Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

April 30, 2009

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of Uneventful Endings

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:43 pm

indiana1It’s hard to describe the pressure you feel as a parent when you are choosing a movie for date night with your spouse. Moments minus the kids are few and far between so a lot is riding on your decision. Pick a cinematic masterpiece then all is right with the world.

On the other hand, if you’re the one who suggests seeing a flick that turns out to be a real stinker than you lose a lot more than the two hours of your life which you can never get back. Let me try to put the cost of a wrong call into perspective: nice dinner ($30), movie tickets ($16), concessions at theater ($12) and the kicker, childcare ($40). While painfully writing out the check to the babysitter, you reason flushing over 100 bucks and watching it swirl down the toilet would be more entertaining then the turd of a film you just watched.

Sadly, my track record recently has been less than stellar. It has reached the point where my movie choosing privileges have been revoked. Power has been peacefully handed over to Jenn, which means I’ll be watching romantic comedies for the rest of my life.

Are you curious as to what finally did me in? It was none other than the film that showed George Lucas might want to consider retirement: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Yes, I’ll concede it was mindless fun that was semi-entertaining, but what was with the final ten minutes? Seriously, aliens, are you kidding me? That is the best you could come up with? The uneventful ending threw us both off. Jenn and I walked out of the theater disoriented as to what just occurred.

Recently, I’ve been feeling that same disorientation. Everything has been a blur and I am trying to get my bearings back. Let’s just say that April ended in a way I wasn’t expecting. For the past thirty days, I have attempted to hone my domesticated skills by sautéing, scrubbing, sorting and swiffering.

My goal was to finish the month on a high note by preparing an elegant meal from scratch for Jenn. I laid the groundwork early by going into ultra stealth mode in an attempt to find out some of her favorite cuisines. After studying a few cookbooks and sifting through the recipes family and friends sent my way, I created a shopping list and was about to head to the grocery store when Jenn began complaining about severe pain in her side. She tried sleeping it off.

Yet, the pain never went away and a day or so later we found out she had gallstones and a seven millimeter kidney stone. Just typing those words make me cringe. Surgery to remove her gallbladder was scheduled for April 30th, the final opportunity to prove I had morphed into a domesticated dude. Looks like the candlelight dinner would be put on hold.

041000014802Instead the last supper consisted of vanilla wafers, saltines and Lipton’s Cup of Soup. For an extra special touch, I garnished her plate with a few slices of strawberries and pineapples from the Edible Arrangements boutique we received from friends. The meal was topped off with a tall glass of grape Gatorade to quench Jenn’s thirst. A feast completely and utterly uneventful compared to what I wanted to prepare. She ate a few bites, but that was about it.

I had little time to wonder if her lack of interest in eating was due to her nausea or a statement on my cooking ability. Other things were demanding my attention: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, scrubbing and actually paying attention to the kids. When I went into check on our recovering mommy, Jenn chuckled and then grimaced in pain because laughing doesn’t feel too well due to the stitches. I asked her what exactly was so funny. She said that I had finally achieved the ‘look.’ You know, the one of complete and utter exhaustion. I glance over at a mirror and realize my look is identical to the one Jenn has on her face on occasion when I come home from work.

nmaimg-ci20051301-074-wm-vs1Thanks to seeing that reflection in the mirror I feel like I finally truly understand all that is asked of Jenn as a stay at home mom. Managing a house while taking care of two wild and crazy girls is extremely difficult especially if you are trying to stay sane as well. A woman performing domesticated duties often goes without notice. Yet, when a man steps up to the plate by actually washing it, a parade is thrown in his honor. He is viewed as a hero while doing the same tasks that are expected from a female. Does anyone else find this mindset odd and a little warped?

Knowing how to sort laundry, iron a shirt, cook a meal or sew on a button is one thing. Being willing to help around the house and make a contribution out of love for your wife is where you are being a man. Maybe the uneventful ending to the month had a greater purpose because as the credits for April are rolling I am realizing that Mr. Mom should be the rule, not the exception.

