11 Mar
Just Shut Up and Pick Up the Hammer, Handyman

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Do I have to pay the $100 an hour guys that come to my house to put in closet shelves if they spend their time shooting the breeze on my dime? Should this not bother me? Am I just cheap? It seems like every time I have to call a handy man in to paint the bedrooms or caulk the shower stall or clean out the gutters, he ends up talking to me about his kids that don’t listen, or the lazy boss at his old job. I’m fine with being an ear to someone who needs one, but must I be the one paying to hear of someone’s woes at two bucks a minute?? Seems like they should be paying me, not me paying them to dump on me.

The last straw was with a closet maker/organizer that came last week. She sat and talked about her divorce and then sent me a bill for 3 hours work when she spent at least half an hour at my kitchen table complaining about her ex not giving her enough money to pay for private school tuition for the kids. I can’t be the only one. Do people just pay this and consider it a “tip?” Am I just a cheap skate?

Sign me,

I’ll Listen, But Not At 2 Bucks a Minute

________________________________

Dear I’ll Listen,

I guess it’s safe to assume that the “handymen with caulk” in your house aren’t shirtless, otherwise you wouldn’t be complaining. Which is probably your first mistake, hiring clothed handymen, but then again, I suppose not all handymen should go shirtless. (I’m looking at you, Fatballs Larry. Ain’t nobody need to see that crack.)

It’s also probably safe to assume that you have one of those “approachable and friendly” faces that gives workers the signal it’s okay to talk to you. Bad, bad, bad. So very bad.

“In the presence of the hired man, one must always put on their Mega Bitch Face.” That’s a quote from the Dowager Countess. Or maybe it’s a quote from my Dowager Neighbor who’s always nasty to the lawn guys. I’m not sure which because I’m usually tipsy when I watch PBS. (That’s why I have 150 tote bags: drunk dialing during pledge drives.)

Anyway, I know it may sound like I’m kidding about the bitch face thing, but I’m really not. If you don’t engage the handymen in conversation, they won’t talk to you. It’s as simple as that. Even if your entire body is telling you, “Go ask Phil if he has any kids!” you must not ask Phil if he has any kids. Tell him what you need done, then disappear.

If he tries to talk to you, put on headphones or pretend you only speak Portuguese or something. Glue your cell phone to your ear and act like you’re on a conference call. (“What?! No, I told you I need that report ASAP, Jeremy! I’m calling HR!”) Just do whatever you need to do to be antisocial. Sure, he may think you’re sort of a jerk, but who cares when each word that comes out of his mouth costs you cash, right?

And if that doesn’t work, give me a call. I’ve got a hammer, a need for cash and I never talk to anyone if I don’t have to.

Good luck,

Wendi, TMH

_____________________________

Also, heads up that we’re joining in Cooking PlanIt’s Big Spice Giveaway! Our contest will be the week of March 21-27th, but there are 50 other blogs also participating. Look!

SpiceGiveaway

50 Bloggers are giving away 50 sets of 26 top spices over the next 25 days! That’s 50 Chances to Win!  Starting today, March 6th, 2 bloggers will start a 7-day spice giveaway (winners in continental US only) with winners announced on the 8th day. Each day after that, for 25 days total, two more giveaways will start. Check out the 50 foodies in the matrix below, and join their contests for additional chances to win! PIN THIS CONTEST AND SHARE THE SPICE.

Don’t want to wait, win now and buy your own custom spice set from Spices Inc.

*Note: The dates below are start dates, some bloggers may not get their contests started until the evening on that date, so please be patient. We promise, all links are real, all parties are enthusiastic and willing participants. And it’s a proven fact, that your chances of winning go up exponentially each time you enter an additional contest. Thank you.

