The bloganuary prompt for today is:
What chore do you find the most challenging to do?
The simple answer is:
ALL OF THEM!
I actually really like doing mindless chores. There’s something immensely satisfying about bringing order to chaos. There is a zen like quality to performing routine tasks that quiets the mind and let’s creative inspiration creep in. I get great satisfaction from cleaning and organizing, and having a clean, ordered environment improves my mental health.
Plus, there’s no better time to dust the bookshelves than when a writing deadline is approaching!
Unfortunately, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I think my body hates me. If I manage to push through the pain and fatigue to get a few chores done, my body gets it’s own back by making it impossible to move for days afterward.
I think one of the reasons I love animals so much is that books and movies have told me how great they are at doing chores.
I learned at a young age that I was no princess, so I stopped expecting woodland animals to come into the house and help me get dressed (I stopped expecting it, but I never stopped hoping!).
For the less aesthetically gifted, fiction pointed me in the direction of magic. These days I even have a black cat as a familiar, but I don’t know why witches sing their praises as helpers around the house. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cats, but in my years of sharing a house with them, they very firmly expect to be cleaned up AFTER rather than doing the cleaning up.
Unable to get clothes to march into the washing machine with a wave of my hand or in response to a jaunty tune, I decided positive reinforcement training was the answer to transform my animal friends into companions like the ones who lived with Beorn or Charles F. Muntz.
I found moderate success with my German Shepherd, Hans. He opened doors for me, picked up things I dropped, and got certain items when I requested. While I trained him to bring me my phone, keys, and other items when I asked (or pointed at items he didn’t know the names of), he taught himself to take wallets from pockets and bags and give them to me. Funnily enough, Tigger, without training or prompting, will also go through visitors bags and pockets looking for money. However, he prefers cash, and removes it from the wallet before bringing it to me. Perhaps I should go into the business of pickpockets?
Perhaps even more useful, Hans would escort my elderly cat to the litter tray (who pretended he’d forgotten where it was and wandered around yowling when he had the need to use it), take purloined items from the other dogs, and round up the pack to bring them back to me when we were out and about. I could give him an item – even food – and tell him to bring it to a person by name, having full trust that it would be delivered safely.
My little parrot assistant was more domestically minded than Hans. She tried to help me with cleaning, but as she was very little, and she thought her tongue was the best cleaning tool, she was not much help. The wind from her wings was great at dislodging hard to reach cobwebs on the ceiling though.
She loved to be involved in whatever I was doing, and would always join in, even if her participation was limited to siting on my shoulder and cheering me on. On the days when I couldn’t get out of bed, she’d lovingly wash my face (yes, with her tongue) and carefully comb through my eyebrows and eyelashes. If she was particularly worried about me, she’d fly seeds and nuts over to me from her food dish and try to feed me.
My current animal companions – Tigger the spaniel, and Master Cat and Monster Cat – are very sweet and loving, but they don’t do chores. I’m suspicious that Monster Cat knows arcane secrets and can open portals to other dimensions, but he’s not sharing this knowledge with me.
Enough about me.