Posted in Rants and Raves

Bedroom Arrangements

As I’m writing this, its Tuesday february 21st and we are moving in 3 days. Now I’m sitting here feeding my fish and telling them all about the house we’re moving into and just reflecting on the whole process. I was just thinking about the criteria we had in mind for a new home and how much our needs have changed over the span of a few years.

This is the third house we’ve bought, and I’ve never been particularly picky. I’ve always just wanted a few things and the rest I’ll let the misses decide on. I’ve told her several times, “you pick out a house you like, and I’ll buy it for ya.” As long as I have a creepy basement to write in I’ll be happy (which this one has a superb basement for writing in)

So I was thinking, aside from a basement to write spooky stories in, what makes an ideal home for me? Several little things, but one particular bit of criteria that brought me to write this tonight is bedrooms. How many bedrooms does a family need? This is one of the few criteria my wife and I have different thoughts on. I write this somewhat in the form of a real question and I’m hoping for some real feedback on it.

I always wanted each of my children to have their own bedroom. In fact, when we decided on having a fourth, I had to overcome the fact that we didn’t have 5 bedrooms to be okay with having a fourth.

I’ve got it in my head that kids all need their own individual bedrooms. I’m a middle child. Do you know what that means? It means that I had to share everything I ever had in life with either my older, or my younger sibling. Thats right! Including my bedroom.

To this day, as a full grown adult, dad of the house, the guy who brings home the bacon, it is still imbedded deep in my brain that if there is only one of some snack left in the fridge or the pantry, it is for someone else. I cannot eat the last apple, the last zebra cake, the last popcsicle, the last anything. Not until I offer it to everyone else first. That is weak I know, but its how middle children are programmed.

I’m going off into the weeds now. Have you ever seen the movie Seven brides for seven brothers? Its one of my all time favorite films and has been since an early age. Its a musical from 1954 and I’d suggest you go watch it. Especially if you lean toward being supportive of the feminist movement, you’ll really enjoy this film.

You see, what happens is these 7 dudes (they’re brothers) that live together all decide that they need women to take care of their house and cook for them. So, they ride off into town with a wagon, they grab the seven best looking gals they can find, they snatch em up, toss em in the wagon, and drag them back up into the mountain where they all live happily ever after. If you want to get the gist, but don’t want to commit to watching the whole flick, just check out this 3 minute clip of the boys singing a song called Sobbin Women It’ll be a hoot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZyMc29QQK8 just copy and paste that link or whatever it is you kids do.

Well anyway, all the women have to share a room for the first winter, because believe it or not they don’t really feel like bunking up with the dudes right off the bat, see? When I think about a bunch of girls sharing a room I’m reminded of that movie and how crammed together all those girls are. Back on track Dustin, you’re losing them. Not to mention you’re probably getting hate mail from some offended women now. Good going. Everybody just calm down!

I just want all of my kids to experience having something they don’t have to share; their own space. I’m well aware that kids having their own rooms is not a necessity, and is very much a luxury. With four kids its hard to even find a house with enough bedrooms to accommodate such a set up. And trust me. I’ve heard over and over again about how “when I was growing up, I had 7 sisters and 9 brothers, and all the boys slept in one room, and all the girls slept in the other, and we grew up just fine.” My own dad grew up in a modest home with 4 sisters who all shared a room while he enjoyed his own room. I’m hoping to get real feedback on this. What are your thoughts, what are the bedroom set ups for your kids, and how did you decide on what you did?

There, I’ll keep this on the shorter side of 1000 words. You’re tired, so am I, we all gotta work in the morning or whatever, so do what it is you lovely folks do. Drop me some comments if you’re feelin froggy, and we’ll all chat it out. My 10pm nachos are callin my name. See ya later folks. (nikki, I didn’t even read through this one a second time, I just wrote it and blamo! Sent it on to the interwebs. So there should be all kids of mess for you to point out to me. Zero editing hunny buns, thats how I get down! And on top of that I rant on in one ongoing parentheses at the end! Its almost like a movie that has an easter egg at the end of the credits. Alright I’m done.)

