We’re down to three sentient beings under our roof on a regular, expected basis. Well, four, if you count the dog. So let’s go with four. Our fifth (fourth, if you for some reason don’t count the dog), now resides 2,584 miles away from our roof. As a seeker of the bright side and maker of soothing lists, I have, predictably, begun to compile a number of consequences of this attrition that slot into the “positive” column —
Example: Our younger son, Everett, now picks up the slack in the household chores department. And he does so happily. No he doesn’t. Actually, he disappears into some unknown hiding spots in our home when he rightly senses that a handed-down task is coming his way. Fortunately for us, the Santa Claus jig is up with respect to Everett, or else he certainly would have found our top-secret Christmas presents hiding spots whilst burrowing under the turf in our backyard. Or wherever the hell he is hiding instead of setting the dinner table. And by “setting,” I mean putting forks and knives on either side of the place settings, set roughly 7 steps away from the kitchen’s silverware drawer. And now he has just 3 settings to set, what with our 4th lying idle.
Another example: Last night, my wife Hilary gave Ev “a lesson” in how to roll our bins curbside for the morning Recology visit. I realize now that the way I worded that last sentence may conjure up images of hickory switches and welts on butts. Not the case. Rather, young Everett was supposedly indoctrinated into the business of Green, Black and Blue Bins 101. And the truth is, the bins did somehow magically end up neatly aligned out front, ready for pickup. But I’m not as confident that our elder son’s least favorite aspect of this particular chore was wholly handed over to his younger brother. The part where you have to scamper all over the house, collecting yucky stuff from an endless array of little trash cans, sticky little recycling bins or wet paper bags. Or nightmare-inducing compost bags threatening to burst at any moment. Who am I kidding on this last point; I alone shoulder the bomb squad outfit for the compost transfer. My children are not ready for that horror. But Ev is certainly capable, apparently, of lining up the bins on a Monday night. The militaristic set up out there last night, though, with all 3 bins so perfect. I’m not buying it. I’d bet everything currently stuffed into our kitchen compost can that Hilary “taught” Everett how to line up the bins outside. And Everett merely “learned.” I.e., she did the dirty work, and he watched. How very Tom Sawyer of him.
Another example: The standing requirement that one of sentient beings number 1-4 must occasionally walk sentient being number 5. When Max bore this responsibility, the dog, miraculously, never seemed to do anything. This defeated the purpose, with the predictable result of unreasonably early bedside whimpering (Wailea, not Max) the following morning. I suspect that Max’s habit of effectively sprinting around our block leash-in-hand proved an insurmountable hurdle for a dog interested in peeing. It remains to be seen whether Everett will have the patience for a sniff of every bush, and the mental fortitude required when Lea takes care of business in the middle of the street while a MUNI bus rapidly approaches. For now, it appears that I am pretty much the only Beadling family member managing the bushes and buses in the afternoons. You might say I’m “teaching” Everett the ropes here.
So you see, there are so many positives flowing from sending your child off to boarding school. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? Well, I’ve gotta run now. I have a number of Everett’s chores to attend to.
Thanks for reading.