Unclean? Most Likely

It came in the mail a few weeks ago, The advertisement from The Cleaning Authority: Clean Homes, Clean Earth.

“Unhappy with your MAID SERVICE?” reads the pamphlet. Yeah, I’m unhappy with my maid service! “Maybe it’s time to clean house!” Yes, my house always needs a good cleaning. It, in no way, resembles anything you’d find in a magazine or home catalog. My domestic help is lacking in both skills and motivation and I open the mailer to see what’s to be done.

The advertisement from The Cleaning Authority includes a list of services these Mighty Angels of Hygiene will perform on a regular and rotating basis. I glance at the list, intending to toss it in the recycle bin with all the other requests for money, but don’t. It’s a gripping read…fascinating and sort of horrifying. I’ve nothing against them….except the damn bar. They’ve raised the bar! I liked the bar.

“Save this chart”, it reads “and next time your cleaning service leaves, take it around and see if they did everything we do.”

These delightful experts will dust ceiling fans, dust lamps shades, clean windowsills, and wipe the fronts of appliances...ON A REGULAR BASIS. These need to be done? On a regular basis? You kidding me? Base boards wiped, kitchen furniture hand wiped, furtiture and upholstery vacuumed. These need to be done, too? The only time my kitchen chairs are hand-wiped is when they are lucky enough to suffer a spill. Shower doors given extra attention. Shower doors? I don’t even have shower doors. Now, I have to get shower doors in order to give them the extra attention they, regularly, need.

What kind of mother am I without sanitized floors and hand-wiped furniture? The crushing inadequacy! I consider hanging it on the fridge to refer to it every so often to check whether I’ve scrubbed my grout and spot cleaned my doors. Maybe, I’ll work my way down the list and start back on the top and I stop. No.

I toss it in the recycling and pour another cup of coffee. There, I cleaned up.

Moth at Midnight

The full moon lit the hallway at midnight. I was still half asleep when I stepped out into the hall and was groggily surprised to meet a man with a sword. He was side-stepping, cautiously toward the bathroom; I was just thirsty.

And there was my son, looming tall, home for Spring Break, and armed in the middle of the night, laughing quietly.  Of course.

“It’s in there.” He whispers gesturing with, what I see now is, a wooden kitana. The sword, I notice blearily, has been improved with the addition of a ruler attached to the end. It’s clamped to the end of the sword, clamped with a Staples alligator clamp. Of course.image

“It’s really big and it’s so loud.” He grabbed the flexible ruler and twanged it with a sproing sound. “Aren’t you glad you sent me to college?” He laughed.

Okay, I’m barely awake and not prepared for these kind of deep questions. I just want a drink of water. I kind of don’t want to know what’s loud and threatening in the bathroom at midnight. I don’t know what you plan to do with the sproinging Kitana to subdue the invader.image

I decide I’m not equipped to face the upstairs bathroom and whatever has taken up residence and turn to forage downstairs for a drink. It might or might not be water at this point, it’s too weird upstairs.

But, my son keeps laughing quietly as he stalks the bathroom and I see his hand-crafted distance weapon. But, in the other hand, I see a cup. “It’s a bug.” He whispers.

He’s planned ahead. One hand defends himself from the creepy, loud bug; the other hand is for mercy. He intends to catch and release the bug, whatever it is, into the night.image

Aren’t you glad you sent me to college? We both laugh in whispers. I take the cup and he covers me, leaning into the doorway above me. I trap the spooky moth and we release it into the moonlight.

One hand for protection, the other for kindness. Aren’t I glad? Yes, yes I am. Of course.

Stalking in the Produce Aisle

I admit it.

I might have been following the couple through the grocery store and overhearing their conversation just a little bit. I was totally casual and not-at-all creepy about it. I had to find out how their story ended. It started in the produce section as the wife picked out a bag of oranges and I lurked near the potatoes.

Continue reading “Stalking in the Produce Aisle”

Reaching Out

soilI spent this early Spring afternoon with my hands in the soil. I knelt and methodically weeded and loosened the winter-packed earth. Then, carefully smoothed the surface and measured out my rows and gently settled the tiny seeds,  alternating and repeating double rows of lettuce, spinach, and carrots. The sun warmed my back; the breeze still blew with a chill. The earth released the scent of hope.

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Iron Mama

I’ve been stuck in the house most of the Winter and, like many, I’ve turned more and more often to a guilty pleasure. You know the one I mean. They call it Food Porn. Cooking Shows. They come with impossible standards, only attainable by professionals with lighting teams, makeup artists, and an army to do the prep work and washing up afterwards. I know it’s bad for me. I’m ashamed to admit but I tune in and lustfully admire the creative recipes, the beautifully-prepared ingredients, and the final artistically-crafted presentations. Continue reading “Iron Mama”

Change of Plan

Winter Storm Jonas sounds like the East Coast is under threat from an angry Teen Boy Band. However, the satellite images look sobering. A massive deeply colored band of snow is poised to move across the region. Forecasts of snow accumulation begin to count 12 inches, then 24 inches, then 30 and more. Blizzard conditions are coming and the region prepares.

I should add that I’m watching these satellite images 900 miles from home, while drinking morning coffee in Orlando, Fl. We spend a few hours sending instructions to our farm sitter, and hope for the best. Continue reading “Change of Plan”

Howdy Bub: It is what you think

For My Grandmother

She was born Theodora Putnam Downing; her family instantly named her Bimby. She loved her friends and her family fiercely and delightedly–but not, ever on the phone. Talking with Bimby on the phone went pretty much like this.

“Hello? Oh, it’s good of you to call. I’ll call you next time. Bye.”

Continue reading “Howdy Bub: It is what you think”

Sunday Morning Dreams

I’m really very sorry, Sunday. I had planned to get up and meet you. But, now I have this Dacshund sleeping on my arm. Clearly, I’m not supposed to leave the couch or change from my pajamas and robe. Also, my coffee is getting cold and the remote is out of reach.

I could refill my coffee and grab the remote on the way back. But no. No, I have priories. The Weiner Dog is comfy and snoring gently on my elbow. The coffee is cooling, the TV is dark, and the dog dreams on.

Because, I’ve got priorities. Priorities and no coffee. Send help.