The other day on the radio, the DJs asked listeners to share the dumbest things their spouses had done. I didn’t call in – no need to. Really. *Cough* But I’m glad others did, because it was pretty funny. One lady went out to run errands, leaving her husband in charge of their toddler. While she was gone, the toddler had a blowout diaper disaster. The husband cleaned it all up and everything was under control. *Cough* Only problem was, there were no baby wipes in the house. That’s one of the items she went out to buy. In his world, though, the husband had found wipes, conveniently located on top of the toilet tank. “Those were Clorox. Disinfecting. Wipes,” the wife said. A woman would see the big letters on the container and know that:
Bleach on skin = bad
Bleach on toddler’s skin = really, really stupid thing to do
But what to do in a situation like that, dear reader? You could scream and holler. Or invoke the Silent Treatment. But guys have this sneaky ability to ignore both of these, and make us think they’re listening. Instead of expending all that energy, I suggest a fresh alternative:
Put him on Triple-Secret Probation.
Think of it as invisible jail. Mentally hiss “You, buddy, are on Triple-Secret Probation.” And don’t tell him he’s on TSP. Don’t tell him when he’s been released, either. That way, you can keep him on TSP for as long as needed. If he feebly attempts a good act, or 10, you can think about releasing him. Maybe. Take Clorox Dad. Putting him on Triple-Secret Probation means that nothing he can do, for at least a month or two, will fix this. Only his wife’s spontaneous good graces can release him from TSP. In order for TSP to be effective, there are certain guidelines. Putting a man on TSP for leaving his socks lying around the house doesn’t pay. Waste of TSP, because this one’s not going away. Pick your battles, ladies. To help, I give you several times when TSP is deserved:
- When he’s left his socks lying around the house. Yes, I know I just said not to bother with this one. But really – it’s never going to stop unless you DO something. TSP to the rescue.
- When you send him to the store with a written list, and he comes home with something so ridiculously unclose to the list that it makes your head spin. Automatic, immediate TSP.
- When he eats the last piece of cake and leaves an empty, crumb-filled container sitting there along with a forest of crumbs scattered across the countertop. In fact, the dishwasher is so close it could snap his arm in half if the door closed on it. This one deserves a lengthy TSP.
- When he leaves used dental floss lying around the house, like my friend’s husband. Theirs is the house of Eternal Dental Christmas, with floss hanging like tinsel from the doorknobs. You’d think Matt would use one of the many decorative trash receptacles Kari has thoughtfully set out, but I guess they’re too close to the floor and skip his radar. Bad, bad, bad.
To be fair, we should talk about times when TSP is utterly useless. This depends on your man and the situation.
- When you’re out of GPS range, hopelessly lost in a neighborhood where you swear you heard gunshots, and your man still refuses to ask for directions. He won’t. Ever. That’s because he’s convinced that you’re only minutes away from your destination. Even if it’s two states away.
- 2. When he’s sick. TSP is a complete waste here, because when men are sick, they can’t think about anything else except being sick. Or whining about being sick. Or speculating about what got them sick in the first place. Hack. Hack.
Ladies, Triple-Secret Probation is your weapon in this war. Use it as often as needed to keep your sanity and your voice, and keep your man wondering what he did wrong. He’ll never guess, and you can have the smug satisfaction of knowing you nipped this sucker in the bud without wasting an ounce of effort.