On To Contestant’s Row

clean roomI like to enter writing contests. I love how they force my brain to think in new and exciting ways. I would even say that some of my best writing efforts were the direct result of such contests – especially the ones with strict rules regarding subject matter and word count.

I suffer from a sort of Contest Compulsion, I think. Sometimes I win these contests, which, of course, is awesome. More often than not, I lose — but losing never bothers me much; for the real victory is in the final written product, the story that didn’t exist before I decided to compete.

Thanks to Patricia Tilton, I recently learned about the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition. Due to my Compusion, I had to enter. The rules were simple: One had to submit a humorous essay fewer than 425 words written in the style of the great Erma herself.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed channeling Bombeck’s propensity for exaggeration. She also loves dialogue, which allowed me to exercise my long-atrophied playwrighting muscles.

What’s posted below didn’t win a thing, but I thought it might be fun to share. Here’s hoping you agree.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “On To Contestant’s Row”

The House Husband 10 Commandments

I’ve been doing the House Husband thing for a month now. As long as I ignore the bloodletting, all is going quite well! 

To make sure things stay that way, I have composed a list of self-imposed Cardinal rules.

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  1. Thou shalt not leave the house – not even for an itty-bitty-not-even-getting-out-of-the-car moment – looking like a hobo. (On a related note, sweatpants are not pants. They are pajamas with a better PR campaign. Act accordingly.)
  1. Thou shalt not be afraid of the toilet brush; he is your staunch ally. Fight well, brothers.
  1. Thou shalt not grumble when The Wife leaves her stuff scattered around the house as if she had to suddenly flee from the police. She supports you now. Pick up her things and be nice about it.
  1. Thou shalt not forget that The Boy is a boy, and boys like to scatter things around the house. That said, The Boy does not support you like The Wife does, so The Boy must pick up his own crap.
  1. Thou shalt not fart about on the internet, except for the purpose of finding work or maintaining a blog. For only these are honorable online pursuits.
  1. Thou shalt not use housework and organization as an excuse to avoid writing.
  1. Thou shalt not use writing as an excuse to avoid housework and organization.
  1. Thou shalt not be complacent in thy new career. Stay hungry.
  1. Thou shalt not eat unhealthy lunches. Hot Pockets are not healthy. Brussels sprouts are too healthy. Find a middle ground. (Said Middle Ground may be a few steps closer to Hot Pockets.)
  1. Thou shalt not ever forget that this new chapter in your life is a dream come true – and that your family helped to make it true. Never forget. Never. Ever.

 

There Will Be Blood! (Mine)

I need to get me a bubblewrap suit.
I need to get me a bubblewrap suit.

My new house husband role is going quite well, I’m pleased to say. I like keeping things tidy and writing more often. I also like the fact that my efforts are decreasing Ellen’s workload. No longer does she have household chores to contend with. She can enjoy her new teaching job and take comfort in knowing that things around here are just fine.

Well, except for the injuries.

I’m a wee bit accident prone. No biggie; a lot of people are. My problem is that I only hurt myself when performing mundane housekeeping tasks.

I once tore a tendon in my index finger by tucking in a bed sheet. I wore a splint for six weeks because I needed hospital corners.

I have fallen down a stair, breaking my big toe. Not stairs, mind you. Stair. Just one stair.

I have fallen up stairs, too, onto a vacuum I was carrying. In that case I was uninjured, but the vacuum wasn’t; I broke it in two and, in so doing, became a human sized dust bunny.

And I have gotten four stitches in the palm of my hand in an attempt to clean dishes.

These accidents had not gone unnoticed by my wife, but she held her tongue — until the second day of my house husbandry. On that day I sliced my finger open attempting to slice a heel of bread.

Once Ellen came home from work and caught a glimpse of my crimson-stained, gauze-wrapped finger, she sat me down for a little talk.

“When we agreed to switch roles,” she began, using her best patient teacher voice, “you dying was not part of the arrangement.”

“I know.” I replied a bit chastened. “And the worst part was I bled all over the bathroom I cleaned yesterday. I had to clean the bathroom twice.”

“Noooo,” Ellen continued, her teacher voice revealing a hint of exasperation. “The worst part is the stabbing part. That’s the worst part.”

“Well, maybe, but the bathroom looks pretty good, doesn’t it?”

“Yes,” Ellen sighed. “It’s beautiful. Just pleeease be careful.”

“I will,” I promised.

And so far so good! No new injuries.

That said, upping my life insurance is probably a wise investment. I’d better talk to Ellen about this right away. Tomorrow I’m planning to mop the kitchen floor. God only knows what could happen.