Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 09.01.10
Stanstead, Quebec


Much ado to-do list

Good morning, children.

Here are your instructions for today. Please read carefully. Make sure you are fully awake. We're writing this as legibly as possible so that there are no excuses for not understanding it. If you don't know some of the big words, consult the dictionary. If you can't figure out the dictionary, look it up on the computer; we know you know how to use that.

Here are your chores:

Clean your rooms. And by "clean your rooms," we don't mean push everything that's on the floor into the corners. Nor does it mean throwing every piece of clothing you find into the laundry basket.

Wearing a sweatshirt once doesn't make it dirty, unless, of course, you were doing hard labour. Watching an entire season of "Friends" on a sunny afternoon does not constitute hard labour. Hard to believe but not hard labour.

Speaking of laundry, there is a load on the line to bring in when it's dry and another in the wash to hang out. Please do so. This entails actually checking the laundry on the line at regular intervals. Do not wait until 4 o'clock to finally get around to bringing in the laundry and hanging out the load.

If you do so, the second load will not dry before nightfall. This is called physics. Or maybe chemistry. Anyway, it's common sense, which we think you have, although we're not convinced.

If you fail to take care of the laundry, we do not want to hear you asking if there are any clean clothes. If you want clean clothes, try checking the floor of your room.

We've taken care of the breakfast dishes but the rest is up to you. Here's how it works: There is magic invisible dishwater in the sink. We know it's invisible because most of the time you plunk your dirty plate on the counter beside the magic dishwater and walk away. Perhaps you think that the dishes are magic as well and that they wash themselves. Not so. Only the invisible dishwater is magic. But trust us, it's there! Please use it.

Keep clutter picked up. That means if you see a plastic Slushie glass sitting by the computer where you've been watching YouTube videos of people falling down instead of being outside enjoying something not crude, unfunny, and pointless, please pick up said Slushie glass, rinse it in the magic dishwater, and put it in the recycling bin.

You may ask yourself, "Why should I have to pick it up? It's not my mess."

This is true. But we all do things we don't want to do, such as rush home at lunch so we can open a tin of soup for you just to ensure you're getting some semblance of nourishment and not spending the day eating Doritos.

Walk the dog. Just do it.

Now here's what you must NOT do. (This list is included to avoid statements like, "Well, you didn't tell us we COULDN'T do that...")

Do not create minor explosives using household materials.

Do not do anything involving food colouring.

Do not invite anyone in the house whose parents we don't at least wave to casually when they drive by, even if we know them only as "so-and-so's parents."

Do not throw balls in the house.

Do not drink all the Pepsis.

Do not let your friends drink all the Pepsis.

Do not see what happens when you lock the dog and one or more cats in a confined space.

Ditto for your little sister.

Do not ask us to drive you somewhere when you know full well that your mother has the car out of town. When this is explained to you, do not stare blankly as if I can magically produce a vehicle. Remember: only the dishwater is magic.

When in doubt, just don't do it.

Enjoy your day. And don't worry; all these unfair chores and demands will soon be over because next week you start school.


Mom and Dad

Ross Murray's collection, "You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You"?, is available in Quebec at area book stores and on-line at Ross can be reached at