Don’t let your dishwasher destroy your marriage

Don’t let your dishwasher destroy your marriage

If you’re like my wife, then after you’ve been married for about two years you probably realize your decision to get married was a serious mistake. Marriage is difficult, especially if your husband is a humor writer or if you have kids. If both of those conditions apply to you, then may God have mercy on your soul. 

My wife Michele (who prefers not to be mentioned by name in my columns, so will henceforth be referred to as “the woman who prefers not to be mentioned as Michele”) and I have been married for 26 years. Like any married couple, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve squabbled over trivial disagreements like why I always pull all the covers over to my side of the bed at night, what was I thinking the time I taught our 9- and 8-year-old daughters how to hitchhike, and my minor lapse of judgment when I hired a police officer stripper for a surprise party for my wife’s 40th birthday. Turns out my wife was not quite as impressed by Officer Cinnamon’s sexy pole dancing skills as my poker buddies and I were. 

So yes, we’ve endured our fair share of marital misunderstandings. But there is one issue which for years has caused more heartache and strife than any couple should have to endure. That’s right. I’m talking about the differences in how we load the dishwasher. It is still painful to talk about in public.

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A Letter to My Future Son-In-Law

A Letter to My Future Son-In-Law

So you want to marry my daughter? Have you totally thought this through? Let me tell you what you’re in for. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

So you want to marry my daughter? Have you totally thought this through? Let me tell you what you’re in for. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

[Author’s note: My daughter is in her mid-twenties and has a boyfriend. The days of “Will he ask me to the prom?” have evolved to “Will he ask me to marry him?” I thought I should prepare for that frightening eventuality by jotting down some notes for what I might want to say to her future husband when that important day approaches. This is just a first draft. Suggestions welcome. – TEJ]

Dear Possible-Future Son-in-Law,

So you want to marry my daughter? What on God’s green earth gives you the right to stomp on my heart and steal my little girl, you hateful, wretched son-of-a-b*tch? Have you met my close friend, Mr. Smith and his buddy, Mr. Wesson? If you think for one minute you’re going to swoop in out of nowhere and take my place after all I’ve done to raise her right, well, you’ll have to come through me. Ya’ hear me, fella?

(Okay, I’m feeling a little cranky. I haven’t eaten in hours, so that opening was a little hangry. Sorry. Let me try this again.)

Son, my daughter has informed me that you would like to marry her. How exciting! I could not be happier for you both. This is a very important decision, so, I hope you’ve thoroughly thought it through.

My daughter is a very special young woman. In the remote chance you’re not quite as familiar with her charming quirks as I have come to be, perhaps I might share a few words of counsel, to help ensure smooth sailing as you embark on your new life together.

You may have noticed by now that my precious little angel is rather, um, strong-willed. She’s been that way forever. When she turned two, she insisted on baking her birthday cake all by herself, proclaiming, “I DO IT MYSELF, DADDY!” I still can recall the proud look on her face as she diligently mixed the cake batter, added the rainbow sprinkles, Frosted Flakes, and bananas, and then poured the entire concoction into what she called “the blender,” but which we adults usually refer to as “the toilet.” The plumber and I sure had a hearty laugh about that, up until the moment he presented me with his $575 bill.

I also hope you’re not terribly concerned with a particularly tidy home. My little Entropy Engine, as I like to call her, is more of a free spirit in that regard. As far back as I can remember, her room always has looked like a Category 5 hurricane had just swept through. I wouldn’t waste your breath asking her to load the dishwasher, or make the bed, or clean up after herself. She’ll no doubt remind you: that’s what maids are for. Hope you earn a good paycheck, young man.

Oh, and a word about pets: DON’T – unless you like getting up at 3am to let the dog out. Because there’s no way you’ll be able to nudge her out of bed. After all, she needs her nightly uninterrupted ten-hour beauty rest. No, when it comes to pets, her job is to cuddle them. Don’t get me wrong. My daughter loves animals – or more accurately, YouTube videos of them, especially fuzzy hedgehogs and baby penguins. If you’re really serious about pets, might I suggest starting with baby steps, say, a bowl of fish? On second thought, scratch that suggestion. It might end badly.

