A father’s guide to the Land of Millstones and Honey Do’s

Published 10:41 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

by Jase Graves

As a married man with three daughters, I enjoy the occasional moment of solitude when I can reset, recharge, refocus, and stand at the open refrigerator in my underwear eating aerosol whipped cream and drinking milk directly from the jug. I was looking forward to reveling in this kind of reclusively boorish behavior recently when I had a week of vacation to myself while the girls were still in school and my wife was at work — wondering if I’d be out of bed by the time they got home.

Unfortunately, I found myself unable to continue ignoring those chores usually assigned to the man of the house and which require a full set of clothing. Based on my experiences that week, I thought I’d offer a few tips to other men like me whose tools all still have that new hardware smell and whose yard work always begins with untangling an epic mass of electrical cords.

Tip No. 1 – Prior to spending a significant amount of time outdoors in the sun for the first time since the previous August, generously apply sunscreen to the back of your neck until it reaches the consistency of spackling paste. Failure to do so will result in your neck looking like an inflamed Louisiana hot link, which, in turn, will prompt friends, family and your barber to joke incessantly about the fact that you’ve finally become a real “redneck,” which, in turn, will prompt all of them to tell mostly the same “You might be a redneck” jokes, which, in turn, will make you wish you’d thought up the whole redneck comedy shtick so you wouldn’t have to be doing yard work in the first place.

Tip No. 2 – If that plastic safety cover thingy comes off the end of your electric weed whacker while in use, refrain from raising the weed whacker to waist-level in order to get a better look, especially when wearing a pair of old Nike shorts.  If you do happen to raise the weed whacker and you accidentally hit the “on” button while doing so, immediately assume a fetal posture and holler out curse word alternatives like “Shatner’s Fusty Skunk Nuggets!” Then quickly concoct a story to tell friends, family and alarmed neighbors about an altercation with an unusually athletic possum. Thereafter, put the offending weed whacker out of its (and your) misery — and violently so.

Tip No. 3 – Be prepared to replace all toilet seats in the home at least once every decade. (Apparently, certain family members are opposed to performing acrobatic moves on the commode to avoid splinters and other injuries requiring a tetanus shot.) When shopping for toilet seats, be willing to laugh politely when an elderly fellow-customer walks up to the display and jokes (hopefully) about the high cost of those large, white picture frames.  Before attaching a new toilet seat, maintain a healthy suspicion of all marketing gimmicks on the box that claim, “Installs in minutes” and “No need to get on hands and knees.” You won’t be on hands and knees because you’ll be on your back with your head wedged underneath the toilet bowl, embracing it like an awkward prom date. Once you’ve installed the new seat and extracted your melon from the forbidden zone, flush the toilet to be sure it still works properly.

Tip No. 4 – Expect your children to interrupt all of the above tasks daily when they activate your parental guilt reflex by requesting that you bring them lunch to school from a fast food restaurant. On the way to the school, position your air conditioning vents such that the icing on the gourmet cupcakes you bought as an excuse to eat one yourself doesn’t melt. At the same time, balance the kids’ Raising Cane’s Box Combos in your lap to keep them warm. Before delivering what’s left of their food, remember to lick Cane’s Sauce residue from your fingers to remove evidence.

I hope these tips provide you with the guidance needed to avoid selfishly enjoyable and relaxing alone-time while you’re off from work. And if you ever do find yourself desperate for a minute to yourself, there’s always the refrigerator.

JASE GRAVES is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.