2013 Cooking Planit Spice Giveaway Participants

Start Stop Flight 1 Flight 2
1 3/6/13 3/12/13 Sophistishe Field and Feast
2 3/7/13 3/13/13 The Wicked Noodle The Cooking Planit Blog
3 3/8/13 3/14/13 The Aliso Kitchen Slow Down & Savor
4 3/9/13 3/15/13 Chicago Foodie Sisters Jessiker Bakes
5 3/10/13 3/16/13 My Happily Ever After the End The Food Yenta
6 3/11/13 3/17/13 Notes from Maggie’s Farm Food Fash
7 3/12/13 3/18/13 My Kitchen Addictions What Jew Wanna Eat
8 3/13/13 3/19/13 Bite Sized Blog Nicole’s Nickels
9 3/14/13 3/20/13 A Busy Mom of Two Food Squeeze
10 3/15/13 3/21/13 Kasey’s Kitchen Kitchen Concoctions
11 3/16/13 3/22/13 Daily Ups & Pounds Lisa Cooking
12 3/17/13 3/23/13 Ditch the Box Huppie Mama
13 3/18/13 3/24/13 Hungry Hutch Food Fetish
14 3/19/13 3/25/13 Cook the Blog Three Diets. One Dinner
15 3/20/13 3/26/13 Sugarfoot Eats Gear Live
16 3/21/13 3/27/13 CopyKat Recipes The Mouthy Housewives
17 3/22/13 3/28/13 Burnt Apple The Butterfly Mom
18 3/23/13 3/29/13 The Mama Report Ancestral Chef
19 3/24/13 3/30/13 A Food Centric Life We Like To Cook
20 3/25/13 3/31/13 Dixie Chik Cooks Baby Boomster
21 3/26/13 4/1/13 Unorganized Mommy of 3 Much Ado About Fooding
22 3/27/13 4/2/13 Better with Butter The Primlani Kitichen
23 3/28/13 4/3/13 Mother Would Know California Country Gal
24 3/29/13 4/4/13 Yi Reservation NY Foodgasm
25 3/30/13 4/5/13 ME Redone Creative Culinary

 

Download the Cooking Planit app on an Apple iOS device. (Android version coming soon.)

Available on the App Store
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The Spices for Cooking Planit's Spice Giveaway

Image courtesy of Emily Wilson and Cooking Planit

 

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06 Mar
Mouthing Off: Hey Little Lady, Come Take a Look at This Toy Car

If you’re like most mothers of young boys, your days are filled with confusion.

Confusion because, let’s face it, your son is not like you. Not just because he has the XY chromosome set-up instead of the more adorable XX, but he also seems to be interested in different things than you. You’ve tried and tried again to engage him in some of your favorite pastimes, hosting tea parties for stuffed animals, dressing up like fairies and playing house. (And if you’re Marinka, getting your 11-year-old son to watch The Bachelor with you.)

But through no fault of your own, Mom of a Son, the beautiful bonding just isn’t happening. In fact, for reasons unbeknownst to you, your son seems interested in playing with cars, trains, trucks, planes and other modes of transportation instead. WTF? It’s weird. And confusing.

Of course you may be scared, bewildered, and ashamed by this. You may not understand what exactly is happening, and why it’s happening to you, a mother who did absolutely nothing wrong and just wants to play Pretty Pretty Princess all day long.

But fortunately, help is available!

hotwheels

Yes, the fine people of Mattel, the makers of Hot Wheels, have answered the siren call of mothers who don’t know how to play with boys. These saviors in suits recently flew in some “influential mommy bloggers” (if that isn’t code for OMFG, we don’t know what is) to guide them through the mysteries of playing with cars with their sons. But first, they plied them with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. You know, because handling 2″ plastic cars is SUPER STRESSFUL FOR WOMEN!!!

“By talking to Mom, we’re extending the conversation to the actual purchaser,” Mr. Petersen [a Mattel VP] says. “I know it sounds so silly. It’s kind of like ‘Why didn’t you do that forever ago?’”

Yes, that’s the reason it sounds silly. And moms seemed to appreciate the wisdom imparted on them:

“I’m a girly girl,” Ms. Stroud (one of the possibly tipsy “influential mommy bloggers”) said. “So it’s kind of hard to understand how these little plastic machines can be so much fun, versus a Barbie that you can change her clothes, cut her hair, and do whatever you want.”

We can relate. Cars are definitely not like Barbie! They don’t even have a pretend vagina area! Panties don’t fit on them! LOL, cars are so strange! Next thing you know, we moms will be asked to DRIVE ONE! That is hilarious!

So thank you, Mattel. Thank you for knowing that as women we are incapable of playing with our male children. Thank you for understanding that we’ve been doing it all wrong for a few centuries now. Our sons will be better men because you’ve shown moms exactly how to push a little car on the ground and make this noise with their lips: Brrrrruuuuummmmmmm!

Finally, since the Mouthy Housewives have seven boys between us,  we’ve followed Mattel’s lead and broken down how to play with some traditional boy toys for our readers. It may be tough, but hang in there, Mom.

