*Warning: this article contains graphic photographs that may not be suitable for all audiences.*

They say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Perhaps my dear husband takes that saying to heart and strongly believes his own trash is indeed my treasure. Or, perhaps he suffers from a highly classified disease. One, not yet technically recognized by scientists and is currently under review by the FDA. Yes, for the sake of this article I will just convince myself that his condition is a common disease.

It was early one Saturday morning when I found 3 photographic pieces of evidence in our refrigerator. Upon a little investigating, I diagnosed my husband with “Refuses To Throw Sh*t Away Syndrome.” Or RTTSAS for short.

I know my husband is not alone. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people are carriers of this disease. Who are the sufferers you may ask? Their poor, innocent partners who spend their precious free time discovering the “treasures” throughout the house.

If we’re being completely honest, I first noticed signs of RTTSAS in our early dating days. As most naive partners do, I chalked it up to the bachelor life and enjoyed cleaning things like his bedroom and refrigerator. I basked in the domestic duties with sheer joy and admiration for the new man in my life.

However, the RTTSAS condition did not seem to improve as the years ticked on.

If RTTSAS sounds somewhat familiar to you and you fear as though you have fallen victim or are perhaps a carrier of this disease, listen up. I’ve jotted down a short list of signs and symptoms. If you answer “yes” to 2 or more of these questions, you may need to seek immediate help:

  • Have you ever found a bag of chips with a few crumbs left in your pantry?
  • Have you ever found a bag of pretzels in your pantry with no pretzels left, no crumbs, just salt?
  • Have you ever found a jar of salsa, hummus or any sort of dip containing less than one scoop left in fridge?
  • What about tabasco bottles? Ever find one with one drip left in fridge?
  • Have you ever found a milk jug or orange juice bottle with approximately .5% of one swig left in fridge?
  • Empty Amazon boxes left in odd places?
  • What about appliances? Ever find an empty vacuum cleaner box belonging to a vacuum you no longer own?
  • How about an empty iPhone 3 box when you and your partner are on the 8th version?
  • And my personal favorite, empty and torn open envelopes left on kitchen counter….

Now, I wouldn’t be doing my journalistic duty without seeking expert testimony regarding RTTSAS. So, I found someone who has been suffering in silence from RTTSAS for much longer than a person should have to. With more than 40 years of experience, allow me to introduce everyone to my mother.

Me: When did you first start noticing signs of RTTSAS?

Mother: The second week of marriage, circa 1981.

Me: Did you feel alone, like perhaps you were the only victim or dad was the only carrier of RTTSAS?

Mother: No, I immediately knew that I joined a club. A tribe of wives suffering from the same disease.

Me: When did my father hit rock bottom with RTTSAS? Or did you have a breaking point?

Mother: Your father hit rock bottom probably 15 years ago. My breaking point happened around the same time. Despite my breaking point, your father was beyond help. I appreciate what you’re doing here, honey, but there is NO cure for him.

Me: What do you want to tell other wives suffering from RTTSAS?

Mother: Be very watchful for early signs and please nip it in the bud.

After interviewing my expert, I confronted my husband on my findings. He was in denial. Totally understandable for our first intervention. Would you believe he even blamed our 5 year old on being the culprit of some of my findings? I hope my innocent 5 year old son is not an early carrier.

In conclusion, I’m writing this article to let you know I’ve taken the appropriate steps to fully diagnose this disease and I’m proud it finally has a scientific name. RTTSAS is very serious and it’s currently being reviewed by the FDA. I am hopeful researchers will develop a pill, vaccine, or DUMPSTER very soon to help put us all out of our misery.

Shanisty Ireland RTTSAS

My weekend fridge findings….

I confronted my husband

Photographic Evidence #1 and step 1 toward intervention.

Photographic-Evidence-2-and-his-denial-.jpg

Photographic Evidence #2 and husband’s denial.

My-being-a-caring-wife-and-truly-concerned-for-his-wellbeing.jpg

My genuine concern for his wellbeing.

I’m turning 35 years old this week. Some will say, shut it sister… you’re a young pup. Some will say, whoaaaaa…old balls. Some will say, I totally feel ya.

I’ve never really been one for my birthday, but this one is kind of hitting me in the jugular. Holy schnikes, I’m getting up there. Halfway to 70 years old. So, I wanted to put something in writing about this season of my life, mainly to have something to look back on when I reach 40, 45, and dare I say….70 years of age.

So I turned to my favorite person in the world (most days)…my husband. I asked him interview style to answer 15 random questions about me. Most are ridiculous. Some are funny. All are 100% accurate.

I encourage you to do something similar at some point during this season of your life. It didn’t take us longer than 5 minutes. Heck, you could even copy these exact questions if you’d like. That way you, too, can have something to look back on when you’re 70 and smile at how beautiful this messy life is.

(His answers are first, my thoughts are in bold italic.)

