The Hostess’ Guide to the Holiday Madness

Little-known fact: June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, and I swap notes.

I may be a terrible housewife, but I’m a master of feeding people and throwing baller parties. Last year, after moving into our house, we hosted a killer game-themed housewarming party for nearly 60, Second Thanksgiving for 15, Christmas Day for 30, and a small New Year’s Eve with family. This year we hosted a birthday party for 30, Halloween party for 40, and are planning another Christmas Day extravaganza in addition to game nights and dinners throughout the year. I’ve become skilled in the art of hosting parties.

I’ve put together this convenient,  easy-to-follow guide for hosting parties, which is sure to make your holiday merry and bright, your birthday magical and special, and your perfect little dinner party a night to remember.

The hostess' guide to handling holiday madness

2 Months Out

1. Pick a date. This may be easy if you’re hosting on a specific holiday, but with families freaking everywhere, you may host Christmas on the 20th or the 31st. I won’t judge. You do you.

  1. Delay. Put off most of the planning as long as you can. Spend time pinning shit to your Pinterest board, knowing you’re never actually going to do any of that nonsense. Late invites are likely to shrink the number of people who show up.

1 Month Out

3. Start inviting people. Use multiple modes of communication to make it as confusing and hard to track as you can. For extra planning points, recruit your partner/boyfriend/spouse/person/fiancée(God, that word is WEIRD) to invite his family or friends you don’t follow on Facebook. You already know you’re screwed.

2 Weeks Out

4. Secure RSVPs. Wait for no one to respond,  and then start the second round of messaging. Texts, calls, private messages, tags, etc. Leave no communication stone unturned. Just don’t add them to your Jamberry Group.

5. Meal plan. Decide what you’re going to feed all these people you’ve invited to your home. Dole out responsibilities and assignments if you’re potlucking. Get as creative or unoriginal as you want. You’re hosting this fiesta.

6. Start writing to-do lists. Put together a shopping list for groceries, a DIY list for crafty shit you want to do, a cleaning list for your boyfriend/partner/husband to follow while you’re at work or the grocery store (saving him from all the people). You can use Google Drive, a pen and paper, a blank Word document or some fancy pants list you downloaded from a way more organized blogger than me. Me? I have lists everywhere. In e-mail drafts, in notebooks, and on the back of random papers from work. I typically forget them all by the time I head to the grocery store or start cleaning.

7. Decorate your home. Get your holiday decor up whether you’re putting up Christmas tree in every room, creating a disgusting murder scene in the bath tub, or setting up a spider’s den in your bathroom. If it’s not a holiday, make sure you’ve got all your art hung, ordered the right colored table cloth from Amazon, planned for balloons and other decorative touches.

Just hope and pray the balloons don't end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

Just hope and pray the balloons don’t end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

1 Week Out

8. Keep texting and calling people. We all know half your guest list isn’t going to respond. That’s okay, you love me them anyways.

9. Write new to-do lists. Don’t tell me you know where the originals are. I know you’re lying. Go ahead and make new ones. Even if you forgot the original items on the list, you’ll think of new ones.

10. Start those crafty projects you said you were going to do.  You want to make special scrabble Christmas ornaments for everyone at your holiday party? You know what? Fuck it. Just go to the store and buy some cookies. Then, eat the cookies. Then, continue on with the rest of this list. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life right now.

5 Days Out

11. Shop. Try to get as much grocery shopping out of the way as you can. Stock up on beer, wine, pop, snacks (you’ll need these later), and cream cheese (this is the only necessity with party apps. You can mix anything with cream cheese for a magical creation sure to impress every guest). Hold off on anything you think should be fresh, such as fruit or veggies. No one wants stinky cauliflower.

3 Days Out

12. Procrastinate. It’s time to start heavy duty lifting and really get your ass in gear. But you DEFINITELY need a break first. Perhaps you’ll watch  Kimmy Schmidt or Liz Lemon on Netflix to get you in the spirit of whatever event you’re hosting. There’s a little Kimmy or Liz for everyone, guys.  Pop open one of the bags of chips you were reserving for your event, eat candy for dinner from Dylan’s Candy Bar (OMG) and work on your night cheese. The party is happening whether your floor boards are dusted or not.

