People will often say, “Well, I guess you just never really know what goes on behind closed doors.” Usually this statement is made when a seemingly happy couple suddenly takes a permanent vacation to Splitsville. “They just seemed so in love, I just can’t imagine what happened.” Or when you find out a seemingly normal person has some shocking vice or obsession. “I mean, I knew he loved his dogs, but I didn’t know he loooooved his dogs,” said with eyebrows raised to maximum height and head cocked to the side.

While the phrase is primarily employed while gossiping about extreme situations, it is really applicable to anyone’s home, like my own, and in an effort to be totally transparent — and as an example to the Bentleys — I am going to let you in on some pretty sick things happening behind the doors of the Trice household, every eyebrow-raising detail.

Here we go …

Speaking of doing strange things to dogs you love, just wait until you hear what we do to ours. Our schnauzer mix Mattie has recently started smelling like Fritos, and not in a good way. Trust me, her aroma does not suddenly make you crave a bowl of chili con queso. After some research, we determined it’s a fairly common condition caused by bacteria and fungus in their paws. In an effort to de-Frito her, we have been giving her long, warm vinegar baths, while gently massaging her corn-chip-smelling feet and other “hot spots” with a special potion designed to eliminate said fungi and bacteria. She really didn’t like it at first, but now she seems to be getting used to it.  

“You should see the way they bathe that poor dog of theirs. It’s sick,” says the old Southern lady gossiping about us in my head.

And if you think that’s scandalous, just wait until you hear this ….

Just last week, poor Frank was subjected to listening to me launch into a “10-minute tirade” over which TV commercial I was more sick of: the Land Rover Discovery Sport ad, featuring a couple who gets married at the top of a mountain in the middle of a monsoon with a bitchy maid of honor in their party who says “you know they say rain is bad luck for a wedding,” to which the cheerful, handsome and unflappable, Discovery-driving groom says, “No, actually it’s good luck” OR the Volkswagen spots featuring the three loud, pervy old ladies, two of which are apparently twins. “You like your cars new or with many, many miles on it?” one of the randy old ladies asks a stubbly faced hipster whose “rear end” she has been admiring, during the “Year End, Rear End Sales Event.” (Just typing this makes my blood pressure go up.)

“The thing is, I liked both of these commercials when they first started airing, but I have seen them so many times, I hate everyone in them now, except maybe the bitchy bridesmaid, who was the only one I didn’t like at first,” I lamented to Frank, as if these actors had reached out of the screen and personally assaulted me in some way. “And those old ladies. Geez. Go back to Boca. I can’t take hearing ‘We’re going to take the deal’ one more time!”
“That poor Frank. He has to live with that awful woman who hates beautiful mountaintop weddings and sweet, little, old grandmothers.”

Oh don’t you dare start feeling sorry for him! I’ve had to put up with a lot myself ….

This is something most couples do almost every night, but with the kids it’s obviously gotten a little more challenging. But even with them cramping our style, we have still made an effort to make time for us and do it at least a few times a week. I admit it was partially my fault, as I did fall asleep early one night. But he could have shown a little restraint. Just a little. But alas, he did not. He totally cheated on me.

The morning after the night in question, he confessed — although very matter-of-factly, like it was no big deal.

“Hey, just so you know, I’m one episode ahead of you on ‘Ballers,’” he said.

You can’t skip ahead on an episode of a TV series we are binge-watching together. That is “television adultery.” (Seriously, it’s actually called that.) It is right there in the vows with “in sickness and in health.”

I feel so betrayed. Now he knows how the Rock is going to handle getting Vernon’s fictional contract nailed down with the fictional Dallas Cowboys before I do. How could he?

“Poor Ashley. Did you hear? Frank was unfaithful. Poor thing had to spend her entire lunch hour trying to get caught back up to him. Disgraceful!”

Sure, husbands and wives are always doing awful things to each other behind closed doors, but there are other guilty parties in our house as well.

Our oldest, 6-year-old Anders, was sitting on the couch one night this week pre-worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, as he often does. His sister, a 3-and-a-half-year-old terror known as Ellen, plopped right down by him and just kicked him in the stomach for no apparent reason. Before I could even mobilize and scold “the terror” for sibling abuse, Anders shouted out, “What the hell, Ellen?”

I froze. I didn’t even know who I should start punishing first. And also it seemed like I had read something about what to do in curse word situations — was it totally ignore it? Acknowledge it but not make a big deal out of it? Shove a bar of Lifebuoy soap down his throat (assuming they still manufacture it) until he chokes? Or was it something else entirely?

Before I could finish having this conversation in my head, Frank snatched him up and took him to his room to discuss his choice of words, though I couldn’t argue the motivation behind them. I talked to “the terror” about her actions, but she just gave her usual answer to — why did you do (insert something awful)?

“Because I did,” she says with a giggle.

“And those kids of theirs are just pure dee heathens, especially that little one. They are going to have their hands full with that one.”

Since I’m airing all of the Trice dirty laundry, I’m not letting Mattie get off the hook. Before the kids were potty trained, she used to try and get in the garbage and eat the poop out of their dirty diapers, like their little deposits were expensive delicacies. What a freak!

“And they wonder why that poor dog’s having problems with bacteria and fungus.”

See, I told you some pretty scary things go on behind closed doors, but I couldn’t be happier to have a cheating husband (who puts up with a wife who wants fictional newlyweds to crash their Land Rover down a mountain), heathen children and a Frito-smelling dog who has been known to eat a little poop every now and again.