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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 35

Dish Boy and Laundry Girl

It's capitalism vs. communism in the Krider home

BY ROB KRIDER

The magical day finally arrived. The day where my wife and I realized that our kids were old enough to contribute to the household by doing some chores. Finally, the kids were mature enough to actually help out and clean stuff instead of just messing up stuff.

For years, our children only existed as little humanoid cash eaters and poop makers. As they moved up from the toddler years, we dealt less with diapers, but transitioned to mountains of Lego blocks and Barbie bodies that littered the floor of our house. With kids in our lives, our place has always been a mess. But those days are behind us; the kids became teenagers, and now we expect them to help us make the place nice. The payoff for years of raising these dirty, sticky kids has finally arrived. Now my offspring can do the crappy jobs I always avoided doing, like taking out the trash, washing the car, or making conversation with their mother.

The first thing to decide regarding the new phase in our household, known as “the free child slave labor years,” was to determine which kid would do what job. Since my wife and I really hated doing dishes and laundry, we knew what our priority was. We decided to start things off slow and give each kid one responsibility and a nickname. My son was in charge of rinsing plates and filling the dishwasher and would be known as “Dish Boy.” My daughter was assigned dirty clothes duty, so she became “Laundry Girl.” Their semi-superhero names, Dish Boy and Laundry Girl, had a nice ring to them, and I was hoping it would inspire some superhero cleaning skills. However, after one week, I found a sink filled with dirty dishes, and I couldn’t locate a clean pair of socks to go to work. After not being able to find a coffee cup, and going to my job wearing flip flops, I realized my kids’ new names should be Ditch Boy and Lazy Girl.

My children have zero work ethic. They don’t see any reason to actually get off of their duffs and do something. No matter how many times my wife and I reminded them—“Do your chores!”—Dish Boy and Laundry Girl disappeared into their rooms and thus nothing got done (unless you count texting your friends about how lame your parents are as doing something). I realized that with the newly assigned chores, we had created a version of a communist society. My kids didn’t work hard because they didn’t see any reason to. Whether they did their chores or not, we weren’t going to throw them out into the cold. They would still have a place to live, three meals a day, and we would still take them to school. They needed to be inspired to work; they needed a carrot held in front of them.

They needed capitalism.

I decided they should have an allowance. This was done for two reasons: one, to inspire them to bust their butts and two, so they would stop asking me for money. “Dad can I have some money to go to the movies?” “Dad can I have some money to go to Starbucks?” “Dad can I have some money to buy a car?” My wife, whom I love, came up with what she thought was a reasonable wage. She informed our kids, “You’ll get $5 a week if you do your chores.” Our kids laughed at the thought of $5 a week and went back into their teenage dungeon bedrooms to text their friends.

I asked my wife, “Did you really think $5 was going to get the kids to do the dishes and laundry for a week? Minimum wage is $8 an hour. It’s 2012. A homeless guy would spit on your windshield if you handed him a fiver.”

“We shouldn’t have to pay them anything. We do everything for them. We’ve spoiled them rotten.”

“Yes, we spoiled them rotten,” I said. “And for our sins, now we have to deal with their lazy butts. We’ve got to figure out a way to fix this, or we’ll be taking out the trash for the rest of our lives when we have two perfectly capable kids here to do it. Isn’t this why we had the kids in the first place?”

“We had kids because I like cute babies,” she reminded me.

“Yeah, but babies don’t do laundry.”

“Well, if I have to pay minimum wage for the laundry to get done, then I’d rather hire a maid to do that. At least then I could find clothes to wear. The only laundry our daughter does is her own. The rest of us will be naked by Tuesday.”

My wife and I tried a few different dollar amounts to attempt to get the kids to work harder, but eventually the children unionized and went on strike. They demanded $12 a week, and they wanted Saturdays off (because apparently we don’t wear clothes or eat with dishes on Saturdays). My wife and I decided to go ahead and continue spoiling our kids and teach them nothing as we caved in to their wage and work schedule demands. We paid Dish Boy and Laundry Girl for their first week’s work, after which they wanted vacation time to go to the mall. The following week they called in sick. Today, my wife and I have empty wallets and the house has never looked worse. Whoever said parenthood was rewarding didn’t have teenagers.

Now that his kids are “helping out with the chores,” Rob is wearing dirty underwear and eating on paper plates.