1 Day Out

13. Start cleaning. Spend a little time casually wiping counters, cleaning out your fridge, rearranging your collection of board games, video games, movies, CDs, whatever, moving piles from one room to another in an effort to clean. You still have 28 hours before this party is in full gear.

14. Prep as much food as you can. It’s time to make magic happen with the cream cheese, folks. Whip up a few dips while your boyfriend vacuums the floor with your fancy pants Shark vacuum. Cut veggies. Arrange fruit displays. For the love of all things, DO NOT CUT THE CHEESE YET. That is a last-minute priority in order to ensure the best possible cheese flavors.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Day of the Party

15. Freak out. You’re not ready. Your house is certainly not ready. You haven’t showered since your Liz Lemon marathon and it’s REALLY time to move it. You know nothing helps a situation more than a serious panic attack. Get ready for it. It’s coming.

16. Quick Clean. You don’t have time to clean the way you want, so start throwing everything out of sight. Throw shoes down into the basement, hide baskets of mail under your buffet table (See why I told you to invest in that floor length table cloth on Amazon, now?), take stakes of clothing/clutter/whatever up to your bedroom or the guest room or the office. Just get it out of here, already.

17. Finish food. Whip together as much of the food as you can before you have to start cleaning up the kitchen. The cheese should be cut about 30 minutes before guests arrive (and you shouldn’t let it sit out for more than four hours, so plan for a second batch if it’s a long party.

Put the cheese out about 30 minutes before the start of a party in order to have the best tasting cheese (room temperature).

18. Beg for reinforcements. Hope and pray you have parents like I do who show up 45 minutes before a party to help with this process. Sure, you won’t remember that your mom threw your keys in the cabinet with the canned goods, but no one else saw them cluttering up your breakfast bar, amiright?

Game Time

19. Relax. Breath a sigh of relief and pour your first of many glasses of wine/champagne/beer/vodka/whatever. Give yourself a pat on the back for only crying three times instead of five like last time. You’re getting better at this game.

Friends, how do you handle the stress of hosting parties? Are you a killer host? What do you try to do whenever you host an event? Tell me your secrets before I pull all my hair out!

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Netflix, without whom I may never procrastinate. While I wasn’t paid in dollars to create this blog post, I did receive a subscription to Netflix and a device on which to watch my favorite shows (hello Liz Lemon – I love you!). As always, you get my opinions and ideas, which I was not paid to change. Obviously.

Netflix Stream Team

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

4 Super Simple Laundry Hacks to Keep Your Clothes Clean and Fresh

You guys know how much I hate laundry. Even when we lived in an apartment, with a washer and dryer setup right outside our bedroom door, it wasn’t on my list of things I loved to do.

Luckily, I’ve been working with some really awesome companies that are simplifying laundry for me so I can properly respond to the stains and spills that happen around here on a daily basis, and I’ve partnered with some of these brands and bloggers to share a few super easy laundry hacks.

I destroyed this poor shirt while cooking.

I destroyed this poor shirt while cooking.

Four Fabulous Laundry Hacks

1. Sick of ironing? Put your iron away and use Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus instead. Just spray, smooth and tug and watch those wrinkles disappear. I’m a big fan of this method, because it’s hard enough for me to remember to remove laundry from the dryer, let alone iron it right away. And I never travel without it.

DWR to the rescue

  1. Have a stain while you’re out and about? Use the Dreft Stain Stick to remove the stain ASAP. You know how I like to spill things on myself, especially food things. Mostly food things that leave stains. I always have a stain stick on me – at home, at work, and in my purse or backpack.

  2. Keep forgetting those wet towels in the wash? Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator to the rescue. Add some to your next load of laundry, and #SinktheStink. I’m so glad there are products like this to help me when I’m forgetful. Seriously, I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve had to rewash stuff because we left it in the washer a little too long.

  3. Trying to get your clothes as soft as possible – and don’t have an HE washer? Try the Downy Ball. As long as I can remember, we’ve had a dispenser for the fabric softener, but if you don’t, this could make it way easier.

