Don’t sweat the small stuff

August 24, 2007

When Her Bad Mother asked me to blog-sit last week while she took off in a giant RV for some good ol’ close-knit family fun I jumped at the chance, because I’ve never been asked to blog-sit before and because, hello! It’s Her Bad Mother doing the asking! I made a personal vow to do her and her kickass blog justice by writing an amazing, inspiring and totally hilarious post. I carried my laptop down to the basement, the only place that’s truly quiet in this house, set myself up with a bottle of water and some reheated pizza, opened up a fresh new Word document…

…and drew a huge blank.

I couldn’t come up with anything so instead I focused on a figurine of an old man with John Lennon glasses, crouched down reading a book. I got familiar with it, studying the look on the old man’s face, noting his strong, capable hands and the way his robe looked a lot like acid wash. Upstairs in the den Dave was hanging out with a friend and I listened to them for a while, keenly, to their laughter and their rising and falling tones. I checked my email and for new friend requests on Facebook. I checked for updated celebrity gossip and scandal and when there was none, I watched the cursor blink on the blank page. Closely.

I sat back in my chair, relaxed and opened my mind, waiting to get struck by a fabulous post idea. All I got struck with was the urge to pee.

Dave saw the frustration on my face when I appeared upstairs. “You can make fun of me if you want,” he said, a hint of sympathy in his voice. “I don’t mind.”

His friend chuckled. “The possibilities are endless,” he said, spreading his arms widely, and we all started cracking up, because it’s so true. I often write about him on my blog because he’s great fodder.

I started thinking about things I could write about: his desire to paint this really creepy looking knockoff Barbie (that turned up amidst a pile of Barbies and Barbie accessories that Dave’s mom snagged at a yard sale) of Julia’s green because he thinks it would look like Salad Fingers. His far-fetched and often times ridiculous notion that he is just as handy, if not more, than Tim the Toolman Taylor; a self-proclaimed Holmes on Homes. The way he treats our home like a three bedroom, two bath clotheshorse or…the fact that he wiped up pee with Oliver’s pajama shorts on Wednesday night, something that, I’ll admit, I’m still a smidge sore over two days later.

Ding, ding…we have a winner!

See, here’s how it went down. Fresh from the tub and stark naked, Oliver had dashed into his room, then stopped abruptly and peed on the floor. As I walked past the doorway on my way to grab a rag from the linen closet I saw Dave mopping up the puddle with Oliver’s pajama shorts, which just incensed me. Sure, the rational side of me is now able to recognize that really, it’s no big deal. He wiped up Oliver’s pee with Oliver’s shorts – I can see the logic in that. But at that moment my rational side had been beaten to a pulp by my irrational side and, well, I snapped.

Why? Because he wiped up pee with shorts. Shorts. Clothing. Not with the towels earmarked for such disasters in the linen closet, but with our son’s pajama shorts. And when he bunched the shorts up with one of Oliver’s shirts and the soother that got caught under the stream and tossed them all into the hamper in the hall it was like, hello, straw. Meet camel’s back.

I went off; something about could have at least grabbed a hand towel, the bathroom’s right there and make the rest of the clothes in the hamper smell like pee, and I’m pretty sure I did a lot of glaring. He was so casual about it, asking me with the shrug of his shoulders what the big deal was, it was all going to get washed anyway. I turned around and huffed off to the laundry room, muttering obscenities under my breath as I shoved like colours in the machine. Pissed.

But dammit, I know he’s right. Of course the shorts would get washed no matter what; in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what he used to clean it up with? When it comes to not sweating the small stuff, this is the kind of stuff not to sweat. Oliver peed and Dave cleaned it up. Simple as that, right?

I guess. ~grumble, grumble~

At the very least I need to recognize that he took the initiative and cleaned it up himself, unprovoked. ‘Cause that hardly ever happens around here.

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    { 24 comments }

    caramama August 24, 2007 at 10:18 am

    I don’t know… I’d be pissed too. It’s great he took the initiative to clean it up, but if you’re going to do something, do it right.

    Besides, I have recently found out that if you don’t wash the pee off very soon (especially if they’ve been JUST SITTING in a plastic baggy with no air getting to them), you get bacteria and mildew growing on the clothes and you have to throw them out. Guess how I found that out???

    kittenpie August 24, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I admit, I would do that if it were a piece of clothing that had been worn and was headed for the wash anyhow – but first I’d hang it on a towel bar to dry out before it hit the hamper. In our house, we have a million pairs of pajamas, so I think it might not be so bad.

    Jenifer August 24, 2007 at 11:42 am

    It is just that there is a way to do things sometimes…I find that while Daddy can do just about everything in our house he will usually find a way of doing it that I had “never thought of” (read) a way I do not approve of.

    In the end though we get to the same place so it is all good. With a little glaring of course!

    Anonymous August 24, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Inhabiting that same space with someone, intimately, every day, is challenging on some many levels and in different ways.

    Could the Ancient Greeks, with their separate quarters for men and women, have known some commonplace, universal truths?

    winslow1204 August 24, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Amazing how we can usually find something to write about when it comes to our kids:)

    motherbumper August 24, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I would be pissed and SB would have done exactly the same thing. I don’t know, I think it’s something about pee and clothing as opposed to pee on rag-clothes. Grrrrrrrr…. Yes, he gets a pat on the back for cleaning it up but he’d get a gold star (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) if he used the towel.

