1. Set your alarm for 6:30ish, but don't get out of bed until your mom has come in to wake you up at least three times.
2. Dig through the piles of laundry covering your floor, chair and bed to find the perfect outfit. You'll know it when you see it.
3. Yell, "has anyone seen my black t-shirt?" to no one in particular.
4. Accuse everyone in the house of being responsible for the fact that you cannot find the right t-shirt, even though the floor of your room looks as if a t-shirt bomb has just exploded over a field of t-shirts.
5. Borrow a black t-shirt from the drawer where your mom keeps her black t-shirts.
6. Wait until the last possible minute to paint your nails.
7. Wait until the last possible minute plus one to announce that your shoes are missing.
8. Emphatically deny that they could be anywhere in your room even though just beneath the t-shirt layer, it looks like a scene from Apocalypse, the Shoe Sale.
9. Reenact the scene from Cinderella as your mom brings out one pair of shoes after another from her closet.
10-14. Reject them all, using your eyebrows to communicate a range of feelings from horror at your mom's taste in shoes, to pity for your mom's inability to recognize her complete lack of taste in general, not counting the shirt you are currently wearing.
15. Remind your mom that you are out of money in your lunch account.
16. Could somebody get you a Chai latte? Because your nails are wet.
17. Call a friend to bring you a pair of shoes. There is no way you would be caught dead in your mom's shoes. Not counting the three or four pairs under your bed.
18. Announce that your mom needs to hurry because you are going to be late for school. What is she even doing?
19. Could somebody get you two more Chai lattes? Because your nails are wet and you promised Julia you would bring her a Chai latte.
20. In the car, suddenly remember that your hair is still in the two braids you slept in to create a wavy look. Emergency! You must get your hair out of braids before anyone sees you! Tell your mom to slow the car down! You need more time!
21. When your mom tells you the braids look "fine", shake your head in disbelief. Make a mental note to never, ever, ever, accept her advice on anything related to hair. It's like she's never even been to high school.
For years now, she's been following us in the car pool line, digging into our flowerbeds and peering into the smoke-filled back rooms of the PTA. She has stood on the sidelines and looked into the lunchboxes. She knows what's hiding beneath our couch cushions.
She knows what's taped to the front of our giant refrigerators: Orthodontist 3 p.m. Don't Forget! Is anyone ever going to empty the dishwasher?? It's a rhetorical question. She knows that too.
My point is, Peyton Price knows things, if you know what I mean.
And now, she's telling all in a little pink book that lays it out, three lines at a time. In haiku. I'm not saying it's true. And I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying it might be a good idea if we tried to buy up a few copies. Like maybe all of them.
You're thinking, put down that spray bottle, Suburban. Nobody cleans the house for a kid home for spring break.
But I'm not doing it for him.
I know as well as you do that he has probably already invited a dozen other 19-year-old boys to come over and spill Chipotle all over the furniture in the basement.
I'm doing it to send a message. And that message is this: Things are different.
We eat from plates now. Sometimes even in the kitchen. Dirty laundry goes IN the laundry basket. It's something new we're trying. Clean laundry goes somewhere else. We're still working on it. But you probably have noticed that entire sections of floor are almost shoe free. And the kitchen countertops? We know now that we have them.
See how we live now?
It's not 100 percent true. Or any percent, if you want to get all technical. But my theory is this: We have an opportunity to reset the bar as to what constitutes an acceptable level of household disorder. It's a fresh start. Fresh-ish.
Because it's harder to spill the contents of an overstuffed burrito onto a floor that has been freshly vacuumed. And no one wants to be the first to put a half-eaten plate of food onto a freshly-cleaned kitchen counter. A teenager who walks into a house where he can see his reflection in every solid surface is going to hesitate before he dumps the unwashed contents of his suitcase onto the floor. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We have since learned that this is actually not true.]
Before you know it, a couch that doesn't crunch when you sit on it will start to seem normal. We lived like that once. I'm pretty sure. It's possible I am thinking of some other family.
For more inspiration in a spray bottle, check out SK onQueen Latifahtoday.