Tweens and chores: clever come-backs

My daughter and I arrived at mom’s again for a few days, and as is typical, the first thing we do is tackle some of paperwork. She is still dealing with the ongoing paper trail of my dad’s estate.

After lunch, that is. Which included pie.

I mention this because there were quite a few dishes stacked by the sink. Lunch dishes and dessert dishes and also some other dishes…

My parents opted out of having a dishwasher installed into their small kitchen when they renovated a number of years ago, well after us kids had moved out. It was just the two of them, after all, and doing the dishes by hand is an almost peripheral habit for that generation.

Which is fine. The only time there are more dishes is when people visit.

Like today. There were extra dishes because of us.

After lunch and pie with tea, I grabbed my devices to head up to the home office to join my mom who was already up there on her laptop.

I left the dishes by the sink and advised my very capable tween girl to do them.

Let’s all do some nice collective eye rolling now, shall we?

Anyway, an hour after we figured out some paper work about beneficiary changes bla bla blah, I go downstairs to get myself a soda water with a squeeze of lime.

Of course, all the dishes are still sitting there.

I go look for the girl. She’s on the sofa in front of the beautiful bay window, looking at a screen in her hand.

“I noticed the dishes are still sitting there,” I tell her while sitting down beside her. I’m not mad, I’m just curious (but not surprised – it’s not really a big deal).

She smiles at me and says:

“Did you really expect them to be done?”

She starts to giggle that infectious giggle that tween girls have, winking at me at the same time.

“Yes!” I respond, but smiling along with her. “I did!”

“Well, you seriously have to adjust your expectations then, don’t you,” she comes back and starts rolling around laughing.

I can’t help it. She cracks me up with her come-backs. But I sit there and wait patiently for her to finish amusing herself. Then I said:

“Well, now’s as good a time as any to start.”

“But moooooooom,” she starts in on me. “I have to go to the bathroom!”

There’s always a reason, isn’t there. Or an excuse.

Anyway, while she dillydallies going to the bathroom I explain to her our situation up in the home office.

“Your grandma and I have all these papers requiring signatures and scanning, it’s ridiculous. Every time we think we’re done, someone sends a new email with a new attachment that requires printing, signing, scanning and emailing back…”

But it doesn’t interest her. She wanders off, I start in on the dishes, and pour myself a cold drink, and remind myself that it really isn’t a big deal. It’s kind of therapeutic, actually, washing dishes by hand…

And so we approach the end of another busy afternoon. With my morning having been full of drama back home, followed by a hot, non-air-conditioned car ride to mom’s place, plus an hour of paper work and banking activities, it is finally time to decompress.

Only thing is, I have no oompf to start on any writing projects now. In fact, in another hour or so I may pour myselfΒ  glass of wine and spend the rest of the time reading, not writing.

We’ll see.

I think I may try to extend my stay a bit longer this time. The plan is to scatter my dad’s ashes on Friday, which means the boys will come down and join us, but afterwards, I may stay here when they return back home. It will be up to the girl to choose whether or not she, too, will remain with me, or head back home.

It really doesn’t matter to me, one way or the other. I have a room with a door here.

That’s what’s important.


20 thoughts on “Tweens and chores: clever come-backs

  1. Loved this ! Reminds me very much of my eldest son . He’s almost 20 now but still provides excellent comebacks and always treats a request to do a job round the house with a full closing summary ( think a barrister …QC !) of why one of his younger siblings should do said job πŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She does do dishes. She didn’t that day. But that’s ok… back in our own house she and her brother have days where they are responsible for the cleanup after dinner. They used to do it together, but all the bickering got on my nerves, so now they alternate each night. It’s not perfect, but it works better. πŸ™‚


  2. When we moved into this house it had a dishwasher. We removed it to free up more cabinet space. I’ve washed dishes by hand for half a century, no point in changing now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can never go wrong with pie.

    I can understand your parents not wanting to bother with a dishwasher. Our boys are all on camp this week and I have been washing dishes by hand. Otherwise the few dishes we have will end up sitting in the dishwasher for a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Are we talking about teenagers? Ah, yes. Experts in finding excuses and arguing some urgency. The wonderful age where everything can wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “doing the dishes by hand is an almost peripheral habit for that generation.”

    I guess I’ve been generationally pegged.

    The girl’s comments are cute. She’ll go far…especially with you doing the dishes.


    1. Count us in. My wife and I are retired. Just the two of us. It takes no time to wash the dishes by hand and it’s kind of therapeutic. I watch the birds on the feeder while I wash up. The zen of dish washing. I read somewhere that routine ‘mindless’ tasks like that are good for allowing the brain to wander and get creative because it ties up the cognitive parts of the brain and lets the rest run free. Ironing is another good one apparently although we gave that up years ago. Kneading bread dough is good too. I get a lot of my ideas while kneading bread dough.

      Sometimes when all the kids are here with their partners there’s a lot more washing up. My son in law starts nagging about us getting a dish washer telling me its greener because it uses less water and less energy (finding excuses for not washing up doesn’t end with the teens). I find that hard to believe. It might be true if there’s huge pile but if it’s only the two of us then I’m doubtful.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes! Actually when I’m plotting for my stories or otherwise working on my writing, washing dishes, folding laundry, kneading dough, cooking sauce…it works! That’s exactly true for me too.

        Back in my own house and especially since the lockdown began, I’ve been happy with access to a dishwasher. But there are a lot more to do and more often and frankly, it eats up too much time. The kids do the emptying and reloading most of the time, that’s their job. It’s less enjoyable than washing by hand, if you ask me. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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