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Dear Family, What's So Hard About Flushing the Toilet?

I’m not a neat freak. If there was a casting call for “The Odd Couple,” I should think of myself as better cast as the “messy” one. It’s intellectually honest.

When I lived alone, it was not unusual for me to let clothes linger in the laundry basket after pulling them out the dryer. And by “linger” I mean they would stay there until I plucked them out to wear them out the door.

Now I have a family, which means I share my house with a husband and two children. Suddenly, I feel like I verge on OCD compared to my “roommates.” It’s lonely being the only one who cares about tidiness.

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So, I’m keeping a working list of things no one else in my house does except for me. Now it’s time to let them go. I will surely add on to this as times marches on.

1. Picks up LEGOs

Feel my pain here. My son scored a gigantic box of LEGOs from his older cousin, exponentially increasing our LEGO inventory. Those dang things litter every room in our house. And yet: I’ve never seen a single member of my family bend over and pick them up. EVER. Kick them to the side, or step on them and yell, sure, but pick them up and put them away? Nope. Not once.

2. Puts clothes in the hamper

My house has three serviceable hampers. I’ve made the introductions. “Kids, meet your new hamper. You should put your dirty clothes.” Maybe I haven’t been clear. Maybe when I say that they heard, “Kids, please throw your dirty clothes anywhere you want.” Maybe my husband thinks the one in our room, that is right by his bed, is just for me. How am I the only one who knows that dirty clothes go in the “dirty clothes hamper”?

3. Flushes the toilet

I’ve taken to bribing my kids.

I’m flummoxed. I don’t really get how this part of personal hygiene keeps being overlooked. I’ve taken to bribing my kids. When you see a new pony parked outside my house, you’ll know that for the first time ever, I walked into a bathroom and found a pristine, clear toilet bowl staring back at me.

4. Hangs up coats

Again, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get these people to hang up their coats. We live in Chicago, so they get plenty of practice in the nine months of winter we have up here. We have low hooks that the kids can reach. We have little hangers and a rod if they prefer that route. We have high hooks and bars for the adults. Somehow, they all think that draping outerwear on the back of a chair (or throwing them on the floor) is equivalent to hanging them up. More likely, they enjoy watching me go berserk when I find their coats and fleeces all over the house.

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5. Cleans out the car

Am I the only one who noticed the backpacks, lunch boxes and discarded art projects on the floor of the car? Seriously. No one else saw that empty water bottle or the Pirates Booty wrapper? I’m not asking them to handle poisonous syringes filled with Ebola—I just want them to take out the stuff that they insisted on bringing into the car. Help me see why that’s too much to ask?

Image via Twenty20/_jdirty

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