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The Case of the Crappy Underpants

July 18, 2008

I woke up this morning, prior to the alarm going off, to the sound of knocking on my bedroom door. I am a sleep craver, so I’m not so much excited about the knocking, particularly because I know what the outcome of the knocking will look like. Inevitably, the little voice on the other side of the door will tell me at length about some transgression visited on the owner of the voice by one of three other parties living in our home. It will be a serious transgression, one that requires instantaneous action on my part, and typically one that requires a remedy of some sort to make the injured party feel like all is right with the world again.

In the past, we’ve had knocking over what kind of sandwiches must be packed for lunch, whose turn it is to wear (insert important shared item of clothing here), who should get in the shower first, whose responsibility it is this particular morning to put the milk away since all four of them used it, and other earth-shattering and life-altering decision-making opportunities. We’ve also had knocking for bloody noses, tripping, high-sticking, goalie interference, and other sibling issues that really do end with someone in the penalty box.

After a groan and a sigh, and a peek at the clock through one mostly closed eyelid, I answered in my most patient, kind, good morning voice…


“We’re having an argument about underwear,” came the rather timid voice of Shaggy through the door.

“What?” I threw back, wondering if I heard him correctly. “Underwear?!? Are you aware of what time it is?”

“Yes,” he said, almost in a whisper, which is also a pet peeve of mine. If you’re going to knock on the door, loudly enough to wake me from a sound sleep, then for the love of GOD and ALL THAT IS HOLY, at least speak so I can actually hear you. My bionic ears are just not awake enough to catch everything the way they normally do… at a reasonable hour of the day… say 10 or so… after caffeine. “But we can’t agree on whose turn it is to wear the crappy underwear. I wanted to do Rock, Paper, Scissors but Freddy wouldn’t do it.”

By this point I’m shaking off the sleep and I’m valiantly trying to process this issue. Did he really just say that my involvement is required to mediate who needs to wear the crappy underwear? At 6 in the morning? Am I dreaming this? Nah, couldn’t be. I couldn’t MAKE this up.

“The crappy underwear?” I replied, feeling a little like there was an echo in our household.

“Yes,” he said again, a little more forcefully. “There’s only one pair of good underwear left and we can’t decide who should have to wear the crappy ones.”

Now let me give you a little background on this fascinating underwear issue. Shaggy and Freddy are 8 and 9 years old, respectively. They grew out of character underwear a couple of years ago. No more Scooby-Doo, Spiderman, or Spongebob for them. They became too “grown up” for that kind of nonsense. Nope, they wanted plain old solid-colored underwear. And not briefs, mind you. In fact, any color but white, and definitely not briefs. During our outing to Target to replace that “little kid” underwear with something much more mature, I was informed, in indignant tones, that tightie-whities were just not for them.

So we didn’t buy tightie-whities. And we didn’t buy any with Spongebob, superheros of any nature, or any other cartoon characters. We bought boxer briefs… in young man colors like olive green, dark blue, and black.

No white.

No briefs.

Mature colors.

I thought we had it goin’ on. So I bought, like, 752,000 packages of boxer briefs. Because two boys can wear some serious underwear. I don’t know if it’s like the disappearing socks in the dryer, or what, but it never fails that it’s Wednesday morning, we’ve done 75 loads of laundry in the past two days, and no one can find clean underwear. The obvious solution to that problem is to, you know, buy a lot more. And that’s what I did.

As they grew over the past year? I bought even more. Their drawer was practically brimming with underwear. And it seemed that I had solved the case of the missing underwear. No more knocking, early in the morning, complaining that the drawer was empty. Either they had plenty, or they learned the art of inside-out reuse… and either way really, I was fine with that. Things went along swimmingly, right up until a couple of weeks ago when a trip to Wal-Mart netted a new kind of underwear that THEY. MUST. HAVE.

Those boxer briefs? The 752,00 packages that I bought? Out. For little kids. Completely unhip and uncool. Boxers… those were the ticket. I had concerns. Boxer briefs are soft and not, uh… floppy. You know, they keep everything where it’s supposed to be, not just out there… freewheeling, for lack of a better term. Anyway, I agreed to let them try one package–three pair.

“Try them. See what you think,” I said, like any good mother would. “And then we’ll see if we want to buy more.”

I heard nothing. Not one word. Not a peep. Two full weeks have gone by and I’ve been blissfully floating through life thinking those old boxer briefs were doing the trick, thinking I’d saved myself tons of grief by not just going off half cocked and buying 752,000 packages of plain old, scratchy, floaty boxers. I was pretty proud of myself, truth be told, for not being swayed by the Wal-Mart conversation. You know the one… “I NEED TO HAVE (insert impulse buy here).” Saved lots of green… the whole deal.

We… he… hell…..

