dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Two and a half days! If I had access to a time machine and was able to travel back to a blustery winter day in January 1977, I assure you I'd have been watching the snow fall and whip around madly outside the windows of Mrs. Lappe's fifth grade classroom, listening as she gave my class a lesson on the metric system, and we would have used that lesson to convert the waist-high depth of the snow we were then made to walk home in later that day when school dismissed - at its regular time! - to the closest millimeter, which would have been reported back to Mrs. Lappe the next day when we started classes again - at their regular time!
If you take the number of days my children have attended school since returning there following winter break two weeks ago, I'm pretty sure you'd end up with a negative number. Then you would have to listen to me gripe for a little bit about how the school board's proposal to make EVERY Wednesday an early-out day next school year - as opposed to the every other Wednesday routine we have now - is wacky, and really, that has nothing to do with where this post is going so I apologize.
9:15 a.m. - "We haven't started cleaning yet. My mom's gotta take a shower and do a couple things and then we're going to get started."
9:30 a.m. - "Let me ask her" - me, shaking my head no to whatever the inquiry is - "She says not yet. No. Soon. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know. OK. Later."
10 a.m. (thanks for the break) - "Not yet. How about I call you?"
10:01 a.m. - "Yes. I'll call you on your cell."
Thirty minutes later, I'm in my bathroom, drying my hair, when I hear my son approaching, saying "I don't know. I'll ask her again," and I whip around, muttering "What NOW?!"
"R wants to know if he can come over now and help you clean the house," he replied, a look of twisted confusion on his face, as though this was the most bizarre request he's ever heard. Admittedly, my face twisted in much the same way, and my brain exploded in peals of "What the WHAT?!" and thoughts of, "Bring me this boy, for I shall adopt him and call him mine!"
Seriously, my own kids aren't as ingenious as to have thought to start cleaning the house without me to lord over them with my dual-action scrubbers, and now I had a child who I hadn't a legal claim to volunteering to come dust my floorboards? I was nearly drunk with delight, my mind reeling at how he must miss such menial tasks since his own family has a weekly housekeeper (and no offense to the housekeeping employees and/or employers of the world, for if I had the disposable income to choose between someone to clean the toilets and an endless supply of ice cream, my ass would be smaller and my house cleaner thanks to the hard work of another).
"Go unlock the front door. Tell him to come right in. There's Pledge and a dust cloth under bathroom sink. Chop, chop!" I told my son, visions of sitting on my duff and catching up on Rock of Love Bus With Bret Michaels (oh, yes...yes, I do) while my little team of minions shined my world already spinning in my head.Then it hit me. I couldn't do this. I couldn't make someone else's child do this work, especially when I didn't even have a way to compensate him. Plus, this is the same neighbor kid who has seen me naked (sadly, more than once), so honestly, I can't really put him through the torture of cleaning my house when I've already (purely accidentally!) tortured the poor kid enough already.So I told my son to have him come over, and I let them all scurry downstairs to play for the remainder of the day (I'm not kidding about that, and finally, around 6:30 p.m., confused from the lingering scent of Comet, I thought perhaps I actually had adopted this boy). However, don't doubt for a second, as I tried feverishly to yank the seat off the toilet in the boys' upstairs bathroom (NASA should really look into dried urine as a bonding agent), that I didn't consider yanking my pseudo son, who has clogged that toilet up but good on more than one occasion, up there to do the cleaning deed for me.
However, about that time, my Tool Man arrived home, and though I'll likely never be able to swing a weekly cleaning service, I've got him, and I'm training him well. He especially likes it when I bring out the white gloves.
I've also encouraged my sons, when and if they ever return to school, to start making a lot more very helpful friends. I may not have labored to deliver these new kids I hope to soon have calling my house, but I am willing to make them labor for me. That garage of mine isn't going to clean itself.