...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Due to previously scheduled in-service days combining forces with extreme weather conditions, my kids were in school a grand total of two and a half days last week.

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.

Being away from school friends for so many days means the phone at my house has rung virtually nonstop since Monday, when the first early-dismissal day kicked in. I'd no sooner shrugged off my coat after picking up my oldest son and The Annoying Girl, who I'd seconds ago dropped at her doorstep, was calling to see if my son could go swimming with her at the YMCA. This was the first of what amounted to approximately 73 1/2 phone calls from her over five days. The half-call is the result of me getting to the phone faster and her hanging up, scared, when I perhaps asked her to chill the hell out already.

Between busy signals, my son's neighbor friend would call, asking if he could come over and play. Wait! Did you read that as "seeing if my son could go over to R's house to play?" Yeah. I did, too. However, let me clear it up for you. When R would call, his intent was to see if he could come hang out here.

Every day.

For hours.

I'm talking HOURS!

By Friday, my house was a defeated shell of chaos, filled with the remnants of evil three boys (and one husband because, yep, he was around most of this week, too)(and so was I, but I assure you, my disdain for a messy environment makes it difficult for me to even trash my own reputation) could create. As soon as we finished breakfast, I informed the boys we were going to work as a team to clean house and do the laundry, because doing meant we'd get done faster and could then do something fun together.

Cheers of delight (mine - seriously, I am just a nicer, calmer person in a cleaner environment) were soon interrupted by the ringing telephone and my son's friend, R, beginning his pitch.

9 a.m. - "I can't play right now. We're going to pick up the house, so probably in a little bit," my son answered.

9:15 a.m. - "ItalicWe 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.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

*hobbles up in walker* I remember back in MY day when a "playdate" meant "sit in front of cartoons" or "go outside and stay there till the streetlights come on, no really, the door is locked, drink from the hose." I think making kids clean is a grand idea!

Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please send neighbor kid to Exile. Kthxbai.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:27:00 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

We have a similar type kid who always calls here. I was never so happy in my life as when he got his own XBox for Christmas.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

We have neighbors and our sons take turns "living" with the other. My son actually tried to convince them today he was a part of their family so he could go to a family part with them at Dave & Busters!

Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleaning kids. Isn't that an oxymoron?

Sunday, January 18, 2009 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We have a swinging door on our house. They don't make much of a mess though and they keep the boy occupied. It works... at least until he finds an obnoxious friend.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I had not thought of this aspect of having older children. Hmmm.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

When everyone is home at the same time, I self-destruct. CAN'T.STAND.THE.MESS.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger San Diego Momma said...

Send that kid to me.

I'll even let him see me naked.

(Of course only I will know that I'm wearing a flesh-colored body stocking. I'm not a total perv.)

p.s. My friend, Jenn, (at Juggling Life), says that when the house is a mess, she breaks out in bitch.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger KriskropMemories said...

Too funny. I can understand how you can go crazy with all underfoot. My husband has been off work since April and it totally throws off my routines.

Monday, January 19, 2009 2:00:00 AM  
Blogger DKC said...

Well, considering the constant state of mess my house is in - I'd have to adopt a lot of neighborhood children to accomplish anything. It's good for them though, right? Builds character?

Monday, January 19, 2009 6:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I had one that practically lived here for about 8 or 9 years, and he became part of the family. Now that he's grown up and lives nearby, I can call him whenever I have an emergency and my guys aren't around. He even plows our driveway!

Monday, January 19, 2009 6:59:00 AM  
Blogger Chasity said...

My son is enjoying the last day of a 5 day weekend today. I have never been so excited to see the arrival of a Tuesday in all my life. Oops- I mean I will miss him terribly.

Monday, January 19, 2009 7:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, kids ≠ monkey butlers. They don't clean, they don't serve peeled grapes, and they certainly don't do windows. On the other hand, once they get past a certain age they generally don't toss their poo at you. In the end, it's kind of a wash.

(so to speak)

Monday, January 19, 2009 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

Are you being serious about the early dismissal every Wednesday? Aren't there laws about how many days/hours these kids need to be in school?

My rule about neighbor kids was that they were strictly "outside friends."

Monday, January 19, 2009 7:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same problem, and this is why we need to move into the country. My favorites are the parents who never let their kids have friends over but they are ALWAYS welcome at my house. Seriously.

Monday, January 19, 2009 8:59:00 AM  
Blogger kaila said...

