thisworldofhurt

Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Quirks, Ticks, and other Oddities

In children, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, wives, Women on December 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I’m not sure how we measure up against the rest of the inhabitants of this fast spinning ball of rock we call Earth, but I am certain when I say: Human beings are an unusual lot. Along with opposable thumbs and larger brain area, we also have unusual personality traits and bizarre eccentricities. And through creating mechanisms in order to adapt our surroundings to fit our personalities, we develop rituals and traditions to cope with the world around us.

I am fascinated by how uniquely different on some of the simplest things we all are. For instance I have one child who is terrified of clowns—no circuses, no rodeos—while another child is equally afraid of moths. That’s right, moths. Those little, nocturnal, mostly blind, butterfly-like insects, that in my daughter’s world, bring infant amounts of painful agony and death at the slightest touch of its teenie tiny, itty bitty, dust covered wings.

I have a friend that is completely freaked out by cross-eyed people, while another refuses to eat red M&Ms, insisting the red dye is still a leading cause of cancer. I have a number of personal oddities, such as I eat my meals one item at a time, deciding where to start by which food item holds in heat the longest. The things that cool down fast get eaten first. I am also not a fan of speaking the word “Tripod”. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s a weird word to say.

The rituals we develop within our world is no less strange. They become more complex as we grow and gain experience into adulthood. When we get married there is a whole new set of rituals we create to either work with or work around our spouse, and to adapt to changing surroundings.

For instance, when my wife and I moved to a new bedroom, one side of the bed was against the wall. I am an extremely heavy sleeper, therefore I wanted the side closest to the door. My reasoning was because if there was a fire in the house, and my wife woke to the smell of smoke and fire, she could panic, get up and run out of the room, leaving me to sleep through my own demise. However, if I slept between her and the door, no matter how heavy of a sleeper I am, a panic-crazed woman scrambling across you in the middle of the night will wake you up. No doubt about it.

When the baby came along, that all changed. Mom needed to be close to the baby, and now I sleep in the fire danger zone next to the wall.

Now at the end of the day my wife will take any measures necessary in order to make sure that she gets into the bed first. This way I am forced to go through the house turning off all the lights she has left on. Most nights she turns in before me as I tend to stay up writing or reading for a bit before bed. However, if for any reason that we choose to hit the sack at the same time, she kicks her nighttime rituals into overdrive. I have no proof of this of course, but I’m certain she is thinking something like, “My hair has been in a clip all day. How dirty can it be? I’ll get a shower in the morning and get to bed sooner.” Or maybe something like, “I’m sure that just one night a week, I can gain an efficient amount of oral hygiene from 25 seconds of brushing instead of the full 2 minutes.”

And as a result of her preparation and planning, I am stumbling around attempting echolocation to avoid the countless obstacles in the now dark house.

My wife has a few quirks of her own you understand, one of which is she does not like the closet doors to be left open. She claims it is because an open closet door jacks with her feng shui. I think it’s because she still believes in the closet monster, but either way, she would prefer doors to be closed.

So, after stubbed toes, banged shins, and a few colorful metaphors, I fling the closet door open and crawl into my side of the bed next to the wall, sniffing the air for smoke until I drift off to the unconscious nether regions of This World of Hurt.

 

Shop Like a Man

In Baggage, children, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, shopping, wives, Women on December 15, 2015 at 10:41 am

One would think in a house full of women, to have a wife that hates shopping would be a good thing, and for the most part, it is indeed. I however, unlike most men, enjoy shopping quite a bit. But, I shop like a man.

Many people have a misunderstanding when it comes to the shopping man. Psychology majors the world over would have us believe the modern shopping man is nothing more than a descendent of the hunter gatherer from the stone age. The truth has been lost to over analysis and decades of honey-do-lists. It has been the invention of shopping list that over time has skewed reality. The cave man didn’t have a specified list to follow. He didn’t head out into the wild and say, “I shall bring home no less that 3 medium size, Grade-A pterodactyl eggs.” No. He woke up and said, “Me go kill something. … Ugh.”

