A few weeks into living with the in laws, we started doing the chores that were asked of us.

Now I don’t mind doing chores, as a matter of fact I frequently like to make myself useful at the homes of friends or family members who have graciously extended their home to us. What I do not like it’s being asked or even told to do one thing and then being frequently interrupted to be told something that contradicts what I was told in the first place. For example mother-in-law told me to clean the kitchen after every use, to keep the guest bathroom clean, and to use the dust mop on the hardwood floors.

Taking those directions into account, I got up early on a Saturday morning to make breakfast for myself in my son and then begin my chores. I washed the pan and plates that I used I wiped down the counter tops and the table with a glass cleaner which is mother-in-law’s favorite and only product for cleaning. I swiftly moved along with glass cleaner and paper towels in hand throughout the house and just as I was headed to the guest bathroom I see MIL out of the corner of my eye coming at me like I’d stolen something.

She had chased me through the house only to abruptly snatch the glass cleaner and roll of paper towels from me.

Her reasoning: I needn’t take those out of the room from which they BELONG, as each room has its own supply of glass cleaner and paper towels.

A little in shock and slightly perturbed that someone would be so particular about which roll of paper towels could be used in what room, I proceeded to tackle the rest of my chores determined to get it right.


I used the wrong toilet brush to scrub the toilet. There were two. Neither were labeled, both were plain white toilet scrubbers, and apparently I was supposed to guess that one was used to scrub the tub.

Next, I vacuumed a rug that should have been taken outside and shaken.

Then I dusted the wood surfaces with wood furniture polish and a dust rag. This too was wrong as sometimes the furniture polish leaves a sticky residue. I should have known.

When I finally got around to doing the floors, she changed her mind three times while I was dust-mopping, as to whether or not she wanted the floors dry mopped, mopped with the furniture polish at the risk of a supposed sticky residue, or cleaned with the above mentioned and highly favored glass cleaner.

It took me twice as long as it should have for me to get all of the chores done that day and the next few times as well. Clearly I’m a slow learner.

Needless to say, I now clean exclusively when MIL is out of the house, in the shower, or in any other way indisposed.