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Thursday, 21 January 2010

The chores

That’s a good expression, isn’t it? The chores. When I was a teenager living at home with my two step sisters we were all obliged to help around the house with practical tasks and they came under the encouraging heading of ‘doing the chores.’ Not ‘helping out’ or having fun doing the pots or sweeping the garden path (my Sunday job) but as the dictionary describes it: chore. n. a tedious or routine task. esp. a domestic one.

As teens we all had our grouchy moments, but they came on full force when the thrice daily washing up duty reared its ugly head. We were asked (sorry, told) to take the job in turns with a rota system. "Come on kids, do your chores" Mum would say. Dad would just grunt and retire to the living room with his Sporting Chronicle newspaper.

One of us 'kids' would wash, one would dry and the other , put the pots away. It was very tense making. Everything was encouraged to be inspected. The drying person would inspect the washer’s results and the put away person would inspect the drying person’s results and we all hated doing the washing up per se. Numerous arguments would occur and tantrums happen as me and my sisters flumped grumpily into the front room to moan our great displeasure to our parents. “She’s left egg on this plate! It’s all greasy! The water’s cold! It’s not fair – he ‘put away’ the last time!” Oh joy. Washing up after the traditional roast Sunday lunch was the worst, all those roasting tins with baked on remains of roast spuds and Yorkshire pudding. Then there were the piles of saucepans and plates, bowls and cutlery for three teens, two adults and our baby brother. And at Christmas! Oy, don’t even get me started, my life!

The chores were all about 'inspections' like in the bloody army. We teenagers would have to line up for 'inspections' as to whether we had washed behind our ears, knecks; whether we had cleaned our shoes until they shone; whether I had brushed the garden path so not a speck of dust ruined the aesthetics of the concrete walkway and garden steps. Once, I even had to crawl on all fours to snip the long bits of tough grass (interestingly called 'the soldiers') on the lawn with scissors after mowing it as short as a bowling green. And then, it was minutely inspected by Sergeant Grumpy whilst I stood 'at ease'. lol.

Now I am an adult all this domestic drama seems laughable and I have to wash, dry and put away all by myself. I’m cat sitting for my neighbours at the moment so presently I have their little cat food bowls to do as well.

“Those cats, they treat this place like a hotel, never do their chores. Harris, it’s your turn to lick the pots. Miaow? Oh, you did it last time? Yeah right and you left grungy cat food all on the side. Moan moan moan. That’s right, you just slink off. I’ll do them myself, don’t you worry. Just you wait until your Mum and Dad come home. I’ll let them know what lazy little…”

Saucepans on parade.


Jean said...

This brings back memories. My dad always used to joke that we were doing next door's washing up as well on Sundays, there was so much of it. "Shout Eric, tell him it's all done"......I can hear it now !!

French Fancy said...

I was a spoilt only child and I'm ashamed to say I did no chores. But my to do list for tomorrow is enormous - I'm more than making up for it as an adult

French Fancy said...

Well I've got to the end of my very long list - can't you just tell Mr FF is back this weekend and I've kind of let the house go to pot!

It's all lovely and clean again now though - and I'm not even slobby by nature. I blame it on my fall and the fact my arm is only just able to be used

Hope you are enjoying all your exciting new plans


Karen said...

That's how my teenage years were spent too - sharing chores with my sister & step sister. Older step brother got excused most things as he worked, whilst us girls were 'just at school'. The worst chore of all was the ironing, followed by cleaning the windows. But somehow we all survived, & it was good experience I suppose. I even used to do chores for our next door neighbour to earn extra money - cleaning all the venetian blinds at his huge windows left me with a lifelong hatred of them. I actually quite enjoy washing up, & have never wanted a dishwasher.

the fly in the web said...

I remember when at school a friend returning from an 'exchange' with a French family where all the wahing up was done by the family dog.
She was not clear about whether anything actually reached the sink after the dog had done its' chores.