Posted in Rants and Raves

NYE Age 20 vs. Age 30

Hey folks! The kids are watching a movie so I’ve got about an hour and a half before I gotta help someone find a pair of shoes, or get a snack out, or perform any other task for the kids like the dancing monkey I apparently am. The holidays are over! Is everyone glad? All the new toys had their few days of fame and now have been cast aside, and the kids are pointing out all the stuff they want for their birthdays. I really wanted to get this blog post out before New Years Eve was over, but I was super busy catching up on all the sitting around I hadn’t had a chance to do for the last two months.

Speaking of New Years Eve and holidays in general, I gotta say, as I get older my capacity for excitement reserved for holidays shrinks. Every now and then I have to adjust the number of holidays to spread that limited amount of excitement across, and this year NYE didn’t make the cut. It was fun, don’t get me wrong. I had a good time with the kids, but its for them. If I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t celebrate it. Some holidays I genuinely enjoy. You know, like my Birthday. Some, I don’t consider holidays. Like Valentine’s day.  Don’t even get me started on this new Sweetest day thing. Pretty much any holiday that happens outside of November and December, I’m nixing– except Easter. If a holiday seems like it was started by a gift card company, I’m not even playing along.

Back to the Point, Dustin. Okay, sorry. I don’t mean to sound like a total scrooge about NYE. Really, we just celebrate differently once we have kids. If you only have one kid, its easier to con a grandparent into taking them and you can go pretend to be young and cool still. You can’t quite hang, and people can tell because you’re obviously way too happy to be out of the house. But, you’re still just cool enough to be a back up wing man. Once you have 4, you’re on a different planet. The odd thing is that your mindset changes with that. I’ll stop generalizing everyone– for ME my mindset changed. I’ll break it down for you like this.

NYE at age 20 vs. NYE at age 30

Making Plans

20: “So like, whats goin on bro!? Is Chad having a wicked awesome party or what?! We gotta find a wicked awesome party to go to!”

30: “so I was thinking that we could–” “No. hide the cars in the garage, turn off all the lights. We aren’t home, don’t answer your phone, don’t answer the door.”

Snacks and Drinks

20: “bro! Are you going to the liquor store?! I’ve got like 200 bucks that I just can’t seem to find a use for, and we’ve got all these thirsty strangers!”

30: there is seriously a bag of chips in our cupboard that we weren’t allowed to open for almost a week because they were the NYE snacks. I forgot and let my daughter open them for lunch the day of NYE. Also, I cut the tops off of juice boxes that I got for 2 dollars and poored them into wine glasses to give the kids to make them think they were drinking shampagne.

Music and Entertainment

20: “Bro, I’ve got this awesome Peavey P.A. system with cabinet speakers I can set up in our third story apartment!”

30: I hid tears from my daughters and wife at the end of another disney movie. And there was no music. Are you kidding me? Peace and quiet is music to my ears.

Activities

20: “Bro, what do suppose is on the other side of that fence? Maybe a swimming pool? Wanna find out?” “Weren’t we just drinking yager bombs in my kitchen? Where are we?”

30: I got beat by my 9 year old at scrabble.

Watching the ball drop

20: “ohmigawd, ohmigawd, get in here! there’s only like, eleven minutes until the ball drops!” Ohmigawd, who am I kissing?! Anybody wanna kiss me when the ball drops!? Ohmigawd, like I am totally gonna get my crap together this year, this is my year, I can feel it. Is Vanessa still puking in the bathroom? Tell her to hurry, I need someone to kiss when the ball drops!”

30: “Psst, I know its only 8:30 but we can just watch a video of the ball drop on netflix. Click on the barbie theme one, that’ll work.” “Yay! Okay kids, time for bed!”

Bedtime

20: “Well, the sun is coming up and I gotta be at work in an hour and a half. Guess it’s time to hit the sack.”

