Monday, April 28, 2008

A Spoonful Of Sugar

We recently got a clothesline at our house. As I helped my daughter hang her clothing on the line last week, she informed me that she has a very particular way to organize her clothing on the line. It's like file folders. All blue jeans and slacks on the first line. All short sleeved tops on the second line. Next, come the long sleeved shirts. Behind that is the sock and underwear row. (So the neighbors won't see her delicates. Smart thinking!) And finally, her sweatsuits, pajamas and jackets on the rear row. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
She was quite adamant that I hang her clothes in this and no other fashion, or I'd be relieved of my duties as "laundry hanger upper helper."

My middle daughter likes to hang her clothes like there's a party going on. Her dresses want to mambo with her jammies. Short and long sleeve shirts waltz together in the breeze, holding hands and bobbing up and down. Her socks would never dare to hang together in matched pairs- this IS a get-to-know-your-neighbor kind of affair, after all. She finds a pink knitted poncho and plays matchmaker with her green camoflauge cargo pants. The match made, they tango on the line for the rest of the afternoon. She twists the legs of her jeans tight so they can unwind and twirl from the clothespin- just because she thinks her jeans might enjoy the ride.

You would never, ever find either of these children hanging her clothes out to dry like her sister does it.

(Me? How do I hang out my clothes? Oh, I thought you'd never ask. I color code the clothes line. I wash all of our clothes in color groups so I've been having fun hanging out my many colors of the rainbow. But within the parameters of ROYGBV I'm also trying to be efficient and balance the weight on each line so things don't drag in the grass. Who wants to wash the same piece of clothing twice just because it dipped in the mud?! Not me. No sir.
Look and see... you can tell precisely where one wash load ends and another begins.)

I've been pleasantly surprised at how willing we've been to wash laundry around here lately- all because we get the giddy pleasure of hanging and organizing our belongings in the way that pleases us. (I have taken so many photos of our laundry hanging in the sunshine this week, that I know the neighbors are beginning to wonder.)

It all makes me think of Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar. It really does help the medicine go down.
In ev'ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job's a game

And ev'ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see...
Julie Andrews in Walt Disney's Mary Poppins

And so I thought we might help each other here on SoulPerBlog.

What is your least favorite household, school, ministry or work-related task? Something you can't escape but find completely mundane? The thing you dread beyond all other things? The job that brings out the groans and full-body convulsions when you know it's "that time again"?

Share it here in the comment section we can help each other brainstorm a creative approach to our mundane tasks. Sooner than you can say "supercalifragilistikexpialidocious," our creative selves will be engaged in transforming those jobs we detest into...

A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see...

(and now you'll be humming for the rest of the day.)


heather said...

I'm definitely with your middle child on this one. Who knows what fun surprises you might find by letting things have their own way?
My job--scrubbing the showers/bathtubs. I'll do anything but. If someone can find a way for me to enjoy this (better yet, if that someone volunteers to clean them so I can have fun...), I'll forever be indebted.

Erin said...

I have two household tasks I can think of that have me on my knees begging for mercy and liberation.

- Meal planning
- Paying bills

Oh so many things I would rather be doing. Like hanging out my pretty color-coded laundry. :)

L.L. Barkat said...

You would think this might be on the tip of my brain. Hmmmm... I'm no Mary Poppins, but I don't feel particularly bad about anything I do.

Okay, maybe doing the bills.

L.L. Barkat said...

Just read your comment above... Oh! I see we are sisters in low-interest on the bill paying thing.

nikongirl said...

Matching the socks from the laundry
putting laundry away
ironically - I too - LOVE To hang my laundry on the clothesline.

Erin said...

Heather- I'm envisioning a young Scottish girl disguised as a cabin boy so she can sail the high seas in search of her long lost father who was kidnapped by pirates. She swabs the deck with vigor, in order to maintain her cover.
And all the while, in her head, she composes a rock opera about her adventure.

LL- You and me both on that budget administration. Blergh. Thoroughly Modern Millie might need to come rescue us. (Who, strangely, was also played by Julie Andrews.)
I KNOW you can help me with my meal planning aversion though!

Kim- Sock matching... I make my kids do it. Is that creative or just mean?

rhon said...

I hate dusting. Dusting anything: baseboards, furniture, blinds, shelves, appliances, ... anything.

I think I do it twice a year.


You all dust my house, I'll do your bills.

Kelley said...

my least favorite chore (oh why am I limited to one?!) would have to be cleaning up the clutter. I just can't stand the whining that comes from three little mouths (Maggie is too young, and John is the taskmaster, so you know whose is the 3rd mouth here...). And it's not so much the actual picking up that is excruciating, but it's the patience needed to wait out the pokey, slow-motion boys I'm trying to teach to keep their rooms in some semblance of order. Much easier to just swoop in and do it myself. Agony to keep after them til it's done.

OK, I'm just gonna mention #2's related: the seasonal cleaning out of the closets and drawers...when kids outgrow or temperatures necessitate a switcheroo in the clothing department. I always feel like I'm drowning.

Abby said...

I can enjoy scrubbing the tub. I can make myself forget that I'm dusting. I can wash the dishes and think about something new I'd like to write, but I cannot, cannot find any way to enjoy grocery shopping.

Don't try to convince me it's like a market. There's no bartering, no Aladdins and their monkeys, no hot, dusty air that smells of fruit and fish.

The free samples and a famished husband are the only motivations I'm afforded.

Abby said...

Kelley, I was just reading back over your post, and I was thinking about some things that I did growing up, some I use on the kids I nanny, and some I've heard about from moms who are tried and true in the cleaning business.

1. Orphan Annie or Cinderella - I'm not sure how this will work with boys, but maybe the "third whiney mouth" can put it to use
2. timing them - kids of all ages love to be the fastest, racing anyone and anything to hold the title
3. the cleaning olympics - with different categories and events, the overall winner gets to have their say when it comes to the grand prize (e.g. picking what's for dinner, which movie to watch, what story to read, etc.)
4. hiring a maid - self explanatory

Violet Ink said...

I hate, with a great passion, cleaning the kitchen. I hate the way my hands smell after using those rubber gloves. I hate that I have to do this almost everyday and it is never ending, there always seem to be some cup just sitting by the sink!

Following second is paying the bills. Paying the bills means at some point I had to look at our money situation and try to get this right brain to go left.

Abby – my advice on the grocery shopping – organizing your list to go from one side of the store to the other, aisle by aisle and then outer ring (usually the cold stuff & fruit last). That way you don’t have to wonder through the store more than once. At least this is what I enjoy doing when I’m on the ball with meal planning and grocery shopping. Also, I love the self check out stands, I get to organize the bags the way I want to (no squashed bread with the canned goods) and I like to think it goes faster.