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Poco a poco. . .

One of my best friends here at home.  We catch up every couple of weeks.


Poco a poco as they say in Yucatecan Spanish south of the border in Mexico, or little by little. . .

Now, there are probably very few of us who are fans of housework, although I must admit to finding a strange, zen-like pleasure in ironing my dress shirts.  Nevertheless, if you are beyond college student age with a family, job, etc., you'll grasp pretty quickly why it is necessary to keep dishes from piling up in the sink, the rooms picked up, stuff put away, and everything relatively straight to avoid utter chaos and a tsunami of dirty laundry cascading from the bedroom closet whenever you open it to retrieve something.

Around Totleigh-in-the-Wold, we're fans of handling it this way.  Little by little as the great Robert Plant once intoned way back in the early 1980s.  

So, try doing things bit by bit when it comes to domestic chores.  If you make a habit of putting things away soon after you arrive home or finish with them, filter certain kinds of junk mail into the recycling bin at once, and routinely address the more mind-numbing tasks like vacuuming/hoovering the carpets, swiffering bare floors, loading/unloading the dishwasher, and washing/drying/folding/stowing laundry, then it becomes much easier to keep house.  Simply closing closet doors and drawers also works wonders when it comes to hiding closet contents or items like all of those annoying and ugly charger cables for the various blinking, burping, chirping and even talking iThingies and Alexas that now dominate our lives.  My, how far we have come from the humorous "Ding!  Lights are on." in our cars 35+ years ago. 

However you might choose to address keeping your abode an inviting and attractive space, instead of trying top accomplish absolutely everything in a single day, break that mountain of housework down into a series of much more manageable, smaller hills by tackling just a bit everyday, and. . .  Voila!  Everything gets done, the house looks a whole lot neater -- Or as my late maternal grandmother used to chuckle, "Like nice people live here!" -- and the sheer drudgery of maintaining a clean and straight house takes only a few minutes before you can get on with more interesting stuff.  Most of us probably waste a lot more time than that surfing online if you think about it.

In our house during the school year, The Young Master (now 9.5 years old) and yours truly do just about everything between the two of us on certain designated weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings after our usual late and leisurely breakfast.  Once he finishes school for the summer in June, we see to a couple of things each morning after breakfast five days a week, which opens up the weekends for fun or plain old unstructured summer idling.  While others might devise a different approach for keeping their dwelling presentable and delightfully free of clutter, this works for us, and our son learns some valuable life skills in the process.  

Of course, the flip side of involving The Young Master in regular housekeeping activities is that he has made a running gag of it, complaining about the million and one chores "The Mean Father" makes him do everyday.  

He has even gone so far as to fill several composition books with numerous mean father stories full of text and rather intricate illustrations all about an unnamed poor, sad boy who is forced to make his bed, take out the trash, bathe weekly, load the dishwasher, take his folded laundry upstairs to his dresser and closet in the bedroom, put his books back on the shelf when finished with them, and (rather humorously) take his castor oil by the mean father, who looks (surprise, surprise) like me, right down to his glasses, hair parted on the side, and rugby tops.  

By the way, the overbearing parent in my son's stories goes by the sobriquet of "Bad Dad."  Not sure where the castor oil idea came from though.  The boy must have read about that somewhere.  Ah, yes.  "No good deed goes unpunished," as one of my mother's expatriate friends in Mexico says.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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