30: 8:35

See what I mean? Once we turn 30, and we have 4 kids we just redefine what fun is to us. I had a blast, and frankly I’m still recovering. That movie really tore me up inside. It was about a girl with a pig nose, but otherwise she was really pretty. She just had a curse put on her. She was a nice girl, and all the boys were jerks, and her dad should have pulverized them for treating her like trash. She was pretty on the inside and none of those losers were good enough for her. I can’t believe they even thought they had a shot with her. For one, none of them respected her at all! And they must be out of their minds thinking they could go in her room with the door shut! But I digress. Sorry, I have three daughters of my own and well, my mindset changed toward pretty girls from 20 to 30 as well.

Well, I’m fast approaching my 1000 word marker. I like to stop it right around there every other post or so, because I get scolded when I write too long. Also, I assume anyone reading this is a parent, and you don’t have time to read much more than that anyway. I’m still just kind of shooting from the hip on this blog. I’ll get organized some day. Thanks for stopping by and giving me a read. Subscribe if you want. I think there’s a button around here somewhere for that. I’m Mr. Dad @KidsMadeMeCrazy on Twitter.

Now, I gotta go get dog food that my wife forgot to grab despite running to the store twice today. Thanks in advance for catching all my typos and gramaticals honey. I threw a few extra commas in there for ya. Have a good night everyone, keep up the good fight. Whichever fight that is.

Posted in Rants and Raves

Surviving the Holidays

Time to talk holidays! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so Christmas must be in about 5 days or so, then it’ll be new years in a week, and if time actually went as fast as it seems to during the holiday season, it would be summer in two months, and I’d be 105 on my birthday tomorrow, and not 33.

It’s just starting to get cold enough that the kids won’t be going outside nearly as much. In fact, we’re quickly approaching the time of year where we spend more time bundling them up in their scarves, mittens, sweater, hoodie, jacket, two snow suits, can’t move their arms, face mask, earmuffs, four pairs of socks, waterproof knee high snow boots, long johns under everything, gonna go rob a bank balaclava, bright orange helmet, shoulder pads, life jacket, and flare guns. Then they go outside for 5 minutes, take the mittens off because you can’t make a snow ball for beans with mittens on, their hands get freezing cold and they come back in crying and you just spent 40 minutes getting them dressed to go play for 12 minutes.

While its fresh on my mind, I’d love to pelt the guy who invented earmuffs with a few dog poo loaded snowballs. My mom made me wear those things as a kid. You know, the ones that are basically two cotton balls glued to both ends of a twisted up wire hanger? I promise you, I have issues today, that are one way or another deeply rooted in the fact that my mom made we wear those horrible medieval contraptions. Do your kids a favor, get them a nice warm regular ol’ winter hat.

As far as kids are concerned, Thanksgiving is just the warning bell indicating Christmas is coming soon. It’s like rounding that final corner in a race, and the finish line is in sight. You’re running full speed straight at it, and then you have to jump over the hurdles; there’s gravy boats, old guys watching football games, ladies you can’t quite identify pinching your cheeks, over excited grandmas, under excited grandpas, cousins playing with your toys, other kids making messes you’ll get blamed for later, one weird uncle that shows up drunk –not to mention what troubles my kids go through! But! Presents are just on the other side of Thanksgiving!

Adults look at Thanksgiving a little differently. Its a bunch of hurdles to hop over on our way to Christmas and getting presents right? I’m kidding, I’m kidding (I’ll have to apologize for that later don’t worry). I act a bit Scroogy about the holidays, but I enjoy getting the family together and hanging out for a bit. I’m a bit like an old trusty tractor. You may have a little trouble getting it started, but once it fires up, it’ll hang out in the corner and eat all the free food until everybody goes home, and then eat some more. You know what I mean don’t ya? (Love you fam!)

And once a couple weeks after Thanksgiving, it’s time to start panicking about what you’re going to get all those special someones for Christmas right? I’ll tell ya right now, don’t waste your time leaving the house, unless you want all the free entertainment of watching people scurry around like rabid mice that is. Black Friday is a thing of the past. Don’t go wait in any lines at stores. And if you’re one of those folks who go hang out in a tent outside walmart for a TV your marbles are all bye bye, and I’ll be praying for your soul.

