April's Real Blog

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wherein Mom talks Dad out of helping out ever again

I know there R a whole lotta peeps who wonder, "OMG, what's w/Elly Patterson, NEway?" Wish I cd xxplain. Like 4 instance, Dad did the dishes, rite? Like NE1 who lives in a house and uses dishware shd do. As he was putting away the plates, Mom was like, "Thank U 4 doing the dishes, John!" Dad sed, "My pleasure." Now, instead of just ending the convo there, Mom pressed on w/"U never used 2 do the dishes." As Dad was putting away the silverware, he sed, "Well, I enjoy helping out, now that I have time." Mom was like, "U had time B4!" Dad: "Yes, but I have more time now." Mom pressed on, all, "...I think U had enuf time then." Dad sez this led him 2 think, "I shd never have dun the dishes." I have a feeling he never will again. Ooh, well played Mom! Now U get 2 B even more super-martyry the next time U do 'em.

And here's another thing. When I do dishes, or vacuum, or pull weeds, or whatev else my 'rents want me 2 do? It's never considered "helping out," it's, like, what I'm supposta do cuz I live here and I'm part of the family. How come w/Dad it's "helping out"? That makes it sound like dishes and other housework R Mom's job and Dad's like sum boarder who may or may not pitch in @ his pleasure. How'd he manage 2 get that gig?


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  • At 9:06 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, duz this story have sumthin' 2 do w/thoze comments u made wen i paid 2 put gas in ur car this mornin'? i mean, since u have been drivin' us both 2 skool every day, i prolly should have paid 4 gas b4 now, but wen u sed it & the way u sed it, it wuz kinda scary w/that "u nevah usedta pay 4 gas" line. neway, i'll pay 4 gas frum now on. ru still mad @me?

  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said…

    I wonder if your dad realizes that he's not supposed to help with the housework. It seems to me that since your mother likes to complain about everything, having a husband who wants to help out is a bad idea because it removes something she can yell about from the playing field.

  • At 2:24 PM, Anonymous qnjones said…

    Dear April,

    Allow me to introduce myself. I am Mrs. Ima Grossbottom from the Preservation and Restoration of an Unblemished, Decent, and Exemplary Milborough (PRUDE Milborough). It seems to me that you do not have a full understanding of exactly what has transpired between your parents. I suppose your mother has neglected your education, probably because you were an Oops Baby. Fortunately, PRUDE Milborough is here to help.

    You recognize that your mother is trying to position herself as a Super-Martyr. But what you do not seem to recognize is that your mother and father have entered into a Martyrdom Contest. Probably you do not see this because your father's martyr skills are far weaker than your mothers. But, at the end of their exchange, when your father self-pityingly thought to himself that he should never have done the dishes--that is him going for Martyr Points. "Oh, poor John," you are supposed to think. "He is so put-upon by his shrew wife." Of course, the mature conclusion would have been, "Yes, I used to be a real chauvanist jerk, and I should probably apologize for that so we can move on and strengthen our marriage." But, that is not the way things work in Milborough!

    Both your mother and your father know that any attempt to actually communicate, take responsibility for bad actions, and build a stronger marriage would be tantamount to treason here in Milborough! But by engaging in a Martyrdom Contest, your parents are guaranteeing that their marriage will continue to be a seething mass of resentment and misery, devoid of true communication and partnership forevermore. I hope you are taking careful notes, so that when you are locked in wedded bliss with Mr. Forsythe, you will know how to act.

    Sincerely yours,
    Mrs. Ima Grossbottom

  • At 2:25 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…

    Ooh! I'm taking notes, Mrs. Grossbottom! I can't wait to to all this with Anthony!!


  • At 3:21 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. It is a wonderful thing to have a dad who tests the boundaries of gender-specific tasks from time-to-time and then passes on the information to those of us, who do not have the same sense of adventure. I got the call from dad telling me the story you described, including the parts you left out about how he waited until mom left the house to go grocery-shopping and then let the dogs loose in the yard to greet her when she was coming home; so he was able to wash the dishes without interruption or criticism.

