Send Cleaners, Guns, and Money… (No Guns, Please.)

Posted: July 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

So every so often Kay and I play The Sims. I keep hoping that someday they’re going to have actual storytelling in it, but it’s fun nonetheless. Anyway, the game system was what finally allowed us to find a metaphor for our ongoing struggle of living together happily. One of the personal happiness meters for the Sims is (or at least was in the first iteration) something called the Room Bar. Each individual Sim had their own Room Bar level, which indicated the level of ambient messiness at which they would become unhappy with the room they were in. If it had a high Room, the slightest drop in cleanliness would upset the Sim. If its Room was really low, they would happily eat cheese steaks in the middle of a kitchen crawling with bugs.

Take a guess which level I have. Hint: It’s significantly lower than Kay’s.

So, over the seventeen–yes, seventeen as of the 17th!–years we’ve been married, there have occasionally been tiny, ah, “disagreements” about the squalidness of our living quarters. Fortunately, I’ve learned to ramp up my game and Kay has learned to tolerate my still-not-up-to-snuff ramped up game. But with Kay working more this year, two children who exude mess like Tron bikes exude walls, and a very very slow dishwasher, something must be done.

We’re also reaching the point where Kay’s income isn’t enough to support everyone and she’s getting a little worn out and wants to take some time to, y’know, wrangle the children and try to write a novel. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, neh? Just like the encroaching dishes, the threatening shadow of zero-point finances needs to be kicked in the arse. (Can I say arse? I know I’m from New Jersey, but I read a lot of British comics.)

Too much talkies. Outline time.


1. Cleaning/Home Maintenance

a. Dishes/Kitchen

b. Living Room

c. Bathroom Nightly Maintenance

d. Chores for Boys

e. Office: Get unpacked and functional

2. Financial

a. Writing projects (see section one)

b. eBay

c. Programming

i. Learn app programming

ii. Investigate selling apps

d. Comics Toons N’ Toys: learn more about management

e. Spending prioritization

i. Don’t buy things twice

Look! Only two major topics today. Yesterday was a bit intense, and I know a lot more about writing than household maintenance. But that means you, Friendly Angel, will have to pick up a little more slack figuring out what stuff I’ve missed here.

Mister Exposition, please?

In the cleaning/home maintenance section, the first three things are daily tasks. And not all of them are going to be me… these are the things that should be done by the time everyone crashes for the night. Would a schedule (Doug’s dish day, Kay’s dish day, etc.) be best? Who cooks doesn’t wash? You play glockenspiel, I play drums? What works for you guys? Part of this discussion is going to be adding some chores for our boys (Kieran, 8, and Corwin 6.) Any suggestions from y’all for age appropriate work?

The other major household project is the office. My office, or as we call it right now, The Room With All The Still Packed Boxes Of Books That We Haven’t Enough Shelves For. I’ve cleared a small desky area, and it’s functional if not particularly comfortable. I want it awesome. Awesome office, with all my books and lead statues of Firestorm and James Jean prints on the walls. This will make me work better, I am convinced. (And by convinced, I mean self-hypnotized.) My secret weapon Laurie has offered to help, so it’s just a matter of scheduling the project. Oh, and finding a place for all those books.

The second big hurdle is to bolster the finances, particularly in the short term. Without giving up homeschooling the boys and without cutting into the writing (in hopes that that will contribute eventually) I want to find things that will bring in some bucks. I mean, aside from the whole food, shelter, air conditioning hierarachy of needs, there are comics to be read.

Shortest term is to eBay some of my excess stuff. I have a lot of stuff. (A lot of it is in boxes cluttering up my office right now.) Unfortunately, stuff I’m willing to sell is finite, and these days, fewer people are buying crap on eBay. This can be a band-aid, but it’s definitely short term.

As briefly mentioned yesterday, it occurred to me that the years of teenage programming could be used in a functional way to learn to program apps. I have an iPhone now, and I keep not finding the apps I need. Which made me think I could program my own app. Which made me think I could sell my own app. I can’t be the only person who would find a decent word count writing app useful, can I? Hurdle: learning the programming language. Fortunately, Kieran just started programming Python at age 8, so maybe my calcified forty-year-old brain could match that feat. And how cool would it be not to be running down that hill of computer illiteracy?

Longer term, I’ve worked at a comic store (the ever-wonderful Comics, Toons ‘N Toys, greatest comic store I’ve ever found, and I’ve been to a lot…) for ten years now, and maybe if I learned a little more about how it all works (not that I don’t know a lot already from watching Matt do his thing) I might be able to parlay that someday into a functional income rather than just a way to subsidize my weekly fix. I’ve got a great resource to learn from, ought to enjoy and learn from him while I can.

The last, but not unimportant, part of finances is to bring down my spending. What do I really want? Do I need both comics and the eventual trade collection of those same comics? Can patience lead to the reinstatement of my Paizo subscription? More what I really need (and by need I mean want) and less of what I just want (and by want I mean want, just not as much as the last want.)

Thank you, Mister Exposition.

What think you, Friendly Angels?


Tomorrow: Will I come up with a better thing to call you than Friendly Angel? (Good geek cred, but kind of creepy. Suggestions welcome.) Oh, and we talk homeschooling plans.

  1. Laurie says:

    Because you have two kids add “one load of laundry” to the daily list. And SQUEE! I’m a secret weapon!

  2. Rachelle says:

    When it comes to involving kids in chores, I’ve always taken a lesson from kindergarten: everything needs to have a home. If they can easily put things away, life is good. If you have too much stuff and not enough space, figure out what goes (this is particularly hard for my son). Along with the laundry: folding towels is a great six year old task; just learn to accept slightly, um, interesting folds.

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