Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Husband Strike: Update #1

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband got sick on Monday (I swear he knew!) So, I decided to forego beginning the Strike until he was better. I mean, how wrong is it to expect a sick person to do his chores correctly? By Tuesday, he was feeling better- well enough to go to work. By Wednesday, he was completely well. So, I decided to begin the Strike on Wednesday.

Trash Status (Wednesday): Trash Mountain had made its return!!!

Laundry Status (Wednesday): I can't actually see much of the floor on his side of the bed...

Dish Status (Wednesday): None- he hadn't been home to make dirty dishes.

Lawn Status (Wednesday): So far, the lawn has gone 3 1/2 weeks without being mown...

And so, that was how Wednesday was wrapped up.


Well, Thursday is our trash days. And, amazingly, Trash Mountain had vanished from the kitchen when the kids and I woke up. However, he did NOT take out the trash from our daughter's bathroom, the baby's room, our daughter's room, or our bathroom. So, essentially, the only trash removed from our home on trash day was Trash Mountain. Better than nothing, I guess?

Dish Status (Thursday): Yep, you guessed it. He finally had dishes, and where did they end up? On the counter right beside the sink. Not IN the sink, like he knows to do. But less than four inches away from it. Really???

Lawn Status (Thursday): No change.

Laundry Status (Thursday): Pile keeps growing...


As of Friday, there have been no real changes. The dirty dishes are still on the counter (even though he WATCHED me load the dishwasher with every dirty dish apart from HIS), the pile o' clothes beside the bed continues to grow, the lawn is still running wild, and no trash has been removed since Trash Mountain.

Right now it is Saturday. I will not post on the day's issues yet, since the day is not over. So, I'll be updating again soon!!

Til Later!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Husband Strike

Very recently, an acquaintance of mine began something that had me leaping for joy and cheering her on: A Mommy Strike. Spurred on by a recent story of a Canadian mother who did this same thing (you can read that story here), my friend has decided to STOP picking up after her children who are old enough to do it themselves.

What do I think? I think these women are HEROES! I'm sure everyone with kids will agree that it's exhausting to pick up after them constantly. In my case, my children are too young to do a lot of chores. My 4 1/2 month old is doing good to not spew milk all over life. Of course. My 4 year old is a lot better though- she is capable of picking up her toys and putting them away (though most of the time she doesn't), and she is capable of putting her dirty clothes in the clothes hamper in her closet (this is a task she actually does all the time!). But doing her own dishes, laundry, and really cleaning her room other than tidying are a little beyond her. Which is understandable. Though I wish I didn't have to just follow her around picking up her things all the time, if I want my home clean enough that my little roly-poly baby won't pick up things he shouldn't, then I must. And I'm okay with this. Most of the time.

The real problem in my home comes from someone who is not an infant or toddler. I make the joke to everyone that I really have three children instead of two- my husband being child #3. He's almost 28 years old... What the hell is his excuse???

Before everyone jumps to conclusions and becomes appalled that I would attack my husband on a public blog, let me state this VERY clearly: I love my husband. He is a great man, who works very hard to take care of his family and protect our country. But he is a freaking slob.

So, go ahead. Judge away now that I've gotten that out in the open.

I'm sure by now everyone has grasped where I'm going with this post. Using the Mommy Strike as inspiration, I've decided to do a Husband Strike in my home, and this post is my official declaration of war. Instead of sitting aside and not picking up after my children, I will only not perform the very few simple tasks that I have literally begged my husband to do for the last five years of our marriage.

Here is some background:

In our home, my husband is the "bread-winner" if you like that term. I am the stay-at-home-slave. We are very blessed and very fortunate that our family is able to function this way (though, believe me- I'd LOVE the child vacation that would be a "job" a lot of the time...), but since this dynamic was established, my husband's home work ethic has completely vanished. And it's exhausting. And exasperating. I have to nag him to do his chores a hundred times the amount I have to ask my 4 year old, which is ridiculous.

