Free To Be You and Me was my favorite album growing up. I still find myself breaking into one of those catchy tunes such as “William Wants a Doll” or “It’s Alright to Cry.” Years ago when I met Alan Alda I told him “I could run as fast as the wind,” and he smiled, remembering the Atalanta story he voiced.
Today one of those stories stands out more than the others, especially when it comes to organizing and getting things done. That’s teamwork. Carole Channing recited a witty poem about Housework, whose last line delivers the ultimate message:
Little boys, little girls, when you’re big husbands and wives, If you want all the days of your lives To seem sunny as summer weather, Make sure, when there’s housework to do, That you do it together!
Last Sunday, after another weekend of guests backed out of my parents’ driveway on Cape Cod (we’ve had 26 so far!), we stood waving, each of us letting out a tiny sigh. While we had had fun hosting and laughing and cooking and eating, there was work to be done. Beds to be stripped, sheets and towels to be washed, dishes to be cleaned, floors to be swept, etc. And even though we were a bit exhausted, we were energized by the camaraderie we found in the process of doing it together. And of course the music playing throughout the house helped put a little pep in our step.
Last night I spent three hours at my sister Jackie’s house putting everything away in he
r kitchen. She and my brother-in-law just had it remodeled so there was a lot to do. First we unpacked everything, grouping like items on the counter and floor – plates and bowls, cups and mugs, Tupperware, etc. After tossing anything chipped or lacking a cover, we discussed where things should logically be put away as their old kitchen lacked rhyme or reason. I offered suggestions based on the dozens of kitchens I’ve organized, but also wanted to tailor it to their life with two little kids. I ended up organizing the laundry room and pantry as well since there were things they’d kept in the kitchen that didn’t belong. (Which is when I began to sing another childhood song, “One of these things is not like the other” to emphasize my point.) I set up a system for lunch boxes and snacks, and created a section for the kids to be able to reach things without asking their parents or climbing on chairs which I saw one night and almost had a heart attack.
Even though we were tired from our long days, the three of us had fun putting their puzzle, uh, their kitchen in order, because we did it together.