Tag Archives: humor

The Laundry Man Cave

laundry man cave

I am a man that enjoys a little solitude from time to time. A cup of coffee on a quiet porch. A book under the shade of a tree. A lock on the bathroom door. Before my wife and I embarked on the journey of creating a family I often found myself fishing alone, journaling, or reading. I liked being alone left to my own thoughts and feelings. It’s not that I didn’t like the company of other people; obviously, I fell in love and got married and a strong social life has always been important to me. Still, solitude was something in which I found a lot of comfort and clarity.

And then came the kids. Early on nap time was a welcomed break,  but that soon evolved into getting everything done that couldn’t be accomplished when the little one was awake which was virtually everything. This conundrum only got worse as we added child number two and then child number three. My days were filled with people constantly at my feet, on my back, and in the bathroom. They would fight with each other over toys, fight me for supremacy, and fight for the day old cracker on the floor needing me to stand a constant watch to ensure everyone’s life and liberty. Solitude became an idea from my youthful past like innocence and gas free Mexican food.

Now that my youngest is five, I find I can step out of the room for a few minutes without the fear of Family War XXILXILXIXLX starting. But, I can’t just go anywhere. The kitchen leaves me open to the requests from the living room to bring someone a snack. Out of the library door come the calls to fix the internet. My own bedroom is somehow the family movie theater with my bathroom as the common room for everyone. I have only one room in my house that no one, and I mean no one, will enter. The laundry room.

I have made the laundry room my new man cave. I know that other men adorn their rooms with guns and dead animals and beer cans but I chose the fresh scents of Downey because, and this is the only reason, no one will enter my space. I can spend as much time as I like in my new cave and while people may call for me, no one will come and get me. Why? Because I am armed with a basket full of clean clothes and, hey, while your down here, why don’t you go put these away. Nobody in my house wants to hear that and so everyone stays away.

I suppose until my children eventually move out I will be the one doing the laundry. Laundry suits my solitary nature. Sorting, washing, and folding has its own rhythm and regularity. Maybe eventually I can sneak in an ipad and wine fridge and kick my feet up on the dirty pile of laundry. Then I will have all that I could want at least for a couple of hours.

Homeschooling Demon Spawn

demon spawn

When our first child was born my wife and I talked a lot about homeschooling our kids. We didn’t consider homeschooling as a way to protect our kids from the evil, godless world around us but more to protect the world from our evil, godless children. No, I’m kidding. No, no I’m not kidding. Yes I am.

As she grew older I began to question the wisdom of our homeschooling dreams. Our daughter never went through the “terrible twos”. She went through the evil demon zombie stage and brought the term “stubborn” to new levels in the dictionary. While I was pretty confident I could educate any of our children, this new manifestation of demon spawn was a little intimidating. When her younger brother was born just six weeks into her newly manifested subspecies of humanity, I was sure she would have pulled his arms off and beaten him with them in the time it took me to take out the trash. Because of that, our house went through a period where it didn’t smell so good, but I am happy to report that my son still has both of his arms.

We enrolled her in preschool with the hopes that a little socialization may temper some of her wilder sides. We also took out a personal liability policy just in case she was especially adept at creating anarchy. She cried every morning as we approached the door to her classroom clutching to my leg like I was leaving her with strangers so that I could have a little break, which, of course, I was. Then when I returned three hours later, she would cry that I was taking her from her best friends, which, again, I was. We did this week in and week out for the entire school year.

For some mysterious reason, prekindergarten and kindergarten went off without a hitch. No crying as the teacher pried her off my leg, no grand bargaining about what I would do if she could make it without crying, and no turning of her head in a 360 degree circle. She seemed to be having fun at school and so reserved all of her misdeeds for the moment she walked back into the house.

She continued through her scholastic career all the while slowly maturing. As she completed second grade the thoughts of homeschooling started to creep back in, as did my doubts. I wondered if I could really handle her all day, everyday, for months on end. Could I maintain my well designed façade as a patient and loving father if we were sitting side by side her trying to teach her the basics of algebra? These and many other doubts went through my mind but in the same way as I ignored the doubts about being a good father before I created her, I ignored my own doubts once again and decided to homeschool.

We are now onto our second year of homeschooling. Having done this for two years now I am either a glutton for self induced frustration, or I am trying really hard to do the right thing. Really hard. My daughter is an image of myself and the things I find most frustrating about her are, predictably, my own personal struggles. We both have a hard time with patience. We both could use a little more compassion. We both like soup and noodles which is neither here nor there but is something we hold in common. And, I love here fiercely. I have loved being with her and we know each other in a more complex and nuanced way for our time together.

She has decided to go back to public school next year. She misses the day to day fraternization with other spawn such as herself. I understand. But I am beginning to pray now for a saint of a teacher to continue the exorcism that is the raising of children. Hail Mary, full of grace…

Happy FO Day!

fake

We all know that Valentine’s Day has very little to do with the man whose name graces the day. So let’s move on from that topic and talk about what this day should really be called. FO Day, as in Fake Orgasm Day. I know at first it is a little shocking but give it some time to sink in. Valentine’s Day is about the managing of someone else’s expectations about what constitutes a good time on this particular holiday. You hope to manage their expectations so that no one gets hurt. It’s not that you want to be fake or disingenuous; in fact you’re hoping to communicate that you love them. Its just that putting so much hope in a single day puts a lot of pressure on it and, well, sometimes faking it makes everyone happy.

If you choose to rename the day as I have suggested I think you will find FO Day both lowers and raises your expectations in ways that are both pleasing and beneficial. It lowers you expectations by implicitly acknowledging that, yah, it’s not going to be as good as you hoped it would be. Our secret expectations could never really be met and so we should start to mitigate those desires now. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun. Pleasure is found in many ways and just because we may act like we love the flowers and gifts more than we really do doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the ride.

FO Day also raises our expectations by remembering that, hey, we’re still going to get something out of today. Someone is trying to say that they love you, that they care enough to put themselves out there like that. They are concerned enough about your feelings to, metaphorically speaking, close their eyes and scream that you’re the best thing they have ever had by the way they bring you chocolates and paper cards. And I’m ok with that. In fact, I really don’t mind. It’s better than just laying there, right?

FO Day should be a celebration. It’s not an embarrassing thing to be loved in that way. And at the end of a long day, when everyone is finally in bed, and all the gifts have been exchanged and the cards open, faking it just helps to put it all to bed.