The point is: Even when not tied down to a list of items, men shop differently than women. Men may not know exactly what we’re looking for, but we do have an idea, criteria, a shadowy outline of what it is were after. Women on the other hand, have indecision. The red one? Black? Maybe the green one? No, definitely the red one. The yellow one’s nice.

Men walk in and say, “Great, they have the thing I’m looking for. But no blue one. … Next.” And off we go until we find a blue one. Then if the price is right, we buy the blue one, and leave.

On a shopping trip with my in-laws, my nephew said to me, “Stores always have plenty of stuff for women and almost nothing for men.”

I told him this was not true. Every store has a cash register.

At least that’s how it is when we to through the checkout line. And this isn’t because of some chivalrous gesture on my part, nor is it because of some traditional concept of “the man is the head of the household”. And it isn’t because I’m the one with the money. I’m not her sugar daddy. I’m her husband. In fact, technically I’m her employee. She just doesn’t want to hear how much we stuff into that cash register, so she goes to start the car before she hears the total.

Not that it matters, we don’t have money. We have children instead.

Therefore let me pass on a few shopping tips to my fellow men as you prepare yourselves for this upcoming holiday shopping season. As whether you like to shop or not, you’re shopping.

First of all—and most important: If you have a place to ditch the kids. Do it.

I’m not suggesting you leave your kids wandering around the clothing depart while you head over to the auto parts store. I just mean find some friend or relative to stash the munchkins with for the day. Taking kids to a store is like taking them on a road trip. … if the inside of the car was the size of a football field. You have a task you must complete and it requires your concentration. After all shopping isn’t easy. The kids sense the distraction and exploit it.

Best if you leave them with Aunt Suzie.

Next, if possible, all of your wife’s purchase decisions should be based on weight. Think about it. You are not only the wielder of the wallet. You double as a pack mule.

And lastly, every chance you have to offer your wife food or cocktails, do so. I promise you, another slice of pizza or a vodka-sour can shave hours off your scheduled shopping spree.

So, ditch the kids, buy the red one—it looks less heavy than the green one—finish up those fries, and have one more round, because everything’s half off in This World of Hurt.

 

Conversations on a One-way Street

In children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, husbands, life, Men, Moms on October 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Let me give you a quick explanation of the structural breakdown regarding my children, how they are grouped, and the corresponding nicknames that accompany those groups. Together there are 7 of them, and their groups are as: “The Oldest”—because she’s the oldest, “The Boy”—because he’s the only boy, “The Middles”—because they are in the middle, “The Littles”—you guessed it, because they’re younger than the Middles, and “The Baby”—this should be evident.

The other night I was part of a conversation, which took place between my wife, the Middles, and myself. The conversation was a fairly typical one that takes place between teenage girls and their parents all across the nation at the end of a long hard day: part personally informative, part gossip and conjecture, and part motivational and inspirational.

Admittedly, I was doing a bit of writing during this conversation, but I was keeping up with the exchanged dialogue, and I even chimed in when I had something worthwhile to contribute. In fact, I had just raised a question, posing it to my wife while she opened the door to the refrigerator. Then, all the sudden, something happened: a long pause occurred, and then it got weird.

Have you ever been following directions to some destination in an unfamiliar city? And let’s say the final part of these instructions was to make a right turn onto a one-way street—how about we use Washington Ave? Cities love to name streets for presidents. So, you make a right turn onto Washington Ave, and you don’t stray from this one-way street. You think you’re getting pretty close to your destination, and you look up at the street sign to discover that you are now traveling down Kennedy PKWY. It is a terribly disturbing recollection, correct? This is what had just taken place in our conversation.

I had asked a question, yet we were no longer engaged in the same conversation we were just microseconds before. My wife’s response had absolutely nothing to do with the question I had asked. To make me even more confused, the Middles seemed to move right along without missing a beat.

I immediately brought this to the attention of the group, because I am a man after all. I’m not afraid of anything. … apart from arithmetic that is. “Wait a minute,” I said. “That didn’t have anything to do with what I asked.”

“Yes it did,” my wife said. “Don’t you remember the conversation we were having in the car on Saturday?”

