Tag Archives: chores

A Pop Quiz for My Teenagers

I was ready to divorce my teenage kids this past Memorial Day weekend. I had called the Divorce attorneys on the back of the phone book and had the papers all drafted. Thankfully, my wife talked me off the cliff and I was able to save the attorney fees. She’s good that way, at talking me off the cliff. Sometimes I have to talk her off the cliff. Sometimes we both want to jump off the cliff… and maybe have sex as we plunge to our deaths because it’s the only time we’d have any privacy. Plus the guy who spoke at the Memorial Day parade said lot’s of stuff about finding peace and happiness with the people who you care about and that settled me down a bit.

My kids hadn’t really done anything wrong. I was just tired of them. I was tired of driving them places, tired of cooking them meals, tired of picking up their stuff, tired of trying to keep their lives organized. Is it okay to say you’re tired of your kids sometimes? Well, whether it’s okay or not, I’ll man up and say it… I WAS FUCKING TIRED OF THEM!

They’re actually really good kids. Well behaved most of the time, well respected by their peers and teachers, “A” students. They participate and are successful in a lot of school activities.  But sometimes… well, most of the time…. okay look… all of the time, they just don’t get it. They’re messy, they’re lazy, they roll their eyes a lot, sometimes they’re even a little… GASP… disrespectful. They’re TEENAGERS!

So I decided to take a cue from all of my teacher friends. You see, the way that teacher’s know if their students are “getting it” is they give them regular quizzes.  So, I am going to start assigning monthly quizzes to my kids.

Here is the first one… it’s multiple choice:

1. A reasonable amount of time necessary to straighten up our home before guests come over would be:

A. 1/2 hour.
B. 1-2 hours.
C. 2-4 hours.
D. 17 days.

2. The proper place to put dirty dishes when you are done using them:

A. Washed and dried and placed back into the appropriate cabinet.
B. Washed and set in the dish strainer to dry.
C. Rinsed well and set on the counter next to the sink.
D. Under the couch.

3. The appropriate time to tell your parents about something you need completed for school is:

A. As soon as you learn about the assignment deadline.
B. The day after you learn about the assignment deadline.
C. One week before the date of the assignment deadline.
D. “Dad, you need to sign this paper from my teacher so you know I missed an assignment deadline.”

4. The reason we have a strict “bed time” on Sunday nights, between 10:00 – 11:00 pm is:

A. Children who get enough sleep do better in school.
B. Monday morning is the most difficult day to wake up on time.
C. Weekends are busy and we need to give our bodies adequate rest.
D. Your parent’s haven’t had sex in three months and that’s the only night we might be able to stay awake.

5. If a pair of your dirty underwear somehow ends up lying on the kitchen floor you should:

A. Pick them up and carry them to the laundry hamper.
B. Pick them up and while you are bending down, with a damp paper towel, wipe up the entire animal full of fur that has accumulated under the cabinets.
C. Question why your dirty underwear is on the kitchen floor.
D. All of the above.

6. The proper use of lights and light switches in the house is:

A. To turn on when you are doing your homework and to turn off when you are completed.
B. To provide temporary light while you are using the bathroom and to turn off when you are completed.
C. To provide low level lighting in the evenings when it gets dark outside and to turn off before bedtime.
D. To light up our home like the sun in case there are Aliens looking for life on another planet.

7. The number of allowable pairs of shoes that each family member should have in the shoe pile by the entryway door is:

A. 1-2 pairs of shoes representing the appropriate season.
B. 3-4 pairs of shoes representing the appropriate season.
C. 26 pairs of shoes representing all four seasons, plus every sports season.
D. What’s the shoe pile by the entryway door?

8. The day after spending an entire week of vacation fun and having to re-mortgage the house to pay for it, the proper response is:

A. “Thanks Mom and Dad, that was awesome.”
B. “I love you guys, would it be okay if I cleaned the bathroom to show my appreciation!”
C. “That was so great, maybe we could do that again in a couple of years.”
D. “I’m so bored, what are we doing today?”

9. The normal and usual scent in a regularly used home bathroom should be:

A. Azaleas and other flower arrangements.
B. Bleach with a touch of lemon.
C. Fresh mountain air.
D. Boy Scout camp.

10. When Dad says things like “I can’t wait for you guys to go to college”, what I really mean is:

A. You know, there’s a nice military school down in Indiana.
B. When I was your age, I had to do my own damn laundry!
C. Seriously, I can’t wait for you guys to go to college.
D. I really do LOVE YOU, I just need a “time out!”

Do you ever get tired of your kids? Yeah, I know, stupid question…


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The Tale of Slobenia Isle

Have you heard the tall tale ’bout Slobenia Isle?
It sat off the coast of Shipshape, ‘bout a mile.
A slobby old place, always in disarray.
Messy and dirty most every day.

Slobenia Isle was a land full of kids.
Steven’s and Sally’s and George’s and Sid’s.
And Kelly’s and David’s and Rachel’s and Jimmy’s.
And Bobbie’s and Mary’s and Jenny’s and Timmy’s.

And Freddie’s and Debbie’s and Kenny’s and Anne’s.
And Tracy’s and Tommy’s and Susie’s and Dan’s.
And Mary’s and Bryce’s and Kimberly’s too.
And Ronald’s and Jenny’s and even a Sue.

The Slobs, as they called themselves, lived on this isle
Amongst dirty dishes and clothes in a pile.
Their socks and their underwear strewn ‘bout the street.
And all of the trash from the foods that they’d eat.

