There are a total of six people in my immediate family, split evenly between boys and girls. Although there are moments where things can turn “battle of the sexes”, this separation often goes unnoticed by me because, boy or girl, we are all at about the same level of weirdness in my family (except my mother, who has to put up with the antics of our strange crew). It becomes a lot more apparent after the boys disappear on some camping or scouting activity and the dynamics of the household shift completely.
My brothers and father recently spent a week away in the mountains, leaving us girls to ourselves, and in order to mourn (er…I mean celebrate) their recent return I’ve decided to reflect on the pros and cons that came with their absence.
This has been less of a problem since I forced myself to stop hoarding my money and buy my own computer, but it’s a lot easier to use technology when I don’t have to fight tooth-and-nail with three other people to gain access to it. When we were younger our tech battles revolved around use of the computer. Nowadays, my wounds come from fighting for use over the Netflix account. My little sister is on it about 24/7, which leaves access for only one other person. This slot often falls to my younger brothers because they claim it while I’m at work. With them gone this past week, I had the blissful opportunity to waste my day away in the endless void that is streamed movies. Not that I really took advantage of that because I was involved with more nerdy activities like reading…but it’s the thought that counts!
Another advantage to the males of the household being gone is that I can open a package of chocolate chips and eat them freely without fear that my brothers will hear and devour it in .03 seconds flat. One of my brothers has what I call the “Crackle-dar”. Basically, if you open any treat in the house, it doesn’t matter where he is located—the bathroom, downstairs, the majestic maple forests of Canada—he will hear and he will find you to participate in your binge-eating marathon. It was a relief to not have to hide my food away in questionable, dust-coated places of my bedroom this week. Without the need for this extra caution I…probably ate more sweets than I should have.
There are many more great examples of “when the boys are away, Calli will cry tears of joy and celebrate”, but the last one I’m going to list is kind of a given, and that is peace and quiet. My bedroom is located in the basement, right underneath the kitchen. This means I can hear every footstep and see every clomp of my dad’s boots by the way that my ceiling fan rattles. With the boys gone chasing their energy away in the woods, I could hear the ticking of the clock in the next room. There was also a distinct lack of arguments and distressed squeals from my little sister, and my mom seemed to have transcended to such a plain of peace and boredom that she didn’t quite know what to do with herself.
Here’s a fun tidbit of statistical information for you (given by someone who thought eleven plus seven was nineteen the other day): the less people there are, the more responsibilities are put on those who are not partying in the mud and rain of Cedar Mountain. This principle mainly applies to chores. It makes it a lot hard to pin chores off on someone else when the only other person around is your seven-year-old sister.
Speaking of my sister, I found myself to be the main target of her attentions this week. Usually us older ones play a game of “musical siblings” with Brooke and take turns entertaining her (or hiding from her, hoping that she gets to Bryce before she gets to me) but this is not a luxury I have when the boys are gone. I suppose this point shouldn’t be in “the bad” category, because once I get my lazy butt moving, I really do enjoy spending more time with my sister. It can just be exhausting once you realize how much she likes to talk, and all of her questions can bring you to the realization that despite being a junior in college, there really isn’t that much that you know.
Finally, the absence of the boys meant that the bug patrol was gone. I’ll straight-up admit that I’m a wimp when it comes to disposing of spiders or any other sort of creepy-crawler. My methods of terminating bugs involve trapping them under a glass jar and letting them sit until they suffocate, spraying them with hairspray like it’s some sort of make-shift bug spray, or trapping them in the aforementioned glass jar and flushing them down the toilet. My brothers are big bug-lovers and their methods are simply to trap the bug and release it outside, so although the bug doesn’t die, but I can at least count on them to remove it from the premises.
Without them, I’m completely at the mercy of the speed of the bug and the closest thing to me. Take Friday morning, for example. I opened the newspaper, prepping for my usual breakfast routine, and a small spider burst free from the ink-and-paper landscape. I squeaked, and instead of squishing the vermin with a tissue, grabbed the nearest object (the cereal box) and slammed it right down on the arachnid before it could cannonball off the table to freedom. Thankfully, the spider was small enough that my feeble attempt at murder was successful, but had that been a bigger bug I would have been in a lot more trouble.
There are benefits to living in a boy-free environment, but it’s not without its downsides. When it all comes down to it, I’ve decided that I would much rather have the boys here than away. It was nice to have a break, but even though I don’t necessarily like to admit it, I missed them when they’re gone.
Then they walked through the door with their not-showered-for-a-week bodies and campfire-scented backpacks, and I decided that giving them a welcome-back hug could wait until after they each took a shower. I love my brothers, dust and all, but I love clean brothers even more!