All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!



Situational deafness isn't everything I hoped it would be.  Despite working late last night and then going to Wal-Mart for the wife before coming home, I was up early with projects on my mind. 

I decided to take Susan up on having the kids help in the yard.  It was a punishment for a stunt they pulled while mom was trying to get a shower last night.  I'm not sure why I needed to be punished for that.  Anyway after only four and one half hours of constantly getting on the kids case, the poop is scooped.  Most of the rocks are back in the rock garden, and I think the bricks are back where they belong, which isn't in the middle of the lawn. 

There is a giant slotted spoon under the cloths line.  I didn't want to ask about that.  It's late enough in the day that I don't want to go up that hill.

There is somebody living in my house that I've never met.  His name is "Not Me".  I don't know if Not Me is a boy or a girl.  I think it depends on the situation. I've not been able to establish enough conclusive evidence as to gender.  Yet.

I'm starting to believe that Not Me is a brother sister team, and they have a dog.  I hear about him sometimes.  Usually I hear about the dog in very quick verbal busts, like; "NotMeDaddythedogdidit". The speaker never wants to stick around long enough to properly annunciate their explanation of the events leading up to my inquiry. 

It seems that the more Not Me is involved in an incident the fewer details that are available.  I don't know what Not Me has on my kids to be able to blackmail them so effectively.  They never want to say much when he is involved in an incident.  They're afraid to spill the beans on the guy.  It's kinda like the mob.  Nobody saw anything and nobody wants to say anything about what they didn't see.

It's a mystery.  The Not Me mystery.  "Where are daddy's tools?" I'll ask.  "What tools daddy?" is the answer I'll get.  "The ones in daddy's tool box" I say, already aware of the exercise in futility I'm engaged upon.  "I want my (insert name of the tool that's missing this time), have you seen it?"  I ask all ready knowing the hopelessness of my situation.  "Not Me" is the answer.  I should have known that evil villain broke into my locked garage and took the one tool I was going to need today.  Why did he/she/dog need to break off the limbs of the bushes too?

How do I deal with this epidemic of petty destruction and misappropriation of my stuff isn't something I'm instinctively equipped for.  You can't call the police.  What are you going to tell them?  "My 9/16th drill bit is missing and my daughter says she saw NotMeTheDog take it, officer".  "No sire this isn't a joke".  "Please stop hitting me."  "I'm not resisting."  "Not the taser....Ahhhhhhh!"

The judge says that I can finish this post after a 30 day in house "evaluation" at the hospital.  I think he's heard of Not Me before but he doesn't want to say so publicly.  What does this guy have on everyone?


  1. Res, one thing to keep in mind as you enter this new phase of fatherhood, is when you are dealing with your kids, try not to give them "open ended" questions. That gives them way too much weasel room to avoid answering daddy. Think of it as closing a sale with a client. The successful salesman discretely guides the prospective client with questions designed to give specific answers.

    It is better to ask your kids in "closed" comments and statements that give them no such room to wiggle. Such as, I noticed that I am missing a couple of tools. Please find and return them now. That puts them on notice that you know they took the tool, and you expect action immediately. If they truly can't find the tool, they can then inform you after they look. Once I made it clear to my kids that if I happened to find the looked for item after they claim to have searched, there would be punishment awaiting, because they obviously did not look as asked.

    Another thing my kids did, and it sounds like yours are trying, is if I had to deal with one for an infraction, the other would try the same thing to see if they could get away with it. So after having a talk with the offender, I would turn to the other and give them a "same goes for you" kind of comment. They knew I was on to their game. I hope you never have to deal with the "gaslighting" that kids will try sometimes. That was fun.

    Kids are going to be searching that wall that mom and dad have built, trying their best to find any chink in your armour. So staying as specific as you can, whether you are instructing them in yard chores, or requesting that tools and dad's possessions be returned will really save you and mom a lot of stress. It lets kids know that you are on to them. Nothing better than that. You are a great dad Res. You are also coming into some of the most interesting parts of their childhood.

    One thing that will make it more conducive to them helping out, is if you can give them some kind of special treat or reward for a job well done. That really tends to motivate kids to be more willing to help around the house. If you can get them helping out and contributing to the home now, you will not have teens who lounge around like the parents are running some kind of youth center instead of their home.

    Because if you think it is bad now, you have seen nothing yet when the teen years kick in.

  2. WaterBoy1:14 PM

    Second what Susan said. Also, keep in mind that -- on rare occasion -- it may be that it was you yourself who mislaid a tool rather than one of your kids. It happens.

    BTW, did you know that Not Me has a sister named Ida Know? They're regularly featured in The Family Circus.

    1. Family Circus is still one of the best. One of the best parenting tools I ever got was when I wound up taking a free 3 day seminar on selling during one of my employments back in the 80's.

      Just the technique of "closed" vs "open" when you question people and subtly maneuver them into buying what you are selling was an eye opener when it came to dealing with kids. It is all about winning the day and not stressing yourself out needlessly in the process.

      Part of parenting is being in control of all the options that kids can take advantage of. Being able to enjoy your kids doesn't mean ever giving up that important and loving parental control. It just means finding that ground where you can put loving instruction into them along with enjoyment of being part of their lives.

      Think of it as long term farming. You are planting seeds in your kids now that when they come to fruition when they are teens, you will be very thankful that you did the work NOW while they are still moldable as opposed to waiting until they are teens and that clay has begun to set firmly.

      There were times when I would do or say something that would help my kids stay on the right path that they did not understand for years. But when they finally did understand, I was so glad that my husband and I did the early work.

    2. Thanks guys.

      I enjoy the kids. I also enjoy writing about the kids. For the most part they gladly help with household chores. I suspect that they would have helped out in the yard gladly too. They knew it was punishment and so they acted like it was the end of the world.

      When the assigned chores were done and dinner eaten we went out for some ice cream. It was still Saturday night after all.

  3. Susan4:18 PM

    I guess we just want to see somebody else we appreciate make it through the teen years too relatively unscathed. Trust me, the work required to survive those years starts NOW. Not then, now. It will all be worth it too. Ice cream with dad always makes the chores go better. I think that is a rule somewhere.