But the Slobs, well it seemed that they just didn’t care.
The extent of this problem, they just weren’t aware.
Somehow they just didn’t want to address.
This ugly, egregious, perpetual mess.

Now the Slobs, they were ruled by the King and the Queen.
Of the land of Shipshape which was always kept clean.
Spotless and sparkly, tidy and trim.
Each thing in its place, proper and prim.

Shipshape was a land of persnickety folks.
Fastidious ladies and punctilious blokes.
Neat-niks and nit-picks, they were always convening.
To delegate out the next week’s worth of cleaning.

Who’d do the laundry and vacuum the rugs?
Who’d do the dusting and clean up the bugs?
Who’d wash the dishes and who’d scrub the floors?
With a sponge and a bucket, down on all fours?

Who’d sweep the porches and who’d clean the sinks?
Who’d wash the toilets that were all full of stinks?
Who’d wash the windows, sparkly and clean?
Who’d scrub the stove to bring back its sheen?

They’d always be scolding those Slobs ‘cross the sea.
“Clean up your Island immediately.”
“Pick up your clothes and clean up your clutter.”
“The mess in your streets, it’s making us shudder!”

“You can’t live that way, you must live like us.”
“This is just not a rule we will even discuss.”
“You must clean your island, you must make it so.”
“Until it is clean, we won’t let it go.”

But the Slobs didn’t like these tyrannical rules.
They felt that the laws of Shipshape were for fools.
So they all stood together, in their town square.
Amongst all the dirt and the grime and pet hair.

They agreed to resist the laws of Shipshape.
The rules and the edicts and stifling red-tape.
“We won’t clean our Island, we like it this way.”
“This oppression of yours, we’ll no longer obey.”

So, the Kind and the Queen, they prepared for a fight.
To clean up Slobenia Isle and it’s blight.
They loaded up trash bags and cleaning supplies.
They mapped out a plan that would surely surprise.

They filled up their ships and they took to the seas.
They sailed towards Slobenia with no guarantees.
Filled with foreboding and deep apprehensions.
Prepared for a battle of epic dimensions.

Now the Slobs, they had lookouts scanning the shore.
They knew the Shipshapes were preparing for war.
So they summoned their soldiers, they sounded alarms.
They built up their beaches with weapons and arms.

Then they waited until the Shipshapes were approaching.
‘Til the King and the Queen and their ships were encroaching.
When the moment was right, with a mighty decree.
They fired their weapons out towards the sea.

Their cannons fired dirty old socks through the air.
Their trebuchets flung lots of old silverware.
And dishes and glasses and clothes that were soiled.
And garbage and trash and food that was spoiled.

But the King and the Queen would not stand for losing.
This was a war, of course of their choosing.
And though they could sense that this crisis was dire.
They kept sailing on through this curtain of fire.

This battle went on for days upon days.
But the Shipshapes sailed on through the harrowing haze.
When they finally arrived on Slobenia Isle.
They saw all the Slobs and their rank and their file.

They commanded the Slobs to “clean up your isle.”
“If you don’t we will have to stay for a while.”
“We’ll take all your freedoms, we’ll take all your rights.”
“We’ll take all your fun in the days and the nights.”

The Slobs, they yelled back, “can’t you see we’re just kids?”
“Steven’s and Sally’s and George’s and Sid’s.”
“And Kelly’s and David’s and Rachel’s and Jimmy’s.”
“And Bobbie’s and Mary’s and Jenny’s and Timmy’s.”

“And Freddie’s and Debbie’s and Kenny’s and Anne’s.”
“And Tracy’s and Tommy’s and Susie’s and Dan’s.”
“And Mary’s and Bryce’s and Kimberly’s too.”
“And Ronald’s and Jenny’s and even a Sue.”

“And kids, well we only just want to have fun.”
“To jump and to play and to dance and to run.”
“We surely don’t think about keeping things clean.”
“That’s for adults who are mostly just mean.”

The King and the Queen, were silenced of speech.
They’d once been kids too, running ‘round on this beach.
And a chink in their armor started to crack.
As childhood memories came flooding back.

“Well you do have a point”, they said to the Slobs.
“Sometimes we lose sight, because of our jobs.”
“But we must find a way, to answer this riddle.”
“To find a solution, to meet in the middle.”

So the King and the Queen, they scheduled a meeting.
Around a big table with plenty of seating.
They invited the leaders of Slobenia Isle.
The plan was to compromise once in a while.

They wrote up a truce that they all had to sign.
In bright purple pen on the signature line.
A truce that would end this unfortunate brawl.
A truce that would end this war once and for all.

The truce said “you must clean your island each week.”
“For the rest of the time we’ll try not to critique.”
“And we’ll pay an allowance, an adequate rate.”
“Just enough money to help motivate.”

The Slobs, they agreed to give it their best.
To keep their isle clean at their leaders request.
To pick up their clothes, to clean up their trash.
With the hope that they’d build up a small stash of cash.

Then the King and the Queen said, “let’s go out and play”
“Let’s run ‘round the beach for the rest of the day!”
“Let’s climb in the trees, let’s splash in the creek.”
“Cleaning your isle can wait ‘til next week.”

And that’s the tall tale ‘bout Slobenia Isle.
That sat off the coast of Shipshape ‘bout a mile.
An island whose residents just want to play.
And a place that’s no longer a mess every day.


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