April 28, 2009

The Curious Case Of Sewing On A Button

Filed under: domesticated — 30tocure30 @ 9:17 pm

benjamin-button-1113For some strange reason, tonight I feel like I am aging backwards. Somehow during this month of domestication, I have contracted a rare aged disease where I biologically grow younger over time. I guess you could call it the ‘Curious Case Of Sewing On A Button.’

Unfortunately for Jenn, the stunning good looks of Mr. Angelina Jolie were not a side effect of this change. On the other hand, we are thankful that no orphans from third world countries appeared on our front porch screaming, “Mommy! Daddy!”

Where was I? Oh yeah. Instead of coming to grips with my thirties, I find myself an adolescent desperately trying to achieve a passing grade in Home Economics. Maybe this time around the results will be better. Considering I set the bar extremely low in 12th grade, chances are good I can rise above the previous disaster of jammed sewing machines, fire extinguisher glazed chicken and three legged jeans.

The original plan for my final semester of high school involved doing as little work as possible. Having already been accepted to college, my intent was to coast until graduation day. The schedule involved: guitar class, journalism and then serving as a teacher’s aide for two blocks. The last part is what got me in trouble, as the only thing I was actually ‘aiding’ was unproductivity.

gap-spring-saleApparently, for whatever reason, the school system frowned upon a student spending the majority of their day reading People magazines until they fall asleep on the couch in the teacher’s lounge. Once the guidance counselor caught on to my plan, he insisted that I pick a class where I would learn something other than the latest gossip from the set of Beverly Hills 90210.

The choices he gave me were Biology, Calculus or Home Economics. That is close to a no brainer as one can get. On top of the guy to girl ratio being skewed in my favor, I figured how challenging could it be to create a door stop out of pottery, cook some spaghetti, do some laundry and hem a pair of pants. After all, I figured I wasn’t going to use any of this stuff in the real world anyway, right? Yet, having spent the past 15 minutes trying to thread a needle, the irony of it all hasn’t been lost on me.

April 22, 2009

The Bedroom Is Always The Stephen Baldwin Of Rooms When You Are Entertaining Guests

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:32 pm

They say that your bedroom serves as a window of sorts into your personality. Well, if that’s the case, I wonder what tidbits can be gleamed about myself from the current chaotic state of my room.  Looking into that so-called window becomes extremely difficult when the blinds are shut morning, noon and night. Good luck to you nosy folks trying to sneak around and unlock insight into what I am all about because you’ll find just like when company comes over that the bedroom door remains shut.

244baldwinstephen1006061I guess you could call the bedroom the Stephen Baldwin of rooms because it goes largely ignored in light of its’ more popular brothers: living, dinning and bath. Like Rodney Dangerfield it gets no respect. Now don’t get me wrong. I desperately want to squash the nasty rumors going around about the person who mysteriously disappeared during game night after accidentally turning left instead of right on their way to the bathroom.

The thing is when you are cleaning like a mad man and are up against the clock; your bedroom suddenly becomes a great hiding place for all the things you don’t know what to do with. For obvious reasons, the cleanliness of your bedroom ranks low on the totem pole of priorities when you are entertaining guests.

You see it is highly unlikely Jenn will decide out of the blue that the perfect location for the smoldering fondue pot is the middle of our bed over the duvet cover. Chances are good we’re not going to be sitting on throw pillows playing Uno, Catchphrase or Hearts. Neither will the guys be huddled around the 26 inch TV with the wing tray laid out on our dresser when the big screen in the living room makes watching the Redskins lose a lead in the final minutes of the 4th quarter even that more painful.

The problem arises once all of the guests have long since gone and all Jenn and I can think of is entering dream world. It feels like the bed is calling our name.  Unfortunately, his voice is muffled due to the pile of laundry resting on top of it. We open the door; walk delicately through the landmine field and after pushing all the ‘stuff’ off, collapse in bed.

We have ever intention of dealing with the mess in the morning, but wouldn’t you know it the girls are raring to go before the crack of dawn demanding our full attention. Chipping away at it bit by bit causes the tide to turn. For the most part, the bedroom goes back to normal for a while. However, everything doesn’t always go back to its proper place and over time the collection of stuff grows. What should be a peaceful sanctuary has the tendency to become a graveyard where knick-knacks go to meet their maker.