Honestly, I've tried placing blame for his slovenly ways everywhere from his mother coddling him throughout his childhood to him just doing it to piss me off. In reality, I only have one person to blame and that is myself. I've allowed him to be lazy our entire marriage, telling myself over and over that I owe it to him to do as many things in our home as I'm physically capable of doing so that he has very little to do when he comes home from work. He works a LOT. Military, what can you say? But in the end all I've gotten myself is a grown man who won't do anything at all now. In the beginning, it was hard, but I was able to get him to tidy up after himself somewhat. Over the years, his attention to his household duties has decreased and decreased and decreased to the point he does virtually nothing if he is home, other than make extra messes. This in turn makes me feel unappreciated, miserable, and furious. Always. It's a feeling that never goes away now. But I was the one who let it happen. In fact, throughout our whole marriage I can count the number of times he's cleaned in our home without a rant of my rage first on one hand. Actually, I can count the number of times on one finger.

One, in case you didn't get the joke. I was pregnant with our son, and was off at his squadron's fund-raiser garage sale, making money for him. He was at home. But to his credit, he did pick up a lot of things, tried to do some dishes, and mopped the kitchen. It was impressive, really. I almost died of shock.

Before anyone starts chastising me for being angry at him for blowing off his chores, let me list them out for you:

1.) Take out the trash
2.) Mow the lawn
3.) Put his own dishes in the sink
4.) Put his dirty laundry in the basket in our closet

That's it.

...Is that too much to ask? I mean, is it really? I do absolutely everything else in our home. I paint, I repair, I clean, I cook, I take care of the kids, etc. Hence, stay-at-home-slave. But four things. Four tiny things. It takes him less than thirty minutes to mow the lawn, in case anyone wondered what type of task that one was. Less than thirty minutes IF I can pry him off of the couch to do it at all. All I ask is four things.

He does ZERO of them. Our lawn has gone more than a month without being cut several times. I end up taking out the trash more than he does, and I'm beginning to think he doesn't know where the sink or laundry basket is. Even though his dirty clothes end up tossed right beside said laundry basket on the floor. Or downstairs in the living room hanging all over the furniture. Or in the hallway. Or in the bathroom... You get the point.

I get it, I really, really get it! He's at work all the time. He has very long days, too. And he's tired when he gets home. But the difference between his job and mine is that he gets to stop at some point, come home, and do nothing. Or at least, that's how he sees it.

"I just got off of work, why should I come home and do more work?"

Um, well, then when do I "get off work"?

At one point in time, I was very ill with the flu. I could barely get out of bed except to vomit. It's a miracle I found the energy to take care of our daughter (our only child at the time). Laundry? It didn't happen. Dishes? Are you kidding? I wasn't eating- why were there dirty dishes in the first place? Bottles, sure, but that was all I found justifiable for me to clean. Three days. Only three days after I got sick we had zero clean dishes, the baby's laundry was running low on clean items, and the hubby had NO clean clothes. Don't ask me how this is even possible. I honestly don't know.

After he'd come home that evening of the third day and could watch the baby I'd shut the door to our bedroom, taken more medicine, turned off the lights, and begged for sleep to take me. And then the door opened to a very grouchy man and his very grouchy questions: "Why are there no clean dishes? And why do I not have any clean clothes?!"

My first reaction: Smash his head into the wall. But that would have taken a lot of energy. And I'd have had to get out of bed, which wasn't happening.

Second reaction: To tell him it was because his lazy ass hadn't cleaned a damn thing in years. But my brain-to-mouth filter works better than that. Most of the time. And I think my brain had a lot more swear words in mind when having this thought...

Third reaction, and the actual thing that was said: "I guess our magical, house-cleaning ghost went on vacation." And then I closed my eyes to go back to sleep.

To say I was put-out over this blatant example of being taken for granted would be a serious understatement.

I like to equate my husband to the Peanuts character Pig Pen. He's the one that's always dirty with a cloud of dust and dirt following him around. I've considered hunting down an outfit to match the cartoon's and making him wear it just for my own amusement...

But I doubt I could force him into some weird over-all shorts...

At the current moment my husband is away and will not return until this upcoming weekend. Like the dutiful wife-slave, I will unpack for him when he gets home, clean all his dirty laundry, and get him all ready to go for the upcoming week. I will do this, because I love him and it is my "job" to do so.

But come Monday, The Husband Strike begins in my household. I will let it go on for two weeks.

I will not pick up his dirty dishes and put them in the sink. When he has forced our family to run out of dishes, I will keep a set cleaned for my daughter and myself.

I will not take out the trash. When the baby's Diaper Genie is overflowing, and bags and bags of other diapers begin accumulating in the nursery, I will stand strong. Unless it becomes a hazard to my baby- that's where I draw the line. In that case, the bags of diapers might mysteriously end up inside my husband's truck. When the kitchen trash looks more like trash mountain, I will let it sit. I will not demand it be taken out.