A conversation from the car on Saturday had just completed itself in the kitchen on Monday. Fortunately, I did in fact remember the conversation from Saturday; however, I have no idea how the current night’s preceding discussion tied into it whatsoever. So, naturally, I said so. Because I am a man, and we just don’t give a lot of thought about things like this before we say them. “That conversation doesn’t have anything to do with the question I asked,” I said.

“Yes it does,” my wife said, and then proceeded to explain to me why.

Then it got bad for me. My manly memory could indeed recall there was a conversation on Saturday, and I could recall what it was about—mostly. My wife on the other hand, was able to remember each detail of the conversation. She pointed out that in subsection 9, paragraph 14, 3rd bullet point down in the conversation, such and such did this thing, and that led to so and so needing to do this other thing, and what happened next tied my question into the night’s conversation perfectly.

As she explained, I watched the Middles nodding their heads in sequential affirmation, and I knew I had no dog in this hunt.

You would think after all these years surrounded by my little ladies, I would have a better operational understanding. I do not.

All I can say is I will do my best to take better notes on the conversations I am allowed to be a part of. And next time I will hopefully have a better conversational map. For now, I will just have to try to do my best at navigating through This World of Hurt.

The Human Walkie Talkie

In Babies, baby, children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Moms, Parents on October 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

A bit more than a year ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our 6th daughter. Surrounded by so many women, one can imagine that I am pulled in a number of different directions. Or another—and probably more accurate—way to say it is: I get bossed around a lot. However, after a few months with the new baby, I realized something: My wife was no longer giving me any directions at all. Or at least not when the baby was around.

Nowadays my wife provides me with suggestions of what I need to do in soft, gentle tones, imbedded within conversations between herself and the baby. The baby’s’ name is Everleigh by the way. We call her “E”. She is going to grow up thinking her name is Missy, since she seems to hear, “What are you doing Miss E?” so often, especially since she is now walking. But I digress.

The point is: Now I have to listen closely to what my wife is saying to E in order to discern what instructions my wife is laying out for me. For instance, before the baby was born, and the family was preparing to head out to some destination, my wife might say to me, “why don’t you start loading the car so we can get out of here and hit the road?”. However, now those instructions are beautifully woven into the peaceful inflections my wife uses to speak, not to me, but to the child. She will look at the baby and softly speak, “We will be able to go, just as soon as daddy gets the car ready.”

And there you go. I am expected to “overhear” this conversation, and immediately jump into action, loading the car with no further instruction. And this is not limited to vehicular preparations; virtually any job duty imaginable may be delegated to me in this fashion. “Would you like daddy to feed you dinner so mommy can do a little work?” “Daddy is going to give you a bath in just a little bit.” This one is tricky because she uses the phrase “a little bit”. She says, “a little bit”, but she means, “Right now”. “Why don’t you see if daddy will change your diaper?” This last one also conveys a sense of urgency. This sentence could be boiled down to just two nouns: Daddy & Diaper.

My child has become a human walkie talkie. A covert message delivery system designed to trip up the male of the species in order to prove the much debated saying that men do not listen? Well of course we men understand that it’s simply rude to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations, yet once the babies come along we must learn this skill. We must become more than husbands, more than fathers, we must become international super spies, able to decode the encrypted messages exchanged from spouse to offspring so that we may maintain a state of readiness.

And to answer the question that is on the mind of so many first time fathers out there: No, this does not work in the opposite direction. This will be a one-way form of communication. If you soothingly tell your child, “I bet mommy is going to dress you in the cutest outfit,” she will move about her day as if you had said nothing at all. It is quite impossible to speak in a soft voice and be heard over the commotion of thoughts taking place in the mind of your wife. The female brain multitasks, every second of every day, while men have a difficult enough time feeding ourselves while watching the game.

Learn to listen my friends, to whomever your wife may be saying it to, especially the human walkie talkie. Breaker Breaker 1-9, listen up good buddy. James Bond only succeeded with the ladies, because he was wearing his secrete decoder ring. At least that’s how I see it, living in This World of Hurt.

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