Them’s the Rules

posted by Mel

Now that Eric has been with us for a little more than a week, the honeymoon is drawing to a close– you know, the period where I wanted as much family time as possible because, damn it, the three of us are a family now, and I want to get started making some good memories. Walks in the park. Grocery shopping together. Waking him up to the smell of bacon frying so that he feels like this is home.

And then I was slapped with the cruel reality of the situation. He is 19-years-old, but he has never done his own laundry or balanced his own checkbook. He primps in front of the bathroom mirror like a suburban princess on the night of her first cotillion, and he requires more creams, gels, astringents, lotions, and other things that come in tiny tippy plastic bottles in one day than I’ve used in my entire 31 years. He takes 30 minute showers and 45 minute craps (his word not mine).  He stuffs our refrigerator full of highly caffeinated beverages in 24-oz PLASTIC bottles so that there’s no room for anything else. In 5 minutes he polishes off the guacamole you thought was going to last the three of you two nights and leaves the unrinsed bowl on the counter. There is no civility, people.

So after two trips to the big recycling bin in Garfield Park, at least a dozen loads of laundry, stepping into a swampy hairy smelly shower, and resorting to B.M.s at work for a week because I can’t get bathroom time at home, with Vanessa’s full support I have started a list of things I think we can reasonably expect from a 19-year-old of sound mind and body. It follows:

-Plan ahead to complete homework assignments and study for exams.
-Get good grades. (totally achievable in his case)
-Record your financial transactions in your checkbook, and balance it regularly.
-Pay your cell phone bill on time.
-Rinse out dishes when you are done with them
-Do your own laundry (I have performed a demonstration.)
-Mow the lawn (This one is your special gift to us.)
-Make environmentally-conscious purchases (aluminum not plastic. That’s all we ask.)
-Remove your hair from the drain after showering. Also squeegee the shower floor toward the drain.
-Scoop the litterbox every day (just the one for the two cats he brought with him, not the one upstairs)

Those are the reasonable expectations. (Tell me if they’re not.)

Here are the perhaps unreasonable ones I wish we could add to the list.

-No staying out past 11:30 PM on schoolnights.
-Your baby-voice girlfriend should not be in our home for longer than 3 hours at a time, nor should she ever again park in my space. Also, stop spending all of your money on her. She has her own car and a job.
-We will provide an egg-timer for your “crap” time. Please do whatever you need to do to exit the bathroom within 10 minutes. Unless you’re really constipated, it should never take longer than that. Leaving the cellphone outside the bathroom will help you achieve this goal.
-Please cut your hair at least as short as ours so that it will stop clogging the shower drain.
-Stop buying all that soda and try some water. It’s good for you.

It’s safe to say that a state of parenthood has been achieved– the baby’s just not as small as I thought he would be.



Filed under Domestic Goddess, Young'n

13 responses to “Them’s the Rules

  1. Oh dear!
    I’m sure that post is much funnier from a distance than it is living with it!! Think how grateful his future flatmates/live-in girlfriend/wife will be to you though!

  2. I’m really glad you wrote this post instead of the seething post about how I should be out of my funk by now and helping enforce these rules.

  3. Ok some sage advice from the resident het. I hate to break this to you guys because I know your clean, kind, nasty-poo free feminine household is under male siege as we speak but males of all ages take huge, lengthy, nasty craps. I’ve lived with 3 in my life (Dad included) and each one spent no less than 30 minutes in the bathroom. Just wait until he gets really comfortable – then the Olympic-caliber farting will start. This is a hilarious post.

    Mel – I can’t believe you are going #2 at work! I hate going #2 at work.

    Vanessa – it’s ok to still be in The Funk 🙂

  4. Katy

    Katie’s right. The older they get, the longer it takes. At least you can recycle the newspaper that will start to entertain him in the toilet when the cell battery runs down. Oh and the hair, yeah – give it up. Make him use the other shower. Pay someone to clean it. It’s the only way.

    Don’t worry about the funk. It’s not a funk. It’s a different life than you had two weeks ago. Your strength will come back in different ways at different times.

  5. Pingback: Because There is Nothing Fun About the Dentist « Wandering Bella

  6. Katy– Right now we are operating with just one real shower. There is a hand-shower in the bathtub upstairs, and I have contemplated going that route, but there’s not enough hot water for all of us to get ready at the same time anyway. We are currently pursuing a new water heater. Also, the toilet in the basement bathroom leaks. We’re getting that fixed, too, but for now we’re all stuck using the one upstairs. We’re trying to fix up the basement bathroom to encourage him to use it exclusively, but he really prefers ours. At least I have successfully removed his cologne and lotions to the basement.

    And Katie, the #2 at work? Well, a girl does what she must in order to meet her basic needs.

  7. I didn’t realize the shower/hot water situation was so bad. I mean who knew 1 person could cause such a disrpution? And I know you gotta do what you gotta do – I’m hoping and guessing the 3rd floor powder room is less chatty than the 4th floor (hence why I hate doing that here..) This really did make me laugh so hard I thought I might fall out of my chair.

  8. this post is hilarious. so is katie’s answer about man-pooping. ah, another of the many benefits of being gay.

    sorry you’re dealing with all that right now. i especially like your idea about the egg-timer. it seems reasonable to me.

  9. Joe

    The egg timer would cause pressure, too much pressure. I could never deliver under those circumstances. However, consider putting a stereo with good bass in the near vicinity. It helps move things along, so I hear.

  10. Katy

    I forgot that the upstairs bath is just a bath despite the fact I think we had that conversation three weeks ago (forgive me)! Now I am anxious for your remodel. And, living by myself, I live in a fanatasy world where hot water is never an issue. The only bathroom complaint I have is that the light and the fan are on the same damn switch.

    I pray that you are quickly able to increase your water supply. You are welcome to the whirlpool tub at any time.

  11. I know that this situation isn’t necessarily *supposed* to be funny (and I know first-hand how annoying bad roommates can be), but–it’s funny! at least from this end. Hang in there–hopefully he’s just a late-bloomer and he’ll “get it” soon!

  12. Oh god, I take my hat off to you both! Methinks your rules are all extremely reasonable … just think yourself lucky he doesn’t leave the loo seat up [or does he?!] … now, that is something that makes me CRAZY, personally.

    – jay

  13. Co

    Oh, that made me literally laugh out loud… Katie’s comment, too!

    That’s not to take away from the fact that this is indeed a really hard adjustment, for all 3 of you, I’m sure.

    Your rules sound quite reasonable to me and many of them will only benefit Eric in the long run, like balancing his checkbook. And I think it’d be fair to set a rule that Eric’s gfriend isn’t allowed to park in your space, actually.

    Hugs to Vanessa. There is no time limit on grief. If you’re still in a funk, then you are. It’s normal and understandable. I can’t speak for anyone else, but with me, when I’ve lost a close loved one, I’ve tended to be stoic throughout it all–the death, the funeral, etc.–comforting everyone else, not shedding a tear. It’s not until some point when all that is over and I’m back home and back to my regular life and alone that the sense of loss really hits me. My point is just… it’s different for everyone. There’s no right or wrong or start or end dates, so allow yourself whatever you need.

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