Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Star Chart

Sorry, I cannot change the size of the font in this post, and I have no idea why. :-)

So, I wanted to make my mid-week blog entry about anything I wanted to talk about -- be that art, a funny story about how Ellie is into (and trying to eat) everything in sight (including her Children's Bible -- yikes!), or how much I love the Beach Boys Pandora station (Best 50s/60s mix ever! The Ronettes?! No way, right?! Yes, way!!).

Instead, I'm obsessing over the cleaning star chart which I've renamed, "The 'Forget It' Chart".

My sneaky husband is spending every waking minute either trying to avoid making the system work or trying to take complete advantage of it!

On Monday morning, when I first presented the plan, Mark was all, "Oh good GOD, nooo..." + huge eye-roll + dramatic sigh. He claimed he would need at least 12 hours to think about this plan and make his decision. I'm convinced that he thought this was the exact amount of time it would take ME to forget about the plan and move onto some other shiny, distracting task.

This angered me on multiple levels, as I have ADHD tendencies and felt he was taking full advantage of my vulnerabilities. Ugh.

I told him that if he needed 12 hours to come up with a reward system for cleaning, he must be an idiot... We're two intelligent adults and should be able to quickly come up with a plan that works for us. We came to an agreement (per my previous post) -- we would do the star chart and earn stars that could be cashed in for time to ourselves or money to buy a small luxury item (a book, etc.)

On Monday evening, I shared this idea with Mark's sister, Kim. Through careful analysis of our plan (and knowing her brother better than I do), she was able to reveal the first of several loopholes in our system... Mark thought that he could hoard stars! In his crazy star chart world, he could choose to not spend stars... saving up hours of star time and cashing them in for, what?! A European vacation? Hold on...

First amendment to Star Chart:

Each Sunday, you must clear any unused stars and start over.

On Tuesday, I cleaned the entire kitchen and did 2 loads of laundry. (Kitchen + Laundry = 2 Stars) I happily updated my chart! I had 3 total after a maintenance kitchen/dining room clean on Monday!

On Wednesday, Mark's row had 5 stars! How did he get 2 more stars than I had? I questioned him when he got home from work. Answer: He had done a grocery shopping after work on Tuesday. In his mind, a grocery shopping was "clearly" worth "at least" 4 stars. Plus, he had done 1 load of laundry. Hold on...

Second Amendment to Star Chart:

I am the one who decides how much each chore is worth in stars.

I admit, this one hurts on multiple levels. Part of me was hoping that this would be a visual representation of how much work I do around the house... so he could see how much time and energy I put into housework. I never (in a million years) thought I would see more stars on his chart. Which leads to...

Third Amendment (suggested by Kim on Tuesday... that I thought I had covered in Amendment 1.):

You can only earn a max of 8 stars per week (equal to 2 hours of personal time or 8 "star bucks" to spend on a luxury item).

This morning, Thursday, I was surprised to discover that the drain was leaking under the kitchen sink. The good thing: It had leaked into a dish pan I had under the sink with cleaning supplies in it and not into the cupboard. The bad thing: That dish pan was f*cking nasty! It was full of disgusting, mildewy, black water. I told Mark that I was taking Ellie off to day care, and if he could just kindly remove that "little" pan of goo, I would love him forever and grant him 4 stars.

I sent him a text once I arrived at work:

Me: How'd it go??

Mark: That was probably the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. I'm pretty sure there were things in there that would have boggled scientists for years. And I can't be certain, but I had the strangest feeling that it was staring at me... Like it had some sort of malevolent intelligence. I think I've just witnessed the doom of mankind, and it began in our kitchen. This is worth more than 4 stars.

Fourth Amendment to Star Chart (in conjunction with Second Amendment):

Big messes equal more points (but no more than 4!).

I know that... none of this really matters. The entire point for him is to throw more obstacles and distractions at me on the path to household harmony (though he completely denies that), so that I give up and keep things the way they are, which I believe, to him, is safe, cozy, secure, consistent.

But I'm determined to make our lives better, cleaner, happier, more organized, to be a better person and a better example for Ellie. And, the more obstacles he presents, the more amendments I will write!

I really sympathize with our forefathers. I wonder how Thomas Jefferson felt when the "Mark" of the Constitution framers was all, "'We the People??'... hmm... that just doesn't sound right. How about, 'We People...' or maybe just 'The People...' Wow, how long have we been at this? Better call it a day."

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