As I’m sure you figure, I don’t do a whole lot of Christmas shopping, but my wife does 99% of it on the Internet. Amazon has better deals around Christmas time than you can find in any store, and not to mention no lines, no leaving the house, and you don’t even have to take off your warm wooly fuzzy socks and robe. Venturing out into the holiday shopping world is a nightmare and absolutely batty. Out of boredom, I’ll go to the mall and just stand there in the middle of the commons area with a coffee (brought from home, I’m not crazy enough to stand in line at Starbucks either) and just watch the chaos. It is absolute pandemonium. It’s not unlike a train wreck you can’t peel your eyes from.

Here’s something you might be able to relate to. My wife and I are tired of buying crappy Chinese made, ridiculously expensive, pieces of plastic that our kids don’t play with for more than a couple months. If that sounds like you, check this out! Ladies, you know how when you get married there’s that saying that goes, “something new something blue, something stolen and something else…” I don’t know how it goes exactly, when my wife corrects me I’ll update it. Anyway, there’s a Christmas present buying guide for kids that is similar. It goes “Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read.”

That’s our plan for this year. With four kids, buying gifts can get expensive, so this is a more economical, and frankly I believe more practical, alternative. Our kids will get to pick just one present they truly want. Then we’ll provide the need, read, and wear. Thankfully, our kids love to read anyway, so books will be great for them. I’m looking forward to this plan.

As a parent, I want to make sure my kids stay humble, and spoiling them with gifts will cause expectations to bloom in their tiny growing minds, and contributes to making them feel entitled. Besides, grandparents will do that anyway, so I’ll just let them be the heroes. Its a win/win.

Enough about Christmas, lets talk New Years. What’s New Years? That’s the one day of the year we let our kids stay up till midnight voluntarily, so they pass at at 10:45, the wife fell asleep an hour before them, I can’t move on the couch or they’ll all wake up, so I sit and watch Carson, or Ryan Seabiscuit, or who ever it is, recap a year’s worth of junk I didn’t pay attention to in the first place. There are dozens of “celebrities” running around who I’ve never seen before in my life, and the music is horrible. But, again there are bunches of yummy snacks that will hopefully last a few days, so I’m happy.

If we end up at a “New Years Eve Party” It’ll be the exact opposite. I’ll sleep through most of it, the food is all gone when I wake up, and the kids are WIRED! If your kids are young enough, you can do a “pretend” ball drop party at bedtime. It’s just as fun, and everyone gets to enjoy it without the crankiness from being tired.

Despite all the chaos, and the rushing around, and the horrible traffic, and stress of trying to impress people with your fruit loaf, There’s a calm in the middle of the storm. At some point during the holidays, all 12 or so of them coming in the next 2 months, I hope you experience it like I do. Even though my wife had to drag me kicking and screaming, and the food is going to wreck my diet, and the kids are going to be maniacs for a solid month, there’s a very clear, pristine moment where I look around at all the people, the family that I get along with sometimes, other times not so much. I look around and take a mental snapshot and hold on to because although my family is nuttier than a squirrel turd, I love them. My friends, my family, all of ya. I don’t say it, and you may not know it, but for a minute I look around and just love you all. Then you go right back to driving me nuts.

Thanks for swinging by and giving me a read. Honey, I left you plenty of typos to point out to me. Best of luck to everyone this holiday season. Stay kind, don’t get into any tacky fistfights over crappy, cheap TV sets. Keep the road rage to a minimum. And with that I’ll wrap it up. So from my heart to yours, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, I hope you are all as humbled as I am by all the great things in life we have to be thankful for, and I’ll see ya around nap time.

Posted in Rants and Raves

The Redheads and School

I just ate seven slices of pizza so naturally I’m not moving from this couch for at least half an hour. I figured I’d use the time to push out a few words for you lovely fine folks at home. Just a straight half hour of writing, no redo’s or edits. Just the way my wife loves them. I think I’m going to make a new category out of this experience and call it “Ranting in Regretful Indigestion” or something like that.

