Friday, March 25, 2011
A battle I choose not to fight
"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."
"Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight..."
It has been a while since I mentioned my son, Darth Spoilboy. All is well, for a fifteen year-old boy, his life right now revolves around his soul consuming desire for his restricted drivers license which he will be able to test for in a little over a month. Life with him is a constant dialog over when and what car we will eventually buy for him and how he will go all out helping his parents. Promises abound with Darth Spoilboy guaranteeing how he will gladly assist us in things requiring a car and more normal things around the house.
Since we are not a rich family by any means any car we purchase for his use will be a something very basic and hopefully reliable. This goes counter to the various sports cars that idly drift in and out of his fantasies. As for his current eagerness in helping his parents both Dragonwife and I have no illusions that it will last. We fully expect him to artfully forget all the things he said he would help us with like driving Miss Wiggles to her gymnastic practices, making runs to the grocery store, and the very basic thing of simply keeping up with cleaning his room.
Some progress has been made on that front, on a previous post I remarked how I once found a fossilized McDonalds double cheeseburger underneath his bed and how it was so hard I believe it would beat depleted uranium as an antitank weapon. The worst thing lately has been his collection of used drinking glasses that never make it to the dishwasher. It's a stupid pet peeve of mine I admit, but I cannot stand how every time he gets something to drink Spoilboy always gets a new glass from the cabinet. Throw in a few empty cereal bowls and spoons and I can go into his room and nearly find another load for the dishwasher before I unload the one still in the machine.
I have long since given up on having him make his bed everyday, while it was something my grandparents instilled in me to do as a form of cleanliness and self-discipline the ubiquitous argument he will always put forward is that he will only mess it up that evening so it is not worth the effort. I just have him make his bed every Saturday morning after changing the sheets.
One fight I have completely surrendered on is making any sense of his closet, weekends at my house are a total military-style campaign on getting all the laundry done before another work week begins. No one wants the hassle on washing clothes while fighting children on homework and the epic school projects that teachers gleefully assign tired parents like my wife and myself.
Thankfully Spoilboy usually does all his own laundry and takes custody of it after it is dried but every once and a while will forget about it when something pops up. On a recent Saturday when Spoilboy suddenly departed the house with a buddy I mistakenly folded his clothes along with items belonging to Dragonwife and Miss Wiggles. It wasn't a big deal, I was watching a movie and as far as chores go folding clothes is actually relaxing in a Zen-like way. Being a dutiful father after I finished I gathered all the folded clothes up and put them away in the correct drawers. Except for Spoilboy's stuff, I opened up his closet door and was greeted with what you see above.
I believe the clothes on the shelf in his closet are clean while the stuff in the hamper below are dirty, although I could not smell any real difference between the two separate piles. For several seconds I stood there holding the laundry basket containing his neatly folded clothes trying to figure out what I would do. My grandparents would have flipped out and made me organize everything had I ever dared to do something similar. In the end the little voice in my head said to leave it alone and I turned the laundry basket over and dumped his clothes out on the floor. When Spoilboy came home later that evening he went into his room and never said a word.