IRS instructions for kitchen duty

Whose night is it to clean the kitchen? It’s a question we ask every night. One night my son does this chore. The next night it's my daughter's turn. You might think this would make the answer simple, but the reality looks more like the IRS instructions for the tax return you just completed. The process can be described as follows.

Line 1: What did we have for supper? If Dad grilled burgers and microwaved a package of frozen broccoli, proceed to Line 4 and check “my night.” All you have to do is put the dishes in the dishwasher, the condiments in the refrigerator, and wipe down the counters. This should take five minutes, and tomorrow night you’re off the hook.

If Mom made moussaka and baked bread, there are probably a pile of those annoying dishes that you are not allowed to put in the dishwasher. This could take hours, and it’s possible that Dad will grill tomorrow night. Go to Line 2.

Line 1 should be completed in less than a second. If it takes too long your sibling will know what you’re up to and object, especially if Dad grilled.

Line 2: Think back to last night. Who cleaned the kitchen? If you have arrived at Line 2, you have already determined that the kitchen is going to take some time. If you cleaned it last night, you let everyone know that it’s not your turn. In asserting you cleaned the previous night, it is also best to remind everyone what we ate the previous night, so no one can question you. Your statement should sound something like, “I did the dishes last night. I remember because my brother/sister did not scrape the spaghetti off his/her plate very well.” There is a bonus for pointing out your sibling’s shortcoming.

If you did not clean the kitchen last night, you might try, “I think I did.” Although this could be considered cleaning evasion, a crime, you could also classify it as avoidance by adding the uncertain, “I think.”

If you are successful in your claim that you cleaned last night proceed to Line 4, and check “not my night.” If not proceed to Line 3.

Line 3: If you have arrived here, all is not lost. Did you prepare, or substantially help with the preparation of supper? If so, now is the time to claim the exemption. This exemption is difficult. The authority to grant it comes only from Mom. “I made the casserole,” will probably get you the exemption. “I microwaved the broccoli,” will probably fail. This does not mean, “I microwaved the broccoli,” is not worth a try. It hasn’t worked to date, but you never know.

If you are successful in your appeal, proceed to Line 4 and check, “not my night.” If you are unsuccessful, check “my night,” and hope for moussaka and homemade bread tomorrow.

Line 4: Whose night is it to clean the kitchen? _my night _not my night

RJ Johnson

I have been a priest for 16 years.  I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010.  If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:34 AM, 04.21.2015