Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to get teenagers to work on a snow day

I may be brilliant.

El informed me on Sunday that today would be a snow day. I was not convinced on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday that today would be a snow day. It seems that the collective wearing of inside out and backward pj's, multiple reps of the Macarena, spoons (and cheese, who knew?) under the pillows of thousands of kids in the mid-Atlantic states did their magic.

Snow day, it is.

Work day for Steve and I, it was.

I learned many years ago from a wiser mom than me that she has her kids do a specific timed amount of work around the house on days off from school. Since she is a smart woman, I decided this was a smart plan. Our kids generally do some work on days off.

One hour.

I know, it's terrible, isn't it? As I prepared to go to work and thought through what I wanted the girls to get done, I was inspired to think beyond my usual slave driver ways.

I said, "Hey, house cleaners around here usually make about $XX an hour. I am prepared to pay you up to $XX (that's more than I make!) per hour to get some work done around here. There are conditions. You have to get along with each other and do a good job because I am the inspector. I wrote some things down, but left a bunch of blanks for you to fill in with jobs that you see need to be done. Seeing and doing things that aren't on the list will be to your benefit."

I was slightly worried when Mo called me at 10:30 to ask me to go to the grocery store on my way home. She told me she was hungry for enchiladas. Then she told me she was going to make enchiladas for dinner. I like enchiladas. I like to eat food that I didn't prepare. I asked if she had started on the list yet.


When I got home from work, the girls went outside with some friends. I looked around. There was mail on the couch. There were blankets on the couch. There were papers in the middle of the floor and a pencil too.


Did any work get done?

My first impression was bad. It was also wrong. Once I looked around, I saw that they had done a really good job. I checked at the list. They had done the things on the list and they had added to it. They had each worked about...drumroll, hour.

When they came in all wet and dripping and asked what I thought, I told them I was frustrated at first, but then I saw all the other things that they had done. Then one grabbed a towel and wiped the floor.

Mo said, "We cleaned it. But then we had to live in it."

El said, "You should know from Pride and Prejudice that you can't always trust a first impression."

Steve said later, "I say money is a good motivating factor. They don't clean this good for free."

True, so true.

Can anyone tell me exactly how many minutes I need to pay them for? Even though they did a good job with the work, the arrows are quite confusing.

I got a chuckle when I saw that Mo signed the time sheet with seven different names. Most of them are nicknames we use around here, but 'Omyra' is special. She got it from a sweet lady who couldn't pronounce her name right when we went to Mississippi.

Mmmm, I smell enchiladas. She said I don't even have to pay her for them.


Deb said...

okay well, El gets extra points for the impressive literary reference. Mo gets credit for coming up with the dinner plan (although, if she could have come up with something that didn't require a trip to the store, she might have gotten even MORE bonus points)...

i guess it's going to all come down to the enchiladas. i have found that a happy tummy is a generous tummy.

oh, and see? i told you cheese would work. i don't make this stuff up, you know.

Star Forbis said...

Wow, a clean house & Dinner. What a deal. Can they come to my house next?! ;)

Tracy P. said...

If Ben knew there were enchiladas to be had, he would be there momentarily.

My kids were out of school today because of conferences. I told them if they were good while I had my Bible study group here, I would take them to the book fair at school and buy them each a book.

We moms just have to know how to work it!

Woman in a Window said...

El said, "You should know from Pride and Prejudice that you can't always trust a first impression."

Note to self, don't educate kids too well.

And free enchiladas! Amazing!

Straight to Your Hart said... this is one I will try!!

What's that saying?? Oh, you get what you pay for...hmmm again I am really liking this idea!

teen said...

What music did you listen to when you were a teen ? i bet it's different from what teens listen to these days .