Friday, November 17, 2006
Rules of life
Rules of life. Not to be confused with inevitable laws of the universe, which are unchanging and...well...inevitable. Rules of life are things you learn as you go about your daily lives. Some are quick and easy, others take more time. But rest assured, there are many many more rules than we have time in our short lives to learn. In the interest of trying to help you pack as much learning as possible into your life, I will point a few out. Maybe I can save you some time to use for other things. Or not. The quick and easy are of the same ilk. It only takes one experience to figure them out and they are easily remembered. Things like not brushing your teeth then drinking a glass of orange juice. Or drinking orange juice with a brownie or slice of cake. One "BLEAH!" is about all it takes there. Some may take a little longer to learn simply because one must reach a stage of life before they can be experienced, but once you get there the lesson sticks hard and fast after the first event. Like don't feed the baby then shake her up, and expect to escape with a clean shirt. Or don't feed the dog pitted prunes even if she begs for them. In those cases, you have to wait until you are a parent, or have a dog. A cat person with no access to canines may NEVER learn the prune rule, but that is okay because they get to learn the "it is best to wear slippers in the dark to avoid stepping in a warm hairball with bare feet" rule. It sort of evens out. Nevertheless, you wouldn't hold that shaken baby up over your head even one more time, and would never again ask the dog to "sit pretty" for a pitted prune. Some take a while to learn, not because we have to develop enough to reach a stage, but rather because humans are stupid creatures and aren't always reliable when matching a cause with an effect. Like no matter how many celery sticks you eat, it is the chocolate cake that attaches itself to your rear for the world to see. But we keep on with the celery during the day, and sneak in that cake at night when nobody is looking. There is a reason Sara Lee is on the stock exchange, and it ain't because she makes celery! It is the same reason Weight Watchers makes millions. One of my favourites, is if you have a chance to put gas in your tank, do it. Because guaranteed the night you decide to "get gas tomorrow" you are going to be running late and in dire danger of running out of gas on the way to that important appointment with the specialist you have been waiting months for. Or you will have to pump it yourself in the wee hours of the morning, in whipping rain while wearing business clothes. You know, a black pencil skirt and a thin white blouse. It takes making a few presentations looking like the love-union between a drowned rat and the loser of a wet t-shirt contest before learning that one. And still, I have been known to pass by a perfectly convenient gas pump to "get gas tomorrow". There are apartment rules - that "friendly" neighbour will soon become TOO friendly and spend more time at your place than theirs. Home owner rules - 10 year shingles sound like a good deal, that is, until you have been living in the house for 10 years and still have a mortage and now you need to replace the roof. Usually this happens days after finally paying off the appliances you bought when you bought the house. Light carpet is not your friend, ever. I don't care what they are showing in the design magazines. Dark carpet is not your friend, ever. I don't care what they are showing in the design magazines. Hardwood and ceramic are only "easy to clean" if you have OCD or a maid. Car rules - if you wash it, it will rain. If you have it detailed, kids or animals will become carsick on the upholstery and passengers will grind cheesies into the floor mats. If you have the chance, fill the tank (see above). Office rules - if you dress too nice your boss thinks you are overpaid. If you dress too shabby you will be passed over for promotions because you don't seem motivated. The promotion and the raise always go to the person you think least deserves it. The more incompetent the new employee, the better the chances you will be reporting to that person within weeks. If you get something new, write your name all over it and chain it to your desk or it will disappear. Writing your name all over office supplies and chaining them to your desk makes people whisper about you, even if they are doing it while holding a pen with your name around the barrel and a length of cut chain attached to the end. Grabbing said pen out of their hand with an "ah-HA!" and accusatory finger gesture will not help your case, and will spur stuff-stealing pranks for weeks and weeks and weeks. You'll be lucky if your desk doesn't disappear. Marriage rules - DH's are more likely to surprise you with tickets for crap you don't want to see, than events you are interested in. He comes bounding in, holding passes high in the air and exclaims "Guess where we are going?!?!?" - it is never the symphony or a presentation of "The Vagina Monologues" by the local feminist theater. No, it is more likely to be a sporting event. Or in my case, Iron Maiden tickets. There is an unwritten yet known rule that states whoever notices a smell/mess/problem first must fix it. So no, your husband is not blind, deaf, nor hard of smelling. He DID see that spill, smell that diaper, and hear that crash. But if they acknowledge those things, they have to take care of those things so it is best to feign surprise when that dog poop they have stepped over eight times is pointed out to their attention. This rule eventually applies to kids as well, by the way. Grocery shopping rules. You will most likely forget the thing you originally came for, and leave with 10 things you will probably never use. I can go to the store for milk, eggs, and bread and come home with truffle oil, fancy olives, several magazines, tofu nuggets, spring salad mix, oranges, and organic yogurt. I normally remember the milk, eggs, and bread when I get home, most likely after the grocery store is closed. So then we run to the variety store, where we pay four times as much for stuff we don't normally buy - like whole milk instead of skim, small eggs instead of large, and squishy white bread because that is all they have and we are in no position to be picky when there are lunches to be made and it is almost midnight. The cereal the kids beg for the entire shopping trip is rejected outright once it hits the bowl and said child realizes no cartoon character is going to pop out of the box. Usually this cereal costs more than your car so you can't just throw it out, and end up eating it yourself. Meetings don't go well when you are wearing a wet, see-through white blouse and are stuffed full of day-glo marhsmallows and whole milk. Wait, that was an office rule. So many rules, so many categories, so many ways to learn. The person who decides the child can have two glasses of chocolate milk, a cookie, ice cream, and brownies right before bed is never the person who spends most of the night sitting next to the child's bed, rubbing their tummyache so they can sleep. Always keep 2 pairs of shoes so you always have a dry pair. Putting on cold wet shoes is just gross and should be avoided at all costs. Always check your boots for hairballs, dog treats, bugs, and other stuff before putting them on if you have kids and/or animals in the house. Being a parent means you at any given time will have a plastic dinosaur, crayons, a half eaten sucker, underwear, or "pretty" gravel in your purse or pocket. Being a parent means you at any given time will have a half chewed cracker, drool, snot, vomit, poop, or pee in your hand or on your clothes. This part also applies to having pets. No matter how long a blog entry can be, it can never be long enough to list ALL the rules. So tell me. What rules do YOU have to share?