What I’ve got on my mind is some good ol home schoolin! That’s right, anybody else home school? Those of you who do are probably excited and cheering while a sheet of awkwardness may have fallen over the rest of you. That’s alright, I’m not going to bang on the “why you should home school” drum. In fact I’m thinking about something that I’m sure we all have in common. How incredibly different children can be from one another despite being raised in the same house!

I’ve got four children. I say that enough that you probably know it by now, but I’m not saying it for you, I’m reminding myself of why I feel like my life is a total chaotic wreck, and why I have no money, and why everything I own has either a ninja turtle or a princess on it. If you have more than one child I bet that they are completely different personality wise, aren’t they? My wife and I’s first two daughters are school age, while the other two are still just youngins. Child one has always been pretty obedient, a great listener, cheerful, loving, and possesses a longing to please mom and dad. She could put together 200+ piece puzzles by age 2.5, and 500 piece puzzles by age 4. We actually nicknamed her the puzzle whisperer.

Child 2 is a full on spit and vinegar loaded fire cracker with a temper to match her bright red hair (they’re both red heads actually). The strong willed child, they call them. She’s a tiny thing, but no one has ever told her so. She’s been standing up for herself on the play ground, running off rude bullies, and telling everyone exactly whats on her mind since she could speak. She’s fiercely honest, and incredibly emotional. However, her heart is amazing! She’s 7 now, but when she was about 4 she had a knack for fixing things with a “world famous Rosie hug.” (her name is Rosalie) whether my wife and I were having some kind of disagreement, or her sister got a scraped knee, or she just saw anyone needed a hug, she’d hug them. She still hugs strangers all time at the mall or where ever we go. We quit apologizing for her a long time ago. It’s just who she is. We make sure no one steals her though.

I told you all that to tell you this. (I love saying that, is that a dad thing? It feels like it’s a dad thing)

My girls are equally different in how they learn and function in a learning environment. I work a lot, but when I’m home I help the lovely lady out as much as I can with schooling the girls. My oldest will wake up at the crack of dawn, no alarm clock needed, and she’ll start her school work on her own, and even gets frustrated when momma wants to sit and linger over a cup of coffee for longer than usual. Can you guess how Rosie wakes up? I bet you can. She comes crawling out of bed about 2 hours after everyone else, and trying to get her to learn anything is like pulling teeth.

Rosie and mommy butt heads a lot when its time for school. Rosie has a hard time focusing, she shuts down, and doesn’t want to work. Sometimes I have to call home from work and talk to her on the phone to get her to listen to her mother. If there’s any take-away from this post, it’s that these strong willed little girls with explosive personalities have a tendency to be better behaved when daddy is doing the teaching. Is that the way it is for you too? She listens better for me in general than she does for her mom. Reply to this post and tell me your experience with strong willed girls, or boys for that matter. When I sit Rosie down to do school work with her, it’s almost as if my wife is making up all the bad stories about how my sweet angel doesn’t want to listen. (I know they aren’t made up. I better put this disclaimer in here before I get reprimanded.) She does all her school work with out a complaint. She told her mother today that she wants me to be her teacher and that mommy should “take some pointers.”

That’s it for now friends. I appreciate the likes, shares, and feedback. Don’t be afraid to comment with your homeschool stories, your strong willed child stories, or any other thoughts you may have. Dads, keep being awesome, and Moms we know you could do better and we love ya. Toodaloo.

Posted in Rants and Raves

A Shout-Out to the Ladies

 My family and I are in a bit of limbo right now. We sold our house but now we have to find a place to move to. I don’t particularly want to take my wife, four kids, and little wiener dog to a little apartment somewhere. So we are doing a bit of house shopping right now. Yesterday we saw a house that claimed to have 4 bedrooms. It sounded promising, until we stepped inside. Someone seriously took a living room, the very first room you see when you walk in to the foyer, built 2 closets into it, and called it a master bedroom. If you don’t know who Mitch Headberg is, he’s a comedian. He has a joke that goes something like this. “They say some houses have 3 bedrooms and some have 4 bedrooms, but I think its up to me how many bedrooms my house has, don’t you? One of my bedrooms has an oven in it. One of my bedrooms is in my neighbor’s house!” That was all I could think about when I saw this “Master Suite.” The house had a wonderfully creepy awesome basement that I would love to have tho. Anyway that was yesterdays house hunting adventure.

