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The Fine Art Of Nitzing
The rights of passage for both child and parent are numerous.
This is one view of one right of one child on his way to the age of 16.
I'm just trying to clean his room!
Previously published online and print author with 5 titles currently archived online, as well as 3 magazine articles to her credit. Kathy lives on the shore of Tampa Bay in Clearwater FL. Artistic by career Ms LaFollett owns and operates Visionized.com. Her interests include extensive reading, digital art, raising 2 teenagers to be successful humans as well support and promote her husband of 6 years.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (2)
Chicago Cutlery (Short Stories) A glimpse in the life of utensily challenged mom. [1,229 words] [Humor]
Zen And Zoom (Short Stories) When a husband and wife define their life, it's not always parallel, but it is entertaining! [2,437 words] [Relationships]
The Fine Art Of Nitzing
There’s a fine line between housecleaning and nitzing. A grey area only truly known and defined by a 15 year old boy witnessing his mother rifling through dirty laundry, gathering empty shampoo bottles in the bathtub, and attempting to “put away” paraphernalia that only the 15 year old boy can appraise as valuable.
Yes, it’s a grey area rout with fear and trepidation for both the child and the mother.
And yet I persevere. As his age grows so does his disdain toward that grey area. It occurred to me recently as I was trying to decide why he needed to collect empty Sobe bottles, that the older he became the smaller the grey area became. At 15 there is very little room left for the term “housecleaning” and “nitzing” applies to my proximity to his room being less than, say, 30 feet.
“Where are you going?”
This is the question I get from Chris whenever I seem to be walking near his bedroom door. We live in an apartment, larger than most but smaller than a house to be sure. Square footage is premium and it is hard not to look like I may go into his room. His bedroom door is not far from the kitchen.
Although I do not cook, and the Chicago Cutlery keeps me from entering that linoleum-lined gauntlet, I do on occasion go in to feed myself, or do laundry in the laundry closet. Quite frankly, it’s hard not to go into that room.
“Where are you going?”
I ignore the question and enter our daughter’s bedroom, which is next to Chris’. She isn’t living at home right now, and hasn’t been for over a year. This is my sanctuary of nitzing. When held back by other’s attitudes, I can easily enter Katie’s room and nitz to my heart’s content. I can fluff pillows, move furniture, touch things, retouch things, move the furniture back. She’s not here she can’t stop me.
The sanctuary provides a small level of satisfaction. Something akin to a half smoked cigarette to a heavy smoker. The problem with this type of nitzing area is once I’ve nitzed, no one will be changing my nitzing. I have no one living in the room to mess up my work mandating a new session of nitzing. Basically I’m nitzing through the motions. Not much satisfaction, yet enough to keep me from breaking into Chris’ room.
“Where are you going?”
I ignore the question, and head toward the split bathroom that connects to Chris’ bedroom while opening across the hall to Katie’s bedroom. Why? I consider it special ops. If he allows me to get THAT close to his bedroom, it’s just a matter of time before I can hang a hard left through the bathroom and get into true nitzing territory.
I don’t consider this covert work. This is unspoken understanding between a son and his mother. He knows I want in, I know he knows, and we both know neither will admit it.
There are only 2 ways for me to get into the coveted nitzing territory.
First, I can quietly slither my way in by multiple “drivebys”. By walking around over a period of time, Chris looses interest in tracking me. Soon he ignores his internal proximity warning system. I’ve literally bored him with potential nitzing problems that never paned out.
Or, I can go head first into the fray stating clearly I need his extra laundry to make a full load for myself. Everyone knows I’m cheap, and he knows I think that a full load costs less money to run then a half load. This second attack is dicey. There are days Chris will see the benefit of allowing me access to avoid doing his own laundry, and there are days he knows I’m going to “snatch and grab” nitz on my way in and out. I’m currently running a 40% success rate with this attack.
This familial practice has taken place for a few years, starting at his tender age of 13. It was his 13th birthday that brought enlightenment to his autonomy. About the time he blew out his 13 birthday candles he also blew out the light of assumed doom.
As the last candle quit, I do believe a thought ran through his mind.
“No. I don’t have to take this anymore. And yes, I WILL collect Sobe bottles for the rest of my life!”
“Where are you going?”
Today is his 16th birthday.
“Where are you going?”
I ignore the question.
Through my own version of the 12-step program, I’ve successfully beaten the need to nitz in his room for months now. But today being his 16th leaves me reminiscent of a time when he never asked me where I was going. I feel at this very moment he almost OWES me one last shot at his room.
“Where are you going?”
“Well,” I say. “I was hoping to go into your room and see where you put your new stereo system.”
“Oh!” he says with a smile. “Sure, and could you help me with something on my computer while you’re in there?”
“Sure” I say.
And we go in, together. He knows that I could potentially nitz, but amazingly, seems not to be intimidated by the threat. I know I could potentially nitz, but amazingly, I don’t initiate the threat.
And so the right of passage is completed on his 16th birthday. I stand in his room looking at his birthday gift while he tells me about his computer plans and problems.
Surrounded by Sobe bottles, items of unimaginable value only to a boy, and the knowledge that another corner has been turned in the life of a mother and son.
It is now me that asks the question, “Where are you going?”
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© 2003 Kathy Lafollett
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