Friday, May 11, 2012

Chore cards

A few weeks ago, my sister and I had a "wedding weekend." After a day of us gabbing and crafting, Ryan vacated the house with the boys. Then, Tav left early to do homework. I faced an entire evening home alone. Boo to the ya! Even though I was sad to see Tavia go, I will admit I was slightly giddy about the possibilities. But when she asked me what I was going to do with my "me" time, I confided that the last time I had any, I pretty much flitted around the house giggling and thinking of all the things I could do, but never got a dang thing done because of all the flitting and giggling and thinking. So, my brilliant sister came up with a plan for the spaz. We wrote all the things I wanted/needed to do on slips of paper, then dropped them in a bucket. She gave me the rules: 1) You HAVE to do what you draw. 2) You HAVE to finish before you draw a new job. 3) Don't freak out if you only get a few done. Then she ordered me to turn on some music, made fun of my choice (Yanni Voices CD - total dorkfest soundtrack, but whatever), then told me to have fun and drove away. You shoulda seen me! I was a rock star! I drew a long, unsatisfactory job first, so I was kinda disappointed, but it worked. I actually RAN to get everything finished fast so I could pull the next strip. I finished all but ONE task that night!  I told Ryan how ingenius the plan was, and he dryly commented, "So you did the thing that you have to do to get the boys to stay on task?" He was right. The boys' chore cards are still in the kitchen junk drawer. I say, so what if I have the attention span of a four-year-old? My house was clean, my papers were graded, and I'd mapped out a crafty thing I've been dreaming of for months.

So... I tried to recreate this scenario tonight. I got off work early (because today was the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!) and our house looked like a warzone--struck by a tornado--and a kindergarten class--and a pack of wild dogs. So, I loaded the bucket and got started. Here's a summary of how it went:

Drew "living room" slip. Picked up. Stopped to get Calvin milk. Picked up some more. Stopped to clean Max up and let him "dow" from the high chair. Finished living room. Drew "bathrooms" slip. Swore under my breath. Cleaned master bathroom. Wiped Chapstick off of Max's fingers and floor. Cleaned boys' bathroom. Distracted Max by letting him splash in sink a little. Finished bathrooms. Explained to Calvin why I had taken their Dino-Gro out of the sink. Drew "crap pile" slip. Debated what that would exactly entail. (Originally, I made two "crap pile" slips. The first was going to mean, "Join all crap into one mega pile." The second, was to actually find homes for the feces. But, since a large majority of the piles were in the living room, and they'd already been dispersed, I ended up tackling this task one turd at a time.) Finished flushing all my piles.  Broke up a fight. Yelled at the bigs for leaving the bathroom door open and the sink full of water. Dried Max and the bathroom counter.  Swore under my breath at the water streaks on the clean mirror. Yelled at boys for "ruining everything" after they re-trashed the living room. Consolidated Ryan's piles into one. Pulled the "read a book, then sneak away" trick on Max.

Soon, it became obvious that Max wasn't going to be tricked many more times. So, I took a break to make/serve/eat supper. The kitchen was disgusting, so rather than draw more slips, I opted to clean it. Ryan got home a few minutes before I needed to change clothes and leave to attend a graduation ceremony. When I got home, guess what I found? A messy kitchen, toothpaste smeared on the bathroom counter, and a hard-to-miss dollop of crap streaking the toilet seat. Guess it's time to start with my second "crap pile" slip...

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