Like most kids, I had chores growing up. For awhile one of my jobs was taking out the garbage. I hated taking out the garbage. It took about five minutes. One summer I negotiated with my mother and traded my taking out the garbage chore for being in charge of the family laundry. It was a fierce negotiation.
I was very excited about my new job. I made myself a sign that I attached to a hat that said something about laundry queen. I learned how to sort. I learned how to use the machines. I folded. I even put away. This whole process took hours. I told people all about my coup at home with the laundry and garbage tradeoff. Somehow I thought I’d come out ahead. Clearly I had a lot to learn. Let me give you a piece of advice. Do not go up against my mother. You will lose. She’s charming enough though that you may think you won.
Yesterday I let my daughter wear a brand new white back to school shirt to church. This was not a problem. I then let her wear the shirt to a birthday party. Still not a problem. Then in a delusional moment I let her wear the shirt to help me pick blackberries. This was a problem. One of the ripe blackberries fell off the bush and hit her shirt. It was beautiful. Looked like a perfect stamp of a blackberry.
I grimaced, took off the shirt and headed to the laundry room. I rinsed out the blackberry and was about to rub the shirt with a stain stick when the resident chef peered over my shoulder. He said “you don’t put stain stick on a wet shirt. Just use detergent”. He handed me a bottle of detergent left over from when he actually purchased the stuff. He makes his own usually. Naturally. He then quite unwisely left me alone to my own devices.
Anyway, I stuck my finger in the detergent bottle and promptly pushed the pour spout into the bottle. Oops. I squished my hand up and stuck it down inside the detergent. I reached as far as I could and hooked the pour spout. I realized that I had become the monkey in that parable about how to trap a monkey with a coconut. There was no way to get my hand out and the spout out at the same time. So I shrugged, put the lid back on and put it in the cabinet. I didn’t tell. This is where a blog is a little dangerous. We get to find out if my spouse reads my blog.
I scritched and scratched and scrubbed. The blackberry stain would not move. I finally wadded the shirt up, left it in the sink and walked away. About an hour later I walked back in and was amazed that the shirt was clean! The stain was gone! I must be a miracle worker in the laundry room. My husband walked in and looked over my shoulder. “I got it out, the bleach worked”. He walked out. I was deflated.
I have taken a new vow to stay out of the laundry room. Maybe I learned something about negotiation from my mother after all.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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