On Sunday night Michael decided he was going to clean his room. I have only been asking him to clean his bedroom and unpack the boxes stacked against his walls since August. His room had to be packed and moved when we got new carpet after what is now known as the Flood of 2010.(See previous blog by that name to relive the horror.)

I was shocked at his eagerness to tackle this project and when I questioned him about his motivation he said “Well you asked me to clean it up.”

“Yes, I have been asking you every weekend for six months so why now?” I replied.

“No reason, just needed to be done.” he said.

That was my first clue that something was up. No teenager EVER ends or begins a sentence with “just needed to be done”. I was suspicious but kept quiet. I didn’t want to rock the boat with too many questions. I just kept my head down and started helping him unpack.

We began sorting through the totes and boxes that he had packed and every box was a “miscellaneous” surprise. There was not rhyme or reason for the contents which included various socks, toys, photos and even some trash. At this point I showed great restraint by not launching into a lecture about why any sane person would pack trash and not throw it away. Sometimes I am amazed by my strength.

As we continued our work I asked Michael why he was watching the MTV series, I Used To Be Fat, because usually he is watching sports. It was then I got the answer I had been searching for earlier.

“I can’t find my remote”. There it was. The real reason he was cleaning. His room had become so jammed with junk that he couldn’t find his remote. The only thing that would have had him cleaning faster would have been the loss of his cellphone.

Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? Next time I need him to clean I will just hide his cell phone in the rubble and watch him scramble.

We live and learn.


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