I will not clean any of his clothes that are not placed in the laundry basket. If the clothes are in the basket, I will wash them as per usual. I only ask that he puts them where they belong.

I will not nag about the lawn from sun-up 'til sun-down on the weekends. Granted, now that it's fall and the lawn barely grows this one will have virtually ZERO impact, but by the time he comes home this weekend, it will have already gone three weeks without being mowed. We'll see if it happens within the two weeks of Strike.

And that's all. These are the only parameters of the Strike. I will still do everything else that I've always done. But we'll see how long it takes for my home to become a disaster... We will see...

Who wants to bet he won't notice at all? ;)

The woman who went on strike in the story and my friend who is now doing the same with her older children posted/are posting on Facebook about the state of the home and how the strike is going. Since my husband is on Facebook and can obviously see my posts I do not have this luxury. So my sole outlet will be this blog. He has never read my blog before, so I don't think he'll start any time soon! So for anyone who reads this and knows him: SHHHHH!!! Do NOT tell him what is happening!

Stay tuned for daily updates!!!

'Til later!
      ----- D

***** UPDATE!!!!*****

Well, today is Monday- the day I'd planned to begin my Husband Strike. As luck would have it, my poor husband came down with the flu... :( So, I will begin the Strike once he feels better- how can you be on strike for a sick man??? Strike antics coming soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tutorial: That Accursed Hat...

Okay, I guess I've put this off for about as long as I can... The hat. I'll warn you now- this will be a lame tutorial full of my own irritation. Also, this tutorial is for personal use ONLY. Please don't rip me off.

When I made my daughter a cape coat (See post here) I also decided I wanted to make a matching hat-like accessory to go with it. So, I began by tinkering around with not a lot of direction in mind, and this was the final product:

It could have been worse, I suppose. I'm really not happy with this, but I think other people might think it's cute, so I'll post a tutorial in case someone wants to try it out. Who knows? Maybe someone will find some awesome ways to tweak this and make it fab!! So let's dive right in, shall we?

Materials (What I used- Feel free to make substitutions!):
- Crushed Velvet
- Batting
- Tulle
- Felt
- 1 1/2" Satin-Trim Sheer Wired Ribbon
- 7/8" Double-Face Satin Ribbon
- 5/8" Velvet Ribbon
- Lighter
- Measuring Tape
- Tracing Object
- Tracing Pencil
- Scissors
- Straight Pins
- Thread
- Straight Needle
- Curved Needle
- Hot Glue
- Clips


***Important Note: Before we begin, please note that I made each individual section of the hat first, then attached them all together at the very end. You do not have to do this. It is just the way I chose to do everything so that I could visually see what I was doing BEFORE committing the pieces together by gluing or stitching.

1.) Take a piece of fabric (I used crushed velvet) and cut out a circle in the desired size. Be certain your circle is large enough to account for the material that will be folded around the batting.

2.) Choose a circular object to trace that is the size you desire the hat center to be. When compared to your circle of fabric cut in the step above, it should be small enough to allow for fold-over.

3.) Use this circular object to trace a circle onto a piece of quilt batting. I used 2 pieces, to give my center a little more depth.

4.) Place the pieces of batting onto the fabric circle. If using a fabric with a definite top side (my crushed velvet is an example of this),  place the batting in the center of the back side. Use pins to fold the excess fabric down around the batting, then set the center circle aside.

Top View after fabric is pinned:

5.) Stitch the veil portion: With what I used, my veil ribbon measured 22 1/2" when I cut it. Depending on the size of your circle, your ribbon length may vary. I "measured" out how much ribbon I'd use by taking the ribbon (still on the spool) and laying it loosely around the circle I'd just made. When I determined I had enough length to ruffle and still go all the way around the circle, I cut.

To stitch, use a straight needle and matching thread, and begin making very large, loose basting stitches in the satin of one edge. Continue this for the entire length of the ribbon.

When the end of the ribbon is reached, gently tug at the thread to pull the ribbon into a loose ruffle. Adjust the tension of the stitches to make the ribbon fit snugly around the center circle piece.

When you are satisfied with the size of the ruffle, use the same needle and thread to stitch the two ends of the ribbon shut, then set the ribbon veil aside.

