“Lydia, did you finish unloading the dishwasher?” I was on my way back to my office and realized she was splayed out on the couch playing a game on her mother’s laptop.
“Yes,” she nodded without looking up.
“Okay, so if I go upstairs and check the dishwasher, it will be empty?”
She hesitated, “Yes,” and then she sighed. “Okay, no. There is still silverware there, but don’t be mad, because I have several good reasons for not putting away the silverware.”
I narrowed my eyes in her direction as she paused her game and turned awkwardly to look at me over her shoulder.
“Okay,” I said, “give me your several good reasons for not putting away the silverware.”
“Sure,” she shrugged with absolute confidence, like a poker player being called while holding a full house. “So, first, I don’t believe that silverware is technically ‘dishes’. A dish is something that holds things inside of it, like a cup or a bowl, maybe a plate. So, I have put away everything that I think someone could argue is a ‘dish’. and two,” she paused for a moment. “Two, I just really really really don’t want to put the silverware away.”
I waited a few moments to see if there was a third reason. “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s every one of your really good arguments?”
“Yeah, but, they are very good ones.”
She was already standing up from the couch and walking toward the kitchen. She was admitting defeat without ever losing a bit of the original confidence. “Okay, I’ll put the silverware away because I can tell you are going to make me do it anyway. But I still don’t think I really should. This is just a bonus chore.”
“There’s no such thing as a bonus chore,” I said, following her up the stairs. “Next time, when mom or I say to ‘Put the Dishes Away’ we mean, ‘Unload the Dishwasher’. Everything. Put it all away. No loopholes.”
“Fine,” she lifted the silverware tray out and placed it on the counter.
“Here,” I stood next to her. “I’ll put away the knives. I think you should just do the dull parts today.”