Well… school is out and with it brings the challenges of keeping kids (especially in the numbers I keep) busy and entertained all the while ensuring the house remains standing and that there are no casualties declared. It sounds very simple but as I have recently
learned… not so much. This summer is a little different in that the children’s dad had serious surgery on his ankle in a different city (5 hour drive away) and at my request is convalescing with his parents until he is allowed to put any weight on his ankle (in oh about 12 weeks from now). (!!) At first I thought this would be awesome for two reasons. One, the husband gets the rest he requires without all the added stress of the circus I regularly preside over. Secondly I get a chance to effect a reorganization among the natives with a better focus on household chores (yeah…I am real popular) without having to run the gauntlet with the other parent. This is how this experience has unfolded thus far:
- Week one …was relatively uneventful, school, chauffeuring the teenagers between jobs, friend’s places some school and overall housework was done by yours truly.
- Week two… I was informed it was preparation for upcoming “Exam Week” by the teenagers and therefore somehow in light of extensive (and supposed intensive) studying any responsibility towards household chores was to be forgone as the academics in the joint were hard at work (in their minds only).
- Week three…okay Graduation of one son from Grade 12, (HURRAY… two down only seven left to go) so again relaxed household chores as many other trips had to be made returning textbooks, ferrying children to and fro exams, shopping for appropriate graduation attire all the while I personally attended (with some help from the tiny children) to the various mundane tasks (laundry, more laundry, dishes, laundry, floors.. etc.).
- Week four…ah.. yes… time to let everyone know what I expect! The younger crowd (15 years and less) offered a few rolled eyes, a few forgotten or half-done chores but by and large reasonable progress was made. The older ones…engaging them in this process was like nailing Jell-O to a tree. This crowd has in their mind the notion that because, yes, they have part-time jobs (and one might get full-time and actually work more than 30 hours in a week), chores like removing their own dinner plate from the table is far too strenuous a task to even consider. I cannot believe how much these children love to lounge around this house. I have honestly never spent one whole day the way this bunch believes they should spent their entire summer.
Some of these lounge lizards live in the basement. In the typical teenage motis-operandi style…the most elevated level of activity includes sleeping until noon, TV watching, some talking on the phone, and playing on internet. To get into their bedrooms one must shovel a path from their door to their bed (through their junk) just to discover if they are actually home or are in fact have been missing for days. These creatures EAT anywhere but the kitchen…often in their room.
Well last fall we had a mouse. I asked the husband to deal with the critter. I was told “all handled. Not to worry” Uh-huh. If this was true then I would not have to deal with multiple sightings of mice. Complaining to the husband I am told it is “THE SAME Mouse.” No..really?
Without the husband around to assure me the mice I occasionally see is just really one Houdini mouse who seemingly gets out a lot more than I realize, I have only recently become aware that there are in fact critters in my house that are potentially related to this rodent. Well the lounge lizards I speak of are male (human). I am hoping for perhaps some type of effort by the young men who reside here to stem the takeover of my home by these nocturnal life forms (the rodents that is).
Once the gauntlet was dropped, the 18-year-old delivered a rather pathetic looking little creature clinging in rigor mortis to an old sock. Burial was immediate. Good, that famous mouse is now gone…be sure to tell the husband. If I believe what I was told then this should be an end to the problem. Nah…not really…I hear noises everywhere beyond (if you can believe) the clatter the kids already make.
Well the six-year-old came up with a brilliant idea…write a letter similarly to the reverse of one he wrote to the tooth fairy (where he asked her to live with us.) “Dear Mr. Mouse. My mom will give you lots of money, cheese, crackers and even time on our PlayStation if you move out. Only really move out. My mom asked my brother to move out and he didn’t so he is in trouble…and to stay has to do chores. Be smart leave now. My friend down the street wanted to have a real mouse as a pet…look for the house with the blue door. Love….J” –
Course this contrasts with the sighting of a rodent in our family freezer (before you all freak out the freezer is located in our garage)…the 15 year old boy’s solution was to quietly close the lid. When I asked if the mouse was disposed of I was told he was “working on it” as he expected it to freeze to death over several hours. Sadly this did not happen as when I gingerly lifted the lid of the freezer (expecting to see a rodent corpse) I noticed most of the food packaging had little nibble marks on the corners. Now when I dig to the bottom of the deep freeze in search of some meat morsel for the tribe’s supper I am terrified that once the ice recedes and the frost no longer obliterates the contents I may find a mummified mouse family has been defrosted instead of pork chops.
Still no “#$%^^&” mouse… frozen or otherwise!
Gets better…evidence of mice are wherever these teenager children are keeping their dirty dishes…and the teenagers don’t care. “Mom…the only reason you want the mice caught is because you are afraid of them…we are not!”
Anyone out there know what teenage guys would be afraid of (other than green vegetables) that might cause some maturity to develop? “Are you a man or a mouse”…sadly at the moment my boys are colleagues with the rodents!
And I was hoping to be able to relax this summer…
Goat NOT on summer holidays…yet!