Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life Imitating Art or Vice Versa

One of the things that I enjoy is watching my life unfold upon the television screen. Every week we watch the four geeks and the beautiful girl of The Big Bang Theory navigate their interesting relationships and lives. Invariably however, their issues and their sense of reality gets in the way of well…functioning on any level what so ever. Such an event took place yesterday between hubby and HSB.

As I have said before HSB earns cash/points that he can use against the purchase of video games and computer games by doing a variety of chores around the house. Now HSB has been keeping track of what he earns on his own and quite frankly I felt that he was doing a fairly good job. He did not lie about what he earned. He wrote down the proper amounts and subtracted when he spent money. There really wasn’t a problem until Friday.

HSB decided that he didn’t have the patience to do any laundry, but I was not supposed to do the laundry because that would take away form his projected income. However, I did make him take the laundry up the stairs from the laundryroom to the bedroom. He didn’t want to fold it or put the laundry away, which was part of the bargain. He basically decided though that he should get paid for bringing the laundry upstairs. I told him that that was only part of the chore and that he didn’t get paid for just schlepping things upstairs.

Well holy hell broke loose. He did not like that answer at all. I wouldn’t say a full-blown meltdown occurred but we definitely had the makings of a major tempter tantrum on our hands, complete with name-calling (he calling me names), foot stomping (when a 5’9” 200 pound 17 year old stomps his feet going up the stairs, the entire house shakes) and generally very poor behavior. So when hubby came home from work, in order to clarify what HSB gets paid for and when, he sat down with HSB and devised a plan how to categorize each step in the chore process. All of this was to be written down on a white board so there would be no arguments or misunderstandings in the future. (By the way if you think that tantrums are just the purview of autistic children watch this clip of Robin Williams discussing his 17-year-olds reaction to the word NO.)

Once these discussions began it is at this time that we entered an alternate universe. Not sure who the two of them were that morning, or which comedy show they were auditioning for, but if I could have filmed their interactions and sent it to the writers of BBT there would be a very funny skit about to be filmed in Hollywood. 

Saturday morning, they sat together and wiped down the white board from HSB’s office and proceeded to create a chart that he could keep track of his earnings and expenditures. Easy right? Wrong. Arguing ensued, replete with verb tense battles, grammar innuendos and definition debates. They continued on for several hours arguing about:

*The configuration of the chart itself.
*How HSB wanted it to look, as opposed to how hubby needed it to look for his purposes.
*The steps that were to be written down. (Including each part to each individual step)
*How much each step was worth.
*How HSB was to keep track of each chore (lines with dates, number of chores done a particular date, whether he was to change the count by Arabic numeral or roman numeral counting -  I kid you not).
*How HSB was to subtract when he used some money (whether he was to put the date in, the object purchased or just subtract).
*What each column stood for and the purpose of the chart in the first place.
*Why there has to be a total line at the end, when HSB only wants a total column.
*What color pen is to be used for which purpose.

I had to leave the room. I was getting a headache.

The problem was two fold I think. Hubby wanted the chart because he felt there was too much miscommunication about what is expected of HSB. HSB was happy with the chart he had and thought that I was just trying to change the rules on him and that I was a pain in the ass. No, he didn’t say that in so many words he actually used more colorful language when he didn’t think I could hear. Someone really needs to stress to autistic children that even if you are in another room when you yell, people in the rest of the house can still hear you.

Well eventually they did agree on a chart, its purpose, and even what color marker to use when and for what purpose. Yes, there was a protracted argument about green versus black markers and what HSB would use the green marker for. Of course green was for the amount of money he earned. Here it the finished product….

By the way, there is still a huge pile of laundry that I agreed not  to touch, and we are quickly running out of clothes.

Until next time,