top of the stairs so it can be brought downstairs, and it stays there until I ask someone to bring it down (they have to physically step around it to get to the garage or downstairs).  And, do you think if they bring it downstairs they can actually start a load? Hell no!. I ask for the clean basket to be brought upstairs, and it take an act of congress to decide who actually has to carry it upstairs. And folding it? Are you kidding me?

I fold both my sons laundry, but refuse to fold my husbands. So, his just stays on the bedroom floor unfolded, wrinkled and full of dog and cat hair til he wears it. Even though he has plenty of room in the drawers to put it away ( he claims he doesn't, but if the clothes were all folded and put away they would fit).

My sons do a little better ( but not much). They put away their folded laundry as one big pile into the dresser drawers. Of course the drawers don't close then, and every morning I still hear, "Mom, I don't have any socks to wear". I have boycotted matching socks (because it takes forever) so they need to put their socks together and put them away ( which they rarely do).

I think the laundry industry needs to reinvent the washer and the dryer. Make them more "men friendly". Maybe shape one like a NASCAR car, or a snowmobile, or a Four wheeler.  And, anyone that knows of a way to get men to wash, dry and fold laundry on a regular basis, let me know. So far, it hasn't worked for me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

In honor of 9/11

I am not doing a normal post today or tomorrow. Instead I ask everyone to be extra careful and aware this weekend, and to never forget what happened 10 years ago.

I wish everyone well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Men's hearing deteriorates with age (or so they say)

My husband, who is in his 50's likes to constantantly tell me that he is deaf in his right ear. Hearing things like; you need to take out the garbage, did you mail that bill, did you feed the dog he tells me are sometimes difficult for him. He had me going for a short while , until I mentioned something about a vacation destination (on the phone with one of my friends) and he suddenly could hear every word. Or, if I say something under my breath about his lack of help, he can hear that too. It is NOT hearing loss, it is selective hearing. Every man I know has some version of it. In fact, some are known to hear something completely different than what youn said.

Let's go back in time and test my theory. Starting at birth, men's selective hearing gets its start. Their mother says no, they act as if she never said it, in fact they might even have thought she said yes. Grade school: how many times do you hear, "I didn't hear you say that.." or, "you never said I couldn't" Teen years, you might as well not talk at all, because they don't hear a word...Then marriage, the hearing gets even more selective, until, they claim it's hearing loss...

My way around this is to always sprinkle in some talking points you know they will hear so you can help them recall the conversation when they said you didn't say that, or if they can't remember the conversation ( which in my case happens a lot). For example, if it's something timely my husband needs to do (like fed the dog) I will mention some NASCAR event was on the news, so he heads toward the laptop in the dining room, and has to pass the dogs dish. Because you know, the longer the time passes, and he doesn't get the job dones, the less likely it is it will actually be done!

There are days I am not proud of my manipulations, but if it's the only way to get them to do it, then so be it.

And, unless he can really prove he has hearing loss, don't ever believe it.

The lack of peripheral vision

I was thinking last nigh about what I was going to write today in the blog. As I was thinking about it, my youngest son yelled from downstairs "Mom, where are my football pants and pads?. It was like a gift from heaven, so I am writing away... My son, 12, knows to put his football stuff back in the same place every time so that we can always find it. The odd time that it actually gets washed (practice pants only once a week, game pants after each game) the pants and pads ( that go in the pants) are somewhere very near the washer or the dryer in the laundry room if they are NOT in the football bag. So here's my point; Men would rather ask first than look in the few conspicuous places that their stuff may be. I don't really know what it is, maybe laziness, or just plain stupidity.  But it drives me nuts. Case in point; football pants and pads. If they are NOT in the football bag, and HAPPENED to be washed (ie; the end of the week) THEN the pants and pads are SOMEWHERE in the laundry room (one of the smallest rooms in the house). So how do I overcome going crazy and screaming back when I get these dumb questions? My response was..."You have 2 guesses and places to look to find them, if you don't, you go to practice naked" That seemed to do it..

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Men really are from Mars

It was a great book. "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus". It was one of the first times that you could read clearly why men and women were so different.  I am going to speak in generalities here ( because of course there are exceptions to these) but my contention is that men and women are just not meant to cohabitate.  Why you ask? Its not really a mystery. There are literally hundreds of reasons. Here are a few; Men are singular species, women are more pack type animals. Men think of themselves, women think of the "pack". Men are not nurturers, woman are. Men think simply, women, much more complex. Men could go days without worrying, women cannot. Men are basic in their needs, women are most certainly not.

Over the course of the next few postngs, I will give you some examples of my own experiences that prove the points I listed above.

Feel free to add you own as well it can be a fun discussion