You’ve probably noticed by now that my daughter is remarkably independent. We raised her to be that way. And you may notice she has a slightly elevated need to be right a fair amount of the time – but only when she’s conscious. She will be quick to point out when you’re wrong about say, your taste in men’s fashion or perhaps the latest Star Wars film or where you both should go out to dinner tonight. But she will overrule you with the cutest expression on her face, so you won’t even notice. My Little Miss Sunshine is absolutely willing to listen to your point of view on a wide variety of issues – just so long as your point of view happens to be the same as hers. Just practice saying, “That’s a great idea, dear.” You’ll do just fine.

If my precious jewel has decided that you’re Mr. Right, that says a lot about you. You are clearly a wonderful young man, hardworking, smart, sensitive and a devoted companion, who has compiled at least a six-figure 401K by now. Well done. Oh, on that last point, I’m not saying that my daughter just wants you for your money. Let me be clear. I just want you for your money.

Your future mother-in-law and I plan to move in with you guys when our retirement nest egg runs out. Not to worry. That won’t be for at least another three years. Be sure to buy a large enough house so we can have plenty of privacy – and a view of the ocean and a very large en suite… with a Jacuzzi and a 65” flat screen TV. You’re going to make such a good son.

I hope this will help you feel more comfortable as you contemplate spending the rest of your life married to this incredible young woman, who for the first 18 years of her life I affectionately called my Prima Donna Angel Monster Princess. Welcome to the family.

Remember, in the long run, you needn’t worry about us. Worry about yourself – um, perhaps I phrased that poorly. I mean, life is short. In the end, all that matters is your and my baby girl’s happiness (albeit not necessarily in that order). Make a point to laugh together, love and support each other, and never forget what’s really important in the life you create together: Grandchildren. I really don’t feel I should have to explain this to you. Don’t disappoint me, son.

Signed,

Your soon-to-be “Dad”

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

My Address to the Graduating Seniors – Coronavirus Edition

My Address to the Graduating Seniors – Coronavirus Edition

[Author’s note: Since 1997, it’s been my tradition to give a graduation commencement speech – whether I’ve been invited to or not. This year, in light of the Coronavirus quarantines, I gave my speech remotely. Below are excerpts from this year’s stirring oratory. You might want to have a Kleenex nearby. – TEJ]

“Dear students, faculty, staff, and mascot of this great institution. It is indeed an honor to almost be here with you for this video commencement address. Thanks for attending – I know you’d rather be playing Call of Duty.“

“Dear students, faculty, staff, and mascot of this great institution. It is indeed an honor to almost be here with you for this video commencement address. Thanks for attending – I know you’d rather be playing Call of Duty.“

Congratulations, Class of 2020. I am deeply honored to be your commencement speaker. Due to the current health crisis, I almost had to bail and ask my close personal friend Barack Obama to fill in. Luckily, I am virtually here for you via Zoom, though I long to be strolling on the hallowed grounds of your renowned university, checking out the Tri Delts.

I greet you from my couch in my man cave, draped in formal commencement speaker garb – cap, gown and fuzzy bunny slippers – filled with pride for what you have achieved – well, most of you, anyway. Accompanying me is my trusty feline, Bonkers. Wave to the camera, Bonkers.

First a point of business. While a cap and gown are optional for this unique graduation ceremony, a dress code of boxers and bras is a tad too informal. So, for those of you with your video cameras on (Bonkers has counted 67 so far), I would thank you to please don a bathrobe.

Our nation is living through a nightmare unlike any in living memory – more upsetting even than the 2011 breakup of The White Stripes. I have faith that we will survive, providing we stick together (albeit six feet apart) and remember to WIPE and WEAR. Wipe down everything you touch and wear a mask. Oh, and remain in your parents’ basement until a vaccine is found – which according to my doctor’s latest estimate looks like October 2023.

Speaking of parents, join me in acknowledging all the sacrifices they’ve made over the past two to three decades, preparing you for this moment. From teaching you to ride a bike to helping you erupt that volcano in 4th grade (let’s face it, your mom did most of the work), to chewing out your English teacher for not giving their angel a B+, your parents were always there to support you. And they will continue to do so, for God knows how much longer. Let’s give these heroic folks an enthusiastic round of applause – by clicking on the clapping hands icon at the top of your screen.

Today we reflect on the past four years – or seven in the case of you accounting majors who flunked statistics, changed your major to astronomy, bailed on that and committed to astrology, only to discover there have been no job openings for astrologists since…, well, since ever.

Whether you pursued a degree in engineering, psychology or Medieval French Poetry, there is one thing you all have in common: a future with limitless opportunities in exhilarating enterprises, such as delivering groceries or restocking the cleaning products in Costco – both of which are booming these days.