6.) Stitch the tulle portion: My piece of tulle measured 6 ft in length, and 6" in width. To begin, I folded my piece of tulle in half lengthwise to create a double layer of 3" wide tulle. Then, using the same needle and thread from above, I began loose basting stitches in the folded edge that continued for the length of the tulle.

In the same manner as above, pull the stitches as tightly as you need them to be to create the size ruffle circle you desire. I used my ribbon veil and center circle as a guide for the size I desired. When I was pleased with the size, I stitched the two ends of the tulle together just at the folded edge where my stitches were to close off the circle. Set this piece aside.

7.) Create the ribbon loops: I used four 14" lengths of velvet ribbon for my loops, but yours may vary. Cut the pieces, then heat-seal the edges using a lighter.

Fold one length in half, and push a straight pin through the center of the fold. The head of the pin should be against the top side of your ribbon. Allow the ribbon to unfold and the sharp end to point upwards.

Using the same steps as above, place the other lengths of ribbon onto the pin.

Spread the lengths of ribbon out, making a type of starburst shape around the pin. Try to keep the space between each end even as you spread. 

Moving in one direction around the starburst (I moved counter-clockwise, I think), take each ribbon edge and fold it onto the pin in the center. Make certain to fold the ribbon the same way each time and stay moving in one direction. This keeps the loops the same.

Using your straight needle and thread, push through the center (where the pin currently is) and make several stitches through the ribbon to sew the center together. It may be difficult to push through the thickness of the center with the needle- be careful, and use a thimble or hard surface to push the needle if you need to! Otherwise, you'll be dumb like me and end up bleeding. Honestly, I can't think of very many of my projects that end with me NOT bleeding or burned, but I digress...

After your ribbon loop piece is stitched shut, you can compare the size to the center circle and make sure it is accurate.

8.) Stitch the folded ribbon portion: This was the most exasperating step for me. I don't have a measurement for how much ribbon I used- I just sort of rough-guessed how much I'd need by sort of folding up the ribbon still on the spool and laying it around the center circle to take a stab at how much I'd need. Then I heat sealed the ribbon's edges.

Use the straight needle and thread and stitch through one side of the caterpillar-like folds you'll be making in this ribbon. Make the folds as long as you'd like them to be. Mine were about an inch, I think. Really, I didn't measure much here. Just grumbled and swore. A lot.

When you're done, It will kind of look like this:
 Set it aside, just as it is. You'll spread it out as you glue. Ugh.

8.) Make the decorative bow: I used 37 1/2" for the bow, and 12" for the center knot piece.

Criss-cross your ribbon to make a bow-like shape.

Pinch the middle together, then use thread to wind around this portion to hold it in this shape.

With the length of ribbon designated for the center knot, make a loop in the size you want, pinching where the pieces intersect, then wind thread around this part too.

Place the center knot on top of the bow, then use the ends of the center knot to secure the knot to the bow by tying an actual knot then trim the excess.

Trim the excess to make the sides even, and carefully heat-seal the edges with a lighter.

9.) Using your tracing object, cut out a circle of felt. This will be the "base" of the hat, where you'll attach the clips.

10.) Finally! It's time for hot glue!!!

Glue the tulle ruffle circle on top of the felt and gently press down. Here's where I get burned- remember that the glue will seep up through the tulle...

Glue the ribbon loop on top of the tulle. Do not glue all the way out to the edges- you'll want the loops to be able to stand up around the other ribbon and center circle.

Glue the edges of the fabric on the center circle down to the batting, trying to keep the circular edge smooth.

Glue the center circle to the ribbon loop. Leave a little space unglued all around the edges of the center circle to tuck the caterpillar-fold ribbon underneath.

And let the torture begin... I found it easier to loosely pin the folds all around the center circle just so I had rough guidelines of how to glue. Begin gluing each fold under the edge of the center circle. This ribbon circle will become wedged between the ribbon loop and the center circle.

Glue the decorative bow to the center circle.

10.) Flip the hat over. Using the curved needle (I'm sure a straight one would have worked too, but since I was making loop stitches all the way around it was easier for me to use a small curved needle.), stitch the ribbon veil to the felt circle.

11.) Glue clips to the felt circle (or stitch them, if you'd prefer). I used two clips on mine, to keep it from wobbling so much.

12.) Turn back over and re-fluff the bow. Voila! You are done!

And there you have it! Please feel free to ask questions if you have them, but be prepared for kind of vague answers. I really just sort of winged it.

'Til Later!!!
        ----- D