The Mouthy Housewives’ Guide To Playing With Boys

Balls! by Marinka: Most balls are round. Yes, there is The Football which is football-shaped, but we will cover that in our Advanced Ball course, offered next fall. So, most balls are round. This means they are good for rolling, throwing, bouncing and catching. If you are not ready for such active ball playing, try to ease into it by drawing a face on the ball and some hair. Name the ball. Get two big balls and some little ones and make a ball family. The Ballers. This will make ball play more fun for everyone. Or at least you. Your son is probably crying for some other unrelated reason.

Sticks! by Wendi: Sticks are from trees. (Trees are the big things that grow in the ground. The singing birds in “Cinderella” probably lived in one.) Sticks can be used to hit, poke and whack things. They can also be used as “light sabers” which is something from movie called “Star Wars.” Moms may recognize the shape of a stick because it’s similar to the wooden spoons they use in the kitchen to stir cake mix. To play with a stick, simply hold it in your hand and yell, “ARGH!! I HAVE A STICK!”

Thomas and Friends! by Karen: Playing with Thomas trains will suck the life out of you, and the only way you’re going to get through it is with alcohol. First, you’ll have to suffer through hours of watching the videos, because all your son will want to do is recreate what goes down in them because boys don’t know how to make shit up. Drink every time Sir Topham Hatt tells Edward he needs to hurry down to the quarry because of some stupid shit one of the other trains got into. Drink every time your toddler says Percy and it sounds like “pussy.” Drink every time you realize that the money you spent on that fucking table (you bought a table. for trains.), plus the tracks and trains could have been spent on at least one pair of Louboutins. Fight with your son because you want to fucking be Thomas JUST ONCE. Maybe you should stop drinking.

Action Figures! by Kristine: Action figures, ladies, are miniature-sized people that you use in a game that psychologists and physicists call “imaginative play.” They are often sculpted closely after the male form with close attention paid to bulging groins, disproportionate muscles, and powerful jaw lines. Boys will place these superior hunks of plastic in their hands and say things like “I will make more money than you for doing the same work!” and “My gender is intrinsically superior to my female counterparts!” Note:  it is not recommended that you leave action figures laying around with Barbies or other female dolls, as they may begin to multiply by means of coital osmosis.

Play Tools! by Kelcey: These are like real tools but much lighter and you can’t actually use them to fix anything. Not that you’ve ever used a tool to fix anything anyway! A gal would never get involved in that kind of man’s work in fear of chipping one of her acrylic tips. Play tools are used by young boys at their plastic workbench. So mom, don’t be shy! Head on over to the workbench and pretend that your food processor needs fixing. Smile appreciatively as your son gets to work. You two are really bonding now. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing his play tool belt as an accessory for nights out on the town. Give yourself a high five. You’ve got this boy thing down!

image source: Mattel

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04 Mar
How Do I Reset My Mom’s Angry Button?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Okay so I’ve missed my bus for school a few times and my mom is getting so mad at me. What can I do to make her not mad at me anymore!?

Signed,

Too Cool For The School Bus

_________________________________

Dear Too Cool,

I fear this is a weighted question, dear child. My reasoning lies within the fact that the solution to your problem should be quite simple–so simple, in fact, that you could figure it out yourself. I think I remember the equation from high school math. You know, that place you go when you catch the bus?

keep calm
Observe: if you are missing your bus (A), then you are making your mom mad (B). It’s a simple “If-Then” statement. Simply negate the first and the second takes care of itself, right? If (not) A, Then (not) B.

Are you following? Was I supposed to add the Pythagorean Theorem somewhere in there? Divide by Pi? Find the square root?

Maybe I should take a different approach.

I think the problem here is that there is more going on besides the school bus. (God, was this all a metaphor?! Do they mix math and English these days?!) Having a complex or problematic relationship with your mother, in itself, is not a bad thing nor is it surprising. Allow me to run with that assumption for a moment. You’re a teenager and teens traditionally butt heads with parents for very valid reasons around this time. It’s part of establishing your independence. The problems arise when these clashes lead to the deterioration of mutual respect. Are you doing your best to respect your mom’s time, rules, and values? Do you feel that you are doing a good job of communicating your concerns and challenges in return?

This might be a good place to start. Have that conversation with yourself and with your mother.

That, and with setting your alarm about fifteen minutes earlier in the morning.

Good luck,

Kristine, TMH

PS: Maybe our readers have some more tips for you! They probably did better than I in math class, too.

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