When I come home (to MD, which is where I am right now) I spend a lot of time wandering around the house examining things, seeing if anything is different and what has stayed the same. Sometimes it's fun to see what rooms or nooks have been altered to accommodate the nieces and nephew (just one little guy so far, and he's pretty small and can't really do much but we keep him around). The one thing that always stays the same though is chores. My mom had an unconventional style of divvying up tasks growing up. She would leave very specific instructions on a paper plate. A plate for each child marked J, D, Kj, and K. A paper plate...who knew not everyone kept their "to-do's" on a paper plate carefully propped between two candles? I guess I thought this was common practice. Maybe this is just an example of a desperate mother pleading with her children to do something, anything, just please, I don't even have the energy to write this note out on anything other than a used paper plate that one of you probably unmercifully tossed on the floor after dinner. Or maybe she thought it would get our attention better than the traditional pre-made "To-Do" pads that hang on the fridge. Probably a good thing because children and teens tend to be much more interested in what's inside the fridge rather than what's on it.
Anyway today I was instructed to clean the kitchen, and pick up the living room (also to police our Memorial day event and strictly prohibit all brownie and ice cream consumption on her "good" couches...which can get confusing because my mom doesn't really have what you would call a "bad" couch). Very unlike my childhood, these days I'm happy to oblige. First of all, I love to clean and my parent's house, being quite a bit larger than any apartment I've ever owned, offers up this grand sense of satisfaction after a good cleaning. Also, I think, well crap, my mom has been cleaning up clothes, hairbrushes, polly-pockets (are those still around?), her Clinique toner and blush (that made my Barbies look natural yet still classy) so many times how will I ever catch up? Since Rob and I don't have babies yet (to everyone's great dismay, yeah, yeah) we don't have the leverage of bringing a drooling, little tot of a thing home to help them forget all the times they ended up finishing my paper-plate list. And since I'm probably past the point where I can trace my hand on construction paper and scribble something about always being their little girl I will just have to go back to the basics, a good tidying-up, especially if it isn't my mess, small gifts sans painted macaroni and some old-fashioned flattery.