The House Bitch
The exodus has begun. Well, actually, it began three years ago, but then it sputtered out and even went backward. Heather was the first to go. She turned eighteen and was ready to shake the shackles of parental control and ventured out on her own. Chris wanted to fly the coop as well at that point, but without a paying job or a license he realized home wasn’t so bad after all.
A year down the road, when we were leaving our home on the beach for one on the mainland with a pool, Nathan decided it was his turn to escape the confines of sharing our roof. He had already had a brief taste of freedom during his two years at Indian River Community College as he shared a dorm room with three other students. He returned home after graduation and reclaimed his room and stuck it out for a little over a year. However, once you get that taste of being free from prison you want to avoid going back and he saw his chance to break out with the move.
I didn’t blame him; I’d want out as well if I was him. While our home is a peaceful haven, it is far from quiet. Furthermore, while I love being surrounded by our children, I really wanted his room for an office. And I got it - for one year. Then he moved back in, my office went in the garage and I was writing on the couch. Heather then moved back in for two months before going off to Santa Fe College and I lost the couch.
It was then that I started thinking of renting an apartment just for me.
However, the cycle kicked back in and space is opening up much to Zac’s dismay. Heather is off at college, Nathan is married and living with his new bride in an apartment and soon Chris will be moving in with his boyfriend, Michael. That leaves Zac and he’s worried.
“I’m going to become the house bitch. I know it. Maybe I’ll join the Air Force.” “Then you’re Uncle Sam’s bitch.”
The problem was the division of labor. With everyone moving out there was less division and more labor. He already assumes he’s going to be stuck doing everything and he hates doing anything.“If you moved out you’d be doing all the dishes, taking out all the trash, and cleaning the entire place yourself. On top of that you’d be paying all the rent, all the water, all the electric, all the…"
“Okay, okay, I get it.” And he took the trash out.
I remember what it was like to live on my own. I did it for two weeks after I graduated high school. The grandfather of the girl I was dating had to move back in with her parents for safety and health reasons. Her brother was going to move into the empty house and they offered me a chance to move in with him. The deal was that I would pay $25 a week and take care of all the cleaning. In essence, I was the house bitch.
At first it wasn’t that bad. My first task was to clean up after the grandfather who had been immobile for quite awhile. There were stacks of old newspapers and magazines piled on the couch and in several places throughout the house. Dust and grime layered everything and dishes were piled and caked with uneaten food. It needed a professional cleaning service, but at twenty-five bucks a week I was it.
It didn’t take but a couple of days to realize that the grandfather’s slothfulness was hereditary. Chuck was a slob. Not only was he a slob, but he was a prima donna, self-important snob. He didn’t have looks as he was rather awkward in appearance and he didn’t have a physique to mention. They weren’t a wealthy family as both parents were teachers and I never saw Chuck paint or play an instrument or hear him sing. What Chuck had was brains. Lots of brains. He was also condescending and reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory if that show had been around in the ‘80s. Now, I don’t mind working for people or cleaning house, but I do hate people who are more arrogant than I am. Those people who feel they have a right to be catered to are just a little too self-important for my tastes.
Really, when you break it all down everyone is the bitch to the house because the house demands that it be taken care of. If you don’t, then you get put on one of those reality shows like Hoarders or Clean House and made to look like an idiot in front of thousands of viewers. The trash has to be taken out. Unless subsisting on fast food, the dishes must be done. Sooner or later someone has to clean the toilet. There is no such thing as a self-cleaning house, only self-cleaning public bathrooms and those are in San Francisco and run about two million a pop. They would never work in my house, though, because after twenty minutes you get the boot and the boys take thirty minute showers.
Taking care of the house is a community effort and really, when it comes to our home I only have three simple rules.
Pick up after yourself. If you use a glass, don’t leave it on the table. If you curl up on the couch to watch television, put the pillows and blankets back as you found them. It’s simple, leave the area as you found it.
If you see something out of place, straighten it up. It only takes a few seconds to clean up what someone else may have forgotten. Don’t point fingers and whine that you didn’t make the mess, because I guarantee someone - usually the mother - has cleaned up messes you’ve made and left behind. Pitch in; it won’t kill you.
Don’t bitch when asked to do something. This one drives me the craziest. I know, I know, short trip, but really, you’ve asked for how many rides to places or for how much money, and you’re going to complain about taking out the trash when it’s not your turn? Cleaning house is a family effort, the whole family.
As I said, I can understand Zac’s fear. Less people does mean more work. However, I fully intend to take advantage of him while he still resides at our little hideaway, because when he’s gone, it all falls onto me.
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