When “Sorta” Means “Totally”…

Yesterday was my long day: I now work at the salon from 9:00 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Yesterday was also the younger boy’s last day of freedom before school started back up again*.

Freedom is a great word for it, too: his brother went back to college on Monday, and Jim was back at work. This lucky teenager had the whole house to himself, ALL. DAY. LONG.

Being my mother’s daughter, I decided it was only right that I leave him a list of chores to complete. You know, since he had an entire day’s worth of free time and all.

I didn’t load him up too much, though: I’m not jerk! I basically told him that he had to do the following while I was gone for that nine-and-a-half hours:

1. Unload the dishwasher
2. Take out the kitchen trash
3. Keep the laundry going all day. I let him know that I would fold it all when I returned home, but I wanted it all washed, all five to six loads of it.

That’s it.

Not that bad of a list, right? Tasks number one and number two would take all of ten minutes. Task number three would take several hours, but it’s not like he had to stand in the laundry room and watch the clothes being washed and dried: the requirement would have just been to, every ninety minutes or so, go downstairs and switch the clothes out, from dirty basket to washer, to dryer, to clean basket, to the family room for folding by me. If you add up his time commitment for this, it would’ve been about thirty minutes in the entire day.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

I returned home around 7:45 p.m. after a late finish at work and a stop at the grocery store. Jim and the younger boy were in the kitchen, and after we greeted each other, we got ready for dinner. In passing, I asked the younger boy, “Did you keep up with the laundry today?”

“Oh,” he said, “I didn’t finish it all; I sorta fell down on that job.”

“How many loads did you do?” I asked.

“Only one or two.”

Wow, one or two. I was a little annoyed, to say the least: I really, really wanted to just be able to fold clothes and be done with it. I didn’t give him a hard time about it, though, and we just went on with our evening.

Later, I was doing the dinner dishes and asked Jim to go switch the laundry so the stuff in the washer wouldn’t have to be re-run.

He came back almost immediately.

“That was quick!” I said.

And then I thought about it. I asked, “Jim, was there anything in the dryer?”

“Nope, just the washer.”

The kid didn’t do “one or two loads” of laundry. He did half of one load. “Sorta fell down on that job” was the understatement of the week.

Sigh, teenagers…

It’s a good thing he’s so lovable.

*You should have seen him on his way out the door to the bus today. He was positively beaming. And by “beaming”, I mean scowling. But in a cute way.


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • Mom24

    I'm afraid that is not something I would have been able to bite my tongue about. 🙂

    Hope he, and you, have a good day.

  • LceeL

    At least he got half a load done. With my crew, unless you NAILED the list to their forehead and wrote it so they could read it in the mirror, they'd forget. Period.

  • Megryansmom

    Oh I so miss the days of child slavery. The babies are still too little to help out, but their day will come!

  • kat

    @Megryansmom Hmmm child slavery…maybe I should go for a kid.
    @Melisa These darn teenagers but two out of three is not bad ;o)

  • Lisa

    Sounds like exactly what I get from my husband (who's home full time) when I ask him to keep the wash going all day…if A load makes it into the dryer and a second one started its impressive!!!! MEN!

  • Tara R.

    Ahhh… teens are so creative with their memories. Maybe it's a guy thing. I can be gone all day and find them in the same place I left them. Not sure if they ever even moved.

  • seashore subjects

    It definitely isn't a guy thing, because my girl teen does the exact same thing. But she adds a heavy sigh when her favorite jeans are clean for school.

  • Otter Thomas

    Well at least you tried to give him some chores. If my personal experience is any guide it will be a long time before he stops making those mistakes. It took a wife to finally get me lined out.

  • DaddysFishBowl

    LOL, You are a better human being than my wife. I would have, oops, I mean our kids would have never heard the end of it.

  • Mrs4444

    I'd have a really hard time with that. (Which, I guess, is why I never give that responsibility to the kids. I guess they are spoiled. I'd better get on the stick!)

    Loved how you wrote this 🙂

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    Hopefully he didn't have any clean clothes to wear so maybe he might have learned a lesson? Oh, wait, he's a teenager. Forget it.