Sara Whitman

Summer Vacation and the List

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 08, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: frat boys, rules for boys, summer vacation, summer vacation rules

The end of school is yet but moments away. The boys are exited to have the relaxed summer routine upon them.

I am completely freaked out about the relaxed summer routine being upon me.

checklist.jpgIt's not that I don't love being with my kids- because I do. I purposefully do not have them in camp from day one on because I do think it's better for kids to have real down time.

What scares me is the mess. My house turns into a frat house and it's enough to send me off the deep end. I decided it's time to go over a very important list with the boys.

The List

1. Put the toilet seat down. It's polite, it shows good manners. Not to mention, two women own this house. And stop freaking out about the tampons near the toilet- as I said, two women own this house. Tampons are a necessity and by the toilet is the most logical place for them to go.

2. Flush the toilet. I don't care how proud you are of whatever you've done, I don't want to see it. Really. I don't.

3. Dishes do not have arms and legs. They do not walk to the dishwasher, open it and pop themselves in. One must do this for them- sad but true.

4. A clean dishwasher means a large gathering of your favorite glasses, plates, forks and spoons await their return to their homes. I am not the only one who can do this. No one needs to wonder whether a full load of clean dishes needs to be emptied- it's not something that requires a round table discussion. Clean means empty. Period.

5. Shoes. All of your shoes smell like dirty feet. I love you with all my heart but I do not love my house smelling like dirty feet. Take your shoes and bring them to your own rooms as you don't seem to notice the dirty feet smell. Aside from the smell, the enormous size of your shoes means it take three pairs to completely block a doorway. If I trip and break a hip? You're going to have to be responsible for a whole lot more than putting the toilet seat down, flushing and emptying the dishwasher.

6. Eat when you're hungry, not when you're bored. I cannot begin to keep enough food in this house if you're all going to eat when you're bored. It's not healthy and you really gotta cut me some slack. The refrigerator only holds so much stuff and to have it disappear in a single day is beyond me. Besides, I'll fight fire with fire and only buy really healthy things like fruit, yogurt, and rice cakes. (Wait... I already do that. Hmmm.)

7. Chairs actually do have arms and legs but unfortunately, they are not living beings able to use them. Push them in when you leave the table. Between the shoes and the chairs all astray, it's hard to navigate a room. I'm not sure I understand why I have to say this, as it seems clear, but I am.

8. Laundry is my least favorite thing in the entire world to do. I do laundry every day. If you are going to do laundry- and there are a couple of you who can do it on your own now- and you come upon a dryer full of clothes? You win the bonus of folding them. They do not get piled on top of the dryer like you would do at some coin op laundromat. You find, you fold. Nicely, please. I'll do the same for you. Remember, I'm the one doing all the sheets, towels, napkins- not just my favorite pair of jeans.

9. Empty packages, bags, muffin tins, cereal boxes, milk bottles, cream cheese containers- anything empty needs to be thrown away. Or recycled, whatever is appropriate for the container. The trash is right in the kitchen, the recycle bin right in the kitchen, it's an amazing system I have going on in there. Leaving one sip of milk in a container and putting it back is a violation of the Geneva convention. You will be punished. An empty bag the bagels were once in does not need to be returned to the bread drawer- it will not magically fill back up again.

10. And finally, the most important of all, this is not a frat house. At no time, ever, will it be okay to "let things go." I will not tolerate any infraction of these rules. I'm a nice, suburban lesbian housewife trying to get through the day without tripping on shoes, and being disgusted by something left lying around... somewhere. I'm not the maid, although it occurs to me I actually don't get paid, a maid would. Be respectful of me and I will be a pleasure to deal with. Mess with me? I'm your worst nightmare.

That's all, gentlemen. Summer is almost here. I'm looking forward to it, and if these rules are followed? It'll be the best summer ever.

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I may post your list on my fridge, or at least parts of it. I definitely will consider removing the part about tampons and being a suburban lesbian housewife, though it would have a bit of comical shock value for some, my kids would just start calling me mom.


Oh my gods, can I steal this list? See, I practically DO live in a frat house, except it's an off-campus apartment for tech school students, and my fresh-outta-momma's-house roommates can be a real pain on all of these points. Hence, my slogan of, "I'm not your mother!" becomes a frequent chant.

I feel for you, Sara. Here's to a happy summer!

Now if I could only get Jerame to follow your list - it would make my life sooooo much easier. (Especially the laundry and shoes items!)

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 8, 2010 9:25 PM

Like I said to you on FB. My last down time was at the age of twelve.

Keep them busy and moving! ;) The only way you can value anything you have is to imagine all the folks who would love to have what you do. Kids living in a bubble, who have friends who fathers buy them a sports car at 16, have weekends at Vail etc. have no sense of reality of 99% of the world.

GraciesDaddy | June 9, 2010 3:09 PM

Yes, "Miss Sara," this list will end up on refrigerators all over the country...

It also reminded me of another "primer" by my FAVORITE working mother, Erma Bombeck, from 1976:,8114734

[I hope the link works]

can I just say that Erma Bombeck was my inspiration for the whole darn blog thing in the first place?

when I was... 14? 15? my mother gave me her book, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I doing in the Pits?

I loved it. I laughed and laughed. I was just a kid but I got it.

honestly, she has always been my inspiration. thank you so much.