    His cunning plan was based on the idea that if mom found the dishes were clean, then she would not be able to criticize how they got into that condition, as is her wont. The lesson he learned and passed onto me is that by having actually managed to make it past mom’s critical eye in doing the dishes, mom came to the realization that maybe dad could have done the dishes all along. He said to me with some remorse, "I should never have done the dishes." Now mom is all up in arms about all the other tasks dad could have done around the house. Like, “I went jogging with Connie Poirier and we were gone for an hour. You could have done the dishes then, even without setting the dogs outside.”

    Lesson learned dad. Believe me, I know mom lets the girls like you and like Deanna and Elizabeth do the dishes without correction, because she knows you are girls and proper dishwashing is in your blood, or at least in your chromosomes, or maybe it’s one of those estrogen-granted gifts. As for me, dad’s lessons are not lost on me. I am staying as far away from the dishwasher as I can. After all, there is no need to aggravate my wife with my household cleaning. She doesn’t need any extra reasons.

    Her PRUDE Milborough Martyr points are almost 2X lower than than mine. I got majour points from my 2 weddings, the “accidental” pregnancy leading to my first child, my kept man status, and my loss of control of my job and financial investment choices. Recently, I got a huge boost from retold stories of my emotional mistreatment and lack of parental disciplining from back in 1979. Deanna can't touch me, when it comes to martyrdom.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 3:40 PM, Blogger howard said…


    Household chores are a common dividing line between the sexes. I know with my wife, Beatrice Alfarero, we sometimes have some fights about it. She’ll say, “Howard, I don’t need for the bathroom fixtures to be so shiny, I can use them as a substitute mirror. It hurts my eyes.” And I say, “But Beatrice, that’s how you know they are really clean.” Then she says, “That’s not how it was when I was living in Argentina. We didn’t have to worry about losing our eyesight from the shine on our faucets.” Then I really have to restrain myself to not point out how disgustingly dirty some of the houses of her relatives in Argentina were, when we last visited. I don’t want to speak ill of the mother country of my wife, but let’s just say the Argentineans could stand to learn a little about cleaning from us Canadians.

    My natural tendency is to make everything very clean, but as a husband and a father to Beatrice’s two girls, I have learned I have to leave some dirty things, just so I can instruct María and Ana on proper cleaning techniques. It can be frustrating to hear María say, “Why do I have to learn this? When I marry Paul Mayes, we will hire someone to clean for us.” She never seems to accept my answer, “But how will you know the cleaning person has done it right?”

    Also, I can’t tell how difficult it is for me just to sit there, when Beatrice says, “Don’t do the dishes tonight, Howard. You cooked. I’ll do them.” It’s even harder to sneak out of bed in the middle of the night and reclean the dishes Beatrice cleaned, to get rid of all the dirty spots she missed, without waking up Beatrice.

    By the way, I have taken up weight-lifting again.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    jeremy, i m so sorry abt this morning. it was like i was possessed by sum1 when i sed that thing abt u never paying 4 the gas b4. it's ok, u don't hafta pay 4 gas all the time. just every now and then wd b cube.

    mrs. grossbottom, mayB u haven't heard, but ger and i do not plan 2 marry. he wants 2 b a famous rock star who's not happy, and i want 2 b a veterinarian who is happy, and he totally c's these goals as being @ odds w/ea other.

    mike, u just want another xxcuse not 2 do yr fair share around the house. typical.

    howard, sorry 2 hear u sounding so stressed, but i m kinda glad 2 hear abt u lifting w8s again, cuz i cd totally use a w8lifting buddy, if that's ok w/u.


  • At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Ima Grossbottom said…

    Dear Milboroughtonians,

    Mr. Michael Patterson's recounting of the many ways in which he has been martyred leads me, as the Chairwoman in Chief of PRUDE Milborough, to explain something about men and martyrdom.

    Ordinarily, men can only martyr themselves by occasionally doing "women's work," but if they habitually act in a manner inappropriate for a man, he loses all his martyr points and just becomes what we at PRUDE Milborough refer to as a "loser" or "unmarriageable." For example, Mr. Anthony Caine came dangerously close to being so labeled when he became the primary parent to his infant child. Fortunately, he was able to find a suitable wife-replacement to take over making him a home before it was too late.