    Hannah August 24, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I’m with you Mama T, this would make me lose my mind. I can’t stand it when hubby uses the nearest thing to hand to wipe up spills. I think the most egregious example was the day he moved in to wipe Isaac’s face after dinner… with the dishcloth.

    Men are a training-resistant breed.

    Tracey August 24, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Done it. Lots of times. We use the nearest cloth around for lots of spills and er, bodily fluids…

    Anonymous August 24, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    I’m not seeing the bad here. At least he cleaned up the mess. The clothes were gonna get washed anyway, and what happens when Oliver gets older and has an accident in his jammie pants, won’t those just get thrown in the hamper soaking wet too, getting everything else in there wet?

    Better to be happy he did it instead of playing the ol’ damn I didn’t know that was there card!

    Tink August 24, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    That would have pissed me off too… at the moment. It’s one of those things that gets your goat until it’s over and you can see the situation with a calmer mind. Kind of like my post about Hoop and I and our failed attempt at nookie. He didn’t really do anything wrong and yes, I probably reacted wrongly. But man, at the time it really pissed me off. We’re women. I think we’re allowed to have these feelings. Unless the dudes would like to start carrying the babies and shit. I just don’t see that happening.

    jennie August 24, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    In this case, at our house, I would be Dave and my husband would be you. I do stuff like that all the time, and it never bothers me… well, probably because I do all the laundry.

    But when my husband uses the sponge that I’ve earmarked for the dishes to clean the countertop, I want to lose my mind.

    Anonymous August 24, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    From a post-modern perspective, it would all depend: What upset us earlier, has been frustrating for some time, disappoints us generally and therefore, leads us to find this rather small annoyance more unsettling than the situation might actually warrant.

    Personally, I’ve been irrationally agitated over something, in retrospect, so small and inconsequential, that coping with those large, truly paining experiences seemed less catastrophic. Maybe, in some bizarre, but humanly necessary way, that is required for our survival.

    How many of us would continue if we “sweated the small stuff” and sweated even more, “the large stuff?”

    L. J. August 24, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    My first and ongoing thought about the pee clean-up was, “if Oliver peed his pants instead of on the floor the shorts would have been wet anyway.” So, so, so many of our 3 year olds pants, shorts and skirts have ended up in the laundry room piled in the big sink because she “just couldn’t hold it any longer.”

    But, I sometimes melt down over the smallest things when I am stressed. Like, “why didn’t you buy two gallons of milk? We ALWAYS buy two gallons of milk…”

    Don’t sweat the small stuff is good advice.

    geenalyn August 24, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    dude, i’d have used the jammie shorts too. But in my house the kids laundry almost always smells like pee anyhow *sigh*

    Lisa b August 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    My rule is that whoever does the laundry gets to decide what is appropriate to clean up the pee with.
    My husband would do the same thing and I would have to make him wash out the shorts. If I didn’t catch him I think I would make him wash the shorts and all of the laundry when I found it. Otherwise he would think it was not a big deal.
    You can’t put them in the bin and let them sit.
    EWWWWWWW.

    Candygirlflies August 24, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Okay, I guess I’m the one who needs the “talking to” about not sweating the small stuff, because not only was I with you on being cross about wiping up the pee with a piece of clothing, I wondered how you stood it when he just tossed the wet shorts into the laundry hamper with all the other clothes…

    I admit it!! I would have been after him about not bringing the hamper down to the laundry room and putting the peed-on stuff into the washing machine…

    But then, I’m a completely controlling type-A b*tch, especially when it comes to laundry!!!

    gingajoy August 25, 2007 at 8:44 am

    would I get mad? it depends. on whether I was the one wiping up the pee with the shorts, or if husband was. if he did it, I’d be seriously pissed off and incensed. if it was me, it was simply because the shorts were peed on anyway, and I needed something to hand. I’m very inconsistent, see.

    sandra August 25, 2007 at 10:02 am

    I’m with Lisa B … sounds like a brilliant system.

    Would I have reacted the same way in your situation? I don’t know – my husband has never cleaned up pee!

    jen August 25, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    J will grab a good bath towel and i always holler because yes, it gets washed, but the MEMORY lives on.

    Callista August 25, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I know what you mean! At least he cleaned it up though. My hubby would just tell me it happened and walk away. (That is if he even noticed it, he’s normally in another room.)

    But still, you don’t clean up pee with clothes and you rinse them out and the soother doesn’t go in the hamper.

    jeanie August 26, 2007 at 7:15 am

    See, I would have done what your hubby did… In fact I probably have done so.

    But I am stuck with the “empty laundry basket” syndrome that strikes my family members, and therefore the pee stuff wouldn’t be there for more than 1/2 a day before going down to the laundry…

    Trish K August 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Yeah, mine would have done the EXACT same thing..

    And if I say a word to him, I am being “too picky”

    Perhaps you can clean the toilet with one of his articles of clothing??? LOL…I would never do that..just kidding

    AmandaD August 27, 2007 at 10:06 am

    In the interest of buoying the cause of well-intentioned father’s everywhere, this mom will cop to cleaning the toilet seat with a wash cloth. A wash cloth that I then washed and reintroduced into the face washing circuit.

    TB August 30, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    HA! It’s SO a matter of perspective. I was impressed and amazed that he cleaned it up so quickly as that wouldn’t happen around here.

    But I understand your annoyance, especially when you have specific towels for those kinds of accidents.

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