4 Super Easy Laundry Hacks (1)

What laundry tips do you have for me? What makes it easier for you to get laundry done in your home?

No one paid me any dollars to say nice things about these products, though I have received free samples to provide my opinion and share it on social media.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Things I Did Last Night Instead of Writing

Last night, we arrived home late from our adventures in Indiana, where we played games late into the night, ran into the people we knew with more regularity than one would expect at a convention of more than 60,000 people, and did not run into Wil Wheaton. Again.

I can’t tell you quite how many times I bumped walked into people, displays, or walls because the tally was relatively high this year, but I did get hit on by the early twenties-ish guy that sells nerd robes and dresses (girls are in short supply at these things). I  also had the pleasure of lunching with the lovely Chris Dean yesterday, who made the trek to hang with us!

I was able to have lunch with Chris Dean of pixiecd while we were in Indy!

I had planned to get home, go to a party, and then come home and write. There’s something to be said about the best laid plans…

We got home a bit later than expected as I managed to win a badge for next year’s GenCon (my lucky streak has lasted most of the summer…I’m thinking I should buy a lottery ticket or head to the race track or something) and had to buy just one last game before we left…I’m  not going to lie, seeing people with huge stacks of games made me jealous as fuck, even though our stack was no small potatoes…

We picked up a few new games to add to our collection from GenCon this weekend.

This year’s spoils. Some free stuff, some cheap stuff, some AWESOME stuff.

And so we were too late to get to the party on time. I thought, Okay…I’ll pop the games, and then do a little writing. And Brian thought, okay…I’ll just do a little napping, and then eat some food. But before his nap he went to the basement to turn the water heater off vacation mode. And this is when our evening plans changed.

Uhh…Chrissy? We have a problem.

I’d heard this tone before…

And I started thinking of house emergencies we’ve had since purchasing the house, like the time the humidifier flooded our basement just a couple of weeks after moving into the house. Or the time our roof leaked into our master bathroom. Or the time water seeped into the basement. Homeownership. Ain’t it grand?

Like deja vu, we discovered that our air conditioner was leaking around the furnace area, which was exactly what happened when the humidifier flooded. Something was clogged and the water in the PVC pipe was producing a stead stream on the floor…where all my seashells, sand dollars, starfish, and urchin were collecting dust.

Now, I realize that I should have boxed that shit up months ago…but they were out of the way enough that they weren’t really bothering us…and so they ere soaked. All the time I had spent cleaning them and alcoholing them and drying them was wasted, as a light odor of dead seastuff wafted through the basement.

How to Temporarily Fix a Leaking Air Conditioner

After arriving at the house from a long weekend out of town, we came home to a leaking air conditioner and a flooded basement. This was our quick fix so we could turn the a/c back on and sleep at night.

 

 

Please note, I am NOT a professional. I’m an impatient humorist and an improvisor who believes that first world problems require immediate solutions…and this is just what we did so we could sleep without the humidity and allergens from the outside world suffocating us. We plan on actually fixing the problem this week.

Step 1. Turn off A/C.

Step 2. Let your boyfriend mop the floor because you really hate cleaning.

Step 3. Lay seashells in the large aluminium pans typically reserved for cooking gigantic feasts and spilling turkey grease all over new shirts.

Step 4. Decide on a quick fix so we don’t end up sleeping in the basement for the cool air.

Step 5. Head to Home Depot before they close(we had about a half hour window) and pick up a plumber’s snake(my question to Brian:
“Will this also pull my hair our of the shower drain?”
“Yep.”
“Get the long one.”), tubing, and duct tape (this is not to say that we didn’t alread have duct tape in our house…I just didn’t want to waste my mac and cheese Duck Tape on boring plumbing stuff).

Step 6. Decide cooking and eating in an unair-conditioned house would be a bad idea, and sit down in Qdoba instead.

Step 7. Return home and replace tiny plastic tube leading from air conditioner to PVC pipe with long tubes duct taped together that deposits trickles of water directly into drain and tape that shut to the wall.

Step 8. Turn A/C back on.
Step 9. Let your boyfriend finish mopping the floor.

Step 10. Use plumber’s snake to discover clogging PVC pipe.

