Male Answer Syndrome: Case in Point

Back in the 90s, I read a hilarious book that discussed the phenomenon (or not) of Male Answer Syndrome. When I Googled it to give credit, my mind was blown by the entries. This is not one person’s vendetta. Check out the top three results:

The Medical Dictionary

The Urban Dictionary


I hadn’t thought about this phenomenot for many years. There is a payoff to the years of training required for a successful marriage – haha! Then I came across a blog post by a blogger who often offers thoughtful reflections about life.

His overall point was that there are two different kinds of conversations, ones where you need to listen and others where you’re being asked for a solution. In understanding this difference, you can avoid many disagreements and misunderstandings. I completely agree, so I left this comment:

Such a good point, and a smart way of distinguishing. We had many conversations about this early in our marriage but now we can read each other pretty well about what we’re looking for. It’s often the stereotype that women are the listeners and men always want to offer a solution. I used to say to my husband that I wasn’t looking for M.A.S. (Male Answer Syndrome). I can’t remember where I read that but it made me laugh and it made it clear to him. What do you think? Do men have a harder time having those listening conversations and holding back the advice?

Ready for it?

Yes. We men have a really hard time with that. We need women to help us polish off those rough edges and teach us, just like you did when you explained to your husband that you weren’t looking for an answer or a solution. You wanted to be listened to and empathized with. Keep reminding him–he’ll get it.

Is it just me? I almost pee myself every time I read it again. He agrees with me, then ends by giving me advice! I called him out on it and he was a great sport, so I hope he doesn’t mind that he inspired this blog post.

Sorry guys, I’m not trying to extend the gender divide but some things are just truth.

Am I right?

Don’t answer that.

❤️ Amanda

life, writing

50 Word Thursdays #4 – Gringa

Maybe I needed to learn to stay more alert when traveling in a foreign country” – Lisa Bullard, Turn Left at the Cow.


The urchin scampered up as I parked the van. Huge eyes shone out under his mop of hair. When I popped the sliding door, he broke into a smile. Irresistible. I invited him in to practise my Spanish. He left with his pockets full. I realized the next day. Oops.

50 words

Westfalia camper, pop-top, travelling, campingTrue story. But no regrets, I didn’t miss any of it. Such a cute kid! This is also the van where I had my first relapse. Click the picture to go to that post.

This story is in response to the written prompt for the 50 Word Thursday challenge hosted by Tales From the Mind of Kristian and Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith. Thanks to both of you for hosting! If you haven’t checked out their blogs, head on over for some great stories and writing challenges.


1. Find the muse within the photo or line provided and follow where it leads. It can be a story, anecdote, poem. Anything!

2. Story must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments.

3. Link back to this post with the tag 50WordThurs so that everyone can find it, or post your response in the comments below.


life, writing

Bathroom Renovation: Part 1 – It’s a Go!

At the end of February, it will be ten years since we moved into our house. We have been oh so responsible in dealing with the renovations, starting with the very unsexy updates of new gutters, roof and windows. Having three kids and both of us being allergic to debt means we’ve taken things slowly.

Previous owners did some updates in the 90s – sadly, they had a love affair with brass – and a fresh coat of paint before it went on the market made it a nicer house than we ever thought we could afford. Our starter home was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath that we updated ourselves, adding two bedrooms within it’s very small footprint.

We called this house, just a few blocks over, our starter house on steroids. 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

But this is where it gets disgusting. The previous residents were college boys, so you can imagine that maintenance and cleanliness were not of paramount importance. If you own a jacuzzi tub, you know that it requires regular use and cleaning. Otherwise, a whole new world starts to colonize the pipes.

Our old house had a tiny blue bathtub, so I was excited to have a deep soaking tub with jets. But there was no way in hell I was getting in without a decent cleaning.

I had no idea what I was in for.

The sludge that oozed out of the pipes the first time I turned on the jets was reminiscent of the black slime of childhood nightmares. Chunky, glutinous snakes, hibernating and growing for years, spurted into the tub like ogre vomit, over and over again. I had to empty it in buckets so it wouldn’t clog the drain.

My sensitive stomach had an intense workout as I repeated the process 47 times. That may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I ran those jets with bleach several times a day for weeks before I could bring myself to get into that tub. Even then, I had to NOT think about it very carefully to be able to relax and enjoy a soak.

MS fatigue and the neck injury that causes me crazy pain and headaches made me overpower my squeamishness and revel in the comfort of Epsom salt baths. Until the damn thing started to leak – in the opposite corner of the house. Water started dripping down through a pot light in the basement.


That was three or four years ago. Luckily it was only the tub that leaked, not the shower. Those slimy snakes must have been so big, they damaged the pipes. Ugh.

