A blog named BETTY

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The dance of the dishes

Don't you hate it when you have to force someone NOT to do your dishes? I know...we should all have such problems. This person which I'm trying to keep out of my kitchen is my mother-in-law, Dixie. She is here visiting for a few days (visiting from South Sandy...five minutes away). If you recall, her memory and reasoning have become, well, unreliable, so it's always an adventure. When she's here, she truly wants to help out, and I really do admire her for that. (Heck, it's one of my favorite qualities in people. You want to help ME out? You're my favorite person!) But last time she snuck in and did our dishes, she put Comet (aka scouring powder) in the dishwasher instead of dw detergent. It took a lot of scrubbing to get the white toxic film off of every single dish. Even in her 'younger' years (early 80's), she was famous for just rinsing dishes off with water and putting them back in the cabinet.

And so you see how this is one of those situations where 'help' causes more work, not to mention undue mental anguish. (You never forget the first time you pull a slimy spoon out of your silverware drawer and then realize your children have been doing the same all day...and then eating off of it. Ewwww.)

Add to this drama the memory loss--oh, and the near-deafness--and things get really exciting. It starts in the morning. I'll hear her puttering around in the kitchen, so I'll go down there and ever-so-kindly yell at her that she doesn't need to do the dishes. She gets pretty fired up when I tell her she can't help. So then I have to make up excuses, most of which she won't accept (especially the "that's the kids' responsibility" one, because she doesn't believe in children having chores). Finally, I tell her that I'm not feeling well, I need to rest, and the dishes are too loud. She very grudgingly will accept that one after a few minutes of arguing. She sits down, I go lie down upstairs.

15 minutes later, I hear here in the kitchen again. I go down there, corner her, and ask "DID YOU REMEMBER YOU PROMISED ME YOU WOULDN'T DO THOSE DISHES?" Then there's the ten minutes of re-convincing her to go sit down.

Repeat every 15 minutes. One time she said "No, what I promised you is that I wouldn't do the dishes if *I* wasn't feeling well." Ummm...no. Not how it went.

I pleaded with Hubby to please keep her busy so I could take a nap yesterday. I came down a half-hour later, and she had the whole dishwasher loaded. So I herded her out and started re-doing it all. Honestly--I'm not that picky about how such things are done, but when 5 things are blocking the water from ever entering the dishwasher, I have to intervene.

Hubby suggested to me that maybe I was being too protective of my kitchen. Ten minutes later I went in and told him that I'd told his mom she could go clean his office. He pretended like that was no big deal...wouldn't bother him at all...and then he rushed out of the room to find her. Yeah. We're all super laid-back here.

Just so you know that I'm not completely heartless, I *do* let her fold clothes. Piles and piles of them. I lock her in a cold room and tell her she can't come out until every single sock in our house is mated. I've never seen her happier.


Jen said...

Apparently 90 year-old grannies and 2 year-olds give the same kind of help!

Jeni said...

Thanks for the laugh! It's always best when you can actually imagine the person of interest...