Monday, August 29, 2011

Surviving a House of 6, Part 1

Picture this: 2 adults, 1 teenager, 2 nine year olds, 1 six year old, and Bones (can’t forget Zombie Kitty), in a 1300 square foot house with 1 bathroom…

Yep, I said one bathroom.

No, this isn’t a nightmare I had last night that I want to share with you all, this is my life now. And, to be honest, I couldn’t be happier.

How do you go from a family of 4 in a 2200 square foot house with 2 bathrooms to a family of 6 in a 1300 square foot house with 1 bathroom? Very carefully, that’s for sure. And slowly. In fact, there’s still a bunch of my stuff in my old house that we haven’t gotten yet. It’s like tetris- fit a piece in there, wait a second, fit another piece in, wait for the next piece. If you try and cram all of your pieces in at once, you’re just going to build a wall and won’t be able to get to the next level…

The even bigger question is, how do you survive life in a house of 6? Well, Inklingers, that’s what I’m here to share with you today…

  1. Pee at work. Or at Walmart, or the grocery store. The more places outside the house that you can use the bathroom, the better it will be when you get back to the house and everyone has to use the restroom all at once. It’s Murphy’s Law, and it does happen with 6 people in one house. So, if you have taken care of your bodily functions before you get home, then you will not be one of the ones fighting to get in the bathroom, or doing the pee-pee dance while you wait in line. If you are comfortable, by all means complete other bathroom business outside the house, too, because there is nothing worse than entering the only bathroom in the house after someone has blown it up, because of course the spray air freshener is empty- happens every time. And no matches in sight. Sheesh. And all I had to do was pee…. Damn.
  2. Come up with a shower schedule and stick to it. For us, I shower in the morning before work, Charlie showers when he gets home from work, the kids line up and shower one by one while dinner is being made, and the 17 year old… well, he has the house to himself during the day, so I’m assuming he showers then… Hmmm…
  3. Paper/Rock/Scissors EVERYTHING. It’s democratic, fair and you can’t cheat at it. I don’t care if the question is who gets the last biscuit, who takes a shower first, or even who cleans up the cat puke. And this goes for all ages. The two adults, an adult and a kid, a 3 way rock paper scissors between the kids- it applies to any scenario, any age group. Start implementing immediately, and don’t let the 6 year old tell you that his fist with his thumb sticking up is a bomb and that destroys everything. They’ll try it, I promise.
  4. Make grocery shopping a game. Tell the kids, whoever can bring me the cheapest jar of peanut butter is the winner. Now go! Sure, the kids are running through the grocery store like chickens with their heads cut off, but what they aren’t doing is staying under your butt saying, ‘Mommy, can we get poptarts’, ‘Mommy, the kid that sits next to me at lunch has Doritos, can we get doritos’, or ‘Mommy, you just bought gourmet coffee, that’s not fair’. Grocery shopping goes so much quicker and with less of a headache this way, and depending on the questions you ask them, it’s also a learning experience. Now, this of course would not work if you had younger kids, but I figure two 9 year olds and a 6 year old is okay for going down an aisle or two from me at a non Walmart store.
  5. Parks are your best friend. They are free, you can head to the dollar store and get some Frisbees or bubbles that will entertain for hours, and the kids get to run around like crazy and will crash when you get home. Can I get a hell yeah??
  6. Shop based on sales, and the dollar tree is always a plus. The dollar tree has toilet paper, pasta, tomato sauce, cookie mixes, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc, that are pretty decent, and it’s the only place where we’ll buy snacks. Having munching food for 6 people is expensive everywhere else, but not with dollar tree pretzels and cookies. And if you check out sales on meat right before you go shopping, you can plan your weekly meals around what your MVP or bonus card has on special. It saves wonders on the grocery bill. I tried extreme couponing for a while at one point; it worked like hell. I need to get back into it, but without reliable internet it’s hard to do your planning.
  7. The public library is your 2nd best friend. Free books, free movies- sure they are old and probably scratched as hell, but there’s no better time to introduce your kids to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or some low budget Princey the Green Dragon movie. And our library has the entire series of Murder She Wrote on DVD… talk about an instant cure for insomnia, all for free!
  8. Implement an earlier bedtime, pretty much for everyone. My kids used to go to bed around 9, but now with a full house, they head to bed between 8 and 8:30. Why? So that the adults can have time to watch a movie or whatever before we head to bed around 10 or 10:30. Trying to stay up until midnight to get some adult time in when you have to wake up at 5:30 the next morning is not feasible day after day. The kids usually talk and stuff after they go to bed, which is fine with us as long as they stay in their beds. And I get to breathe about 30 minutes to an hour earlier everyday, now. Collapse on the couch and let out a sigh of relief. It feels amazing. So amazing I usually pass out shortly after starting a movie. Yeah, defeats the purpose, I know.
  9. There are certain things you should splurge on, no matter how tight money is:
·        Coffee- nothing’s worse than the cheap ass coffee that can’t wake the dead- if it can’t restart your heart after you’ve been dead for 5 minutes, I don’t want to drink it!
·        The big ass box of freezer pops- a family of 6 will go through those in about a week. Anything smaller just will not suffice and will piss you off. 36 freezer pops? Yeah, okay, maybe for the 1st half of the week. Try the 120 box- that’ll do.
·        Meat that does not have ‘mechanically separated’ written before it. That’s just gross. Seriously. Check the cheap stuff you might be buying. Hey, $1 for a pound roll of ground turkey? Score! Wait, ‘mechanically separated turkey’??? What the hell does that even mean?
·        Movies from the $5 bin at your local superstore. Yes, I said ‘splurge’ as we started this list. The $5 movies may not seem like a splurge, but in the days of the Redbox for $1 a night, a $5 investment is steep. But do it every once in a while. The $5 bin kicks ass now, has great movies, so check it out! That leads me right into #10…

  1. The Redbox is your 3rd best friend. $1 a night for movies, hell yeah. Easy, cheap entertainment for the whole family. And, if you didn’t already know, new movies come out on Tuesdays, and if you download the Redbox app to your phone, you can actually reserve the movies, from your phone, as soon as they come out. And be sure to enter your email address into that section of your checkout instead of hitting ‘no thanks’. They email you codes for free movies. Damn free is nice.

So now you’ve gotten 10 of the most important survival tips for living in a house of 6, Tatted Mom style, of course. Something tells me this post will be the first of a whole series of Surviving a House of 6 posts. Goodness knows I’m learning new things everyday- shortcuts, ways to be a ninja, mind control methods- whatever it takes to keep this house running smoothly.


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