Now to the point, I’ve got a theme for today’s blog entry. I’ve decided that today is going to be sort of a “Wife appreciation” day. You see, sometimes I say things that aren’t funny to anyone but me. While I get a jolly good laugh out of it, and it’s totally worth it to me, sometimes I have to make up for the things that come out of my mouth. If any of you lovely women read these blogs and wonder if I get in trouble for some things I say, rest assured I absolutely do. 😉 So like I said, Wife Appreciation day! Yay!

There’s this thing that some guys do that I just can’t help but to giggle at a bit. I find it utterly ridiculous. Get into a conversation about wives and home life with some guys, and you’ll see it eventually from at least one of them. They get all puffed up in the chest and tell you about how they run their house and their wife does this and that for them on command. They tell you all about how they’re the man of the house and it’s all complete utter garbage. The puffier the chest, the more full of baloney they are.

Two scenarios run through my head when I hear guys describe their home life this way, and they are both laughable. The first is that, while this guy is here at work with me, his wife is also at work, maybe not right now, but at some point of the day. This guy expects me to believe that when she gets home from working all day this guy looks at her and say “now take care of my house and cook me dinner, I’m gonna go sit on the couch.” that relationship would last about a week, then she’d hit him with something and leave.

The other scenario is that his wife is at home all day with his kids, taking care of the house and doing things he doesn’t even realize she does, and if she ever quit doing them, he’d have no idea how to live anymore. Then Mr. Man Of The House walks in and says, “okay, take care of my house and do as I say, I’ll be on the couch.” I’ve got a wife from scenario 2, and I know what happens if he says that to her. He gets hit. It might be an open hand, it might be a shoe, it might be a frying pan, but something would strike him in the head immediately. See? Both scenarios end with this guy getting hit. Look close at the guy giving you this line of baloney. Is his head all beat up? No? Then he’s delusional, or a liar.

I get that modern culture is out to make us look like Homer Simpson, doughnut shoveling morons, who are totally clueless about how to do anything at home, but guys, don’t go so far in the opposite direction that you make us look like knuckle dragging wife clubbers. Just stop it! No one is taking you seriously.

I’ll tell ya right now, my wife manages my house, and I thank God she does. I don’t mean she manages ME, but if I need a towel to dry my hands on, I’m gonna ask her where I can find one. My wife stays at home, so it’s her work place AND where she lives. I’m not even here half the time. There’s no way I could do all the things she does. Besides, letting her be the primary discipliner allows me to be the parent all the kids like. 😉  sorry, I had to stop for a minute, my 2 year old is potty training and she just went poo on her potty seat for the first time ever. Kind of a big deal, but I’m back now. to my point, wanna know who’s cleaning up that potty seat? not this guy. 

where was I? Oh right. There is absolute truth to the old adage, happy wife, happy life. Guys, just view your wife as partner, not someone to manage (you couldn’t do it anyway) and life will be happy. My wife and I are teammates. I’ve got one of those awesome marriages that make other people sick. We’re old love birds. In fact I’m making myself sick right now. How did I get on this mushy tangent? I’m gonna wrap this up Jerry Springer “final thought” style.

If you’re one of these guys that want to look macho and make yourself out to be a tough guy at home to other people, knock it off. It’s foolish, you aren’t impressing anyone, and you’re wasting energy. And if that’s how you’re actually acting at home, cool your jets a bit. Harmony at home is all about give and take. You give your wife a pinch on the butt and take candy away from our kids. Kidding, but showing appreciation goes a long way. Alright, sappy blog post is over. Until next time, take care of yourself, and each other. (see what I did there?) Now go play with a chainsaw or something cool.