Maybe my domestication effort is rubbing off on me because this trend is coming to an end. Look out world. Don’t let that door swinging open smack you in your face. The next time Jenn and I are entertaining the cleaning process will start with the bedroom first. This way while friends are mingling and enjoying appetizers they can see where the magic happens….the magic of my cleaning ability that is.

April 20, 2009

Don’t Blame Me For Forgetting Your Birthday….Blame Facebook

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:31 pm

PD*17087469Alright, I get it…you hate the new Facebook layout. Can you at least stop sending me yet another annoying request to join your group demanding the old format be brought back immediately? As well intention as it once was, your group is now just another place spammers can go to hawk their ‘dating’ website or the miracle drug guaranteed to cure one’s problem in the bedroom.  If you had enough time on your hands to figure out the step by step directions to go back to the way things once were, I am pretty sure you won’t have a problem connecting with the 2 real friends you have on there, even with the hard to navigate layout.

Contrary to the prophecies spewed by some about the consequences for the switch, there wasn’t rioting in the streets. The US government never had to declare Marshall Law. And as far as I know Al Gore never blamed the switch on global warming, but I wouldn’t put it passed him. I guess social networking isn’t what it’s hyped up to be because no large mob ever got organized enough to march on Mark Zukerberg’s (Facebook creator) house with pitchforks and flaming torches

 I understand change frightens you, but trust me change for the most part is a good thing. This change hasn’t caused to many ripples. Life as we know it has somehow managed to go on. We’re still in the midst of a turbulent economy, gas is still hovering around $2 a gallon, Friday Night Lights is still the best show no one is watching and I still am a bonehead when it comes to remembering birthdays and sending thank you cards.

happy_birthday_cakeToday is my sister Michele’s birthday (hope it was a special one Shell…and look you got a shout out in my blog as a present). You want to know how I know this? Realizing my propensity to forget these important things, my brother-in-law sent me a friendly email reminder. Sadly, this is a common occurrence as other family members send me similar FYI emails all the time. I am good when it comes to nailing down the months, but the exact dates where we are to call and celebrate the anniversary of one’s birth is where I get a little shaky.

I am glad my family wants to ‘help a brotha out,’ but my lack of consideration is not fitting for an individual like myself who is attempting to display the qualities of a domestic dude. If I really had my act together, the birthday card would be in their mailbox before they even blew out their candles. I realize I have also brought shame to my mother for not having decorative ‘thank you’ cards readily on hand just in case someone does something nice for me. Don’t get her started on how long it took me to write notes of appreciation for the wedding presents I received.

I am not intending to be a jerk. One of the root causes of my forgetfulness is a lack of organization and time management skills. In an attempt to reverse this trend, I actually went out and bought a daily planner in hopes of getting everything in order by writing down important dates. I’ll pause for a moment for the audible gasps to subside.

Taking a break from getting organized, I hoped on Facebook to update my status. Then it hit me. Back in the old days, event reminders were highly visible. Now, you have to search high and low to find who is going to be a year older in the next few days. Looks like I am not an insensitive doof after all. My forgetfulness about sending birthday wishes is due solely to Facebook getting jealous of Twitter stealing some of their thunder. Wanting to appear more hip, they decided to switch things up by ripping off Twitter. It’s just my luck that Facebook would go and act like a pre-teen by giving into peer pressure. Okay, scrap everything I said in the opening. Sign me up for the “Bring Back The Old Facebook Or Else…” group. Change is a bad, bad thing. 

April 18, 2009

Looks Like I’m Adding A Few More Things To My ‘Honey Do’ List

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:31 pm

The following post is written by my beautiful wife, Jenn: 

Here we are two thirds of the way through April and I thought I’d take the chance to weigh in on Tony’s quest to become a Domesticated Dude.  First, let me say that I do not think that he is undomesticated, like a stray cat.  He puts his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, usually puts the toilet seat down and is fully capable of taking care of our girls.  Actually, there is a lot around the house that he can and does do.  Sometimes he fumbles through the tasks at hand and sometimes he sails right on past and on to the next thing.

