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New House Rules Now That I Will Have A “Rich Man’s Family”

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The impending birth of my daughter apparently gives me a “Rich Man’s Family”:  One of each, so to speak, with the boy coming first.  This, I believe, will require some new house rules.

Welcome! Here resides a Rich Man’s Family. Please abide by the following rules:

1. Please Remove Your Shoes Upon Entering

We haven’t really vacuumed recently, and your shoes would further grind into the floor the Cheerios detritus that our son is constantly dropping, rediscovering weeks later, and still consuming. We are also hoping to avoid stains on our dingy second-hand carpet that smells vaguely of pee and literally fell off a truck in the Northeast somewhere.

2. Please Close the Door Gently Behind You.

The cat is a real fucker, and will try to escape into the alleyway outside, which always necessitates tramping through the brambles and trash cans out back with a dying flashlight until he decides to come in on his own anyway with some urban vermin he’s caught and dismembered.

3. Please Refrain from Touching Anything in the Formal Living Room

That’s the room where we put everything that doesn’t go anywhere else, and also where the dog gave birth on the futon. We haven’t really found anything that helps dissipate that “birth smell” yet, so we tend to leave the doors and windows closed so the air can really bake in the ninety degree heat.

4. Please Don’t Speak to the Help

See, she’s actually me, and she’s just trying to keep the goddamn house clean while pregnant and raising a little boy on the autism spectrum and working full time and managing a chronic illness. She probably didn’t want you to come over in the first place, so just…keep your distance.

5. Please Whisper While the Children are Napping

HA! Like the older one naps. Super funny.

Though truthfully, once the final member of our Rich Man’s Family arrives, we’ll all be so sleep deprived that it won’t matter if you’re whispering or shouting, we’ll be incapable of paying attention anyway, what with a newborn and the gut-wrenching, soul-consuming fear which keeps us awake at night about how the hell we’re possibly going to afford this second child.

6. If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle, Be Neat and Wipe the Seat

Not gonna lie, can’t remember the last time I used bleach on the toilet. The help can be really goddamn lazy sometimes. We’re considering firing her, but then we remembered that I don’t get paid.

7. No Solicitations! We Already Gave at Church

We’re actually some weird amalgamation of Judaism, Atheism, and a Desperate, Naïve Hope that life doesn’t shit on us too badly before we drag our tired, beaten, near-hopeless bodies out of debt. They accept bits of string at that house of worship, so we’re good on the generosity front.

8. God Bless This Happy Home!

Now accepting donations to our GoFundMe, entitled, “Help a Rich Man’s Family afford Rent, Food, Daycare, Medicine, and Insurance, All in the Same Month!” Recurring gifts accepted.


Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia, currently gestating, with her son and her soulmate, who keep things from descending into cat-lady territory. She is a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy who now writes fiction and has no use for a philosophy degree. Shannon harbors an unhealthy interest in Game of Thrones, Nietzsche, Mount Everest, and the Summer Olympics. Her work can be found on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,  Scary Mommy,  Spelk Fiction, Vagabond City Lit, and a variety of other publications.

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