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The Magical Household: Spells&Rituals for the Home (Llewellyn's Practical Magick Series)
The Magical Household: Spells&Rituals for the Home (Llewellyn's Practical Magick Series)
In case you need some more powerful purification mojo.

Spiritual Housecleaning: Healing the Space Within by Beautifying the Space Around You
Spiritual Housecleaning: Healing the Space Within by Beautifying the Space Around You
Clean and organize, the zen way!

Generation Ex: Tales from the Second Wives Club
Generation Ex: Tales from the Second Wives Club
Any second wife who's had a, well, a nutty first wife to contend with will enjoy this book, right from the opening scenes where Karbo discovers her panties -- with the crotch cut out.

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The Stepmom@Home


Making HER Home Into YOUR Home

by stchoub

In the occasional rare instance, your hubby may have actually been awarded the marital home. This is generally more common in situations where his ex freaked out, left him, left the kids, and is off following the Grateful Dead, probably blissfully unaware that Jerry Garcia is dead.

But here you are, living in her house, with her curtains, her wallpaper, and her tacky baby-sh#t-green counter canister set with unidentifiable white powdery substances congealed in the bottoms. You don't think you have the money to do anything about it since you have already financed the complete remodeling of the attorney's home, right down to the air-conditioned doghouse out back.

And all you CAN think about is that SOME certain husband you know (we won't mention any names) is certainly IN the doghouse for all this, and you just really don't give a damn if his is air-conditioned or not.

Fear not, dear second wife. There is a solution: invite all your closest girlfriends over to help you purge the evil spirits and bad decorating taste from your new home. Follow these suggestions, and you'll soon find that all that bad karma has just disappeared, much like child support money at a liquor store.

1) Pick a weekend that your husband will be gone. It is imperative that he gone, as these are his memories you and a house full of drunken buddies will be trashing with cattiness and glee. If he doesn't have a business trip to take, or family to visit, buy him a new fishing pole. He'll know what to do from there -- it's instinctive to the gender.

2) Hit the stores for the supplies you will need:

  • wine coolers
  • bon-bons (and other munchies)
  • Lysol... and lots of it -- a minimum of one can per party guest
  • air freshener
  • carpet powder (preferably the kind for killing pet odors)
  • sponges
  • new toilet seats for every bathroom in the house
  • JUMBO trash bags
  • One 20X15X15 cardboard box

3) Try to make use of items you have on hand to maximize your limited budget. Find an item of her clothing stashed in the attic somewhere. Her wedding dress would be particularly good. Cut it into 12-inch squares and voila! Cleaning rags! Her old maternity clothes also make great cleaning smocks.

4) The one 20X15X15 box should be MORE than adequate to house whatever items from his previous marriage that are worth keeping. If it's too big to fit in the box, it's probably not too big for the dumpster. And should the box still be empty at the end of the party, as you were (surprisingly, of course) unable to locate any sentimental gems worth keeping, it will be very handy for gathering up the empty wine cooler bottles for recycling.


Scavenger Hunt
This game actually begins before the party with your party invites. Include scavenger lists of small, inexpensive household items destined for the trash heap. Each guest should bring at least one replacement item from her list from her own yardsale boxes. Hey, come on -- would you rather have your friends' leftover hand-me-downs, or her's?

Think about that for a minute. For example, a list could include an ice cream scoop, soap dish, two matching washcloths, salad tongs, salt-and-pepper shakers, a frying pan.

The person who brings the most items from her list wins a jumbo box of bon-bons.

The person who obviously cheated and bought all the items on her list from the store is a better friend than the rest of them -- remember that at Christmas.

Musical Chairs
Place all the furniture destined for the dump in the middle of the living room. Pick something upbeat and inspirational for the music -- the song "Sh*tlist" from the Natural Born Killers soundtrack is a great one:

When I get mad, and I get pissed, I grab a pen and I write up a list of all you @ssholes who won't be missed... you've made my SH*T LIST!!
Play musical chairs, as usual, the only difference is that the loser has to carry the next excess seat out to the pickup truck.

Truth or Dare
Take turns pointing out assorted decorations and housewares throughout the house. Guests first choose truth (admitting if they secretly like the item in question) or dare (having to choose whether they think the item belongs to you or to the ex).

Guests who screw up on the dare questions should be removed from the Christmas card list, regardless of how many scavenger items they may have paid cold hard cash for.

How Many Beans in the Jar?
Gather up all the assorted household items - the cheesy silverware, the counter canisters, her goofy coffee table books, and, of course, all the things of your own which, during truth or dare, your friends thought were hideous and you are now too embarrassed to admit actually belonged to you.

Bag it all up and head over to the nearest Salvation Army. The guest guessing closest to the actual tax deductible receipt total without going over wins a box of bon-bons.

The Potty Party Game
Split guests up into teams; one team per bathroom. The team that changes the toilet seat fastest wins.

Dance Competition
Sprinkle the rugs liberally with pet-odor removing carpet powder. Turn up the stereo and give each guest two minutes to two-step with the vacuum cleaner. Cast votes for the most original dance style and most thorough vacuuming job.

Do the Locomotion
Again, blast the stereo, and grab the Lysol and the sponges. Make a disinfecting train -- "do the Locomotion" throughout the house, thoroughly disinfecting and scrubbing every surface.

Same rules you're used to from regular charades, however, this time you'll only use adjectives or nicknames that describe the ex.

Pin the Tail on His Ex
Have her wedding portrait enlarged to poster size and take turns pinning Satan's red tail onto her hindquarters.

Sing a few Songs
You'd be amazed at the great songs that can be converted for just such an occasion:

Old MacDonald had a cow
and Psycho was her name-oh...
PS-Y- CH-O, PS-Y-CH-O...
This one works really well if the ex's real name has five letters in it, too.

Hold a Seance
Sit in a circle, holding hands. Try to establish contact with the ex's dead childhood pet gerbil. Allow each guest to channel the hamster's observations of BB as a child -- her setbacks, her defeats, her insecurities...

And the grand finale --
No party is complete without a pinata. Buy the gaudiest, most atrocious pinata you can find, preferably one made in the shape of a donkey.

Hang it from the ceiling in a noose. Spin each other around (careful now, you have been drinking wine coolers all day, remember?) and whack away!


stchoub is one of the Cafe's first ten members. A former second wife and stepmom, she lives in the Washington, DC area with her sweetie.

She wrote this piece years ago, and just found it while cleaning out her hard drive.

Members only: Talk about it at the cafe!