A little backstory is required.
All on its own, the Domesticrat household is comprised of ME, Spouse, our 10-year-old son (the Dude), and Eldest, my almost-14-year-old son who splits his time between our house and his dad’s. There’s also The Dog. Let’s call him “Mutthole”.
Our household is not always “all on its own”, however, because I have a tendency to take in Others. We’re presently hosting an entire Other household: Birdie*, one of my oldest friends, her two Littles (Petey*, age 4 and Aggie*, age 5) and every other weekend, her Bigs (ages 12, 14, and 16).
(*Wouldn’t it be awesome if these were really their names?)
Hosting long-term Others without an end date is probably not a situation that many people allow themselves into. In addition to wild fits of helpfulness, I’m also disinclined to make rules before finding that rules need to be made. YES, I know that few people are as concerned about taking initiative in a private household setting as I am, and YES, I was fully aware that, in terms of home operations, Birdie and her children are accustomed to a much more relaxed lifestyle, Spouse and Eldest generally require some prodding, and the Dude is just plain lazy…whereas I am more “batshit-psycho-crazy” and “completely unable to function in environmental chaos”.
Cue Spring Break. All seven offspring, plus Birdie’s 20-year-old son and her 16-year-old nephew and her 14-year-old daughter’s similarly-aged friend, were scheduled to be here – if not for the whole vacation, then at varying and irregular points during it. That’s a grand total of 10-13 individuals at any given time. Plus Mutthole.
In a rare instance of foresight, I make a decree:
“I’m on Spring Break, too, and I don’t want to spend it doing dishes. Everyone will please use the dishwand and a towel to immediately wash, rinse, dry and put away any dishes they use.”
(This is an addendum to the “No food in the basement” rule…both lasted about as long as an episode of “Extreme Home Makeover”.)
This was my kitchen this morning:
GREAT. Now I have to do dishes, AND make rules. Eldest, bless him, just happens to be passing through the kitchen as I’m finishing an hour of sorting, rinsing, scraping, and dishwasher loading. I pause before commencing hand-washing, garbage-disposing and surface-cleaning, and lay down the law. “TAKE THIS BACK TO YOUR PEOPLE,” says I.
On one side, I’m thinking, “Man…they’re all gonna think I’m a crazy bitch.”
On the other, “I’m pretty sure someone thinks Oprah’s a bitch, too. Eff it.”
Considering printing many copies of the Decree and wallpapering the kitchen. Too much?