Step 11. Check tubing before bed and upon waking up.

I finished the night by popping all 20 games and promos that we acquired this weekend, because nothing is more exciting than the smell of a freshly popped and organized game.

What house emergencies have you dealt with? How would you handle a major problem when your brain is fried from four days of intense usage(on our case, gaming)?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

3 Ways to Maintain Hardwood Floors Without Wasting an Entire Day

When we moved into our house, we both really wanted hardwood floors. The entire house is mostly covered in carpet, which is an allergic-to-everything couple’s nightmare. I made Brian promise we would replace the carpet with wood IMMEDIATELY (I mean, we had blue carpet with yellow walls in our front room. It was a 90’s disaster that had never been fixed). But after painting ALL THE ROOMS, the blue carpet? Not so bad. We’d still love hardwood (and so would our allergen-filled sinuses), but the cost of hardwood makes me cry a little bit inside…so we’ll wait it out.

But we do have one lovely room with beautiful hardwood floors. And I like to keep it clean. Well, I like Brian to keep it clean, but I digress. This is our dining room. Game room. Wine room. All the things room. It’s the brightest, happiest room in the house.

3 Ways to Clean and Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

Sweep that shit regularly

The internet recommends a soft-bristled broom, but let’s be honest for a minute here and admit that we’re using the same cheap-ish, plastic-bristled broom for everything, amiright? If you spend 5-10 minutes sweeping a room on a regularish basis (anywhere from daily to weekly, and you’re golden), your floors will stay relatively clean. If you have your boyfriend spend 5-10 minutes sweeping a room on a regularish basis, your floors will stay relatively clean AND you won’t have lifted a finger. BOOM.

Clean your hardwood floors

This may be my favorite room in the house. Seriously.

Get a fancy mop with a solution and ergonomic design specifically made for hardwood

When I picked up the Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop from my P.O. Box (Thanks Bona people!), Brian asked, what’s in the box? Is it for me? And I excitedly announced, “YES!” because we all know cleaning isn’t my forte in this relationship.

Happy birthday, Brian!

Happy birthday, Brian! (Of course, I would take a picture featuring the Spanish side of the box. Not changing it. You’re welcome.)

But, for the sake of that same relationship, I took it upon myself to put the mop together. Okay, so it may have taken me 20+ minutes to assemble said mop. And it may have been really easy to do, according to the video that I had to watch four times to get it right. And I may have then had trouble getting it to spray (because I still hadn’t put it together properly)…but once I had it all set up, it was a piece of freakin’ cake.

Bona Mop

I only had a few minor snafus in trying to get the green part into the blue part. I didn’t consider sending it back because I thought it was broken or anything…

So, since it was assembled and all, I figured, what the hell? and started mopping our dining room floor. Holy shit, you guys. I have no problem mopping the floor if it’s always going to be this easy. The removable, washable pad dealie is attached with Velcro to the bottom of the mop, and the spray solution is activated at the handle, so there’s no bucket, no super wet floors, no bending down, no wet icky mop to store upside down…It’s fucking magical.  After I was done mopping (like 5 minutes later, tops), I removed the pad, and hung it over the back of a chair to dry (because the back of the pad wasn’t wet AT ALL).

Polish the floors with a reliable wood polish

You want a spit shine on your dining room floor? Cool. Find a polish that is going to enhance the wood and not destroy it. Then find someone to do it for you. Like your loving boyfriend who wants to keep the floor looking amazing. Even when you’re probably going to spill queso and wine on it a few hours later. I’m just saying. Not that I’ve done that or anything…

Why yes, that is the bottle of wine I spilled...

Why yes, that is the bottle of wine I spilled…

In case you weren’t already aware, my cleaning style is really one harbored out of necessity rather than enjoyment. We tend to rush around and clean before people come over. So when I took the Bona cleaning personality quiz, it nailed me completely. Social butterfly who stays busy and focuses on life before cleaning. Spot on, Bona. Spot on.

If you go take the personality quiz, you’ll get the chance to win a vacay away from your clean or messy home. You could win a trip to Hawaii and free house cleaning for a year. (Hey Bona, PICK ME!).

