Cleaning house is not one of my favorite pastimes. When our children were little, I thought I hated housework because I never got it done. No matter how diligently I worked at it, it was time to start over before I ever finished.
But even now, when only my husband and I live here, I still hate cleaning house. Don’t get me wrong, I love to live in a nice clean house. I just don’t like cleaning it.
When our children were young, they frequently informed me that we just had kids to be our slaves so we could get all the work around here done free. Now they’re all grown up and have children of their own. They have discovered that kids are not “free” labor. In fact some folks consider kids a financial burden.
Grandkids, on the other hand, are willing and able to do chores for loving grandparents, and grandparents are willing and able to pay a nominal fee for chores done by able and willing workers. I made this great discovery when one of the grandsons came to help me plant flowers.
He spent the whole afternoon digging holes for flower bulbs I handed him to plant. When we were finished, I thanked him profusely and handed him some money. I told him I wished I could pay him more.
He gave me a big smile and said, “Hey Grandma, this is great. I thought I was doing it for free.”
This can be a real win-win situation. Not only does the work get done, but you form a real bond with people you work, sweat and talk with, a bond that can leap over the generation gap people used to talk about.
Although these willing workers have been trained by our children, the “former slaves” I personally trained, we sometimes run into a glitch. But usually the glitch is a result of some new-fangled invention we have put to use here.
One of our granddaughters came by at my request when we needed a clean house and she needed some spending money. She was running the vacuum cleaner over the carpet upstairs. There seemed to be a lot of off and on with the vacuum. I was about to ask her what she was doing when I heard her coming down the steps.
She looked totally frustrated as she said, “Grandma I think there’s something wrong with the sweeper. It’s running fine and suddenly it turns off. I move it a little, turn the switch, and move it again, and it starts to run again. Then for absolutely no reason it stops. Something’s wrong somewhere.”
I nodded wisely and told her go find Grandpa and he’ll take care of it. She did and he went patiently up the stairs to study the situation. The sweeper performed for him just like it did for her. I was amazed. Usually when various mechanical equipment refuses to work for me I just say Bill’s name and the machine goes right back to work.
He came back down the stairs muttering, gathered up some tools and went back upstairs to minister to the ailing sweeper. He took it apart and found nothing wrong. He put it back together, but it still went on again, off again.
Again he descended he steps for more tools and muttered his way back up. Seemed he would have to deal with the switch in the handle. I began to think about buying a new sweeper for the downstairs so we could move the old one upstairs.
Before removing the handle he decided to unplug the sweeper. Surprise! When she reached under the table to plug the sweeper in, she had plugged it into the adapter plug for the sensor night light on the hall table. So, when the sweeper was in the dark it did its job admirably, but as soon as it got in the light, it shut off.
Oh well, no new sweeper, but I am surely glad he figured it out before he tore the handle apart.
Author’s note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Feb. 23, 2005.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.