Little did I know that behind closed doors, those boxers were causing quite the issue…

Quite the issue that resulted in the knocking on my door this morning at some ungodly hour.

Back to groggy, sleepy, grouchy me. “Seriously? Are we fighting about underwear at this hour? Really? Because you couldn’t find something better to argue about, like who to vote for in the next election, the best way to solve world hunger, or something? Anything? Besides underwear?”

I wracked my brain for a workable solution to this problem. I could force the Rock, Paper, Scissors issue. I could cut the non-crappy underwear in half and make each boy wear one side. I could make them flip a coin. I could try to figure out why there were no more pairs of non-crappy underwear available when laundry had just been done. I could make them search the dryer…

As my grouchiness increased, my husband, never one to mince words, and the King of Sibling Rivalry, solved the whole thing for me. He rolled over, magically awakened from sleep (since he could sleep through all manner of craziness–loud parties, the ransacking of our home and the theft of every item in it save the bed, a complete house fire, you know the drill), and yelled…

“Both of you wear the crappy underwear! Problem solved!”

And he rolled right over and went back to sleep.

Next, I think I’ll have him tackle that world hunger thing.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2008 12:54 pm

    Good one, Steph’s hubby! Good one. That is a quote for the books.

    My favorite, though? “We he hell.” Ha!

  2. July 18, 2008 1:01 pm

    I love this story! I have two sons a bit younger than yours, but we still have to adjudicate fights similar to this every day. Most recently, elder son came in wearing trousers obviously too small for him (but they’re his favourites) and so got upset when I sent him back to his room to change into something which doesn’t make him look like an unwanted and abandoned child! Two minutes later, younger son enters the room wearing the trousers, knowing full well that there will be major upset about it, but smugly pointing out that they fit him now, and so are his! I’m sure we have many, many more of these to come, so it’s always nice to hear about other people’s family stresses!

  3. July 18, 2008 1:02 pm

    HAHAHA!!! Crappy underwear! LMAO!!

    And: “Both of you wear the crappy underwear! Problem solved!”

    I can absolutely hear your hubby saying that, too!!

    My office thinks I’m seriously losing it.

  4. July 18, 2008 1:03 pm

    LOL! All of my boys love boxers over the tighter underwear too. I don’t get it. I thought they would want to keep that junk in close. But then I don’t have those parts so what do I know.

  5. July 18, 2008 1:39 pm

    My boys (9 and 12) were fighting the other day who could pee furthest from the toilet. Seriously.
    Just when I think I’ve finally figured them out (and taught them a little something about what I like to call “hygiene”)… WHAM! They come at me with something like this.
    It looks like I’m not the only one… thanks for the laugh!

  6. July 18, 2008 2:58 pm

    If he tackles world hunger, will we all have to be hungry?

  7. July 19, 2008 3:48 am

    I had no idea underwear were so important to the “little men” as are to my “little women”! We have literal arguments over underwear in the store, over boy shorts of all things!! When laundry day rolls around, I am supposed to remember who got the flowers verses the polka dots, which almost ensues a riot. Not to mention my step daughter brings her underwear that are usually of the same make…ugh! I am so glad I am not the only mom who deals with this!! Can I borrow your king of sibling rivalry just for one weekend??

  8. July 19, 2008 5:10 am

    I’ve got a whole drawerful of girl’s underwear going unused…I’d guess the pink wouldn’t fly though would it? There’s some other nice colors I’m sure….

  9. July 19, 2008 6:06 am

    Loved it!

    I can’t tell you how many of these arguments I’ve gone thru over the years. I hear it every week cause I will inadvertently put X’s boxers in Y’s pile. And they will not wear boxers that have touched someone else’s tail! It’s gross they tell me.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one trying to survive this.

  10. doidimaiscorporation permalink
    July 19, 2008 9:00 am

    Loved it =) Not only a nice story, but specially the great storytelling and writing.

  11. July 19, 2008 10:08 pm

    Well there you go. Disaster averted. LMAO.

  12. July 20, 2008 11:38 am

    That is so funny — there’s nothing quite like having your wind taken out of your sails as being told to share the crappy underwear. I can just see the looks on their faces.

  13. July 20, 2008 4:38 pm

    Your husband is mighty efficient. Let us know he comes up on the world hunger thing!

  14. ritch in love permalink
    July 21, 2008 1:07 am

    Standing Ovation for Steph’s Hubby!!!!

  15. *Marie* permalink
    September 23, 2008 9:07 am

    OMGosh I’m laughing so hard. Probably shouldn’t have read this one at work- not professional to fall out of chair in front of co-workers. ROFL

  16. September 23, 2008 12:05 pm

    Oh goodness… That was so funny! I think my favorit part was the part that your husband turned over salved the problem and then went back to sleep like it was no big thing! I love this blog!

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