What’s your cleaning personality? What tips do you have for hardwood floor cleaning? How lazy are you when it comes to cleaning? What problems have you found when putting things together?

I was not paid to say nice things about Bona, but I was given a free mop to facilitate this post. As always, my opinions are my own and completely honest. There’s no sense in lying to you guys. Oh, also, any Amazon links are affiliate links that may help me earn a few pennies to keep this site operating. Thanks for being awesome.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Jerry the Mouse

A few years ago, my best friend, Mark (you know, the one whose car I stole?), was forced to spend a great deal of time in China and Australia for work. My friend, the world traveler. So the first time he left for China, I would pick up his mail, pay a few bills (with the checks that he had left), and I also made it my business to clean his apartment–including the bathroom (which was guy-living-alone-in-apartment-gross).

One hot summer day, I went over there to drop the mail and survey the apt…I noticed a great deal of strange little black specks that weren’t there before…specs that, I could only hope were something or other from the maintenance guy who came out during the week. Upon further inspection, I realized that it was rodent poop.

JERRY the mouse invasion

So, being the good friend that I was, I cleaned the counters, the stove, the floor, and the sink. I did a thorough inspection of the apartment, and found more mouse poop on top of the fridge, inside drawers and cabinets, and in the laundry room. I made sure that there was no open food anywhere for the little punk to procure. The mouse, whom I affectionately named Jerry, had not yet ventured beyond the realm of the small galley kitchen, so this didn’t take more than an hour. For the time being, it was handled.

I realized that this situation may have been worse than the family of mice who decided that taking up residence in my car’s engine was a good idea. (Oh yes, one morning after the discovery of a dead battery, I opened the hood of my car to discover a charred mouse atop my engine.)

The next time Mark went away, I moved in. After the first poop sighting, I thought taking up residence each time Mark was away was the smart thing to do. I knew to clean up any mess that was made and to keep all food out of sight. This was great for many reasons, the biggest of which was that I lived with my parents and Mark did not. So it was almost like I had my own apartment for a few weeks at a time. It just happened to be an apartment with an unwanted roommate.

I considered bringing my cat over to Mark’s apartment…

Gratuitous cat photo

Gratuitous cat photo

After a few more months of my arch enemy, who was in fact little bigger than my nose, setting up shop in my faux apartment while Mark gallivanted around the globe, I was getting used to the idea of having a tiny roommate in this small space.

Of course, I still despised the thought of sharing space with an icky rodent that could be carrying god only knows what diseases. I didn’t want to deal with creepy crawlies, and definitely didn’t want to deal with mice.

But it was funny… him turned out to be kinda cute when I eventually met him…My heart was racing from the obnoxious screaming that ensued the day I met Jerry, the damn mouse. The little bastard was in the living room. It was strange…I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and I first thought it was something in the air, like a fly…and I thought to myself, Da fuck? But when it happened again, I realized that it was the evil mouse.

Jerry.

We stared at each other briefly before I screamed, and he ran back to the living room. I jumped on the dining room chair. I stood there, scanning my surroundings in a militaryesque stance, looking for Jerry, wherever he might have been hiding… And then I saw him…cowering like a little mouse under the couch…and I thought to myself…Awww you’re cute. I still want to kill you (but not really kill you because that’s horrible)…but you’re cute.

He reminded me of Axl Rose, our first gerbil. And so I thought, I can’t kill this cute little thing…so I let him quickly scamper back to the kitchen…while I was safely on my chair…I watched him from my chair for a few minutes, as he tried to peek out at me from under the dishwasher. I yelled, “Don’t even think about it,” and Jerry listened. He shuffled back underneath, and I never saw him again.

What experiences have you had with rodent intruders in your home? Any terrifying tales of other taunting creatures?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

And Now, A Post-Christmas Song/Poem.

So I wrote a song to commemorate my very sad day. Usually, I would postpone this shit as long as humanly possible, but I want to come home from FLORIDA to a clean house and nothing to do but vacation laundry and seashell projects.

Plus with another polar vortex/ice age/death cold coming in a few days, I’d rather just get this shit out of the way.

Packing up the Christmas tree

Half the ornaments are already off the tree…Now it’s time for those individual Hallmark boxes. FML.