    Ordinarily, Mr. Michael Patterson would be labeled an irredeemable, unmarriageable twit by our organization for refusing to hold a steady job because of his desire to pursue his "art." However, because of his mother's standing in the community, as St. Eleanor, Champion Martyr, Mr. Michael Patterson received an exemption and may now earn unlimited martyrdom points beyond what would ordinarily qualify any man for loserhood.

    Therefore, I cannot recommend to Mr. Jones or any of the other gentlemen who frequent this web log to follow Mr. Patterson's example. Of course, Mr. Bunt is a backup gay husband, and is therefore practically perfect and does not participate in martyrdom contests and does not accrue martyr points. It was my most cherished wish that I might marry my backup gay, but unfortunately, Mr. Grossbottom managed to hang on until the ripe old age of 45, and by then, my formerly footloose and fancy-free, trumpet-playing backup gay had married a ball-busting career woman and moved to Quebec. What a fool. I would have given him children.

    Sincerely yours,
    Mrs. Ima Grossbottom

  • At 6:51 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, i gotta say u were doin’ pretty good wen that lady, miss grossbottom came by 2 do that PRUDE milborough survey. thoze were weird questions, wut i can remember of them:

    “mr. jones. have u evah done the dishes 4 miss patterson?”
    “mr. jones. have u evah cooked a meal 4 miss patterson?”
    “mr. jones. how much time in ur daily schedule do u allot 4 helpin’ out miss patterson?”
    “mr. jones. if u & miss patterson have an argument, who iz right?”
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson tells u that ur doin’ sumthin’ incorrectly, will u do it the way she suggests?”
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson started d8in’ anothah man, wud u marry anothah woman & have a child w/sed woman outa revenge?”
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson grabbed ur tie & gave u a strong firm kiss while wearin’ a slutty dress that left her cleavage xxposed, wud u consider that an invitation 2 physical intimacy?”
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson told u that ur house wuz her ‘home’ wud u consider that a suggestion u2 live 2gethah?”
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson told u that she wuz pregnant w/ur child & she didn’t know how it happed, wut wud u do?
    “mr. jones. if miss patterson had a veterinarian’s office in town, & 1 of her employees in the office started flirtin’ w/u, how wud u put that employee in her place?”
    “mr. jones. have u evah considered b-comin’ a backup gay?”
    “mr. jones. do u find oldah women attractive?”
    “mr. jones. have u evah been 2 las vegas?”
    “mr. jones. y duz miss patterson have that frying pan in her hand?”

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    that was v. weird, jeremy. glad we got her 2 go away!


  • At 7:58 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. There you have it from the Chairwoman in Chief of PRUDE Milborough herself:

    However, because of his mother's standing in the community, as St. Eleanor, Champion Martyr, Mr. Michael Patterson received an exemption and may now earn unlimited martyrdom points beyond what would ordinarily qualify any man for loserhood.

    You see that, unlike what you suggested that I was looking for an excuse to avoid housework, the simple fact of the matter is that I am once again seeking higher martyrdom points thanks to the status achieved for me by our wonderful mother. When my next novel, Breaking the Windjammer takes Canada by storm, you will see the positive effects of it. I think I can double the number of copies of books purchased by people out of pity for my martyrdom than the pity purchases I got from Stone Season. Double the sales, little sis! Imagine that!

    Michael Patterson

  • At 8:00 PM, Blogger howard said…


    Weight-lifting buddy, eh? Come over any time. The girls and I have started lifting every evening. Beatrice says that if the girls participate in an unfeminine activity with their dad against the will of their mother, she gets extra PRUDE points. Oh, and Beatrice tells me if you wear a very skimpy workout outfit, she gets some PRUDE points for putting up with that too. Knowing your wardrobe, you probably don’t have a skimpy workout outfit; but something form-fitting may suffice, i.e. anything where Beatrice can say to the girls, “Girls, don’t dress like Auntie April.”

    Howard Bunt

  • At 8:41 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    mike, but how much can u trust what miss grossbottom sez, since she refers 2 mom as "st. eleanor" instead of "st. elly"? as u know, "elly" is not short 4 nething.

    i m taking a short break from lifting w8s @ howard's house. i m wearing my form-fitting yoga tank top and yoga pants. i guess i did ok cuz beatrice kinda went ::tsk:: and howard did a thumbs up an' sed, "martyrdom pts!"


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