So much for that.

My plan to offload all my household chores for the summer crashed and burned. Well, not burned all the way, but it’s definitely smoldering.

Only one out of three children has faithfully followed the chore chart. Week in and week out, No. 1 has always knocked off everything on her list, and I know parents aren’t supposed to admit it — but she’s the only one who reads this column anyway — so I’m just gonna say it: She’s my fave.

It’s not like they aren’t getting paid. As a matter of fact, they’re quite well-paid, as in make-small-businesses-cringe well-paid. And, just to make sure they appreciated my generosity, I reminded them several times that I have never been reimbursed for cleaning the toilets.

That first week into summer, I nearly dislocated my shoulder patting myself on the back. They almost smashed into each other as everyone raced around the house, putting away laundry and Swiffering floors.

And then, by the very next week, they’d had enough.

“This is so pointless!” No. 3 shouted in frustration one day as he chased the black, dog-hair tumbleweeds down the hallways with the vacuum hose. “There is SO MUCH DOG HAIR!”

As payday drew near, he was already negotiating. “How much will I get if I don’t mop? What if I don’t mop or vacuum?”

No. 2 was right there with him — they both decided that money isn’t everything.

The Pollyanna in me, struggling to see the bright side, thinks this is a good sign for the future and that when they grow up, they’ll follow their hearts and not be motivated by greed. The Negative Nelly in me says, Great, now they’ll only be able to afford a sucky retirement home for me.

I could ramble on and on to show how things around my house have disintegrated, but I don’t get paid by the word. Instead, here’s the photographic evidence:

Pic 1: This is my washer and dryer — two weeks after the laundry was originally done. Obviously, they had not yet run out of underwear. Or had they? Best not to think about it. Not pictured: the counter top, also completely covered with clothes.

Pic 2: Clothing actually makes it into the room where it belongs, although not all the way into the dresser. Woo hoo! Progress! In parenting, we cherish the small victories.

Coming next week: What it looks like when kids “clean” — note the quotes — bathrooms. Just kidding. No one should have to see that.

Contact Kristen Cook at or 573-4194. Lest No. 1 get a swelled head by this week’s revelation: She so needs to clean her room. Really? Three half-drunk water bottles scattered around the floor? There’s enough dirty Kleenex littering the bed that it looks like a congested family of seven spent the night.