Sunday, July 02, 2006

Making Allowances

Lately I've been dreaming of appliances. Most people dream of better jobs, new lovers, exotic vacations. Not me. I've been dreaming of appliances. Dishwashers. Washers. Dryers. Even garbage disposals.

I've also been dreaming of backyards, gardens, patios, swimming pools, nearby beaches.

I think this may mean that my enthusiasm for living in New York City is coming to its limits.

There are dozens of things that people put up with to live in New York City. The ones that are obvious are the high cost of living from rent to food, the generally lousy public schools, the cramped and often crumbling apartments, the noise of traffic and neighbors, and the rarity of outdoor spaces.

The ones that are less widely remarked upon are the usual lack of household conveniences: dishwashers, washer-dryers and garbage disposals in apartments. For years it was illegal to install garbage disposals in Manhattan kitchens. Don't ask — something about the sewage lines. And old apartment buildings like the one we live in don't allow washer-dryers in the apartments. Supposedly it strains the plumbing.

But last week, unexpectedly, my dishwasher dream was answered, in the most unexpected way. I'd come home from a long day at work (yes, I've started on my new project despite the fact that I still don't have a contract.) And all the dishes had been done. Not by dear F, who is still wracked by his recent illness, but by Sweet M.

Shining, clean dishes. An empty sink.

Sweet M proudly announced — "I did the chores. Now can I have an allowance?"

"Sure." I replied, still completely flabbergasted. "What do you think you oughta make?"

"How 'bout twenty-five?" she suggested.

"Twenty-five! How 'bout five?" I countered.

"Oh alllll-right," she settled.

The girl's charging New York prices.

But now she's making an allowance, and our lives have changed. She picks up her clothes, she puts away her toys. She takes the garbage to the trash shoot.

I know we're all supposed to use tokens and all that nonsense to motivate our kids, but why use tokens when you can use the real deal — diñero. Sweet M's motto seems to be "show me the money."

And we shall. These are the sorts of allowances I'm thrilled to make for Sweet M.

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3 comments:

r.b. said...

Brought tears to my eyes...from laughing!

r.b. said...

Forgive me for chiming in again, but I read this story to Ben. When we got to the part about the 25 dollars, he says, "That sounds reasonable!"

MothersVox said...

And here we've all been worrying about how we'll provide for them when we're old and infirm. They'll be taking care of us in style if they keep this up.