Every time I go away for a conference, an image pops in my head: my return home to the blackened remnants of a burnt-down house and my family huddled in a circle on the front lawn in their bathrobes, attempting to open a can of tuna with a screwdriver. Think I exaggerate? Maybe. A little.

But clearly, there are household skills my family just can’t seem to master. And so before my next trip in April, I may have to give them a few crash courses in survival in the millenium.

1. Indoor Plumbing: Nothing to Fear. Apparently, my family is completely unaware that we have running water. Thus, no one but me knows how to fill ice cube trays, pets’ water bowls, the Keurig, pitchers of drink mix. And forget dirty dishes. They’ll pile up in the sink, on the counter, on the kitchen table, the dining room table, and even travel into bedrooms.

2. How Laundry Gets from the Dryer to Your Drawer. Why remove clothing, fold it, and set it in your drawers when it’s just as easy to yank out of the dryer where it’s lain for a week? How else can you get those interesting wrinkles and creases?

3. Toilet Paper Replacement. I’ve heard there are families who debate whether the toilet paper should unroll up or down. In my house, I’d just be thrilled to never see an empty cardboard tube again.

4. Putting Garbage in its Place. From the used K-cups (coffee for the Keurig brewer) that litter my counters to the empty milk cartons and overflowing kitchen trash can, nothing gets removed by anyone but me. This course would demonstrate how anyone can actually use legs and hands to dispose of these items without assistance.

5. Litter Box Maintenance or Why the Cat is Glaring Daggers at You. Two cats means daily cleaning of the litter box, a skill that eludes other family members and is the reason we’ll be remaining simply a two-cat family, regardless of the pleas for another kitten.

What “seminar” does your family need to attend?

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