I was pretty sure I heard him right the first time.
But I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I asked again.
“What did you say to your roommate?” I asked my 20-year-old son who shares an apartment with a friend of his.
“I told him that if he doesn’t clean the bathroom this week, I’m hiring a cleaner to do it and he’ll have to pay the bill!” said my visibly upset son.
Well, I wanted to burst into fits of hysterical laughter.
My son—the son who I’m pretty sure never cleaned the bathroom once while he was living at home—was now threatening someone else about keeping the house clean.
This would be the very same son who could have a stack of dirty dishes in his bedroom for weeks at a time. The same son whose pile of soggy towels sat in one place for so long, they began to mould. The same son whose laundry piles grew to such heights that they threatened to break through our ceiling and rise up to the heavens.
And here was my dear boy saying words that I never EVER thought would issue from his mouth.
“I keep the rest of the house clean and I do the dishes all of the time, so the very least he can do is clean the bathroom,” said this exasperated boy who I was sure had turned into someone else while I wasn’t looking.
Just to be absolutely clear, my son was never a cleaner. From the day he was born, we took care of his messes. This continued into school years when we’d get notes home saying, ‘Can Logan please clean his locker, he can’t find his books.’
This is the same son who lost homework, keys and money which were later found at the bottom of his laundry pile.
This is the boy who sometimes created an archeological dig in his own room if we left him to his own devices long enough. Every so often, particularly when strange odours were coming from his bedroom, we’d say, ‘come on Logan, we’ll help you clean your room.”
The excavation process started at the top layer, where we’d removed soiled socks and spaghetti-sauced T-shirts. Then it was onto layer #2, which sometimes required more heavy-duty equipment, like front-end loaders. Here we’d find wet bath towels and crumpled-up jeans. The bottom layer often bore evidence of the post-historic boy’s eating habits—dishes with cheese embedded, milk-encrusted mugs and chip bags from earlier decades.
But I guess three years of being out of the house has ‘totally transformed’ the boy. Because now—evidently—he can’t cope with dirty dishes and stinky toilets. Now he has to threaten his roommate that he will hire a cleaner if the apartment is not kept clean.
I’m left to stand and stare at my dear son in disbelief.
‘Did you really say that?’
And if you did, ‘Who are you and what have you done with my dish-hoarding, dirty-clothes stashing son?’
To order Froese’s upcoming book Journey to Joy (released April 28, 2018), visit bookjourneytojoy.com or email Lcfroese@sasktel.net.