Oh right, so we go outside to play baseball, because the younger just got a new bat and batting helmet (5 bucks each at Wal Mart clearance), and after countless batted balls, including a few 70 mph wiffle balls to the chest, again they're bored, and want to go inside. Fine, I say, now you can get back to cleaning the basement, which, after a quick inspection, hasn't been cleaned at all. "Just put the stuff you keep in the plastic bins, that's all you have to do." In the back of my mind I assume they heard me and understand what I say, but as a parent, such a belief is laughable. Again, utopia exists only in the mind. A perfect world where people hear you and understand you. I may as well be speaking in a Polynesian click tongue dialect. I know, for example, that they aren't cleaning right now as I write. How? Because a few minutes ago, one came up and said the elder wasn't helping to clean. "Fine, so if the basement does get clean, you'll get 2 dollars and he'll get nothing." Off he goes, and after a few minutes, here comes the elder, ready to deal. "What if sometimes we do stuff and get paid, and sometimes we don't" he offers, and I put the screws on - "Listen," I say, "I could yell at you, and tell you how you promised me you would clean the basement because we got the nerf guns. But I too tired to yell. If you can't clean it up, I'll take the guns back to the store." And you can hear the gears turning, and he's looking a way out, but he's a bit stumped. As he heads off to the basement, I tell him I'll call mom and tell her that he didn't do what he promised. This works like a static electricity shock after a 25 foot friction walk across the carpet. He starts getting defensive, and says he'll clean. But I doubt that's happening. Why? Because I can hear them walking around, and I am two floors up. This means they're not in the basement. And sure enough, a few minutes later they both come up, complaining of hunger. Fine, I say, go clean the basement and we'll start dinner. After a brief discussion of options (mac and cheese with hot dogs wins out), they both go off to clean the basement again.
So what's the moral of the story? Well, after 24 hours, of which I slept for 5, there's been a promise to clean the basement. Most of the work so far has been done by me, some by the younger. Their short attention spans have prevented them from cleaning, and when they sought other things to do, they soon tired, and I had to remind them to, uh, what was that? Oh yeah, clean the basement. And what happens when mom comes home? The place is still a mess, the kids are angels, I am still tired, and wait, here come footsteps up the stairs. . . it's the younger, asking if he can have a frog tattoo (little kiddie tattoo) on his arm. I tell him his mom likes putting them on him, can he wait till she gets home? He agrees. I ask if the basement is clean, and like a game show contestant looking up to the heavens in search of an answer, he pauses, and says, "uh, it's a little bit cleaner." So the basement is still not clean, and I'm too tired to think.