I’ve come to learn - and expect - that when it rains it pours.
And so when my cousin called to ask if she, her husband and her family could come stay for a few days, it was a call that invariably meant that something in the house would break. For days before, I gingerly pushed the vacuum, ritualistically performed ‘Hail Marys’ over the washing machine and fed an extra helping of Drano to the kitchen sink.
Meanwhile, I was begging my son, Josh, to empty the dishwasher so I could load it again and keep up on the mound of dishes that seem to multiply like rabbits – or hangers - whichever overpopulates at an exponentially quicker rate at the moment.
He would whine and I’d use a broom to sweep him off his bed and back down to the kitchen. I’d come back a few hours later only to find that the dishwasher STILL hadn’t been emptied. I marched back upstairs with my broom ready to give him a good swift brush in the pants when he said, “I started to empty it but the dishwasher never got turned on so I put them back.”
“Did you turn it on then?”
“Uhhh,….I thought so.”
“Get downstairs and empty it then!!!” I said in my best exasperated mother’s tone before turning my broom on end and poked him with a pretend bayonet before heading off to make sure the toilets were running correctly.
Two hours later, I went back to the kitchen only to find that the dishes still weren’t unloaded. “I’ll show that lazy, good for,….. aaarggh!” I grumbled as I re-rinsed the dishes and turned on the dishwasher before scurrying off to make sure the freezer wasn’t building an insurmountable ice dam.
Two hours later, I hollered up the stairs. “Get your fanny down here and empty the dishwasher! I know I turned it on so you can’t put it off any longer, Mister!!!” As he passed by me, he grumbled something illegible so I ignored him like I usually do when he mumbles about having to do chores. I am after all his mother trying to teach a sense of responsibility – and he is 15.
I watched from behind the wall with a smirk on my face as he emptied the dishwasher. Mom had prevailed yet again – or so I thought. As I was getting the plates out, I noticed dried on gunk where the corndogs ought to go. I immediately marched upstairs to confront my errant son and find the meaning of his willful anarchy.
“But I did as you said and emptied the dishwasher.”
“Didn’t the dishes look clean?”
“No but you were hell bent on having it done, so I did it!”
“Well now, you smart little pup, you get to load it with all those dishes you apparently never rinsed in the first place.”
And then my husband called.
“I’m arguing with Josh, over loading the dishwasher again.”
“Oh. About the dishwasher, I forgot to tell you that it’s broken. I think the pump went out and it’s not shooting any water upward.”
My face went a shade paler as I turned towards my son.
“He told you the dishwasher was broken didn’t he? That’s what I tried to tell you hours ago when you told me to unload it again!!!”
Mothers are a smart bunch and we know better than to make ourselves vulnerable to sons who tower over them. It’s all about positional authority once they start to grow and so I looked him in the eye and defiantly said, “Well consider the run around as payback for all the hell you put me through the first four years of your life!” I then swept some crumbs off his dresser onto the floor and marched down the hall.
I wasn’t sure if my confidence came across as genuine or not since I was thinking to myself what has become today’s “Life Saver”;
Never argue with a stupid person because when you do, they will drag you down to their level.
I still haven’t figured out if that more aptly describes him or me – but I’m pretty sure I’ll soon find out the answer if I argue with him long enough.