5 December 2006 15:15 EST | Posted by Becky House Rules
This made me laugh & think of similar rules I’ve had to lay down myself….

At the trailer we lived in ruins, the roof leaked, the floors were falling through, every drop of water which went down the kitchen or bathroom sinks flowed up the pipe into the tub & had to be bailed out of the tub & thrown down the toilet. It resulted in some odd, rather specific rules for trailer life, like that we had to be really careful about not letting food go down the kitchen drain because it would have to be cleaned out of the tub later, & that we could not leave the shower curtian in the bath tub because if nasty water from the kitchen sink got on it the shower curtain would grow moldy faster than brie cheese left on the counter in July. No one could jump on my bed if it was raining because I had usually at least 2 or 3 pots, buckets or bowls balanced precariously on the bed where the roof leaked (move the bed? there wasn’t enough dry ceiling space in the room to put the bed anywhere that it wouldn’t get rained on- except for the spot occupied by my dressing table which is an antique with lovely carving on it & given the choice of ruining that or sleeping with buckets I took the buckets. It’s been 18+ months & I still get tense when I hear the weather man call for 3 or 4 days of rain in a row. I usually remember I don’t have to worry about it anymore but sometimes I find myself during the second or third day starting to worry again!) Then there was the business of living 5 feet away from your neighbors, we had to remember to whisper if we wanted to converse in the bathroom after 10 pm because the bathroom was across from the back door which looked right out on the neighbors’ bedroom window so if we talked even normally in summer with everything open they would hear us & wake up. No yelling in the house at all after 10 & no loud music or anything ever. (the first year we were there, back when the ex was still around, his best friend lived across the street & he & his girlfriend got in trouble because they watched a movie with their surround sound turned on & it bothered their neighbor next to them, we didn’t hear anything right across the street though)

We lived in a hell for 6 years & I never thought we would get out but we did. A lot of things which would have produced screams & rage here in our new home were matter of course in the trailer & things which had never been an issue were an issue now. So I had to make some new rules fast.

The first was ‘we do not throw live animals at people’ this was produced on the fly after miss 16 threw our cat at miss 10 (they were 15 & 8 then but you get the idea) The cat was the most displeased in this scenario because miss 10 has pretty good reflexes & ducked the flying cat & it hit the wall instead, you would think this is a once in a lifetime rule but I have had to invoke it at least once a month since then & the dog did get thrown once too!

Many of the obvious rules I have had to post in my failed signs, which I used to write up with each child’s chore list written out on them, are truly scary but all had to be posted because when I would say “don’t you know better than to wear shorts in December?” I would get a blank look & a shrug. Here comes a new rule! ‘Wear weather appropriate clothing to school every day- if it is anything less than 70 have a sweatshirt or coat on, or in your knapsack, just in case you need it’

A lot of the rules are mostly for my son’s benifit: ‘if you can see dirt on your hands wash them in the sink, use soap & warm water’ ‘if you are sent to take a shower or bath use shampoo on your hair & soap on your body, don’t just run your head under the water’. Both spawned after many discussions about what is & is not good hygene.

I try to leave it at the simple common sense things like ‘if you take it out put it back’, ‘if you empty it fill it up or wash it out’, ‘if you take your snack or lunch plate & cup out to the garage or upstairs bring it back before the mold grows across the whole plate’ seems to be the one they ignore the most. But a lot of these rules assumes someone who lives here did take ‘it’ out or emptied that water bottle, to hear my kids tell it ‘noone’ used the last of the refrigerator water & put the bottle back empty (& all the way to the back, we keep 2 rotating bottles of water so one is always chilling) No one took that plate out to the garage with the nachos on it & left it to grow fur. (when did we last HAVE nachos?)

I can usually tell though, who did what ever it was, of course the upstairs is the girl’s territory so whoever brings down what ever I’m looking for (cups & glasses are always being called to the black hole of my upstairs- it gets to the point that I’m looking at 1 cup from Applebees & a coffee mug as the only inhabitants of my cup cupboard & I start yelling. Suddenly someone brings me 42 cups stacked taller than they are, from upstairs) But of course the person bringing the cups is not the one who used them (not a single one, no mom, I always bring my cups right back down)

The garage is mr7’s domain, out of 60 hourss room I can’t blame every mess in his room on him, some of it is spill over from the girls upstairs, sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental but I’m usually sure when I find Nail polish & eyeliner on his floor at the foot of the steps that they’re not his (unless it’s halloween time, then all bets are off) on the dvr out there he might let his sister have 5 & only if she’s recording a tv show that he likes too. So he always gets the blame for anything wrong or left in the garage area. Since the stairs from the upstairs come down in his room.

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