I spent the entire day this last Monday scrubbing my house. It’s simply because the Jedi Family cannot seem to make it through a weekend without trashing the joint so that it’s reminiscent of a rat hole inhabited by teenage monkeys.
With all the scrubbing, though, and the trip into the city to have lunch with Bridget, I didn’t get our family room cleaned downstairs.
I adore saying the words “Into the city,” because Small Town is such a smallish place. And going into the city for us requires exactly 35 seconds of drive-time. However, I usually prefer to do my shopping and restaurant dining on the outskirts of Small Town — and I’m looking at you, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s! — because you have to parallel park in the city. Parallel parking, in fact, is the only option, and I’m sure that it’ll come as no big surprise to any of you that my parking skills with the Suburban are equal to the parking skills of a one-armed badger who can’t hold the steering wheel while shifting into Reverse. I’m not very good at parallel parking, and all attempts at trying it just make me grouchy and irritable and in desperate need of someone to shout out, “Jell-O shots, Mama?”
When I set off for my Bible study on Monday night, I looked at Hubs and the boy and said, “I will take anyone out for ice cream tomorrow, if they decided to clean up the family room and vacuum it.” The boy was plum thrilled with this offer, while Hubs looked at me and whispered, “Ice cream isn’t really a big enough motivator for me to do housework while hockey is on TV.”
I held little hope that the family room would be visited by the cleaning fairies while I was away, having dinner with the girls and hammering out the final chapter of our Bible study workbook for the year, while we moaned about how stuffed we were with Heather’s fantastic chicken salad.
The chicken salad which was actually a chicken salad and not a chicken shake, since she hadn’t pulverized everything in the Magic Bullet.
When I walked in our front door at 10:30 that night and surveyed the family room, it looked EXACTLY as it had looked when I left. Apparently all the cleaning fairies painted their faces in their team colors and found seats by the glass at the hockey rink for themselves and their giant foam fingers, as they terminated their employments at the Fairy Dust Cleaning Agency.
My surprise, though, knew no bounds when I walked into my bathroom to brush my teeth and discovered a blue sticky note slapped on my mirror. It said, “Dear Mom, I tidyed up my bedroom, and I really cleaned the shelves in my closet. Go look. I’m sorry, but Dad made me go to bed and I didn’t get to do the family room after that.”
We still have some problems with that CHANGE THE -Y TO AN I AND ADD -ED rule, because, as the boy would say, “Spelling is stupid.”
I did wander into the boy’s bedroom, and I had no idea where I was at. The pit that I have been nagging him about for the past two weeks that has made me recall past episodes of COPS, when the raids happen in homes that are, shall we say, less than tidyed, was transformed into a place where Pottery Barn Kids could hold a photo shoot for their next catalog. The closet was surely what the room outside of the Tabernacle looked like, as Jesus’ smiling spirit was resting right there, proclaiming, “See? That boy’s going to turn out okay!”
I don’t know what happened to the boy, but it was like having the Fly Lady stop over for a visit, and I didn’t even care about the family room any longer. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I had to worry about asking a couple of my friends with adorable daughters to gather their oxen and their goats and get their dowries ready, so that we could sign some contracts for an arranged marriage to guarantee that there would be someone for the boy in the future. For the first time, I thought that maybe a cute girl would look at the boy and see something other than the words SLOPPY HOUSEKEEPER tattooed across his forehead as a warning to all hopeful brides.
Now his forehead simply announces, I WILL CLEAN AT THE STELLAR LEVEL FOR ICE CREAM, AND MY MOM IS OKAY WITH THAT.
And that’s more than what Hubs can claim, people. Ice cream, you see, isn’t a big motivator for him when hockey is on.
And? For the record?
It’s Hubs at the hockey games who’s yelling at the little fairies, “Down in front! Get your foam fingers out of my line of vision! I can’t see the net!”