Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here are the new rules...please follow them

You're probably not aware of this, but I have been elected Household Living Czar of the United States. You don't need to concern yourself with how this came to pass. Suffice it to say that I have been invested with the power to dictate certain rules and regulations governing the way Americans should live their daily lives.

Henceforth, the following decrees shall be in effect for all citizens of this great nation (NOTE TO KERRI JONES: Please feel free to adopt these in Australia as you see fit):

1. Toilet paper shall be hung OVER, not under: There will be no exceptions to this rule. How this "under" nonsense even got started is beyond me. Violators will be sentenced to watching a three-day, nonstop "Jersey Shore" marathon.

2. Fathers will cast the tiebreaking vote when the family reaches an impasse in movie selection: Family Movie Nights are ruined when you can't come to some agreement on which movie to watch. Much like the Vice President in the Senate, the father now has authority to break the tie and make the final choice. End of story. If you don't like what Dad picks, your only other option is to go and clean one of the bathrooms in the house (Mom will select which bathroom).

3. If something doesn't fit into the cupboard, take the time to make it fit: We keep our cereal in a cabinet over the stove. The way we have this cabinet set up, you can comfortably store three, maybe four boxes of cereal. Oftentimes, some denizens of the house who shall remain nameless but are NOT me or my wife will try to jam in a fifth or even sixth box of cereal. They are satisfied if the extra box stays up there without falling back out, even if it means that it's protruding six inches out of the cabinet and the door won't close. This is unacceptable. It is beyond unacceptable. Either rearrange the contents of the cabinet such that your cereal will fit in there, or take the unnecessary box out and put it back into the basement. One or the other. Penalty for failure to comply is that we'll stuff YOU into the cereal cabinet.

4. Water stays in the shower or gets cleaned up: This isn't difficult. If you take a shower and water somehow gets onto the bathroom floor, clean it up. And then pick the wet towels up off the floor and dispose of them properly. That's it. That's all you have to do. I can draw you a diagram with detailed instructions, if it will help.

5. Turn the lights off. Turn the lights off! TURN THE LIGHTS OFF!: My children are quite clearly aware that light switches can be used to illuminate a room. Just flip the switch up and, presto, you have light! It's really quite the invention. But I have failed to teach them that the switch is, in fact, bidirectional. If you push it down, the lights go off. Amazing, I know! As far as my kids know, a light switch only needs to be used once, and then you should keep it on forever.

6. All family members must learn the function of coat hooks: When we added a mud room onto our house, we had these really nice cubbies and coat hooks installed to store everyone's jackets, shoes, school supplies, etc. In an attempt not to wear the coat hooks out, apparently, certain members of my family elect not to use them, opting instead for the increasingly popular Throw It On the Floor method of garment storage. No. Just, no.

7. Everyone is to gain an understanding of how refrigerators work: Two important things to remember - (a) The refrigerator does not spontaneously produce food every time you open the door. What was in there five minutes ago is what's in there now. No need to check again. (b) The refrigerator refrigerates food. That means it keeps it cold. It operates much more efficiently when the refrigerator door is in the closed position and the cold air inside is not allowed to escape. A minor and perhaps obvious point, but one that still clearly needs to be made in 95% of American households.

8. Practice the basic elements of HVAC economics: Why yes, I suppose we COULD turn on the central air since you're feeling a touch warm. OR....and I know this is could simply open a window, which as it turns out is free. Or change into a short-sleeved shirt (also free). The air conditioning system, sadly, is not free. "Free" always trumps "not free."

9. I don't need to see your used toothpaste: You're brushing your teeth. That's good. Over the years I think we've managed to buy our kids' dentist a boat and two summer homes on Cape Cod. But when you're finished brushing, the idea is to spit the toothpaste into the sink and make sure every molecule of it goes down the drain. If you simply spit randomly into the sink and walk away, the next morning there will be a wall of disgusting dried toothpaste in the sink. And nobody wants to see that. Not even me, the guy who cleaned a variety of horrible bodily emissions off of you for the first 2-3 years of your life.

10. If you ask for it, eat it: "Mommy, can I have some pancakes?" "Sure, honey. I'll get you some." Mommy fixes the pancakes and serves them to the requesting child. "There you go, three pancakes just the way you like them!" "Oh. Uh, I don't think I really want them. I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought." Five minutes later, Mommy is flipping through the Yellow Pages looking for an attorney to represent her in her upcoming trial for assault and battery on a minor.


  1. I see a glaring omission...or maybe it isn't a problem in your household.

    DISHES IN THE SINK: In my household, the dishes have no problem getting to the sink. But there is on person (who shall remain nameless) that makes oatmeal once, if not twice per day. And this person eats 4-5 bags at a sitting. All we (the other two of us who live in the house) ask is that the oatmeal be rinsed from the dish. Because when the oatmeal dries, it is like cement was flung at the dish...then dried. The others in the house do NOT like to scrape the cement, nor do we like sit down with our ice cream, salad, etc. and begin eating. Then notice chunks of oatmeal stuck to our dish--because the dishwasher doesn'remove 'cement.'

    And don't let me get started on the "clean dish storage." (i.e. the dishwasher) People grab what they need without emptying it, like it is a kitchen cupboard...

  2. Amy: You have clearly discovered rule #11. As Household Living Czar, I hereby decree it so. Nicely done.