The “R” Word

When you have kids running around the house, there are a ton of words that shouldn’t leave your mouth. As a sailor and the son of an oil-rig roughneck, I used to have quite the vocabulary. A sentence wasn’t complete unless there were at least 2 swear words in it. If I was actually underway, that number increased to 4. I was able to reform myself, however, and you can read all about that struggle here.

Unfortunately, there’s one word that I’ve never been able to stop using. It’s potentially the most dangerous word that can be spoken in our house. Entire weekends can be destroyed in an instant. Well-laid plans can be shot to pieces with 2 little syllables. It’s so powerful that I’m actually afraid to use it in this post because I don’t want to be responsible for the repercussions. I’ll let you in on the secret, but only because it’s a Monday and I’m a work. Since it’s Monday, the blow-back should die down by the weekend, and since I’m at work, I won’t get whipped into a firestorm right away. I should probably text my wife and let her know that she shouldn’t read the blog today though.

The word that should never be spoken in our house is “RELAX.” This also includes any derivations of the word such as “RELAXATION” and “RELAXING.” For those of you that don’t understand how that can be such a powerful word, let me explain.

When it comes to working around the house, my wife and I tend to feed off of each other. If I decide to do the dishes, she will usually start a load of laundry. If she starts vacuuming, I’ll decide to iron all of my uniforms. We don’t do this because we feel guilty for not helping. In fact, most of the time we’re perfectly fine with cleaning the house by our self because we know that the favor will be returned at some point. This just happens because some sort of energy envelops the house, and it’s impossible to resist. Along the same lines, we tend to inspire laziness in each other.

Here’s why the “R” Word is so dangerous. There is no word in the English language that will get my wife moving faster. There is some sort of subconscious trigger that activates whenever she hears it.

Let’s say that it’s a nice Sunday morning, I don’t really feel like doing anything, and my wife were to ask me, “What do you want to do today?” If I responded with, “I think we should just sit around and watch movies with the kids all day,” we’re in the clear, and there’s a good chance that my plans will succeed.

Now, take that same question and change my answer to, “Why don’t we just sort of hang out and relax in the house today?” As soon as the word leaves my mouth, my heart sinks. I know, without a doubt, that my Sunday has just been shot.

To my wife’s credit, she will fight it to the best of her ability. Eventually, however, she will succumb to her primal instincts. It will start small. She will see a few toy cars on the floor and decide to pick them up before someone steps on them. While she’s doing that, I’ll look out the front window and notice that the front yard needs to be mowed. When she sees me doing that, she figure that I’ll want to do the back yard too, so she’ll start cleaning it. This will cause me to start depooping the entire neighborhood which will make her clean the litter box in our bathroom. That will cause me to clean the guest bathroom (this is starting to resemble an If you Give a Mouse a Cookie book). She’ll start cleaning the kitchen in case we have guests come over. Before you know it, the sun is starting to go down, and I’m repaving the driveway. The house is sparkling (which is a waste since the kids will turn it back into a disaster within 20 minutes), and our nice, lazy Sunday is completely gone.

Now you see why “relax” is such a dangerous word in our house. It has the power to eliminate weekends and turn any season into spring cleaning. It is possibly the most destructive force in our family (or at least a close second to our son). Hopefully, the ripples from mentioning it in this post will die down by the time the weekend gets here. That way, we can have a nice relaxing lazy weekend.

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