O.K. I got way off-topic in Part I of this post, but I’ve established that I’m a Gemini, which is a perfect excuse each time I veer too far in the wrong direction. Or run into the house with my ginormous SUV. Or forget to pick up the kids at school.
But I’m drifting.
Now that I’ve been married for more years than I’ll ever admit, I’ve developed a proven communication technique I’d like to pass on. I believe in divvying up the good things in life, like my Charlie’s Angels action figures. I always shared them in the sandbox, even though Courtney Higgens buried Farrah alive, pretended she died in a dramatic speedboat explosion, and stole her.
There I go again.
A successful relationship requires a lot of give-and-take, back-and-forth, and general ego adjustment to thrive. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to figure this out.
Being the uber communicator of the zodiac, I thought my way of doing just about everything was the right one, and that my husband, Scot, would naturally fall in line.
Except it wasn’t. And he didn’t.
Our failure to see eye-to-eye has never been about politics, parenting, or who gets the good seat when we go out to eat (you know, the one that faces the expanse of the restaurant and not a wall, so if a mega-star happens to stop by the table you can be the first to snap a picture on your phone and email it to TMZ).
The disconnect always drills down to something much more mundane, like who’s turn it is to sweep out the creepy garage or restock the bathrooms with toilet paper. The mere mention of ironing is probable cause for launching World War III.
After years of unsuccessful trial-and-error communication tactics such as repetitive vocal chord shredding, whisper-nagging, slipping magic ink lists under the bathroom door, and hypnosis, I’ve developed the perfect method to get my point across in a quiet, clear, and non-threatening way.
Everybody knows the reason that Denny’s is in business today is due to their laminated, multi-color, plasticy foodish, genius picture menus. Well, those and the fact that you can get a Moon Over My Hammy Omelette 24/7.
So I thought, why not rip that idea right off their pleatherette booths and bring it into my home?
I don’t like to cook. I’ve mentioned this before and will continue to belabor the point until you start sending me care packages full of nutritious food that my family will love. Unlike many of my friends, I can’t create dinner on the fly from an egg, raw pudding, and flax seed. For me, meal preparation requires a lot of thought, and sometimes I don’t feel like thinking. It’s on these days that I’m compelled to warn my family there won’t be anything of interest waiting on the kitchen table when they get home. Actual discussion of this issue always leads to disappointment (Scot), whining (the kids), and guilt (me). Hence, the visual.
At first, I wanted to construct a bat-signal, because it’s retro and super-cool. Plus, if you happen to be a neighbor you might see it, feel sorry for my children, and drop off a hot dish. Added bonus? I could learn Morse code and communicate with alien life forms in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.
But Scot said that would be a colossal waste of money, not to mention an invitation for all the nasty coyotes in the area to congregate in our back yard.
So I came up with this instead:
I usually create my display early in the morning when I’ve been up all night and the ankle-biters are still in bed. I keep it simple and to the point. The kitchen is closed for dinner before it even opens for breakfast. No discussion necessary.
Ever since I left the corporate world to become a full-time Mom, I’ve been under the impression it’s my job to do everything around the house that nobody else cares about. Like laundry. Recently, however, I conducted an unofficial survey of my peers and discovered that Domestic Goddesses don’t match socks. Like, ever. Domestic Goddesses lounge around the house all day in togas, watch really bad reality T.V., take naps, and forget to pick up the kids at school.
Life as a Domestic Goddess seems awesome, and since I absolutely hate absorbent footwear, I devised a non-confrontational way to get Scot to take this forgettable task off my hands:
This is Scot’s man-chair, the same one I’m giving Tim Tebow when he stops by to say hello. By quietly dumping about forty-seven pairs of unmatched socks on top of it, I’m assured of immediate action because this is his favorite place to:
- Eat a bowl of cereal for dinner.
- Obsess over his swing while watching thirty-one different “How To Not Suck” shows on the Golf Channel.
- Ignore me.
Point made. Task completed. Argument averted.
The simplest and most compelling wordless method to get your partner to help with anything involving manual labor is this:
That’s the entryway from the garage to our house. Scot parks in the garage and uses this door to come inside. It’s currently blocked (like, right now) by my daughter, Grace’s bike. Her bike has an unsolvable (by me) issue that renders it useless. Grace would like to actually ride her bike sometime this year. I don’t know how to repair it. So now, thanks to my non-verbal cue, Scot can’t get in the house to not sit in his favorite chair in anticipation of the meal that isn’t waiting for him until he fixes it.
I could go on and on but it’s almost naptime again. While I’m sleeping, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell me your best non-verbal communication tip. Maybe we’ll write a book together, become mega millionaires, and hang out in my soon-to-be-constructed Hawaiian isolation chamber. I’ll let you in if you’re nice, but please leave your socks at the door.