The Christmas Alma Mater Song (to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater Song, but shorter. Because I’m lazy.)

Now it’s time

To say goodbye

To all my Christmas trees.

They start with C

See ya real soon

There is no Y

Why? Because we like them.

Pa-cking up the trees.

Christmas trees

Mistletoe

Christmas trees

Mistletoe

Forever let us hold the garland high

High high high!

Come along and sing this song

That is melancholy.

Ornaments.

Christmas Lights.

Packing up the tree.

 

As you can see, my apartment is in shambles, so I best stop this blogging nonsense and get to it. Maybe later, if I get enough written incentive and booze, I’ll videotape my song for you.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: Things I Did in College…

Ahh… not just things I did in college; but things I did in college that I STILL do today. Don’t judge me. In fact, I bet you do some of these things too. Be honest.

6 Things I Did in College That I Still Do Today

1. Use Febreeze as a substitute for washing clothes. Sometimes, I just don’t have time to wash my favorite pair of jeans…and I’ve already worn them 4 or 5 times. They could use a little freshening up. Especially when I pull them out of the hamper. From the bottom. Febreeze still works like a charm. (I don’t do it often and it’s never acceptable for socks or underwear…but I know it’s sometimes okay…until I find a pasta sauce/chocolate/soup stain on the shirt in question…several hours later…from the week before. Oops.)

Things I did in college that I still do today

I swear there’s a hamper under that pile… Also…this was a week ago. And I just did the laundry yesterday.

2. Waiting as long as possible to do laundry. I know that in college it was either take the laundry home for the weekend or break…or trek down several flights of stairs to the over-used laundry rooms, where dangerous or naughty things happen often and unexpectedly. (Seriously, go click that link. It’s one of the best stories I’ve written.) And I know that now it is a mere 4 feet from hamper to washer. But for some reason laundry just doesn’t happen as often as it should. (Of course, because Brian has significantly less clothing in general, I do have to do it more often than I did in college…but back then I would just go commando if I ran out of clean underwear…)

3. The 48 hour shower rule. Yes, I tend to shower every other day. I’m okay with this. If I’ve worked out, or have some strange odors coming from my body, I’ll shower sooner…But I mean, I wear deodorant. I brush my teeth. I wear clean underwear every day. I’m not totally gross. But when you’ve got hair the color of my hair and you want to keep it that color (especially considering how much it costs to get it that color)…you gotta be cautious with the hair washing/wetting.)

MAN, you guys probably think I’m the dirtiest creature ever. I promise that I’m not. I have excellent hygiene…I’m just a non-germaphobe who doesn’t like to do laundry and sometimes considers showering a chore. I don’t smell. I swear.

4. Go out of my way for a free meal. I know that I’m a grown up. I have some money. I am well-fed. But something about getting a free meal is exciting. And necessary. because I’m Polish and I don’t like to spend money if I don’t have to. So, I find free meals. And then I drive x amount of time to go and eat them.

5. I will fall asleep anywhere. Just last month…the night before Christmas Eve…I was exhausted. It was 3 AM. And yes…I passed out with my purse as a pillow on the floor of an ER curtained room. My mom freaked out on me for fear of the germies…but really it was the floor or a plastic chair. At least on the floor, I could stretch out.

6. I drink vodka. OK, so I don’t drink vodka in the mass quantities that I consumed in college, but I’m pretty impressed that I can still hold down my college poison without feeling like I’m still in college…Alright, so I can’t drink flavored Smirnoff anymore…but whatever. Bring on the Stoli.

There you have it kids…College me meets grown up me. Do you still do any of these things?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Make a Terrible Housewife

When I was 12, my mom was diagnosed with Hepatitis C after years of poor liver counts and ignorant doctors who told my mother (who rarely drank, and even more infrequently drank to excess) to drink less. Miraculously, she fit the prerequisites for an experimental drug study using Interferon and Ribavirin which, until very recently, was the main drug combination used to treat patients with Hepatitis C.

Unfortunately, Interferon and Ribavirin come with some nasty side effects. Essentially, Mom was sick 4-5 days out of any given week for six months. As the responsible oldest child in our household, it became my duty to ensure that the family was fed, the house wasn’t a disaster, the new pool (our consolation “prize” for having a sick mom) was taken care of, and Mom had whatever she needed.

