When I married my husband, Dustin, there were certain things I knew about him. I knew that he leaves his keys wherever he feels like it and can't find them later. I knew that, left to his own devices, Dustin will put his spoons in one kitchen drawer and his forks in another. I even knew he has the unusual ability to fall asleep anywhere -- even on a park bench at Disney World.
And I decided to marry him anyway.
Maybe I thought I could change these things. Maybe I loved Dustin for them -- or in spite of them. In any case, what I didn't foresee way back then was that our three boys would end up just like Dustin. No, I didn't give that a lot of thought.
Of course, who knew we would have three boys? Answer: I did. After Ford was born, I said, "Gosh, we are on a roll of having all boys."
"One boy does not make a 'roll,'" Dustin said.
After Owen was born, I asked, "Are we on a roll now?"
"The chances are still 50/50 every time," he said.
Fifteen years and three sons later, I am completely outnumbered and, frankly, fighting a losing battle. Even the dog is male.
I live in a house with people who lose things and then yell, "Where's my [baseball, jacket, hat, homework]?" I used to rush to their aid, but I stopped when every time I arrived by their side, eager to help, I found them standing in the middle of a room, staring at nothing.
"I can't find it," they say.
"Where have you looked?" I ask.
That's when they look at me, like, "I'm supposed to look?"
I truly believe Dustin thinks merely standing in a room will cause lost objects to appear. And forget about asking any of them to find something for me.
ME: Can you go get my coat from the kitchen?
THEM (a.k.a., everyone else I live with): OK, but where in the kitchen?
ME: I don't know. It's a coat. I don't think it's hiding.
THEM: Yeah, but where should I look?
ME: In the kitchen.
ME: Probably in the toaster.
THEM: OK, I'll try.
These people I live with also have a different understanding of cleanliness and personal hygiene. Mold on bread can be cut out. Week-old pizza is still good. A hole with socks in it can still provide a few more weeks of drafty foot covering. Did I teach them nothing?
ME: Did you wash your hands?
OWEN: Yes -- yesterday.
Random, used flossers -- you're welcome, Dr. Rand -- lie on the end tables in our living room. Toenail clippings are in the bathroom sink. And, please, let's not even discuss the bathroom floor.
All of this, by the way, is why scented candles are so popular with women.
It's like I'm living with cavemen half the time. Dustin promises me the Smiley men are evolving. He does a great impression of the evolutionary chart and what he and his ancestors might look like on it. But maybe I'll see this evolution in hindsight.
Until then, I think I'm devolving.
Every day, I put my keys in the exact same spot. I always know where they are. Except for last Tuesday. My keys were missing. I ran from room to room, staring at nothing and yelling, "Where are my keys? I can't find them?"
THEM: Did you look in the bathroom?
ME: Yes, I stood in that room and stared at nothing for at least five minutes.
THEM: Did you look in the kitchen?
ME: Why would my keys be in the kitchen? That's where I keep my coat.
Then my youngest, Lindell, said, "Do you think they are in the car?"
That's when I turned around and snapped, "If I thought they were in the car, do you think I'd be here looking in the house?"
The keys actually were in the car, but that didn't matter. Before I found them, I'd stomp around the house some more and yelled, "Where are my keys? Why won't anyone help me find my keys?"
Ford lay on the small couch, flossing his teeth -- you're welcome again, Dr. Rand. His dirty feet were propped up on the side table next to his other used flosser. Owen lay on the larger couch in yesterday's gym shorts, the ones that are unraveling from the hem.
"All you do is sit there," I yelled. "No one helps me with anything. And have you seen your bathroom lately? Believe me, I saw it when I was in there staring at nothing and looking for my keys. Get up and make your bed or something. Gosh!"
I stomped up the stairs and closed my bedroom door.
Ford yelled up at me, "Geez, why do women always have to be so cranky?"