Friday, July 10, 2009

The Family "Work" Out

My poor, pitiful, precious flowers I call children have a severe aversion to work of any form or fashion. This week they showed the epitome of laziness, by whining about having to use the remote to change the television channel.
So, imagine their dismay when I suggested we clean the house today. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth... And I did not care one little bit.
My son will be learning to use the lawn mower (gasp) when the sun goes down a little. (No need to give the child heat stroke on the first time out of the gate.) My daughters helped tape off the trim in the hallways for our never-ending paint project. (I swear we did not have this much square footage in this house until we started painting!)
Once they caught on that I was serious, they wanted to know what was in it for them. Did they get money or a toy? I glared at them.
"You get the privilege of living in this house, having clothing and food provided, and being a part of this family," I growled back.
"But, we always get that," my son whined.
"I can certainly make other arrangements for you," I volleyed.
Said son responded with a sigh, an eye roll and a moooo-ooom, otherwise known as the trifecta for teens with an attitude and a death wish.
I looked at my middle child and asked, "Do you happen to know if there's still a three-day waiting period to purchase fire arms?"
She shrugged and looked utterly confused.
"Never mind," I shook my head. "Okay, son, let me spell this out for you: you live in this house because we chose to have children and we love you very much. However, you are part of a family. And, as such, you will participate in not only in the 'fun stuff,' but you will also help out with chores-"
"But that's not fair!" son whined.
"How do you figure?" I asked incredulously.
"I don't want to do chores! I shouldn't have to. You keep saying this is 'your' house," he said, stepping from the frying pan into the flames.
"Okay. Well then," I started, while crossing my arms across my chest, jutting out my chin and throwing out my hip for good measure," don't you think that perhaps it would behoove you to ingratiate yourself to me, since I am said owner of this residence. Otherwise, I will happily purchase you a tent, and you may survive in our backyard. You will have visitation privileges to our bathrooms, since we are a member of a homeowners association. And you may have two meals per day. So, what's it gonna' be?"
Never one to admit, or even hint at, defeat, my son grumbled something totally incomprehensible and slunk into the bathroom, scrub brush in hand.
"Make it shine, sweetie," I called sweetly after him.
"Mm-hmm," he said between gritted teeth.
"Love you!" I sang to him.
He looked up at me and glared for a moment. I went to finish the laundry.
As I began folding the towels, all I could think was, "Wow, that was fun... I guess I get to do this at least... a thousand and one more times???"

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