Sunday 20 June 2021
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Kitchen Chronicles

So I got home the other day and my minions had washed the floors after having cleaned and straightened up.

Granted they only did it because I always moan about the mess I find when I get home in the evenings and it kinda spoils that 3-minute bonding hiatus we’re supposed to have in the evenings when I get home. You know I told you about that 3x 3-minute rule? No? Urgh, you need to read me more.

So I get home and already I have been thinking of getting lost in what I am going to prepare our meal, simply and quickly and fillingly because tomorrow I have to be at the grind again.

I walk in and the place is literally sparkling. Floors are spotless, dishes are washed, beds are made and there’s this smell still lingering in the air.

And appreciative as I am about the cleanliness (finally) I walk in on, that smell is suspiciously like fabric softener. So – as is normal with kids – I start noticing that not everything is quite as it seems, since there are still a few things out of place, which I decide to let slide, because they have clearly made a big effort.

But the smell … Nah, I couldn’t just let that one slide, man. So I had to ask: “What y’all used to wash the floor with, ‘cause the house smells good.” These kids had used a combination of dishwashing liquid, ammonia cream, pine gel, and yup, you guessed it, fabric softener. I stood staring at that agape for a moment before losing that battle of trying to appear serious when all you really want to do is laugh.

I was literally crying from laughing. Not only did they use their “magic cream” for the floors, but for every other surface their rags came into contact with that day, too. They even used it to “shine the pots you are always complaining about!”

The windows – wiped – streaky but wiped.
The glass front door – wiped.
Window sills – wiped.
Door frames – wiped. Only as high as they could reach, but wiped.

When I had time to think about it all after everybody had gone to bed, I realised that I may be doing an ok job. The fact that they use that magnificent concoction might not fall into the category of ‘ok job’ but their finally making the effort to clean up their (own) mess and take it up a notch by cleaning (this should be read in context) the windows etc, shows that when adequately motivated, they can do quite a bit and are more than deserving of my 3 minutes. Having said that, I took the time 2 days later to sit them down and talk about wastage and just pure silliness.

Toned down my language and explained why it is not good for many reasons – least of all my pocket – to go mixing all kinds of chemicals together and that no matter how good it smells, fabric softener can never be used for the floor.

In a pinch you can maybe use it to replace hair conditioner, but that is a story for another day.

I am quite the disciplinarian; like people meet me and be like, ‘I don’t see you being a strict parent.’ Trust. I am like Trevor Noah when it comes to parenting. I don’t spenky-spanky … well, you know the rest. I am of the opinion that one has to be a safe and warn place and simultaneously has to be the moral compass, and the teacher of right and wrong.

Cause otherwise what is the purpose of our having been gifted these beings? Surely we can’t just leave them to their own devices (although it just occurred to me that maybe we could and in like 10 years we might end up with a dope all-purpose cleaner, ‘tile, floor, body and hair – or maybe not).

I regress – our purpose is to instil discipline, values, knowledge, discernment, understanding and a willingness to learn and take correction in the right spirit.

Same efforts were made for us in different degrees and when we decide to embrace an entire human soul into our lives, we take on the responsibility of raising a decent human being.

Oh, and I didn’t use any brand names because, well … but you know what I am talking about, right?
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