Life around our house is busy.  Our two-year-old Paige is a crazy, climbing wonder.  She is kind of like a little super hero that climbs on, swings from or flips over anything she can find, stack or otherwise manipulate into a springboard for her imagination.  She is always trying to” save the day” or at least entertain you until you forget that you were about to tell her to stop tearing the couches apart or not to jump onto the coffee table.

kids-hand-messy-art-project1Maddie on the other hand is our budding artist.  Whatever she can cut, color or paste together she will.  It’s not unusual to walk into the dining room to find a plethora of masterpieces strewn around the table or taped to windows of our French doors.   Most of the time there are snippets of paper littered beneath her chair.  For her to create what she sees in her minds eye is freeing… and quiet messy! 
All of this to say, our life with kids isn’t exactly what we thought it would be.  We knew that they required a lot of stuff but we weren’t exactly prepared for the mess they leave in their wake as they bounce around exploring their worlds. 

We wouldn’t trade it for anything but it does require us to adjust our expectations and priorities for cleaning.  No longer is the order of our CD’s of utmost importance or whether the spines of the books on the bookshelf are all even with the edge of each shelf. 

I would like to say that Tony’s journey to domestication is definitely a transition to seeing our world a little differently and being ok with the fact that our kids personalities definitely challenge us in all areas, including the domestic arena.

I think Tony does a great job in a lot of areas so he is well on his way to becoming domesticated:

  • I love the fact that Tony is not afraid to conquer the bathrooms.  Thank you to the summers of working Conference Services at Messiah College.  When he is done, the toilet bowl shines.  I’m not sure if there is anyone out there that loves cleaning toilets.  I appreciate his willingness to do it though.fotolia5948038xs-main_full
  • He takes care of our girls fabulously.  When I get home from an evening out, they are sound asleep in their beds, fully bellies, bathed, teeth brushed and bible story, song and prayers done.  They think he hangs the moon and it’s the sweetest thing ever.
  • Tony does the laundry and even irons his clothes.  I love that about him!  Especially when he worked at Wachovia while I stayed home with the girls.  Taking his shirts to get cleaned and pressed was no longer part of the budget but it didn’t fall completely on my shoulders. 

There are several other things he is completely capable of but that is not what this is really about. However, there are a few things I would love to see him learn to do.  If not for the necessity, for the fact that these things would qualify as traits a Domestic Diva possesses.  I would like to take the opportunity to make some suggestions for Tony to think about and maybe try in the last part of the month. So, here we go:

  1. Tony can cook but I’m not sure that popping a Lean Cuisine into the microwave or making Ramen in a coffee pot quiet qualifies as cooking.  Sure, most anybody can boil some water and pour a jar of sauce on top to make spaghetti or stick some Eggos in the toaster and call it brinner (breakfast for dinner.)  But, I would really love it if he learned how to cook one good meal.  It doesn’t have to be fancy it just has to be something he chooses and can do all on his own without me walking him through it step by step.  Ohhh… maybe chocolate chip cookies.  That would be yummy!
  2. Sew a button.  Every Domestic Diva, or Dude, should know how to sew a button back on a shirt of a pair of pants.  Fixing a hem would be nice too… sewing the girls a skirt…that would be hilarious but defiantly do-able.
  3. One more thing… spend a day in my shoes.  Tony is so great at so many ‘domestic things’ even though he probably doesn’t see it.  He has come a long way from the day he moved out of his mamma’s house, that’s for sure!  He is capable of cleaning, taking care of the girls, making something to eat, etc.  But he rarely has to do it all simultaneously.  I’d like to see him give it a try.  I’m confident that he’ll be fine.  But, I’d still like to see him do it. (He probably will only make if half a day before I miss him and the girls too much and I crash his day of domestic duties!)

Tony, you are on your way to Martha Stewart status…lets see you finish strong!

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