How to Become Your Mother in 5 Easy Steps

I do many things that I am not aware of.  And many of these things aren’t normal things to do. They aren’t big things, in fact they are small things, almost inconsequential. And they are things that probably would otherwise go unnoticed were it not for the fact that people regularly point them out to me.

And when I try to consider why I do them, all I know is they have something to do with my mother.

I will be doing something that I do regularly when somebody will say, hey Rich, why are you doing that? And then I will freeze… because I don’t have an answer.

The answer is of course that my mom did this thing, and hence, now I do it. And god willing, one day my children will absorb the same thing through osmosis.

I now present you 5 ways in which I have become my mother. (And you can too if you’d like.)

5. Candles in my apartment.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my mother had a smelly teenage boy in the house, or maybe it was just her affinity for the combination of wax and flame, but our home always had many candles. And we often burned several of those candles in our house at the same time.

It was kind of well known amongst friends that our house smelled so good. In fact I had one friend who used to ring my doorbell just so that she could stick her face in the door and smell my house when I answered.

Naturally I now posses candles. I have a candle for my living room, 2 for my bedroom, 1 for my bathroom, and a whole bag of votives. If you didn’t know any better you might think I was well set for a séance or an exorcism.

But usually I only light them all when I have people over for a party, which is kind of like an exorcism… of sobriety.

4. Wiping down the shower walls.

I am fortunate enough that I have many friends who let me stay at their apartment either because I am visiting them or I am too lazy to go home. But in all of those apartments that I have stayed, and all of their showers that I have used, I have never in my life, seen a shower squeegee.

The shower squeegee was a staple in my bathroom growing up. When you are done showering, you wipe down the walls. Its just what  you do. I have had people staying at my apartment hear me wiping down the walls and wonder aloud:

What are you doing in there?
I’m wiping down the walls.
Um, well, because my mom told me to when I was 7 and, and I just haven’t stopped.

I believe the appropriate answer is to prevent shower mold but this apparently was not of a concern to any of my friends’ families growing up. Was shower mold something that only affected the Boehmcke household? Can’t be… right?

3. The toilet paper roll.

Now this is the most trivial of items. This is so trivial that I feel almost embarrassed to mention it. Apparently when you replace an empty roll of toilet paper (and you do replace empty rolls when its your turn don’t you? You better… you shlub you.) with a new one. It is imperative that you replace it in a manner that makes the toilet paper come over the top of the roll, and not under it.

Why, you ask? Well the easy answer is:

I have no god damn idea.

But that is the way it was done in my house, and that is what my mother told me was right. So naturally, when somebody visits my apartment and replaces the toilet paper upside down, I am compelled to replace it correctly.

It is not because I am anal about the way my apartment is, or I am OCD. I am neither of those things. But something about an upside down roll of toilet paper just screams transgression to me and I cannot find peace (which is an important thing for me to be able to find in the bathroom of my own home) until that toilet paper violation has been rectified.

2. Jellies in the Fridge

So generally my fridge is pretty empty. Not because I don’t eat – I do, and quite regularly – but because I have no idea how to keep food in that fridge. As I have chronicled here, I have had issues grocery shopping and choosing food items to possess.

Growing up my mother always had no less than 3 different kinds of jellies in the fridge, often including the crazy party cousin of jellies, the marmalade.

Surely one jelly would have been enough, and would be enough for most people. Well not for my family. And it was something I regularly made fun of my mother for.

Well jump to today and my fridge will often be empty except for several different varieties of jelly hanging out on the door.

It’s not even that I am so in love with jelly, I mean I liked it growing up. But the amount of time I spend in the jelly aisle of the grocery store rivals the time most people spend purchasing their first home.

I have opened my fridge and felt disappointment, ACTUAL disappointment that I have only one jelly. I don’t know why I do it, all I can say is it just feels right.

1. Cleaning and then dimming the lights

It constantly confused me growing up, that when my parents were getting ready to entertain and have people over, we would have to spend the whole day cleaning the house, only to have them close the doors to our rooms and then dim the lights to the rest of the house before the guests arrived.

Well hell, if we were going to close the doors and dim the lights, why the hell did I spend 4 hours cleaning my room in the first place? I mean we could have just left things as they were and lit a couple candles and nobody would have known the difference.

And yet, when I had people over recently, I spent a day and a half cleaning my apartment only to dim the lights, replace the toilet paper roll, and light candles before my guests arrived.

But I have a feeling I am too deep into these routines to cease them. So it looks like I am bound to keep buying jellies 3 at a time and wiping down my shower walls. And even if I find out that does not prevent shower mold at all… good luck trying to stop me.