Preventative Maintenance: Your Guide to Life


1. Change the oil in your car. Preferably by yourself. Otherwise you may end up on the side of the road with a car that is dead since the oil hasn’t been changed in years. However, don’t change the oil in your car TOO OFTEN, because that’s a waste of oil and it’s usually not necessary. And also, if you end up at the side of the road with a dead car, try not to park near a fire ant colony. Ask me why!

I have 5 children in car seats in an 11-year-old minivan. I win.

2. Also, learn to change a flat tire. I’ve been saying I want to do this forever, but the last time I had a flat tire, one of the kids was at a speech therapy appointment and it was pouring rain. I called My Chemical Romance and he asked if I wanted to learn right then and there. I said no — but I’d be happy to learn to call roadside assistance.

No thanks.

3. Anytime we’re about to go on a big trip, My Chemical Romance changes all the “fluids” and “belts.” I have no idea what that means but it sounds helpful.


1. Start with teaching them to put out cups for everyone at dinner. Then plates and silverware. Then teach them to unload the dishwasher. Next, teach them to wash laundry (without using too much soap because it’s bad for the machine). Finally, teach them to load the dishwasher, a skill I still haven’t mastered. Soon you’ll be sitting on the couch, reading Gone Girl and eating gluten-free candy (plain Hershey bars) while your children run the house.

Actually, I don’t think that’s Gone Girl.

2. And teach them to swim. As Coach Marie, my kids’ swim coach, once said, “Swimming is the best sport — and it can save your life! No other sport can do that!” to which Animal replied, completely bored, “Except for running.

4/5 of my kids can swim.

3. Occasionally, pull them away from what they’re doing and stare deeply into their eyes, giving them your complete attention. Not only will they enjoy this — this scrutiny will make them feel intensely guilty about something they’ve just done and they will confess it immediately.


6 Responses

  1. I send our oil samples to Blackstone Labs, as indicated in the linked article. With their help, we now change our oil (on the minivan and the Jetta), at 12,000 miles. There may be room to go longer, too.

  2. In England it is normal the change the oil only around about once a year. I found that freaky but the cars all seemed to run fine and last a long time.

  3. All are good lessons with one addition: Call Bubbie occasionally.

  4. Awesome!! =) Any tips on marriage? =P

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