  1. If I could have one super power, what would it be?  8 hours of sleep. I know this isn’t a super power, but getting it would be! –Yeah, I would venture to say this would be a pretty kick ass super power.
  2. What is my favorite part of being a mother? Laughing with your children. -This one he didn’t even hesitate on, he answered it right away, and the answer was perfect. Absolutely, hands down, my favorite part of being a mother is the laughter and life my children give our home.
  3. What is one of my dreams? To write a book. I’ve never wavered on this since I was 8 years old. It’s always been my dream. One day…. one day…. I will write that book.
  4. What makes me feel overwhelmed? A cluttered and messy home. –100% true.
  5. What would be the hardest thing for me to give up? Your home. –I never thought of this as my answer, but he’s right. Giving up my home and this life we have built would be the hardest thing to say goodbye to. 
  6. If I could give money to charity which one would it be? The Humane Society. I love dogs, but I don’t think that would be my answer. Children’s Hospital and especially RSV research is what I’m most passionate about during this season of my life.  
  7. What’s my hobby? Writing. He paused a long time to think about this one because I don’t really have time for hobbies. Between juggling our home, laundry, cooking, working from home, and 3 kids…there isn’t a lot of time for hobbies. 
  8. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would I want to have dinner with? Leonardo DiCaprio DUH. And let me just say, it’s not because I think he’s Titanic Hot, I just find him to be the most fascinating person in the world. 
  9. What is my favorite movie? The Departed- as it should be everyone’s. What about artist? Bob Dylan –Anyone who knows me knows this answer without skipping a beat. I love Bob Dylan, his writing, his music, his bizarre nature and misunderstood voice. 
  10. What is my favorite thing to eat? To drink?  Sushi and a nice bottle of wine. Heaven.
  11. Where do I want to retire? Savannah, and her oak lined streets we lived there for about 6 months a few years ago, and I fell madly in love. We will be back to stay longer next time.
  12. Am I on time or always late? Never on time, but also never really late. –again, 3 kids.
  13. What makes me happiest? Your family. Being a wife, mother, and loving every minute of it. -no comment needed!
  14. What is one random thing about me people might find interesting? You were a news anchor for 10 years. Honestly, I don’t miss a day of it. I miss my friends and the communities we lived in, especially Birmingham, but the job itself is H A R D. Much respect to all my newsies. 
  15. What is your word of advice to me? To remember that social media is 90% bullshit and real life is unfiltered. It can be both heartbreaking and triumphant. So decide what to be and go be it. –I love him. 

eden winter 2

Calm down, stop dialing social services because of the title of this article. Listen, I love my children very much. It’s really hard to quantify my love for them because my heart literally bursts at the seams for each and every one of them. They are loved and cared for and live in a very safe home.

But, here comes the boom. I love my husband more. Let’s begin with the reasons why:

  1. He doesn’t ask me to wipe his butt.
  2. He understands what an “inside voice” is and exercises it when deemed appropriate.
  3. He respects the word “no” (trust me, sometimes he doesn’t want to hear it either).
  4. He picks up after himself (most of the time).
  5. He doesn’t throw himself on the ground in the Target parking lot when I tell him he cannot have another Rapunzel doll.
  6. He can go on a walk and not ask me to hold him every 30 feet.
  7. He can have an intelligent conversation with me beyond golf, Disney princesses, and what he ate for dinner.
  8. He likes the same kind of movies, and doesn’t ask to watch the same scene in one movie 4,837 times.
  9. He is a great date.
  10. I chose him.

Obviously this is very tongue and cheek, but number 10 is so important and really the focus of this article. I CHOSE HIM. God chose us to be the parents we are today, but wchose each other. Now, let’s ask a question.

Do you ever sit on the couch (probably watching Netflix, probably not “chilling”) and wonder who the hell the person is on the other side of the leather lounger?

You step back and suddenly realize you are so caught up in life (diapers, potty training, soccer games, ballet, preschool, carpool, doctor appointments, making meals) that you literally forget about your significant other. The one partner in crime who actually helped you get where you are today…love it, or hate it.

Dudes, life is hard. Raising humans is hard. Jobs are hard. Paying bills is hard. It’s easy to put your significant other on the back burner. I mean, they are the other adult in the household…surely they will understand.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Now, making more time for my husband doesn’t mean I stopped caring for my children because my husband needs his underwear washed. I also do not lay out the newspaper, kick off his shoes and rub his feet. Sick. Rub your own damn feet. It just means I work really hard at making time for us a priority.

It’s taken some undercover (not those covers) digging to figure out how this can be done with a job and three little monsters fighting over my attention. For us, it’s mainly quality time. We spend a lot of time when they kids go to bed sitting outside by the fire. Sometimes we drink, sometimes we don’t. We talk. We plan. We write down ideas. We discuss the future. We focus on us. Sometimes we kick the kids to their grandparent’s curb and get a date night. Whether it’s a 5 star restaurant or pizza at home, the focus never changes.

Two reasons why:

  1. These tiny humans we are raising are going to grow into school aged humans. And then off to college and the work field aged humans. And then it’s just us. Back to square one. One of my biggest fears is we’ll become strangers. I want to be more than a friendly “hello” in the morning and a polite “how was your day” in the evening. This is the person I plan to spend the rest of my life with.
  2. A healthy marriage translates into a happy household. It’s very important to me our three kids watch our relationship and learn. How we talk to each other, how we respect each other, how we interact with each other. Sure it’s not perfect. We argue just like the next couple, but it’s how we handle it that matters. I want our children to grow up and find spouses that are like-minded. I want them to have healthy marriages and happy households. I want them to take what they learned from us and implement it 30 years from now.

So, it starts now. I realize not all marriages are the same, but I do making your spouse a priority is important.

Want more, be more, do more. Our 60, 70, and 80 year old selves will appreciate the hard work we put in today. Not to mention, those tiny people are watching you.

Be the role models they deserve. Be the parents they aspire to be. Be the spouses they will one day become.

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