Sunday Post 37: Teamwork 101

Posted by Danny

When Stephanie was two, we were diligently working to get her to use the potty.  Lisa was tired of the hassle of diapers.  I knew my annual income would increase by $600 when I stopped having to buy Pampers four times a month.

We tried everything:  reason, a sticker chart, the comfort argument, peer pressure.  Nothing seemed to work.  

When October hit, Lisa made her annual trip to the store to purchase candy corn.  Lisa was big on annual traditions, big or small.  Candy corn was a fall staple.

This was Stephanie’s first experience with the delectable sweet and she was hooked immediately.  A new tool!  We’d bribe her with candy corn.

That night we headed to Nana’s house for dinner.  DJ was five and excited to help teach Stephanie about the wonders of the toilet.  She understood the stakes were high for Stephanie.  Potty = candy corn.

About an hour into the evening, the two ran out of the bathroom with exuberance!  “Stephanie peed in the potty!  She gets candy corn!” our oldest reported.

Stephanie was beaming with pride.  We all ran to the bathroom and looked in the miniature commode.  It was full of urine.  Lisa and I began to clap – the accolades flying.

Nana, being a bit more seasoned than we, took a second look.  “That looks like a lot of pee for a two-year old that’s never gone before.  DJ…”

Yes, the candy corn mafia boss and her associate pooled their resources.  DJ would provide the urine and Stephanie would share the loot.  Incredible teamwork!  And we almost bought it, hook, line and sinker.

Tonight I had a work function and was headed out of the house after taking a quick shower.  When I came out of my room, I was amazed.  My three daughters were again teamed up – rather than stress me out with making dinner for another night this week, they decided to take care of themselves.  DJ took charge – scrambling the eggs.  Michelle, without being asked, set the table and got the drinks ready.  Stephanie was in charge of waffles, syrup and butter.  They teamed up and took care of business – just like before.

I wonder if it is a coincidence that we just bought the annual candy corn at DJ’s request this past weekend.  You know, those little sugar pills bring out the best in people.


Dishwasher Loading 101

Posted by Danny

I may get hammered for this post.  So let me start with a disclaimer.  I really don’t think I’m sexist.  I married a very strong woman – I know when she was alive that she was in charge of me.  She was also in charge at work (even though she wasn’t officially the boss), at church (although she wasn’t always the committee chair), and with her brother and sister. 

I work with strong women who I respect immensely.  And I hope and pray my three daughters will grow up to be independent women – kicking men’s butts when necessary.

All that being said…I don’t think women are capable of loading a dish washer effectively.

I watched as Lisa spread the dishes out so far that a slender person could have walked between them.  I see my mother lay bowls down instead of stacking them closely in the upward position. 

On the rare occasion that a child of mine actually puts something in the dishwasher, it’s tossed in with no strategy.  It’s kind of like they’re tossing a pair of socks in the laundry bin.

And who’s left to empty the dishwasher 17 times each week?  Me!

I hate unloading the dishwasher!  Despise it.  I’d much rather unload it twice a week when it’s really full than 4 times a week when it’s only slightly full.  There has to be some economy of scale there.

My theory is to pack the dishwasher with as many dishes as humanly possible.  If you tactically work to place each dish, you can fit 80 or 90 things in there, excluding the silverware.  I know it can be done, I’ve counted.  And we eat out of the same size dishes as you.

There is a shelf that can be pulled down if you put short dishes underneath it.  There are plenty of places for tall things – but every woman in my life puts anything with height right where the shelf could house four bowls and the lid of a water bottle.  Got the coffee mug you purchased from Disney World?  Don’t put that tall booger underneath the shelf!  Put it in the bottom of the washer.  Just because it looks like the lower level is made for plates, doesn’t mean you can’t put something else down there!  There’s no dishwasher police that’s going to arrest you for placing an item in an unsuspecting place.  Be bold!

The bowls can stack very close together and still come out clean.  But my kids and my mother will spread them out like they’re setting a table. 

Some argue that you should rinse all of the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.  I disagree.  That theory means you have to rinse 100% of the dishes.  If you just throw them in, 10, maybe 15% come out dirty.  You rinse them after the wash and you’ve come out 85% better than if you’d rinsed them all from the beginning.

I’m a busy man.  I’m all about saving time.  This is but one tactic to simplify life.  If you need more tips, just let me know.

A fly on horse poop

Posted by Danny

I’m like a fly on horse poop.  I go from one pile to another, seldom finishing what I started.

This is the pot from dinner.  I put the stew on, something my mother-in-law froze for us a while back.  Of course, I was in a hurry so I put it on high. My stove should not have a “high” setting…and my car should have a governor.  I drive like a bat out of hell.  You’ll not see a Christian fish sign on the back of my car – nonbelievers would find it difficult to believe that a believer was behind the wheel.

I put the stew in and decided to make a “quick” phone call – not a social call but one to line up a play date for Stephanie later in the week.  Reception was bad in the house, so I went on the porch.

My friend and I began talking about weekend plans – and when I returned inside about ten minutes later, my stew was cooked – the pot was singed and the house smelled like a cigar bar.

The time that was saved by someone else preparing the meal was lost trying to get the damn burnt-on, black yuck off the bottom of the pan.  I had to scrape every inch with a butter knife – and then I pulled out the Softscrub.  As usual, it worked like a charm but I think I’ll let Jesse eat the next meal out of the pot before I feed anything that comes out of it to the kids.  I’ve seen some of the stuff he puts in his stomach – he can handle a trace of Softscrub.

At work I become distracted by emails concerning the kids.  At home I work on the stuff I didn’t finish at the office.  I’m never focused on one thing. 

