Monday, June 1, 2009

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Chores I dislike in order of greatest to least:

Grocery shopping
Organizing the numerous papers that come home from school
Changing sheets
Clearing the kitchen counters
Putting away laundry
Cleaning the toilet

Most other household chores--vacuuming, dusting, sweeping--aren't really dislikes for me. In fact, I love sweeping. When I was a kid, I swept the kitchen and dining room with great satisfaction. I spent most of my inside time in bare feet, so any amount of grit on the floor bothered me. I loved the sight of a dustpan full of crumbs, a testament to my efforts to contribute to the upkeep of the house. If you ever call me on the phone these days, chances are I will sweep my kitchen at some point during our conversation. If we talk for more than a few minutes, I'll sweep the stairs, entryway, and dining area as well. And then I'll do the same thing when the next person calls.

But in case you didn't notice on that list, I would rather clean the toilet than grocery shop, I have several explanations for this: (1) Cleaning toilets takes next to no time at all, as long as you don't wait weeks between cleanings, and a trip to the grocery store can take up to an hour, including the drive there and back; (2) I generally have to take at least one child with me when I shop, which not only extends the time I'm there but also results in tears (mine or theirs--it varies), but I can clean the bathroom alone; (3) I always forget something important at the store and have to go back again in the next day or two, but once that toilet flushes, I'm done; and (4) I don't like making decisions.

Organic apples that are generally bruised and occasionally wormy? Or the pesticide-laden ones that, if you wash them well enough, taste better? How about bacon? Even though I know how smart pigs are and feel guilty for eating them? Yet I really do love bacon--its smell and texture and taste. And sausage isn't awful either. What about chicken? It's cheaper with the bone in, but I don't like the work involved in deboning and skinning those breasts. And I know they're treated horribly, too. Organic beef is the best bet, but it's expensive and I don't like it very much. But don't the kids? How much is too much though? I don't want to clog their arteries before they get out of middle school. Should I make that leap toward vegetarianism now, or are we not ready for that many beans? Are sugared cereals okay now and then, especially if I hide the Lucky Charms and keep them all to myself for my late-night snack? What about if I make the kids mix the Cocoa Krispies with the Rice Krispies? How much fiber do we need as a family? Or should we go on a hot-cereal-only spree to save money and teach kids how the pioneers ate? If we go that route, we have to have brown sugar, right (even if the pioneers didn't)? But dark or light? Then how many bags of those Ghiradelli chocolate chips on sale should I buy to go with all that brown sugar? And is now the time to switch to reusable bags, or can I buy just one more box of Ziploc?

I bring my own bags to the store, so at least the paper or plastic question is no longer an issue for me.

But cleaning the toilet? Not decisions to be made there at all--except, perhaps, how soon I can have the kids take over that chore so I can finish making out that grocery list.


Shankar said...

Ironing is the one that irritates me, too. You spend all that time getting clothes nice and flat, and then in no time at all, they are all wrinkly. Worse still, you have to do it all over again once the clothes have been washed.

Bobbie said...

My sister loves ironing and I've never understood the joy she gets from it. She watches old black & white movies, gathers up her pile, and away she goes. I rarely buy anything for myself that needs ironing because the thought of spending time on that chore when I have so many others to do is too daunting.

Maryanne said...

I feel the same way about grocery shopping. All those decisions and their consequences are so stressful. We're getting a veggie box delivered again this year and though there are times I don't love what's in there, I love not having to choose. And since it's an organic local farm it assuages somewhat my guilt over buying non-organic meat at Costco.

Holly said...

I totally agree with your list. So I ask myself why I've hired someone to clean my toilets when the thing I hate most is making the shopping lists and organizing the endless paper clutter. I'm still left with that.

Bobbie said...

Holly, it's because as much as we fear making the wrong decision, we're much more concerned with someone else making a wrong-er one on our behalf.