Disappointment abounds. No hanging out at the mall, no concerts or bar hopping. Such a bummer that the final frat party blowout was cancelled. Nice try with your good pitch citing the germ-killing benefits of ingesting massive quantities of beer. Consider celebrating with your mates via Zoom. On the positive side, you won’t need a designated driver to get home.

Thanks to the economic collapse (and your impressive 2.3 GPA), that dream job you were hoping for in Silicon Valley has evaporated, like a puff of smoke, carried off by the wind, elusive, never to be found…. I apologize. I was thinking of my book deal that just got canned. Even worse, your graduation trip to Italy had to be scrapped because of the pandemic. My advice: Don’t underestimate the pleasures of a hometown staycation. I hear some pubs and parks may reopen later this month. And Frisbee golf is making a comeback.

It’s entirely normal to have pangs of dread about what is to come, given your lack of any discernible skills and a college debt that exceeds the GNP of Cameroon. Add to that the looming beef shortage, threats of nuclear attack from North Korea, the alienation of our NATO allies, and the specter of Trump’s re-election, it’s no wonder you’re a tad on edge. However, I say, “Have hope. Think of your glass as half full” – okay, maybe 10% full is more accurate.

Though your situation may appear bleak, there are plenty of reasons to feel hopeful about the world today – if you happen to be wildlife. It’s an incredible time to be a peacock or mountain goat. They can roam almost anywhere they like lately.

As you embark on this next exciting chapter of life, I countenance you to go out and make a change. And by “go out”, I mean, go outside to your backyard and get some fresh air. And by “make a change” I mean your clothes. You’ve been wearing the same T-shirt and sweatpants for three weeks. Take a shower, while you’re at it. I can smell you from here.

Eventually you will change the world. But for the moment, just change your expectations instead. I hear Amazon is hiring forklift operators.

Graduates, I encourage you to remain positive – unless we are talking about COVID-19, then by all means, I pray you’ll remain negative. Don’t forget to wash your hands, use Purell, and practice safe social distancing. And think of all the rent you’ll save by living in your parents’ basement for the next 24 – 36 months.

In closing, my advice as you stare into the abyss that is your future, is … um … uh … Sorry. I got nothing. Nada. I’m just glad I’m not graduating this year. That would totally suck. So, good luck. There’s a 57% chance things will get better … someday.

Now please take a second to click on the RATE ME button. If I earn 4.5 stars, the university will email me a $100 Target gift card.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Go make yourself useful. You can start by emptying the dishwasher. It’s not going to empty itself.  [CLICK. The speaker has left the meeting.]

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Ten Years of Silliness – A Look Back on a Decade of View from the Bleachers

Ten Years of Silliness – A Look Back on a Decade of View from the Bleachers

Ten years ago this week, I published my very first View from the Bleachers humor blog post. Can you believe it’s been 3,653 days? I know what you’re thinking, and I totally agree: Feels like 3,654.

I don’t usually share my very first blog post (called Hey, This Blogging Thing is a Snap) because, … how do I put it delicately? It was a pretty pathetic first time up to the plate.

Since that humble beginning on September 7, 2009, I have rarely demonstrated anything vaguely approaching humility. I learned that from Trump. It works so well for him. I have written more than 360 humor pieces and published two books. I also learned from our esteemed leader the Art of the Lie. I can proudly proclaim that I have consistently lied to my readers, as well as exaggerated and bent the truth as much as possible, primarily in an effort to make myself look good. In that regard, clearly I have failed miserably.

But more importantly, if you have been keeping up with my blog over the years, you know that I have worked out with Obama, (that actually happened), was short-listed to be the next Pope, have been compared to Jesus (wow, that got some people upset!), ran for President, and discussed my here-to-fore not widely known experience as a general in two Gulf wars. I have repeatedly provided my expertise as a relationship guru and parenting expert, not to mention an economist and a Nobel Prize honoree (for humor writing, not physics).

If you find yourself with time to kill and bowling is just a little too exciting for you, might I suggest checking out my blog site’s TOPICS DIRECTORY? There, you can scroll through a listing of topics from parenting to politics to health & fitness to business and the workplace and much more. There’s even a separate category devoted specifically to our current occupant of the Oval Office. (However, I might suggest avoiding that one if your politics run right of center. I don’t want to raise your blood pressure any higher than it already is.)

