I’ve got a few snippets troubling me.

Nothing terribly monumental, just some things that have been flicking spit balls at the back of my brain.  You can hum a happy tune and try to ignore them, but then you just end up with an avalanche of spit balls clogging up your gray matter so in the interest of clean gray matter (wait, is that an oxymoron?)…

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Why is it such an almighty struggle to get dirty dishes into the dishwasher?  I’m not even talking about them being loaded correctly (Lord deliver me from crooked plates, bowls flipped sideways, and cups straddling a top rack prong.) — I just want the dirty things that need to be washed to make it into the flippin’ dishwasher.  ALL the dirty things.

We battled long and hard to win the war on clearing your place when you’re done.  This is a household rule for all meals at all times.  You ate something, therefore at least one household item is dirty, so put it in the household appliance that will make it clean again.  Simple, right?

You’d think so.  But you’d be wrong.

Oh, they clear their places after a meal, all right.  They pick up their things, walk them to the sink, rinse them off, and put them in the dishwasher.  (Yes, we’re a “rinse first” family.  I know some people think this is just a waste of water.  I find I waste more water rewashing plates that still have food stuck to them after the cycle’s done.  Let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?)

But somehow…and this happens all the time…everything except the utensil makes it into the dishwasher.  Plate rinsed(-ish), cup emptied, both in the dishwasher ready for a good cleaning…and there’s a lonely little fork just lying in the bottom of the sink, sticky with syrup or sauce or whatever food still clings to its tines.

“WHY?!”  I want to cry.  “WHY HAVE THEY FORSAKEN YOU?”

Wow, that sounded really sacrilegious.  (pause while I sidestep the lightning)

When I ask the offender (and really, there’s one in particular who has this little quirk) about it, the answer is always, “Oops. I forgot.”  Ummm…nope.  Don’t think so.  The first two or three times you did it you “forgot.”  Now we’re just looking at a bad habit, one that perplexes me to no end.  You put the plate in.  You put the glass in.  Exactly how is it that your silverware gets left behind??  Every? Single?  Time?

Plus the chance of finding some kind of wet, soggy food sitting in the bottom of the sink is about 50/50 these days.  Sometimes it’s right at the opening of the garbage disposal, like someone started to put it in there but then decided it would be happier disintegrating naturally.  Other times the food’s just thrown in the sink willy nilly, getting caught in the corners so I have to flick it with a fork to get rid of it.  I don’t feel like I’m asking too much here — no walk to the compost pile, no balancing carbon and nitrogen elements, just put the freaking food in the freaking hole and grind it up.  All you have to do is flip a switch, for the love of Pete. 

Also a mystery to me: how we’ll be sitting at the table, having finished one of our Family Dinners during which we Discuss All The Important Things, and they’ll do some kind of Jedi mind trick that makes me think they’ve cleared their places before leaving the room.  I mean, I’m sitting right there. I’m looking straight at them as they leave the table.  And yet it’s usually 30 minutes later when I’m cleaning up the kitchen that I notice their cups are still sitting at their place.

Say what?  How did that get over there?  I mean, I watched them clear their things away; surely I would have noticed a drink left behind, right?

And how about the kitchen counter where they sit for breakfast, snacks, homework, etc? A mountain of stuff has accumulated there, and no matter how many times I send things away with them the pile never gets any smaller.  EVER.  It’s like that ever-lasting gobstopper in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Only not as fun.  Or delicious.

The running inventory is ridiculous: 18 paper clips, 2 tech decks (You haven’t heard of these? Well, lucky you.  They’re miniaturized, plastic, piece-of-crap toy skateboards that are an enormous time-suck.), a school folder from two years ago, a dish towel, random & assorted papers, the Santa eraser, colored pencils, Daisy/Girl Scout patches (also from two years ago),  and a stick of deodorant.  For the love.

I think they believed me last night when I told them I’d reached my limit and it was very likely they’d come home one day to find the counter completely clean.  One big box, one clean sweep, and SWISH!  No more crap!  They each quickly snatched three things on their way to bed.  Maybe I need to threaten to bring out a box more often.