Somehow I had 5 kids at my house yesterday and only 1 of them was mine. Between the water balloons and the champagne poppers, my yard looks like a war zone. It just reinforced my decision to never have any more kids.

Oh, an Rock of Love Bus? I'm hooked.

Monday, January 19, 2009 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problems putting the neighbourhood kids to work at my house.

Seriously, they pee all over my bathroom so they can help wash some walls.

I pay in promises of icecream, forbidden video games and promises of not to tell their mothers they swear like sailors and stare at my boobs everytime they are over.

Works out pretty good.

And you and me...so having an IM date while watching the skank of love. Whoot!

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger jennyonthespot said...

Hahahahaahahaaa... that was great! Allof it - school-weather-decisions, kids messes, cleaning, the struggle of putting other poeple's kids to work... dried urine as a binding agent... are we living parallel lives????


Monday, January 19, 2009 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Booms said...

If only self-cleaning kids weren't so freaking expensive.

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleaning soothes me and after a particularly crappy day at work I love nothign more than scrubbing the counters. And doing the dishes. And cleaning the grout in my bathroom.

I feel ya on the clean environment.

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin McKeever said...

After seeing you naked multiple times, the kid at least owes you a clean garage ... and breakfast.

Monday, January 19, 2009 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

It's all right to get them to clean the house providing you don't pay them. That would exploitation and child-labour.

Monday, January 19, 2009 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Can you ship neighbor boy to England? I have a couple of chores that need to be done around here.

Monday, January 19, 2009 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Shonda Little said...

Dear R,
Have you ever been to Oklahoma? I think you would love it. Hey, I know, why don't you come live with me? We would have so much fun. You would be delighted by all the things I would have for you to clean.

Monday, January 19, 2009 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'd sooner be on my knees scrubbing your toilets than have to sit through another "Rock of Love" episode.

Monday, January 19, 2009 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger Swirl Girl said...

I have donuts ! I have soda! Send the neighbor kid over here!! PLEEEEEZE!

Monday, January 19, 2009 2:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm...That kids is gonna make some woman very happy someday.

Monday, January 19, 2009 2:27:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

ummm... I'm speechless. Is this what I have to look foward to when my four year old becomes a tween or a teen?????? I'm scared of the neighbor kids-they seem sweet now, but just wait, huh?

Monday, January 19, 2009 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Hey, he may mostly come over here to violate my daughter, but this weekend I had Sasquatch hauling boxes in and out of the basement. He helped put the monsterous Santa collection to bed for the next 44 weeks. Other peoples kids are WAY better than our own at helping out. I also have made other people's kids fold laundry, pull weeds, cook meals and sweep floors. Hell...if they are here eating my food and breathing my air, they can help.

Monday, January 19, 2009 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger Bee (the one who muses) said...

Hey, I'd gladly flash my husband's friends if they cleaned my house!

Monday, January 19, 2009 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger HoodChick said...

You know, we thought about fostering a kid. I had dreams about them doing 'chores' while I catch up on TV viewing. But then I saw how much food, milk and soda my teenage nephew would go through on one overnight visit and I figured a maid would cost less. I still haven't got that damn maid.

Monday, January 19, 2009 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Dude, he totally was hoping you like to vacuum in the nude - seriously (wait - am I the only person who does that?).

Monday, January 19, 2009 7:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DUDE! Were you high on the comet? When someone, anyone offers to help clean your house, you.say.YES!

And we switched from every other wed half day to every wed half day this year. It's not too bad. You get used to it and the kids have more time to do homework packets.

Monday, January 19, 2009 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy Lou said...

I so want to go to school with today's schedule, it's insane, the amount of school kids don't attend!

And seriously, no matter who's kid it is take the free house work!

Monday, January 19, 2009 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously chick. I have 3 letters for you M.S.N.

Get the kids to communicate that way and then when you don't want them talking to their friends you just hide the modem.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

You know, you and Molly have this in common - that your sanity is improved by a clean house. . .

But listen, you're WAAAYY too soft. . . Molly has absolutely no scruples about 'letting' the neighbor kids help with the cleanup chores. I think she sells it on the pretext of, 'you can all get to play so much sooner if everybody pitches in'. . .

Because, apparently, our kids are just that popular (or maybe, the neighbor kids are just that desperate; one or the other. . .)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Lipstick Jungle said...

