Rocky has finally gone too far. Much like the dog who wants to sit on the sofa--gradually, stealthily, sneaking into the room, eventually landing on the cushions, remaining so still that no one notices--Rocky has stealthily, carefully been phasing out all responsibilities.
First, he has been "forgetting" to take out the trash. I will eventually take the can out of the cupboard and stand guard over it while he blunders around for shoes and a coat, which of course he cannot find, as they are wherever he has dropped them. I have actually dragged him out of bed at 11:59 p.m. to complete the chore, but that is extra aggravation for me, as Nash, who gets hysterical at just about everything, thinks it is morning and time to EAT and barks for a good two hours or so until EG goes in and bellows at him. Nash then subsides to a deep "errrrrr, errrrrrr, errrrrrrrrr" for another thirty minutes until he gives up. By then it is 2:30, and inevitably someone has to go to the bathroom, which sets Nash's dysfunctional alarm off again.
No wonder I go to sleep at traffic lights.
Second, Rocky's other job is to clean up after the dogs in the yard. Over the last month or two, he has been slowly neglecting first one, then two, then all the messes, last Sunday going out in the yard and staring off into space rather like Stevie Wonder, completely ignoring his job. Nita went out and--ahem--helpfully told him that he needed to address this job, and he said, "I have no place to put them." What? Like the garbage is suddenly not accessible?
Then the continuing saga of "find church clothes." Saturday EG told Rocky to find church clothes. Were they appropriate for the weather? Yes. Were they in good shape? Yes. Were they free of holes and stains? Yes. Did they fit? Oh, yes.
Sunday afternoon I told Rocky to get church clothes. He said he had them and that his dad had him get things together the day before. I revisited all the above questions and added two more: Did you pick something which I have designated as a church shirt for winter? Yes. And will I be happy at your choice? Oh, yes.
Thirty minutes before Mass, after ten minutes of blundering about in his room, he comes out in a school shirt from two years ago, one which is stained and torn. I scolded him and sent him back for something APPROPRIATE. He returns in an old white dress shirt, one missing buttons and which is at least two sizes too small. "What happened to the four shirts I bought you to wear to church?" I shriek.
"Oh, they're in there," he replied, "right in my closet."
"Then. Get. One." I said through clenched teeth, causing the dog look at me in alarm and decamp to the kitchen.
"Yes, mom," he went into his room and blundered around for five more minutes. I finally said, "If you don't come out here dressed in fifteen seconds, I will dress you."
Fourteen and a half seconds later, he came out of his room, finally appropriately dressed. Off to Mass, which is likely a good thing, Rocky going out the door into the fifteen degree weather without a coat. We followed and locked the door. "Oh," he says, halfway up the road. "I need my coat."
"Too late," EG snapped.
"And my gloves." We ignore him. He sighs and proceeds to verbalize his teeth chattering, much like a cartoon character. We ignore him. He sighs louder. We ignore him. He gives up.
After Mass, I sit Rocky down and ask him what is going on. "I don't like doing chores," he says.
"Oh, I like doing laundry and cooking and cleaning?"
"Maybe not, but you have to do those things."
I ask, "Why do I have to do those things and you don't have to do any chores?"
"Because I don't want to."
Well, neither do I. So I made a big pot of chicken soup with vegetables and black-eyed peas on Monday morning before work and informed Rocky that was what he was going to be eating three meals a day, as I didn't WANT to be cooking for him. Rocky apparently thought that, the faster he ate the soup, the faster this would be over, so he devoured most of the pot that day.
No problem. After I served the soup for breakfast, I came home with ten pounds of chicken on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday I asked him, "How is this going? Are you ready to talk about chores?"
"Well, I don't want to right now, so maybe Thursday we can talk."
In the meantime, he can enjoy the soup. Or not.