I lift weights in between calling out spelling words.  I fold laundry while waiting to get a real person on the line at Time Warner (there is plenty of time to get something done when you’re on the line with Time Warner.) 

And I find that I go nuts to inanimate objects – like the recorded voice at Time Warner (we’ve been having some internet problems).  When I call I immediately yell into the phone “I WANT TO SPEAK TO A HUMAN!!”

“Could you repeat your request, I did not understand”, the polite robotic woman replies.


 “Would you like to speak to a customer service agent?”

“If she is alive that would thrill me!”

And when she finally comes on the line, I floss while waiting for her to remotely check my connection.

Soft Scrub is Your Friend

Posted by Danny

I think Lisa taught me about Soft Scrb, the all purpose kitchen cleanser, not long after we got married.  We purchased a house that was built in the 1950’s and the tubs were nasty.  She tried everything she could find to clean them and the only two things that seemed to make a dent in the dirt were Comet and Soft Scrub.

We have a housekeeper who cleans for us every other week.  I don’t do very much in between her visits.  Stephanie and Michelle brush their teeth in my bathroom most mornings and don’t know how to wash toothpaste spit down the sink.  About day 5 I get grossed out enough to take a damp cloth and wipe their Crest remnants away.  That’s about the extent of the cleaning in this house by those who inhabit these walls.

But today, I sort of got motivated to do some countertop cleaning in the kitchen.  And I have fallen in LOVE with Soft Scrub!!!

We have a glass top stove.  I never much paid it attention to it until I became the official head of this household last year.  Now, I see how disgusting it gets.  Lisa never cooked that much but when she did, she wasn’t a burner.  I apparently like my food well done because I can burn a boiled egg, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, asperagus, toast – you name it, I can burn it.  My cooking theory memics my outlook on life.  Move on with it – no time to slowly warm things.  On my stove there is really no need for a low or medium setting; I don’t have time for that.  If something needs to get hot, and with virtually everything you cook that’s what you’re aiming for, heat it up as quickly as possisble. 

So, every time I cook on the stove, something invariably overflows onto the burner.  And that leaves a nasty, crispy residue.

I’ve tried glass cleaner.  It is a glass top stove, makes sense doesn’t it?  Doesn’t work.  It does not get spilled, burned on spaghetti sauce off of the burner. 

I’ve tried 409 – when I was growing up, that was like household penicillin.  Not anymore.  Sure it’ll get a fingerprint off a door, but it doesn’t stand a chance to a stainless steel pot stain on a fiberglass sink.

But Soft Scrub – ahh.  The cleaner that keeps on cleaning.

Burned on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup – no problem.

Pizza pan scrapes on your sink – no problem.



Red wine on your white countertops – no problem.


and AFTER.

I once used it to get steak juice off of my kid’s white shirt.  It works! 

I might try whitening my teeth with it.

When you’re running a household unexpectedly by yourself, it’s good to have help.  Jesse is good.  My parents are helpful.  My in-laws rock.  But Soft Scrub is always there for me.  Day or night – bleaching out the stains of my life.

The Laundry

Posted by Danny

Jesse can fold a fitted sheet like Martha Stewart.  It’s incredible.  When he gets through with it, it’s like it just came out of the Bed, Bath and Beyond wrapping.  I won’t brag about a lot he does around the house, but he has mastered that skill.  I don’t know if he took Home Economics or if it is just genetic.  His mom is the best folder I’ve ever met.

I was actually required to take a quarter of Home Ec in middle school.  Our teacher was Ms. McLaurin.  She was over six feet tall and had red hair, on her head and on her toes.  They hung off the end of her sandals about an inch.  I guess all of that tallness pushed them forward in her shoes.  I’m not a huge toe fan anyway.   I have to leave the room when the commercial about fungus under your toenails comes on.  It grosses me out.

I don’t remember much from the class but we did learn to change a bed with the person still in it.  Since I decided not to become a nurses’ assistant, I’m not sure what to do with that knowledge.  If you are ever in a position to change a bed with someone in it and need help, I’m your guy!

My buddy Brad is going to a really nice resturant with his wife this weekend.  Jesse is spending the night in Winston Salem visiting friends.  I went over to my friend Jeff’s house today, he was cleaning his gun – he has a really cute daughter, I think he’s getting ready for the future.  Me?  I’ve got a big weekend planned.  I’m doing laundry!  There are nine loads calling my name.

I wouldn’t mind doing laundry if the folding and shoving it back in the drawers wasn’t a part of the process.  And I’ll have to admit that my mother-in-law and mom do the lion’s share of it.  Sometimes with travel schedule, etc., it falls to me.  I guess that makes sense since I helped create the little bodies that wear all of these dag gone clothes.

We have differing philosophies on laundry in our house.

If DJ looks at an article of clothing, it automatically goes into her laundry bin.  The bin is large enough for Jesse and me to comfortably sit in together (although we’ve never done that) and it is always full.  I’m doing her laundry today, it will be full by tomorrow – and she is out of town.  I think there are little minions in her room who open her drawers at night and carry the clothes to the hamper.  It is truly amazing.  And when something she wants to wear is dirty, who do you think gets blamed?  It ain’t the minions.

Stephanie, on the other hand, is very good about refolding her outfits if she doesn’t wear them for long.  On Thursday she said she didn’t have any long pants to wear to school.  If she says that, it means I haven’t done laundry in a very, very long time.

When Michelle takes an article of clothing off, she typically asks me if it’s dirty.  That works for now.  But from the looks of her room, it is likely she will mirror DJ in her laundry habits.

Me?  Easy.  I take a good sniff.  If it doesn’t smell bad, it goes back on the shelf. 

I gotta go – Stephanie needs pants.

  • Tanner Tweets

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11,923 other subscribers
  • Past Posts

  • Contact Us