A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


Dear Rice Family

The other day, a professional cleaning company sent this direct mail piece to my home:
This stock photo looks nothing like us, except for the dad's bushy eyebrows that DO resemble mine if I haven't had 'em waxed in a while
The stock photo looks nothing like us: we have two boys and I’m not a blond. But I must admit that my eyebrows do look like the dad’s if I haven’t had ’em waxed in a while.

As a marketer, I was intrigued by the personalization of the self-mailer. RICE Family was all over the place. And a portion of our street name was on the sign:

However, the house on the brochure looked freakily similar to our neighbor’s house:

After a careful review of the brochure contents, I’d have to say this company is not really focused on who makes the decisions when it comes to cleaning — or to be more accurate, not cleaning — our house:

Because MICHAEL only makes the decisions about the tough stuff … like where to buy the jock straps and cleats for the boys. And whether or not I’m due for an eyebrow wax.

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My Coat Closet Just Threw Up

OK, well it didn’t just throw up. It’s been a mess for quite some time. It’s just that on this particular day when I opened the door, everything that had been shoved into the bottom of it came spewing out. Perhaps it got a bad tasting shoe

It’s quite the metaphor for the entire state of our house right now. Things are a bit of a mess.

About a year and a half ago, my mother-in-law passed away very suddenly. My husband had what you would call a difficult relationship with her. As for me — she just flat-out hated my ass. Being her daughter-in-law was a 12 year education in how not to treat people. But I always say that in spite of her intense disdain for my existence, without her I would not have my husband or my boys.

My husband and I, along with his two brothers, had the task of cleaning out her apartment. The woman saved everything – receipts, pens, coins, trash. She purchased lots of things she couldn’t afford and didn’t need. She had more collectibles than the Smithsonian. She overfurnished her two bedroom apartment. All of it got moved into our basement and garage.

After consulting with his brothers, my husband and I are in the process of preparing for a yard sale. If you were to assess the vast amount of stuff, you might say she had a hoarding problem. While cleaning out her apartment, we packed up 8 garbage bags full of unused yarn, threw away every (I mean EVERY) receipt for her multitude of prescription medications from the last 5 years, and came upon at least three unopened shipping boxes filled with new clothes (with shipping dates on the label from the early 1990s). Hoarder, schmoarder – let’s not split hairs, people. I’ve got shit to sell.

In addition to the yard sale bonanza, there are the items that will require eBay auctions and craigslist postings. You see, she also was the proud owner of multiple pieces of Waterford crystal (at least 9 by my last count), 53 different David Winter Cottages, 17 or so Lenox china pieces and about 7 large porcelain Hummel dolls.

Until we are yard sale and online auction ready, everything is being staged in our dining room:


and basement:

I have been cataloging and researching the value of the collectibles. One thing is very clear. I have no interest in being a collector of anything other than sneers from the other PTA mommies, flip flops in every color of the rainbow, and my own set of receipts from all the dinners out on the nights I refuse to cook.

As I stared at the items that had spilled forth from the closet, it smacked me in the face that I needed to get a better handle on my stuff. Before someone else finds themself in the position of having to handle it for me.