(P.S. i intentionally leave grammatical errors in my blog posts because they drive my wife nuts. her favorite is when i don’t capitalize the beginning of a sentence.)

Posted in How-To's

Evaluate Replicate Hide

I’m sure your kids are as destructive as mine. I mean, its in their nature isn’t it? They explore, they find, they destroy. We love the little monsters with all our hearts, but they break all our best stuff. I’ve lost a lot of good tools, phones, and computers. Coffee has been spilled on my favorite clothes that were left out. Its been a long road of loss. If we’re being honest here, the ladies contribute to some of this as well. Maybe they don’t break your cordless drill, but when you come home and she’s going on about this cool new picture frame thing she just hung, your second or third thought is probably “okay, she used a screw driver, level, drill… where are they?” small disclaimer now, my wife uses all of my best tools, but that’s because of three things; one she works on several projects that if she didn’t do, she’d be asking me to do, so there ya go; Two, if something of mine breaks under her watch, it gives me a reason to go get a new one; three, I gave up on fighting her over it, she beat me. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles ya know?

Moving on, I’ve got a little process of my own that I employ to avoid getting my stuff damaged. It goes like this, Evaluate, Replicate, Hide! I’ll break it down for ya.

Evaluate. Guys we don’t have a lot of stuff that hangs about in the house do we? I mean I’ve got a super nice fishing rod that I keep stored in the garage, but my policy is “no kids in the garage.” so thats a bit like a safe haven for me. If you keep your garage a total mess it works even better because then you’ve got a good excuse not to let anyone in there. However, managing our stuff is a bit like running information security. Too much security renders the information useless. i.e. locking stuff up in the garage. Not enough security and your kids take all your flashlights, switch them on, and toss them under the couch until the batteries die. This process is for the stuff you use on an almost daily basis. (and I haven’t used my fishing rod since kid #3) So guys, sort through your stuff, and decide which things are valuable on a level that you don’t want the little punks to get their hands on them. Got that list put together? Alright, now on to the next step.

Replicate. Not your wife or your kids are going to believe that you just don’t have a flashlight, or a tape measure, or headphones or whatever else you decided to protect. You’ve got to replace it with a junky version. Take all your cool stuff, and go replace it all with a “kid friendly” replica. Genius isn’t it?! I know!

Okay, last step. Now take all your junky stuff, and put it where the kids would expect that item to be. They have to be able to find it. You don’t want your kids bugging you every time they want to go dig a hole in the yard but can’t find your good screwdriver to do it with. They gotta find the replica version or they’ll just know you hid it, and go on the hunt for it. And we all know that when kids want to find something they can seep into every nook and cranny the same way fog moves across the rolling hills, infiltrating every slight crevice. They’ll find it. Coincidentally, ask them to find their shoes and they’ve got NOOOO idea… but that’s another matter. Get back to the point now. Okay, sorry I will. Now take all your good stuff, and hide it! You gotta hide it in places that are accessible but no one would think to look. I personally hide most of my “good version” stuff in my truck. A few items I hide in that tall cabinet no one else can reach above the fridge. Its up there with all that glassware stuff someone bought my wife for a Christmas present years ago that she hasn’t opened. You know, I bet I could take that stuff down, wrap it, and give it to her for her birthday and she’d not ever realize it was hers already. Maybe I’ll explore that.

Be creative with your hiding spots! I buy large bricks of chocolate and hide them on the book shelf. they look just like books, and I hid them from my wife for weeks this way. Some things you can hide inside of vegetable bags in the freezer. Couch cushions and anywhere low is a no go guys. the kids will find them. You’ve gotta hide things up high, or in “grown up” places. I’m sure you’ll find good spots.

Well there ya have it gents. Now you should be able to hold up in the bathroom, drinking coffee and looking at funny stuff on your phone, while your kids run around breaking crappy replicas of your good stuff that is safely hidden away.

If you found this useful, go ahead and pass it along. If you have good hiding spots, why not share in a comment and help out your comrades? Thanks for reading, and so long.