Tuesday, October 30, 2007

X Box Live or The Real Game Boy Advanced

Monday, my morning routine was going well. I had made the lunches and started to wash clothes that had been piled on top of the machine. Then my son came down the stairs.

"Did you wash my gym uniform?" The very tension in his voice betrayed his hopes, that I had somehow found his shorts and shirt after 9 pm Sunday and in a fit of motherly devotion, done a wash.

"Where were they?" I asked.

"I stuck them on top of the washing machine last night. Along with my other things."

Racing to the laundry room, I fished his sopping wet things out of the machine and flung them in the dryer. "Get yourself some other shorts and a shirt for p.e. because they won't be ready. You'll be out of uniform for today."

Grumbling, he marches off to find gym clothes for the day.

Looking at the machine I start to wonder, "Why can't he do this? If he can work a game console, he can do this."

My son returns with a bag of shorts and a t-shirt.

"Look. Pretend this is a video game."
He gives me a Mom-you-have-just-officially-lost-it face.

"No, I'm serious. Take your bag and go on a quest. A magic quest to find all the hidden socks and shorts and stinky things that your evil Twin has strewn all about the house. When your bag is full, come back to this room to save the game." I thrust the bag in his hands.

Returning with a bag half full, I explain, "The Troll Mom will not let you use the machine unless you have a full load. I know there are more things to find, behind your bed, in the closet on the floor..." he goes off to get them. Returning with a full bag, I continue my attempt at educating him about laundry.

"Then, we'll use some magic potion or powder to transform these useless pieces of cloth into useful things for waging war at school against looking and smelling bad."


"I'm not finished. You'll have target practice. Put all the clothing in the hole. See the hole? Any shots that miss must be retaken, you cannot advance until all items have been loaded."

I'm drawing a crowd, as my two daughters and other son have come to watch, so I keep going.

"Then, you get to push buttons. I know all of you like to push buttons. You even fight for the privilege of pushing the buttons in public. Here we have a button and a lever you can use anytime! Push!"

"I don't know what to push."My son tried playing dumb. Admittedly, he did sound a bit like me whenever I would join in the Smackdown frenzy of a melee game session.

"Think of it as xxYZ down toggle B and you won't have a problem."

He pushed the button.

"See? You did it! Very good." I said in my kindergarten teacher voice. "Now, this game is played in real time. You let this sit for a while, maybe two levels worth of playing and then come back when the loud buzzer goes off. Transfering the wet items to the dryer may be tricky."

Eyes rolled.

"You should have a basket in case there are things in the dryer. If you don't unload the dryer first, the machine shrinks the clothing and that favorite shirt of yours becomes a hand-me-down."

My daughter starts to laugh.

"Bon, what's your favorite game?"

Startled to see I have changed focus, she stammers "Legend of Zelda."

"Good. Good. And you have to equip and unequip in that game right?"


"Well you have to unequip the dryer before you can equip it with new wet things. Once you've loaded the dryer, you have a secret move that makes everything else more effective. Think of this as a cheat code."

I hold up a dryer sheet for all to see, as even the babies are coming to watch, wondering why everyone else is crowded in the laundry room. Seizing the moment, I allow my five-year-old to place it in the dryer.

Now it's filter time and button pushing again. I remove the filter and have each of them remove some of the lint. There are lots of "ew!s" and one attempt to wear the blue fuzz as a beard but everyone eventually touches the lint. Replacing the filter, I allow the oldest girl to "push the buttons." Then the toddler cries to do it too, so I make them all take turns, even those who don't want to.

"This concludes our tutorial of Laundry machine Live! Come back this afternoon to learn about folding and actually putting away."

Lecture over, the crowd disperses and I begin wondering if I could come up with a metaphor to get the kids to wash the dishes.

*In loving tribute to the great one, Erma Bombeck who first tried to teach her children domestic skills via a manual.


Becky Mushko said...

I don't have kids, but if I did, they'd definitely play this game! Hmmm. Wonder if I can teach it to cats?

Unknown said...

Sherry-loved this article. I was laughing out loud as I worried about how to prepare chestnut dressing without looking like the turkey itself. Do I use Cooking light or my grandmother's traditional recipe, which was created before there was "lite"???? Mom

Unknown said...

Okay, This was really funny. When our second oldest was a senior, I decided that it was past time for him to learn how to operate the MACHINE.
Ceremoniously, I introduced him to our washer and began to explain how to operate this piece of equipment. His response: "What do you think the football manager does?"............
A black curtain shall be drawn over my response. What happens in the laundry room, stays in the laundry room. Mom

Ingrid Erika said...

Sherry, This is really cool! Having fun and nice break reading your articles!, LOL, Erika

Anonymous said...

After I read the comments, I knew that I must be talking in my sleep again. Thank you for saying what I would have said after I finished laughing out loud at the attempts to teach laundry skills, 101. Love, Mom

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