Sunday, October 14, 2007

Once Upon A Time....

Hansel and Gretel are living in my house. That's the only explanation I can find for the trail of crumbs and other stuff that is strewn from room to room because Teen Angel won't take the blame for it. I asked her if she was afraid of getting lost in her own home. In just the last couple of days I have found a banana peel in the living room, dirty socks in the kitchen and bits and pieces of craft yarn all over the house. On the computer table was a library book, a bag of coin wrappers, some candy and a hairbrush full of hair. On the bathroom vanity I turned up a half empty Subway cup, a bag of cosmetics that still hasn't been unpacked from vacation and iPod speakers. This is not a complete list. I could go on and on. This is just a small sample of the stuff that she has littered around our cottage this weekend. Now, I don't expect her to be really neat. I'm not. But I would like to keep down the level of stuff that I have to trip over or dig through just to get to the toilet or to find my bed.

It all started in Florida. When this kid goes on vacation, she goes on vacation...from cleaning up after herself. I'm all about promoting self sufficiency, so I spent time each day ragging her butt about picking up stuff. I lost track of the number of times I had to make her get up and pick up trash or personal belongings she left laying around the house. Each time, she acted like she had never heard the rule about picking up after yourself. Hubby says he had to take over where I left off when I flew home. Apparantly, she still thinks she's on vacation from KP duty. It wouldn't bother me so much if she didn't pretend as if none of it was her fault. Well, who else would leave a banana peel on the coffee table? Not her neat freak dad, and not the dog. He likes bananas but hasn't figured out how to peel them with paws yet. Nope, that mess is all hers but she denies it to the end. That's why I brought up the fairy tale characters to her. I figure if she's going to spin a yarn, I can too.

I've decided to start a color code for the level of stuff laying around the house. You know, like the federal government does for terrorism. I noticed at the airport last week, we were at level orange. I think we're at about level yellow on the crap meter around here today. Yesterday was red. And just like the government, I will take the appropriate precautions for the different levels. Yellow prompts nagging. Orange is the loss of privileges (cell phones and iPods are always effective), and red moves us to the Defcon 4 measure of throwing away stuff that isn't in its place. She may not live happily ever after with that method, but I will.

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