As I pack to move our house, I came across a wonderful document drawn up by my daughter to guide the behavior of her (then age 16) and her brother (then age 8) while I was out of town for ten days. So without further ado, I present to you, in its entirety (only the names removed to protect the guilty):
CONTRACT TO KEEP US FROM MURDERING EACH OTHER
IN MOM’S ABSENCE
Section 1: Basic Household Chores (VERY basic)
The living room shall be kept reasonably neat through daily picking up by BOTH of us, regardless of who made that awful mess, or whoever’s shoes are blocking every available pathway. This is to save us a horrendous time cleaning it up an hour before Mom’s plane is due in.
The kitchen shall be cleaned at two-day (or fewer) intervals; daily cleaning is a goal I know we’re not going to make because we both HATE doing dishes. Therefore, we shall share the job of doing the dishes, one rinsing, one loading, depending on the outcome of a coin toss. Whoever can get the dishwasher to actually START gets ice cream served to him or her by the other party at some point that day.
Pick up your own dirty clothes and towels and books and magazines and whatever else ends up on the bathroom floor during your stay in there. He shall shower at least once during Mom’s absence due to his absolute refusal to use deodorant.
Bedrooms – it’s not even worth the trying, since they’re not public areas. Close your door if it gets that bad, which it usually does.
Section 2: Behavior
Friendly bickering is permitted, as long as nobody actually means what they say. Name-calling is only permitted in a joking way, such as calling each other “iguana gums” or “turkey lips.” Physical fighting of any kind beyond pretend slaps on the hand is a no-no, and whoever hits first is required to serve the other ice cream at some point that day, said point to be decided by the one being served. Whoever hits second should be ashamed of themself. Total refusal to engage in agreed-upon chores is not permitted; reasonable procrastination, extending to no later than 9:00 p.m., is.
Cursing beyond anything permitted on Star Trek on His part is not allowed at any time, or Mom will be told of the incident(s) in which such cursing occurred, upon which notification she will probably laugh. She is not responsible for her language while she is driving; at all other times, she is to hold to this same rule.
In general we are to treat each other like civilized human beings. If somebody sulks, they are to tell the other person exactly why they are sulking, and the other person is required to apologize, unless the sulk is over something really really childish.
This goes into effect the morning of Tuesday, December 26, 1995, and ends when Mom gets back. (Neither of us can remember the date right now. <g>)
I will now go into witness protection since she’s the one who introduced me to this board and I know when I’ve crossed that invisible line myself.