From Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul

My Life: The Sitcom

I have determined that I am living in a television situational comedy. Most people who already know me would say that this is no great revelation, but it’s news to me. It started back in November when my wife’s sister and husband sold their house. They’re building a nice new home in Avon for their budding family, and construction was slated to be finished sometime in late February. By a stroke of fortune (good or bad—who can say?) they quickly sold their former house, thus relieving much of the stress of the move. Of course, this meant they would be without a home for nearly three months. This led them to instant nightmares about living with either set of in-laws or renting a short-term apartment. In a pure gesture of Christian fellowship and family love, my wife offered to let them move in with us for a few months. (I don’t recall endorsing the idea, but I’m firmly assured that I did.)

Thus, my wife’s sister and her husband became our houseguests. Of course, most of my guy friends predicted doom from the outset, but I was cheerfully confident. I adore my wife’s sister, her laid-back husband and their daughters, who are cute as proverbial buttons. We all get along swimmingly, and my wife and her sister have always been best friends. But that’s when my life became a sitcom with the sheer chaos that goes with having eight people and an insolent house cat living under one roof.

Let’s start with the increase of noise and activity level. My house used to be a fairly quiet place. It was nice to come home after a hectic day at work, take my shoes off and enjoy a relaxing dinner with the family. Now it’s a combination day-care center/amusement park. As soon as I enter the home it’s as if I’ve wandered into a Chuck E. Cheese on a Saturday afternoon. We parents now call the period between 8 P.M. and 9 P.M., when the kids get bedded down for the night, “Happy Hour.”

My kitchen has been transformed into a twenty-four-hour diner. With four adults, two youngsters, two babies and the aforementioned cat, there are always dirty dishes in the sink and something cooking on the stove. Sometimes we all throw in for one large dinner together when our schedules allow. Other times, my guests may serve one dinner, me another when I get home, and my wife a third dinner when she arrives home. By the time the third dinner of the evening is served, it’s time to prepare bedtime snacks. (We go through enough milk that I’m considering buying a small cow.) You would think that with all this cooking going on, I’d be able to score a decent breakfast in the morning. I go through the kitchen and say “two eggs, sunny side, on a shingle, coffee black.” Then either my wife or sister-in-law will put a hand on her hip and hand me a Pop Tart. The basic rule is, “If you don’t help cook it, you don’t help eat it.” Pop Tarts will do fine for me.

Just like in a real sitcom, my wife and I usually end the day giggling about the hijinks that occur during a “normal” day. Like naked babies chasing the cat through the kitchen. Or a naked cat chasing babies through the kitchen. I’ve never had a sister, but I can honestly now say that my wife’s sister is mine.

Chadd A. Wheat



CLOSE TO HOME. © John McPherson. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE. All rights reserved.

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