In thinking about the past tenth of a century, I thought it might be fun to compile my own personal all-time most beloved posts and share them with my hundreds of thousands of loyal subscribers. I have no doubt there are some you never read before – because you’re a responsible person who has far better things to do with your time.

I had difficulty whittling down my favorites, so I’ve made this a two-part piece. Next week, I will return with Part 2 of my all-time favorite View from the Bleachers columns.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Everyday Life 

Side-By-Side Comparison of the Roomba VS. The Timba – In a recent test of traditional vacuum cleaning methods versus the latest robot vacuum called the Roomba, we compared a variety of features to determine which was superior. The results may surprise you. (Nah, probably not.)

My Personal War with a Backyard Mole – I’m not a violent person, but every man has his limits. In my case, it’s Henry. Henry is the name I’ve given to a mole that is destroying my back yard. And now it’s war.

Home Cooking for Husbands Who Don’t Cook –  I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest culinary expert, but recently, my wife encouraged me to start helping with the meals. I’m starting to get the hang of it. And if I can do it, then I can teach ANY husband how to cook.

My Trip to the Dentist – I used to hate going to the dentist. HATED IT! Until I learned about nitrous oxide and met the woman of my dreams in the dentist’s chair. Read about my change of heart here.

Turn left NOW! No, your OTHER left!! The joys of teaching your teenager to drive – Sooner or later, as a parent, your teenage son or daughter will ask you the question every parent dreads: Will you teach me how to drive? When that day comes, here are some valuable tips to keep your teenager from driving you insane, not to mention driving into oncoming traffic.

Fun and Leisure 

How I Got Crabs – We recently moved to an island where the favorite pastime in summer is to go crabbing. The people here love God, Country, Family and Crabbing – but if they had to pick only one, I’m pretty sure they’d pick crabbing.  Learn what you need to do if you want to get crabs. Perhaps I phrased that last sentence poorly.

A Night at the Opera – When it comes to cultural expansion, I draw the line at opera. That is, I did until recently, when my wife told me we were going to the opera. Read about my cultural immersion into the highbrow world of opera – or as I prefer to think of it, From Here to Eternity.

An American Tourist’s Guide to Vacationing in Italy – As a foremost expert on world travel, in this post I share everything an American needs to know to have a memorable vacation in Italy – and if all goes well, not get arrested.

Loser for Hire – I love to play sports. There’s just one problem. I’m actually not very good at it. People love to play me because they know they will have the satisfaction of winning. So, I’ve decided to offer my services for hire. If you’d like to feel better about yourself, just hire me to play you in any sport. You’ll feel like a winner in no time. Anybody up for a round of golf?

Love and Relationships 

Don’t Let Your Dishwasher Destroy Your Marriage – Being married for more than 30 years takes commitment and hard work, especially if you’re married to me.  Ours has survived many ups and downs. But it was a major household appliance that drove our marriage to its knees.  Read how we were able to overcome our differences about dirty dishes. 

Fifty Shades of White – When your wife asks you to go to Home Depot with her to pick out white paint for one of your rooms, be prepared for a long outing. You might want to request a couple vacation days. You’re going to be there a while. 

The Case Against Marriage Equality for Left-handed People – At the risk of offending both of my regular readers, it’s time I spoke up about something I feel passionately about. It’s time that the 90% of us right-handed Americans take our country back and stop letting left-handers marry and breed. Read my cogent argument for why we must take our nation back.

Memo to Our Kids: The Family Has Decided to Downsize – It was a difficult decision. But I looked at the future cash flow projections and our dwindling retirement fund, and I make the hard choice. I had to let our two kids go. But the severance package is more than fair, if you ask me. 

That’s it for this installment. If you’re still hanging in there, you can now check out PART 2 of this list, including a TOP TEN LIST of my own personal all-time favorite columns over the past ten years.

Please click the LIKE button for any posts you enjoy. I would deeply appreciate it if you took a moment to post a comment to any of my columns or just your overall views about View from the Bleachers and how reading this column has made you a better person (it’s okay to lie). If you’re curious about what else I’ve written about over the years, check out VFTB’s TOPICS DIRECTORY. Thanks.

Tim Jones

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2009 – 2019

Topics

Topics

Index of topics (Listed in order of caloric content) Thank you for taking time to learn about my blog, View from the Bleachers.  I would like to share with you my collection of brilliant writing, erudite ponderings and insightful commentaries about the human...