For the past couple of years, we’ve tried to find someone that would take on the renovation the way we wanted it to go. Meaning, a separate tub and shower fitting into a minuscule space. Strangely, not one of the six contractors we had in, wanted to take on the job. It may have to do with the fact that we’re not prepared to spend obscene amounts of money to make it happen. So, we’re replacing the current fixtures and calling it good.

Having to clean the tub before having a bath is a first world problem.

So, we hired a designer to deal with the project and I just got word that we’re starting this week. Yeehaw! I love me some demo, so I already started removing some tiles. Years ago, I replaced the sad brass light fixtures and faucets.

A tip for new homeowners: the savings you get from the ‘big box stores’, is not worth it when it comes to quality. They may carry the the same brand names but it’s like buying your fixtures at the dollar store. Renovations cost a lot, time-wise and money-wise. Spend your money wisely and buy quality.


Goodbye brass! The final frontier… Soooo ugly!!!

Hopefully once they get started, it won’t take too long to put things back together. We all know how that goes, though. Fingers crossed for quick and on budget – no surprises. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

I’ll keep you posted…

❤️ Amanda

awards, nominations, challenges, chronic illness, Health, life, MS, writing

50 Word Thursday #3: Relapse

I’m trying something different this week, in an effort to kickstart my fiction brain. I’m joining the 50 Word Thursday challenge hosted by Tales From the Mind of Kristian and Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith. Thanks to both of you for hosting this, it was a great simple challenge to stretch my writing muscles. If you haven’t checked out their blogs, head on over for some great stories and writing challenges.

The rules
1) Completed piece must be in multiples of 50 words – maximum of 250 words. Anything is acceptable – poetry, story, anecdote.
2) There will be a photo and a random phrase that I will take from the current book I am reading – you can use either or both
3) Please pingback and tag 50 word Thursday, so I can do a summary on the Thursday morning. You can either put your piece in the comments on this post or do a post of your own.

‘Although it was a simple thing to be doing, something strange was happening.’

– Paulo Coelho – The Valkyries


She stepped into the dark alley for a minute, leaning against the cool shade of the building. She closed her swirling eyes and exhaled heavily, then inhaled a slow, shaky breath. Her legs sagged then collapsed under her, the high-pitched screaming making her moan and stuff her fingers in her ears. Dropping her head on her chest, she squeezed her eyes shut to hold back the tears as the nausea roiled in her empty stomach. The vibrations started from deep within, travelling up her spine then out into her limbs until her teeth chattered. How would she get home?

100 words

❤️ Amanda

Book recommendations, chronic illness, mental health

Depressed? Read this book!

Not much to report here, except that the gnomes and ogres are still having their dance party. I’ve just tried to stay busy doing jobs around the house when the energy permits, getting outside every day, reading a ton and binge-watching Outlander in anticipation of season 4 coming out on Netflix.

I started reading a book I started in the summer, and I had to share it. If you need some perspective, and some good laughs, I highly recommend Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. She is also known as The Bloggess and has a thing about taxidermy, as well as an interesting perspective of the world from living with mental illness her whole life.

With chapter titles like “Koalas are Full of Chlamydia” and “Voodoo Vagina”, this is not a self-help book. Yet somehow, it’s very helpful in its own bizarre way. Here are some nuggets from the sections I’ve been reading:

“My psychiatrist told me that when things get rough I should consider my battle with mental illness as if I were “exorcising a demon” and I was like, “Well, no wonder I’m failing so miserably. I’m shit at exercising.”

“Like my grandmother always said, “Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can go fuck yourself.”

“Did you know that kangaroos have three vaginas? Because they totally do and that’s probably why they’re always hitting each other. They probably have PMS every damn day of the week. But on the plus side, kangaroos have plenty of places to smuggle things, with so many holes in their bodies. In fact, they’re so full of holes it’s sort of shocking that all the kangaroo doesn’t just leak out.”

Okay, so she’s random. Maybe that’s what I’m responding to, along with her complete honesty about living with mental illness. I have tremendous empathy for people who live with mental illness throughout their lives. This is new for me, depression was not something I had experienced until two years ago, and so far it has come and gone within several weeks – fingers crossed this time. Living with this feeling day in and day out over years, takes a special kind of fortitude.

It is only in sharing our experiences and being honest that we will break the stigma of mental illness. It is the most rampant of all the invisible illnesses, and it’s time that it was taken as seriously as physical ailments. There should be no shame in admitting that you’re struggling, and it’s important to reach out and ask for help if you’re not coping. You are not alone.

Do you have any books about depression, anxiety or other mental illness that you recommend? I’d love any suggestions in the comments. Links for the book below for your convenience.

Have a wonderful week!

❤️ Amanda

Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things Furiously Happy Furiously Happy Furiously Happy