I essentially took over being Mom for a while. I made sure everyone had a hot meal at dinner time, maintained a clean-ish house, catered to my mom’s illness, and tried to keep everyone’s spirits high. It wasn’t easy. I frequently yelled at my younger-by-10-months brother to put his stuff away, because I JUST cleaned that room, scolded my 50-year-old father for trekking mud into the kitchen or ordered my 70-year-old grandfather to stop eating because I was cooking dinner.

My grandfather used to tell me I'd make some man a great housewife. Boy was he wrong.

Of course, that grandfather of mine was a real spitfire. Whenever I was cooking, cleaning or lecturing him on something, he would look at me with a sparkle in his old man eyes and tell me, “You’re going to make some man a great housewife someday.” His comments burned in my mind with fire and brimstone, and I would return his sentiments with a dagger stare and a snide remark. Sometimes I’d tell him I was a lesbian, and other times I would tell him I’m never getting married. Nothing ever phased him. He used to tell me, “If you didn’t tease me, I’d worry that you didn’t love me.”

 

Future housewife in the making? I think not.

My grandfather was right about my teasing him but so very wrong about the kind of housewife I would become.

Even though we just got married, I’ve been playing house with Brian for years. In all reality, I make a terrible housewife. I can cook well, but that’s about as far as my housewife skills take me. I make a wicked mess whenever I create anything remotely delicious in the kitchen, and I genuinely hate cleaning. Maybe it’s because I did so much of it as a kid. When I cook, I hope Brian will pick up the slack and clean up after my culinary tornado sweeps through the kitchen. On the days I don’t cook…I still hope he’ll take charge and clean his own mess.

I’m awful at keeping up with laundry…unless the laundry has been skunked. If I get as far as putting the laundry into the machine, I’m lucky if I remember to switch it over. Then, the really difficult part is removing clean laundry from the dryer and folding or hanging it. That’s the worst! I regularly have enough shirts and pants to get me through several weeks without doing laundry, and before Brian, I used to buy new socks and underwear just so I didn’t have to do laundry. When I was out of clean underwear, I’d go commando, regardless of the season.

Vacuuming is my least favorite chore in the history of ever. There’s something about the heavy rolling machine pulling me with it as it moves. I don’t know why, but it makes me wiggy. As a kid, I would call myself a human vacuum and use my hands to push hair and dust around the floor in the hopes I could get away with not actually using the vacuum. I tried that once as an adult, and then I thanked God there was someone else who would vacuum for me. No one wants rug burn on their palms.

When I clean a room, it takes me hours, because I feel the need to go through every single drawer,  cabinet, and box in an effort to organize my life. I usually give up about halfway through with piles of the emptied drawers and closets getting shoved right back where they came from.

The last time I tried to clean the toilets, I got a raging deep cut, that didn’t heal properly and took weeks for me to recover. Yes, I cut myself cleaning the toilets.

Mopping with Mr. Clean Mop

There is nothing sexier than a man with a mop.

Luckily, Brian doesn’t mind sharing the laundry duties with me. As soon as he learns that girl laundry needs to be hung, we’ll be A-OK. We switch off laundry days and he holds me accountable for my end of the bargain, or we do the laundry together and he still holds me accountable. He vacuums because he saw how ineffective the human vacuum was, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to listen to me whine about my rug burns. I try to clean as many of my culinary messes as possible and have learned to limit the number of pans I use. Our bathrooms now have much less dangerous toilets, so we share that responsibility, as well. I make sure my bathroom is clean, and he’s in charge of his. If I cook, he usually cleans up. Sometimes, though, I don’t feel like cooking. So he’ll order and pick up food or make one of the three things he knows how to cook: soup, frozen pizza, or frozen dinners.

Dining Room floor clean with bona mop

I cleaned this whole room all by myself.

We make a pretty solid team, which is how it’s supposed to be. June Cleaver, eat your heart out. This girl’s ordering pizza tonight.

How are your housewife skills holding up? What chores are you responsible for?

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