I live in a household of four adults and one almost teenager. One adult, my husband, is the only one in the household with a full time job. My BIL is not working; my sister does absolutely NOTHING all day everyday, except for laundry for her family. As I’ve said before, my husband and I pay my sister and BIL’s house payment with the added job of cleaning one bathroom (by my husband) and the added job of me doing ALL the dishes for the WHOLE household EVERYDAY. Most readers know that I am very ill and simply doing the dishes, taking a shower and cleaning my cats litter box on a daily basis takes what little energy I have. I don’t want to belittle the fact that my sister has allowed us to live in her home for the last two years but sometimes I feel that she has gotten the better end of the bargain.
Meanwhile, my sister and BIL are both in good health. They choose to spend their days doing this:
BIL wakes up plays video games most of the morning taking cigarette/coffee breaks outside on the front porch. When my niece wakes up, usually 11:30am since school let out for summer, she will bug her father until he quits playing his video games so she can have the TV to herself. Just a reminder…she has a full TV/DVD/TiVo/CD player/phone/computer system setup in her room. My BIL will then get her a bowl of cereal because she complains to him that she is too lazy to get it herself. He then wanders off to the porch again smoking cigarettes and talking to various people on the phone. He comes back inside long enough to get bothered by his daughter while she tries to engage him in conversation about her interests. At the moment her only interest is the Disney channel and that’s it. Oh wait, and she also likes making video’s of herself and then playing them back over and over and over whilst saying, “Daddy watch me do this, or watch me say this, or watch me sing this” as if he hasn’t seen it a gazillion times already. At noon or even as late as 1pm my sister wakes up and ambles her way into the kitchen getting her coffee and going out to the porch to smoke cigarettes. Next, my BIL sits at his computer puts on his headphones and disengages from everyone and everything. After her cigarette my sister sits on the living room couch and my niece pounces on her for attention. My sister very grumpily states that, “Mommy needs time to wake up, please leave me alone for awhile” and if by magic the phone rings, the caller being one of my sisters three “friends”. Sister then walks onto the porch again talking on the phone for about thirty minutes. The next few hours it’s a game of what I call, “Avoidance”. I watch my sister and BIL try desperately to avoid my niece as she demands attention. Each parent tries to sneak away at various intervals to spend as much time away from my niece as possible.
By dinner time, my sister, BIL and niece have eaten only cereal or junk food. My sister refuses to cook a well-balanced meal for her husband since he got fired from his job and on the few occasions that she does grocery shop (she makes my BIL do the grocery shopping) she gets him TV dinners. For my niece she usually offers to cook her macaroni and cheese or soup and then even tries to coerce my niece into cooking the soup herself. Very rarely does my sister actually cook a “real” meal but surprisingly enough all three of them dirty a huge amount of dishes.
So, after they’ve all eaten dinner the rest of the evening my sister tries to find something on TV to keep my niece occupied, although this usually fails and the rest of the night it’s back to trying to avoid my niece for as long as possible. I will give my BIL some credit; he spends quality time with my niece and tries to get her motivated to learn or show interest in something other than Disney shows. I also give credit to my BIL for doing more cleaning than my sister. He will vacuum once a week (but only the carpet that is not covered); he has mown the lawn three times the past six months. He will generally do what ever cleaning my sister tells him to do but he makes no attempt to get the job done well.
Later, around 10pm to 11pm my sister spends this hour repeatedly telling my niece to get ready for bed. Then, my sister picks which television show or rented movie she wants to watch and we all have to be ultra quiet while she enjoys her movie. During the movie my sister has to set it on pause several times to either smoke a cigarette, talk on the phone or put her daughter back to bed because she has gotten out of bed several times using any excuse she can find. My favorite excuse she used recently is that she doesn’t like the way the sheets feel on her skin. By the time all is settled and my sister’s movie/show is over it’s about midnight. She will then go to her room, watch more TV and take her sleeping pill. Once asleep she will sleep all night and wake up the next day at either noon or 1pm. This daily pattern generally never changes except for the occasional going out to eat dinner or a shopping trip with my niece to the mall.
My BIL hates this daily routine and hates how his relationship with his wife and daughter is so strained. He is getting some real counseling for his addictions and mental issues. In comparison, my BIL’s addictions are causing about as much trouble (in the marriage) as my sister’s mental issues but he is the only one willing to change, compromise and give my sister support, she on the other hand wants only to hide her head in the sand and have the drudgery of life taken care of for her by everyone in the house.
All this delving into personal family matters brings me to the last two days. I have been having severe breathing problems. I’ve made mention of this to my family members, not that it isn’t obvious as my breathing is a bit labored and loud. Two nights ago I went to bed unusually early and my niece looked at me oddly when I mentioned that I was going to bed because I was feeling poorly. The next day my sister spoke to me privately about my niece’s fear for my health. I was told to stop complaining about any ailments and try to look cheerful for my niece. At first I was very upset that my illness had such an effect on my niece and I felt horrible that I wasn’t trying to be more considerate of her feelings and youth. I don’t enjoy giving anyone I love something to worry about so I spent most of my time in my room to lesson my niece’s concern.
Needless to say the dishes have not been taken care of for two days. I really really have no energy or stamina to tackle that job, thus the kitchen is a major mess. To my surprise as we were all congregating in the living room my niece blurts out with major attitude, “You better get busy and get the kitchen cleaned up soon”. My sister chuckled and I couldn’t speak. As a child I was taught never to speak to my elders, especially a family member, in such an insolent manner. Does my sister reprimand her? No, she simply laughs.
I know this is my anger speaking but I refuse to clean the kitchen. I should show a more Christian attitude and clean up the mess but I’m so tired of watching my sister and niece sit on their rumps all day everyday while I clean up after them and pay their rent. I also know there are going to be some pretty angry people in this house when they get up today and see the kitchen left the way it was when they went to bed last night. Maybe it isn’t my anger; maybe I’m just too tired and sick.
I’m going to get some rest now…I pray someone in this deranged household does the dishes for me or I’m gonna have speak my mind.