They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but what they don’t tell you is how your neighbor gets his lawn so goddamn green. I used to think it had something to do with the chemicals used, frequency of feeding, meticulousness of cutting and edging or the type of grass. Now that I’m an adult, I know it’s really because your neighbor doesn’t have as many chores to do as you. Chores are the bane of every adult’s existence and are one of the few good reasons to have children. Somebody has to clean up this pigsty, after all.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try to avoid making a mess. Eventually, you will have to clean, organize, sanitize or wipe up something. It’s the worst. Don’t let anyone fool you; chores are not fun. In fact, the only thing remotely fun about chores is being finished with them and even that doesn’t always pay out. Anyone who’s hurt themselves doing yard work knows what I mean. Like I said, chores are the worst.
While all chores are terrible, there is a spectrum to that terribleness that makes some chores even worse than others. The easiest chore has to be taking out the garbage. As long as you don’t live like an animal, your trash should already be in a garbage can, and you merely need to take it to the bigger garbage can outside to dump it out. It’s not too big of a deal, but it can smell sometimes and if the garbage bag rips, it can turn into a shit storm real quick.
The next easiest chores to do are the ones that don’t have to be done all the time. You don’t have to dust every time you clean. You need to give some time for the dust to settle before you actually wipe it up again. The same goes with polishing furniture, lest you like your plates sliding off the waxy sheen of your dinner table. Both of these chores are a pain in the ass when you do have to do them, but not having to do them very often makes them a little less bothersome.
At this point in the spectrum, things really start taking a turn for the worse. Laundry is probably the next easiest chore, and it’s a big ol’ pile of shit. Thanks to modern technology, the actual washing and drying of the clothes is a relative breeze. It’s the folding of the clothes that’s the real bitch. Sometimes it feels like it takes an entire dryer cycle for me to fold the previous load of clothes. As soon as I finish and put everything away, another load of laundry is ready to come out of the dryer and be folded, too. It feels like it never ends. Why we don’t all have a clothes folding machine or self-folding clothes already is beyond me.
The next terrible chores on the spectrum all involve floors. All floors need to be swept, vacuumed, mopped or shampooed from time to time. Depending on the size of and type of floor in your home, this could be a relatively easy task or monumental undertaking. If you have pets, it gets even more fun as you struggle to extract their hair and fur from every surface of your home. Some of you have bought your way out of some of these chores by purchasing a Roomba or other robo-vac. To you I say, way to live the dream!
It’s no coincidence that some of the shittiest chores of all are done in the bathroom. Wiping a sink down may not sound too tough, but if you have a beard like me, it can be a nightmare. Cleaning a shower or bathtub requires quite a bit more effort. Bathroom cleaners tend to take on a bleachy smell, which doesn’t help with the whole bathroom cleaning experience. And then there is the shittiest bathroom job of all: cleaning the toilet. Toilets get dirty by design, and it’s an awful trick on humankind that we haven’t come up with a better solution than this by now.
Bathrooms are dirty, but the dirtiest room in your house is definitely your kitchen, making it the hardest and grossest room to clean. If you have a dishwasher, washing the dishes usually isn’t too bad as long as you keep up with it. Wiping the counters is a relatively easy task as well; however, the rest of the kitchen tasks are horrible.
We store and cook food in our kitchens day after day. Some of that food inevitably ends up on the floor, spilled on the stove, burned to the inside of the oven or trapped in a jar tucked away and forgotten in the back of the fridge. Cleaning up a long lost morsel or moldy food-filled container seems easy until the smell of decomposition smacks you across the face. While you may avoid such smell issues when cleaning the oven, what you aren’t likely to avoid is sitting in an awkward position for a lengthy session of scrubbing burned up vittles. Is that how you want to spend your Saturday?
Hanging in the backyard by the pool or barbecue sounds like a much better use of my time than chores until I remember what has to be done to get the yard in shape enough to be able to hang out. Mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, raking leaves, knocking down spider webs and insect nests, watering and feeding the plants, wiping down the outdoor furniture … these goddamn chores never end and nowhere is safe. So the next time you hear some kid going on about wanting to be an adult, you hand that little bastard a rake, some garbage bags and a can of bug spray and tell him to get to work.
**This column first appeared in print on page 9 of issue #292 (May 22 – June 5, 2019)**