The #1 son sought me out this afternoon in search of chores. For money, of course. After driving to town and unloading his mower, his pre-agreed-upon mowing job this weekend fell through. I have a standard list of such chores, and corresponding compensation. #1 is somewhat finicky about which jobs he will or will not do. He would rather scrub a toilet than wipe down a dusty, powdery tile floor. So I was surprised when he contracted to clean the kitchen floor.
It's a good-size kitchen. You have the main sink/stove/Frig U-shaped area around the cutting block, and a main walkway to the table area by the back door. I quoted him a price, and reminded him that a half-butted job would result in half pay. I reminded him that the broom and mop were in the laundry room beside the washer. He responded that he KNEW that already.
About an hour later, I went upstairs to start supper. Imagine my surprise upon encountering an abandoned Swiffer, a pile of debris, and the four cutting-block stools all akimbo in my kitchen. I called to my dear son. Nothing. Louder. Nothing. I started to his room. I suppose that set off vibrations like I was some Jurassic Park denizen, because #1 came rushing out of his room, wild-eyed.
"Hey, I thought you were cleaning. I need to get in there and start supper."
"Oh. I forgot. I WAS cleaning, but I got a message, and I went to my room, and...well...I forgot. I'm finishing up now." He Swiffered another sweep, and replaced the stools. Then moved on to the table area on the other side of the sink counter. "I hate to use so much of this." He motioned to the Swiffer wet pad thingies.
"What do you mean? Those have probably been sitting on the shelf for three years. I can buy more, you know."
"They're not old! They're still wet! There were ten in the pack, and I'm on number four now. But I don't know what else to do. They get covered with stuff."
"Hey, you haven't gotten under the table yet."
"I know. I just came over here." He jabbed at the area with his Swiffer."
"I can't believe you just did that. What happened to sweeping first?"
"Sweeping? Yeah. I guess that would make more sense."
"You mean that you haven't even gotten out the broom? You've been using the Swiffer the whole time?"
"Um. Yeah. I didn't even think of the broom."
"I TOLD you where it was! And you said you already knew that."
"Well, to be honest, I had pretty much tuned you out at that point."
"Now THERE'S a surprise."
"I know, right? So you said that if I only half did the job I'd only get half pay? Well...I think I'll just take half pay and leave this pile of stuff here."
"Go get the broom."
"Oh, all right. Hey! Where's the dustpan?"
"Probably under the floorboards in your room, where I will find fifteen years worth of tape, scissors, and mini pencil sharpeners when you move out. Use a paper plate. Or a magazine."
"False alarm. Here it is. I just didn't look good enough."
I am afraid I might have to hire a paraprofessional to follow him through life. Or at least until he can capture a mate.