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    Frumpy Mom: Things you kids should know while I’m away
    • July 10, 2024

    I’m planning to take a few trips this summer without you, my beloved children, so it seems like a good time to give you some tips on how to run the household without me.

    1. Keep the animals alive. As you have noticed, we have two sentient beings in our house that can’t feed themselves, nor fill their water bowls. Now, our cat Cairo will not be shy about letting you know when he’s hungry or needs any other type of attention. In fact, the challenge will be to stop him from yowling as if he hasn’t been fed for weeks. However, our dog, Lil Wayne, doesn’t usually bark when he’s hungry. He just looks really sad and walks around the kitchen, aimlessly licking the floor in case someone dropped something edible on it.  When you open the refrigerator, Lil Wayne will come running, because I usually give him a carrot stick, which he thinks is filet mignon.  Additionally, I’ve come home many times and discovered the small beasts’ water bowl is empty. Again, they can’t nudge you and tell you they’re thirsty. So just plan on refilling it at least once a day.

    2. How to change the toilet paper. You may use up all the toilet paper on the bathroom roll while I’m gone, and I know you don’t know how to change it, because it’s been empty the last 1,102 times I went in there. The last time I went to Costco, I bought one of those giant cases of bathroom tissue that will barely fit in my car, so we should be good for awhile. The rolls are stacked in the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Pull out a roll, remove the utterly useless and annoying paper cover, discard it in the trash can (not on the floor), remove the flexible roller from the middle of the toilet paper holder and insert the paper roll onto it. Then, snap it back into the holder. This should take no more than 15 seconds. If it takes longer, you’re drunk. And, yes, it’s the cheap single-ply tissue. If you want the cushy, soft double-ply, feel free to buy it yourself.

    3. How to turn off the lights. Again, I realize that this is a skill you haven’t yet mastered, even though you’re young adults and can rewire a computer in 15 minutes. The clue to realizing that there’s an electrical outlet that needs to be turned off is when you look around at night, and you can see stuff. If you’re in a room and you can see, this means that there’s a light shining that needs to be extinguished. Walk around until you find a light switch that is in the “up” position, which means it’s on. Extend one finger and push the switch into the “down” position, which will turn it off. If it’s the television that’s left on, look around the entire living room and find out what you did with the remote, then push the power button. That will turn it off. In the event you can’t find the remote, just click the off button on the power strip next to the television.

    I realize you don’t feel any need to turn off electronic devices of any kind, but every dollar I have to spend on the power bill is a dollar you can’t swipe out of my wallet while I’m in the other room.

    4. Take out the trash. We’ve only lived in this house since 2006, so you’ve had a mere 936 weeks to remember that the trash cans have to be on the curb on Monday night. Every Monday night. Even when it’s personally inconvenient for you. You don’t have many recurring jobs to do to support our household, but this is one of them. Even if 936 were not enough weeks to learn this ritual, the fact that all the neighbors have put their trash cans out should be a visual aid to your memory. When I get home, I would be delighted to discover that the trash has been emptied and that the kitchen trash can has also been taken out. Hey, it could happen.

    5. Don’t overfill the washer. Remember when you called me long distance in Nepal in what was for me the middle of the night, just to tell me the washer was leaking? And I told you to call the plumber, who came over and charged me $110 to tell you that you overfilled it, so don’t do that anymore? It’s not actually necessary for you to shove every piece of clothing you own into the washer in one load, along with the 187 towels you dirtied in one week. In fact, just because an item is on your floor doesn’t even mean it’s dirty. Pick it up and evaluate whether it actually needs to be washed, or you were just too lazy to put it away.

    I could keep going for another hour or two, but I know you’ve already become bored and wandered off to look for your phone charger. So try not to burn the house down or break any of the major appliances, and I’ll be back next week.

    Love, Mom

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    Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: I might get around to cleaning. Right after this nap.

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    ​ Orange County Register 

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