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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacuuming Karma

When I was a kid we had chores. We actually had a lot of chores - which were solidified into permanence with the chore charts my mother hung on the wall. There were inside chores and outside chores, and as far as the inside chores went, we each had certain things that were "our" chore. I suppose you could say Mom had us specialize. For instance, Laura (age ten) mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the upstairs bathroom, and I (age eight) vacuumed the living room and dusted. (I don't have any recollection of what Annie did, but I'm assuming she must have had to do something).

Anyhow, when it came to vacuuming I definitely specialized. As in, I vacuumed in a very special way. And might I just add that it had nothing to do with how well or quickly I did the job. My specialty was in style.

Every Thursday (i.e., vacuuming day) I would come home from school (Mom was usually still at work) and get ready to vacuum. Eagerly, I would hurry into the living room, sort through the records and make my selection - "Million Dollar Sellers Vol. (1,2, or 3, I can't remember)" side Two. Straight out of the 1950's, these were some rockin' songs. Songs like "The Wheel of Fortune" "Mule Train" and "Three Coins in the Fountain". As noted, we had three volumes - which translates into six sides - and I always vacuumed to the same record, side two.

It usually took me at least three renditions of "Wheel of Fortune" (using the vacuum as a microphone, of course), and a couple rousing trips through "Wild Goose" (or whatever the official title of that one is), and at least a few repeats of "The People of Paris".

These were all performance numbers, by the way. I had routines. I danced, lip synced, and/or sang my way through the entire record - sometimes twice - before I considered the job done. It took me a really, really, really long time to vacuum the living room.

And I relished every second of it.

And I have no doubt that had my mother been home to witness this recital, she would have gone mad watching me and wondered (and possibly yelled about) how long it took me to finish vacuuming.

Today I told N (my eight year old) to vacuum. I want you to know that every single time I came in the room and found him standing in front of the mirror vacuuming up his lower lip whilst making strange noises (which got even stranger as they echoed out of the vacuum), I tried to have patience. I pictured myself waltzing around the living room with the vacuum extension (which wasn't even hooked to the hose half the time), and I took a few deep breaths.

And then - in my most patient mother-voice - I would say, "Um, do you think you could do a little vacuuming?"

I love that kid.

25 comments:

Kelly said...

That is truly hysterical. He is a lot like you in so many ways. Nice job with the patience, I am not sure I always remember I was a kid once too. Or at least I always remember myself as an easy to raise child...yes, that memory is surely warped!

Denys said...

Good one! Yes, I try to remember when my 5 year old takes FOREVER to do whatever I asked him to do, that it IS normal..it's just in the gene pool and/or kid gene pool?

Sue Q said...

We have a chores playlist on our itunes, made up mostly from Broadway hits sung by Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and Judy Garland and ... oh, I can't remember all their names. But I love to see my four-year-old empty the dishwasher while rockin' out to "Go, Go, Joseph"!

Machen family said...

I love it! I can imagine it with Annie as a background dancer twirling a broom. Actually my mother had a hard time when she asked me and my sisters to clean the kitchen, our linoleum floor was perfect for sister to sister ballroom dancing.

Melanie J said...

My son manages to find something to play with no matter what the chore is, even cleaning the toilets. Everything takes three times as lnng but I guess as long as it gets clean, I don't really care. Much.

Alison Wonderland said...

I have such a hard time with this!!! I absolutely did it, but good gracious, I can't stand watching my kids take forever to do their chores!

Natalie said...

This cracks me up! I can just picture all of it. I have to admit, I STILL prefer to play a little when I work. There's nothing wrong with cranking up the music and dancing and singing your way through cleaning the floor (or scrubbing the toilet for that matter although that's a little tougher to do while you dance...)

Haynsy said...

Nice to see you blog.

Do you still vacuum to the music for Rusty? I think the style is called French Maid.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Sue Q Joseph is the best housecleaning music ever. Love to clean to that one.

Barbaloot said...

I'm telling you---there's something about boys and vacuums that they just want to stick it to every part of them. My nephew does it all the time!

And really, I thought my family was the only one with chore charts---we eventually had a wheel so we all got "turns" for certain jobs:)

Shelley said...

I think probably one of the most challenging things for me as a parent has been to let my kids learn how to do something, without stopping them and doing it myself, or turning it into a huge lecture. It's one of those opportunities to learn patience.
I LOVE to clean with music and so have my kids. I've introduced them to some fun tunes from the 80's because of it, as well as some good current stuff. I always picture Mary Poppins and start singing.

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

Way to go, what a mama! It's so hard to see your kids doing things sometimes that drive you crazy but seriously, WOW! Kudos to you to reflecting back to the *same* things you used to do, that is great!

annie valentine said...

So, if we gave you that record again, would you start vacuuming?

Oh, and if memory serves correctly, I had the tv room at that time. And I seem to recall that even at age six, I was Mom's BEST cleaner (i.e. the only child who did not spend hours lip syncing, day dreaming, or cartwheeling through the house.)

GammaHaynes said...

Thats so funny! Although I would think that would be Annie not you. I feel like such a bad mom , I should have made the kids do more work around the house. I was home during the day and did most of it while they were in school. I think I hate to even admit that or say outloud. Kim

Kristin said...

Precious. This explains a lot, why you really dance and know how to bust a 'dynamite' move. Those kind of skills don't come easily.

Melissa Bastow said...

I grew up sans-dishwasher. So every night my two sisters and I had to do them. Except that my older sister always monopolized the washing, leaving my younger sister and I to do the horrible drying and putting away thing (I'm not sure why I particularly hated that part of the dishes, seeing as any type of dish doing is hate-able.) Luckily my younger sister was insanely gullible and quite powerless in the hierarchy of sisterhood. So as soon as we got started, I would announce that I had a trip to the moon planned and shut myself up in the pantry where I sneaked chocolate chips and marshmallows until the dishes were done. This happened almost every evening. How wonderful is it that moms never caught on to how we accomplished the chores?

R Max said...

I can only get my monsters to vacuum when the alternative is cleaning out the sump pump or giving grandma a pedicure.

Congrats to you!

LisAway said...

Hey, you're missed. Just so you know.

Tanya and Colin said...

I have similar memories! Oh how the oldies make everything better!

Kpetes-draggin said...

You girls were lucky-I was the sole cleaner for that list when you three were younger. You can't believe that your brothers actually did any inside work. Of course Mom had to help a bit more then too. lol.

Kendra said...

LOVE the mental picture on this one! How lucky were we to grow up with such fantastic music? Great job on the patience, your kids are so cute!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

hiii, just dropping by to say I miss you!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I wanted to drop by and say that you've been missed in blog world. I think I'm going to do a poetry contest on my blog this week again... and it wouldn't be the same without you.

R Max said...

I see you are on hiatus. Good on ya. I did the same thing... sometimes life gets in the way of the blogging life.

I hope you have fun at Disneyland!

kanishk said...

I love to see my four-year-old empty the dishwasher while rockin' out to "

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