Um yeah, we lock the doors, close the blinds and dont answer the phones.

2 1/2 days eh? I think we had 1 1/2 by the time all was said'n done.

And they had Monday off.

I may be optimistic to hope for summer vaca to start by the 4th of July. Did'ya hear its getting damncold again next week?

Oh, and BMROLBT? Um, yeah! Brett can rock my bus anytime! I did miss however who's tour ended this week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, we waded through 5-foot snow drifts on our way too and from school too, where I'm from. I think they finally closed the schools this year when 10 feet accumulated on the sidewalks.

Parental permission = kid works all day? :D

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger MereCat said...

Ingenious! Eager kids are useful...good to know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 8:39:00 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

A child who knows he has to earn his keep! You should have made him clean.

The snow days wouldn't be quite so bad, if you could at least leave the house!
Aghh...I feel for you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 9:54:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

missbanshee - "You! Turn down that devil music, get a haircut, then come clean out my basement!" Yeah. I think I could approach it from this route. :)

Waltz - Look for a crate delivery soon.

Prefers Her Fantasty Life - This kid has a Wii. When he started asking to come here, I was all, "You're kidding me, right? Can I go play your Wii then?"

Under the Influence - That sounds like a kid who's going to be a good businessman one day!

Geri - It is when it's applied to mine.

Heinous - Oh, he'll most definitely make an obnoxious friend. It's never a matter of if, but when.

Heather - This is what's called 'looking on the bright side of life.'

Mandy - I can't understand how no one who lives with me notices how much calmer I am when the house is tidy!

San Diego Momma - This kid has a moody high school age brother. Would that suffice?

Grove Designs Co - The chaos! Gah! The chaos makes me so chaotic.

Dana's Brain - I can round up my kid's basketball team. They're kind of hyper, so I think they'd get a lot of work done for you!

Mary Ellen - I truly could use a kid to plow out the driveway, now that I think about it...

Chas - You have my complete understanding (and sympathy)!

TwoBusy - Have I told you lately about the awesome power of your comments?

Cocotte - They have to be in school for 180 days. Happily, I read in our town newspaper tonight, that, due in large parts to parents' complaints, the school board voted not to have weekly early outs, which delights me!

Sammanthia - I live next door to relatives of those parents. There's no snacks here. No Wii. I don't know why my house is THE house!

kaila - Rock of Love Bus so, so bad it's good.

Redneck Mommy - I may employ your tactics, and equip all rooms of the house with Clorox wipes. Also, I will totally kiss you after that first IM date, so bring it!

jennyonthespot - If we are living parallel lives, that would be awesome. However, I think you run more than me (considering I run never) so that may be a dead giveaway!

Betsey Booms - I dream of a day when that technology is available to the masses. Preferably at Target.

Meg - I get to enjoy a clean environment for about an hour, but that's the best hour of my life!

Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Always Home - I've tried the naked thing to get my husband to clean the garage and for some reason, it's not working!

Brian - Oh, I'm on the up and up. I'm also broke. It all works together.

Kat - I'll start the paperwork process ASAP!

Shonda - He'd fit right in at your place, I think! He already has the R name.

ftn - What are you doing Saturday?

Swirl Girl - This kid has a Cheetos bag attached to his hand at all times. I think he'd be happy at your house!

KD - That is totally the truth! I bet he'd even cook, too!

Christina - Also wait until girls are always calling your house...

Laggin - At least you're getting some reward out of that relationship!

Bee - I'd flash MY husband to clean out the garage!

HoodChick - I have a strict 'no snacks' policy around here, except not really. They just turn their nose up at my generic Cheetos, then bring their own. There's always a way around things!

motherbumper - Dude, you're not alone... :)

TattooedMinivanMom - If I could just get my kid to bring homework home so I could see what he was working on...

Mandy Lou - I may start calling the neighbor kid and have him come clean up before he can call here!

Kelley - I'd never get my kid off the computer (which is like the pot calling the kettle black...)

Des - I may need to have Molly school me on the ways of neighbor labor!

justlori - I still haven't watched last week's episode. It takes me until almost the end of the series before I even know half the remaining girls' names!

goodfather - I'm hoping we get through the rest of the shool year without any more missed days. For all our sanity!

Merecat - And you have a tag team, so score!

Zip n Tizzy - Oh, definitely. By the time I left the house after five days in, I thought I might run away for good!

Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:20:00 PM  

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