I learned last week that I need not worry... my husband knows. I know this because he chose to start a date night with a soliloquy on how changing toilet paper rolls were such a burden on him. Do you want to know my response??!!! After a few choice words of mine own, I told him I was the choir and I would have to question his assessment since I am the one who carries the burden. I did agree with my husband that we do go through quite a lot of toilet paper. Surprised, our most frequent flier is our youngest son, Jacob and even more curiously, the amount of toilet paper he uses is inversely proportional to his BMI. In my husband’s words, “Jake you have the smallest butt in this family and yet you use the most toilet paper. How does that happen?” A rhetorical question, in part, but the reality of it is when my son did his “business” a whole roll of TP was used. Economical big rolls are out of the question!
As mothers know, learning how to change the toilet paper roll is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, Bombeck knew that too! She stated in this same book, “The tissue spindle isn’t the only home skill that has been mastered by no one at our house. Consequently, I (Bombeck) have put together a single family survival manual when Mom is gone.”
After reviewing Bombeck’s survival manual, I decided some additions were needed. Think of it as an update for the new millennium.
First lesson Bombeck gives is “changing the toilet paper roll.” Check. My husband has that one.
Second lesson is “how to wash toothpaste off the side of washbowl.” I personally would include hair shavings and loogies, but unfortunately, this requires a higher level of thinking.
Third lesson is “turning on the stove.” I would include turning off the stove as part of the lesson. At this moment, only about three of our seven children, six, which are of legal age, show any tendency to mastering the stove, so hopefully they make enough to pay for a cook.
Fourth lesson is “closing a door.” Oh, this is a good one. This might even rival changing the toilet paper roll. From my experience, the inability to close a door includes, but not limited to, closing a cabinet, a drawer, a chute, a car door, a pantry and a freezer door. There is an upside to children leaving doors opens. When I come home, I can tell you exactly what my children have been doing by just following the clues of open doors. For example, garage door is open, so one or more of my children have arrived home. The cabinet with plates is standing open, silverware drawer is open, pantry door is open and cabinet with the glasses is open. Obviously, my child was hungry and required a snack. Follow upstairs and see my bedroom door open, the towel cabinet open, shower door open and the chute door are open. My child took a shower in my bathroom and surprised threw their dirty clothes down the chute. I walk back downstairs and I see the front door open. My child has evening plans.
Fifth lesson is “turning off a light.” I would have to include TVs, fans, computers and whatever musical device they have blaring through the house. This is a difficult task that requires continual remediation.
Sixth lesson is “operating a clothes hamper.” In our house, we have the luxury of having a clothes chute on both the first and second floor of the house, so we don’t need a hamper. Unlike the other doors, chute doors appear to be difficult to operate. I base that on the fact that my children’s floors are covered with dirty clothes and towels. One of my children has told me the answer to the mess on the floor is to buy them clothes hampers. I really, really question that these clothes will now end up in a hamper. No, I should say it more empathically. That hamper will sit empty and eventually lost in the sea of clothes. Our chute is ONLY one and a half feet outside their bedroom door and approximately four to five feet outside their bathroom. What is concerning about the request for a clothes hamper is I think they truly believe their clothes will end up in the hamper, but what they don’t understand is that it would still require them leaning over, picking up their clothes, opening up the hamper and then shoving the clothes into the hamper. I am sorry but that is a four-step process and it will never happen!
Bombeck ends with this skill, but I have to add one more. In our house, if my family doesn’t master the following skill before I am gone, our house will be declared a nudist camp and a sign will be posted that says, “Approach With Care.” It has been very frustrating for my husband and me to pick up towels off the floor and put them down the chute and then we wash, dry, fold and put them away. Any help a child would give anywhere in this process would be very much appreciated. What happens is after doing laundry all week, you step into the shower and when you step out there is no towel. It is doubly upsetting for my husband, who uses the same towel all week and to step out and find that someone resorted to using his dirty towel is really low. A decade or so ago, that exact scenario happened and my husband couldn’t take it anymore. To our surprise, my husband came downstairs stark naked and declared “I guess you guys want me to air dry!” When he went back upstairs, the rest of us went scurrying to find the towels and then one of my sons was chosen to take the towels to him. He did so with his eyes closed. Actually my husband’s technique was quite effective. If ever I need a towel, all I have to do is stick my head out my bedroom door and yell, “I don’t have a towel and I am naked.” The towels appear in great numbers.