Day 310. I Call Dining Room! A Cleaning Retrospective

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I talked to my dad yesterday and he said it looks like I haven’t posted for awhile. I had to explain that I hadn’t posted for awhile, but now I’m back on top, however, I’m back dating them to catch up. It’s imperfect. So, yes, this is January 5th, but I’m dating it December 28th to keep up the daily entries. To make matters more confusing, what I’m writing about actually happened on the 26th. This may all seem confusing to you, but can you imagine having this sense of time in your head everyday? I have to live with it.

My mom has always been very creative. Never has she had to utilize those creative muscles more than when we were kids and she had to get us to clean the house. We didn’t have chores and allowance and all that stuff, so things weren’t down to a routine. However, we had responsibilities. Usually, it would be something like a Sunday afternoon and my mom would say, “Okay, we’re going to clean the house, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fast, and we’re just going to dive in.” The enthusiasm she proposed the idea with was rarely reciprocated. However, it wouldn’t be fair to lump all of us into the same group though.

The Worker Bees

Cari, the oldest, very organized, fairly dutiful, and very practical. Her attitude was, “Okay, let’s do it and get it over with.”

Jon, the third child, very practical, liked the challenge of doing things quickly. His attitude was, “Let’s see how fast we can do it.”

Scott, the youngest, young, distractible. His attitude was, “Whatever the majority of the older siblings are doing, I will follow along, just more slowly.”

Jeff, the second born, unmotivated in cleaning, easily distractible, intent on distracting Scott to woo him to the dark side, wholly impractical in these endeavors. His attitude was, “How can I make this problem go away without doing any actual cleaning?”

My mom tried a variety of means growing up. Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, she would say that we couldn’t go outside to play with our best friends, the Watsons, until we cleaned up. My solution, when the Watsons would arrive, I would somehow convince them to help out. They wanted to play too, so they were also motivated. For awhile, my mom would type out different tasks, cut them into slips of paper, and put them into a bowl on top of the TV. When we finished a task, we would go retrieve a new slip and finish that task. This was a great plan, however, I would just go slowly until the other kids would finish the bowl of tasks.

The one my mom settled on was one where we each got a room, our only job was to finish that one room. The options were, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and dining room. The winner was the one who yelled, “I get dining room!” first. Dining room was the easiest, there was a tile floor, a dining room table, a desk, and a counter basically. Whenever I got dining room it would still take me longer than anyone else. I feel sad writing this, I’m sorry Mom, I appreciate the effort you put into this. Also, I’m sorry Michelle, but I have gotten way better since these days. Also, I’m sorry Michelle for the previous sentence, I’m still a work in progress.

This is why I was happy with our Christmas present to our parents this year. For Christmas we gave them a day of service around the house. When we presented it to them I said, “This is the type of present you get for encouraging your children to do things they love, and not be motivated by money. I call dining room.” This was not a simple cleaning though, we were going after things that hadn’t been touched in several years, this was an overhaul.

Immediately, I was assigned to outdoor work. One, I really like doing outdoor work. Two, it needed to be done. Three, I couldn’t be inside, not just because of my past transgressions, but because of my disease, nostalgia.

I’m a nostalgic SOB. I like things from my childhood, and I like things that are old, generally. Jon was cleaning out the laundry room with Scott and he came upstairs while I was still inside. He had a box of some sort of cleaner that had been sitting on the shelf for years. I was hooked. It looked to be at least three decades old, with old print, I looked for a date but couldn’t find any. It was the only convincing I needed to be the outside guy, I was mesmerized by a box of cleaner.

So, I did the hedges, cleaned out the gutter, and raked, with no distraction. If I can get locked in, I can work for hours, if the locking in doesn’t occur, I can’t even ooh a dime.

At the end of the night, I like to think that all my transgressions of cleaning past were swept under the rug, which, incidentally, was one of my old cleaning tricks.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Day 310. I Call Dining Room! A Cleaning Retrospective

  1. cari

    8th paragraph; insert: “Also, sorry to the other kids that I always tried to be slow so they would have to do everything. And that I always got the dining room.”

    The hedges do look good, though.

  2. Leora Houghton

    You forgot the one where I tried giving small change so at least if the others did more they earned more ice cream money! (woops, maybe you never knew about that!) ha! Love, mom

  3. A to the DW

    Reading the Press-Citizen at the dinning room table does NOT count as cleaning!

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