Back when I worked outside of the home, The Daver and I divided up the house chores. I tried like hell to do mine and Dave’s, well, often went undone (let’s just leave it at “he works a lot” and be done with it. Normally, I’d make some sort of joke here, but I am trying to get laid. So, no jokes). So when I started to stay home, almost all of the chores were taken over by me. Save for two: mowing the lawn and doing the catboxes, as pregnant women aren’t supposed to actually touch kitty poo (not that I scooped it with my bare hands or anything. That’s nasty).

And the fights about doing the catboxes, they were mighty, as The Daver hates that chore possibly more than he hates putting away his laundry (which, judging by the fact that his laundry has sat in the baskets that I’ve put them in for 7 or 8 months, is a lot. To his credit, when my mother-in-law came out to stay this summer, I noticed what a fanatic she was about laundry and suddenly I understood my husband much, much better. You might even say that my sympathy grew quite a bit.). In order to avoid said fights, and the less pleasant option of letting the cats poo on the carpets and the sinks, I take care of them about half of the time (especially gleefully when I am offered sex as a bribe. What can I say? I’m easy) because I am no longer with child.

The lawn, however, would go unmowed to the point at which I would actually hide from my neighbors (this is especially easy when one’s lawn looks remarkably like a prairie!) so that they couldn’t yell at me or give me nasty looks. Alex never sleeps, so I can’t do it at his naptime, I cannot safely mow the lawn while holding him, and although I have threatened to get a goat, I’m certain that the neighbors might hate that smell even more than the waist high grass.

A couple of months ago, while having coffee with one of my neighbors, her teenage son walked into the room. It was then that my brilliant idea was hatched: I can pay someone about $20 a week to do something that has become a major source of contention in my marriage AND BE DONE WITH IT. Everyone walks away a winner!

His father, who is coincidentally my son’s soccer coach and the father of his best friend came to assist the first time, and they did an asskicking job. Although we were a bit sheepish about this arrangement, the same way you feel when a 50 year old man delivers your pizza, we were assured that his father was merely showing him the ropes. The check was written for $30 because the lawn had been in such sorry shape, and we made the teen promise to buy his father something nice as well (again, we were embarressed at ourselves here).

This may have been our fatal flaw, because the following week when I dropped by his house to give him his check for $20, he looked at it and got kind of, oh I don’t know, surly over the amount (which had been agreed upon beforehand). I’m sure he was hoping to get $30 EVERY week, but hey, he’s 14 and it takes him 45 minutes because my lawn, it ain’t sprawling.

It happened again this Sunday, he came by, mowed with our mower, and when Dave brought out the check, he got a bit salty. He’s never actually complained out loud to us about it, but you can tell that he isn’t pleased.

This annoys me on several levels. First, he’s 14 and $20 is a lot of money of 45 minutes of work. I dare you to find me a job at 14 that pays that well, besides of course, prostitution or porn. Secondly, I am literally surrounded by teenage boys that would be more than happy to make a quick buck. I’ve been offered many times by most of them that they are available to do odd jobs for me (too bad there are no cabana boys here). Third, it’s a lot more money than the job warrants. Period.

So I’m stuck between some grass and some taller grass here (get it? Because he’s MOWING MY LAWN! HAHAHAHAHA.). I can’t just tell him that he’s no longer needed and hire another kid, as his mother is one of my best neighborhood friends AS WELL as the mother of Ben’s best friend. Plus, he’s never actually SAID anything to me about it, just gotten sort of grumpy when the check is delivered (which, yeah, at his age, I babysat, and you know what? I never, ever bitched about what I was paid, because it was damn easy work. I also walked uphill to school both ways in the snow WITHOUT SHOES. Damn kids these days!)

What the hell do I do?

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

7 Responses to Ah, Suburbia.

  • Gail says:

    Outsource to a professional. Seriously. We pay about $20/week for a crew of three guys that shows up once a week and mows the lawn, edges the lawn, cleans up all fallen leaves or other assorted nastiness and does a great yard-cleanup/weeding in the spring and the fall.

    Then, you get more professional results, so you can tell your friend that her son gave it a great start and now you want MORE. Start with the pros in the spring, and put up with the surliness for the next month or so.

    Best $85/month I’ve ever spent. Now my cleaning lady, who charges me $85/week, is another story entirely. I think maybe a teenager could do better.

  • Kristin says:

    I am for hire at about $20/job to take kids out at the knees. I promise I won’t get surly.

  • Karen says:

    I have a real profession landscaping service who comes in for $25/week and polishes off the job in like 20 mins. The truck pulls up and 5 Hispanic men (who I doubt have green cards) jump out and get to work. My lawn looks great and there is no squabble over the work or question about the price.

    And I wasn’t trying to be controversial or racist with my green card comment – I was just being truthful.

  • Tony says:

    he’s a 14 year old boy…at 14 *EVERYTHING* pissed me off…the world owed me a god damn living and was just stupid!!!

    Anyway, next time he comes around, just say if he gets huffy with you, the next check will be for $15..

  • becky says:

    I think I will hire a professional. I had no idea that they were so cheap! I’d always figured it would be about $80/week! Holy hell!

    And Tony, were you surly if people were giving you money? I sure wasn’t.

  • Josh Hawkins says:

    Hold on, the whole rest of that was interesting, but really I didn’t care. Sorry. Let me understand this, you clean the litter box, and for this service, you then service your husband? You clean the litter box, and put out for this…privilege? I don’t know how to use words to express my confusion here. Do I have this right? And if so, do you have a sister? Please?

    Also, on a side note, for Halloween I’m going as Cabana boy, seriously, this has been planned out for a long time. What do Cabana Boys do and wear? Thanks.

  • becky says:

    Sorry Josh, I have a brother. He’s 10 years older than me. And yeah, I trade cleaning cat poo for sex (I like sex, not cat poo). Because I am an awesome wife who deserves both massive jewelry and a mercedes for Christmas.

    Cabana boys wear not much at all as far as I know. Maybe a speedo. But you need to be super tan.

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