Sunday, June 2, 2013


Brandon and Sophia (13 and 10) are out of school for the summer.  I know from the experience of past years that they will be bored in a matter of days.

While Dawn and Bob went out with friends the other evening, I took Brandon and Sophia to dinner.  I asked about their plans for summer vacation.  Brandon, like so many his age, is more comfortable asking for things he wants.  I wanted to hear him say he was going to ask the neighbor if he could mow his grass so he could earn pocket money.  Instead he replied that he has a girlfriend, evidently anticipating the possibility of filling the days texting one another. Obviously he was focused on his plans and not thinking about what she might like to do on occasion.  So I asked him how he is going to pay to take her to a movie or fund some other activity if he has no money.  He was quiet for a moment and then replied that he guessed he'd ask the neighbor if he can mow his grass.

I also told Brandon and Sophia they need to take some responsibility for themselves by keeping their bedrooms neat, doing their own laundry, including folding and putting it away, and other daily chores that Dawn should no longer be expected to do, such as picking up after them.  Sophia was willing; Brandon, not so much.  He had told Dawn not long ago that his ideal job is sitting at a desk and telling someone else what to do.  That is what he already does with his friends.  And, unfortunately, it's working for him ... so far.  

When we got home from dinner, they were to pack to spend the next five days at Matt's.  Brandon was done in under 5 minutes.  And his room was straightened up.  Sophia, on the other hand, packed two bags and I think would have taken the kitchen sink if I'd been willing to help her dislodge it from the counter. 

She had a laundry basket full of dirty clothes (or clothes that she'd taken out of the drawer but been too lazy to put back when she decided to wear something else).  I had her drag the basket to the laundry area and instructed her in how to start the machine, put in the detergent and add the clothes.  

While the clothes were being washed, she sat with me and made a list of chores, one to be done each day:  do her laundry and put it away; clean her room, do a gardening chore, etc., and things to be done daily, such as clean out her cat's litter box.

When the washer cycle was done, I went with Sophia to show her the proper way to put the clothes in the dryer.

She lifted the lid to the washer, looked in, then at me, and asked, "Where's the water?"

Huh?  I explained that it drained out.

Her eyes fell to the floor, and she lifted each foot.  "Where'd it go?" she asked.

"Out the pipe and into the sewer."

"Ewww," was her single word reply.  Then she moved the damp clothes to the dryer, put in a half-sheet of fabric softener, and pushed Start.

Since Brandon and Sophia would be up early in the morning to go to Matt's, I sent her on to bed.  When the clothes were dry, I laid them in piles as I shook out the wrinkles.  I left the rolled up socks and shirts and shorts turned wrong-side-out as I found them.  I hope the socks were dry by the time they returned home on Thursday.  And not musty-smelling.  I'm curious to see if in the future Sophia straightens out her clothes before putting them in the laundry basket.

I know it will be a long summer for Brandon as he finagles to find someone to do his chores or tries to put off what must be done until someone with a weaker will than his thinks what-the-hell and does the task just to have it done.

Sophia will do the chores, but lacks focus so will find many distractions such as Instagram and Netflix which will interfere with her getting anything done quickly.

And so the summer of 2013 begins.

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