Part of the Reason That I Hate Cooking is the Messy Kitchen After the Casserole is Done

Yesterday the boy and I decided to kick off our very first Summer Vacation Weekday by reclaiming our house, which is a polite way to say, “Things looked like the Seven Dwarfs lived  here, and Snow White hadn’t shown up yet.”

Believe me.  I’d been looking for Miss White on the horizon for quite some time, but in this version of the story, I think she ran into Prince Charming at the wishing well a little earlier than anticipated, and she got to cut the seven short, bearded fellows completely out of the book, while she and Charming put the top down on his Jeep and went for a cheeseburger with a side of rosy-red apple slices.

Which ultimately meant that YES, INDEED!  She plum got out of the part where she cleaned their cottage and changed their sheets and chiseled dried globs of Crest Whitening Paste off of their bathroom sink.

The boy did not share in my passion for cleaning house at all, and he had to be reminded that the public stockade in Small Town’s Center Square was going to be an exceptionally cramped and hot spot to spend an entire afternoon, if he didn’t quit saying, “Luke!  I am your fffaaaaattthhhhherrrr!” into the battery-operated voice changer and engage himself fully in the act of cleaning his bedroom.  Eventually, he put the song “I Like to Move It, Move It” on his iPod, and he got down to business.

It should be noted that the song played approximately twenty-nine times before his bedroom passed the general’s inspection, but my sanity was a small price to pay for not having to be in his room, sorting Lego bricks out of nine hundred 4th grade math papers that came home in his backpack on Friday.  I had my own piper to pay, as I shoveled my way through six loads of laundry and hardwood floors that resembled the plywood bottom in a giant chicken coop.

By 12:30 yesterday afternoon, everything smelled of Clorox and Cranberry Muffin Scentsy wax.  I was feeling much better about the Jedi Manor living conditions, and my favorite quote of the entire day was when the boy said, “You know, all this cleaning?  Well, it isn’t exactly the way I envisioned Summer Vacation panning out.”

Of course, picking up three squirt guns off of the dining room table, two pairs of wet swim trunks off of the bathroom floor, a Pop Tart wrapper up from the coffee table in the family room, seventeen loose Lego bricks off of my bathroom sink, a pair of flip-flops and a broken Slinky off of the kitchen counter, and a single, lone Under Armour baseball cleat up from the floor in front of our deck door, all before I scrubbed a bathroom until my hands were raw with the Clorox burn wasn’t exactly how I envisioned MY Summer Vacation panning out, either.

In the middle of all of that, in an episode of Great Parenting Moments, I may have looked at the boy and said, “And you know, one of the primary reasons that you DO NOT have your own cell phone is simply this:  You would set it down somewhere funky, exactly like you do with broken Slinkies on the kitchen counter, and you would WALK.  AWAY.  FROM.  IT.  And then when I called you on it, some OTHER BOY would answer and say, ‘Dude!  I got a free phone, and I called my aunt in Australia on it!’  This would all happen within the first three days of you OWNING a cell phone.”

No matter.

By 1:30 yesterday afternoon, our house was filled with laughing boys.

And that IS how both the boy and I envisioned Summer Vacation panning out!

We had boys running in and out of our house, as they drank every last bit of apple juice in our refrigerator and ate their way through a bag of pears.  We had boys doing backflips on the trampoline.  We had boys chasing one another with squirt guns outside and throwing their heads back in hysterical laughter.  We had boys arguing over whose turn it was with the PlayStation controller in HIS hands.  We had boys camped out on the family room floor, watching a documentary on catching Big Foot.  We had sword fights in the backyard, and an enormous discussion on the magical art of igniting paper with a magnifying glass.

It was a Very Good Afternoon, which stretched into a Very Good Evening.

And then the cute neighbor boy ended up sleeping at our house last night.

This morning, the cute neighbor boy and the boy decided to make themselves omelets.  They plunked frying pans down on the cooktop and gathered eggs and cheese and butter out of our refrigerator.  They talked about hosting their own cooking show, and then began another lively discussion on igniting paper with a magnifying glass.

There are some topics which young boys simply cannot get out of their minds.

While I was folding a load of clothes in the laundry room, the boys came downstairs to show me their final products.  The cute neighbor boy had a cheese omelet that was worthy of a glossy magazine cover.  The boy had a plate of fluffy, yellow scrambled eggs.  He told me, “Mom, apparently MY omelets look a whole lot like scrambled eggs when they’re done cooking!”

The two of them settled in with their breakfast plates in front of our TV.  Pawn Stars was on!

And I came upstairs to find a nearly-full jug of milk sitting on my kitchen island, right beside a carton of eggs and a package of cheese.  There were two frying pans, coated in cooked egg remnants on the cooktop, bits of dropped egg everywhere, cheese wrappers in the sink, and a can of non-stick cooking spray rolling around on the floor.

I called the boy up and said, “Look at the kitchen, Son.  What is wrong with it?”  And, people, it saddens me to say that the boy stared — he plum stared! — for several seconds before he said, “Oh.  Sorry about that, Mom.  I guess we left the milk jug out.”  He recapped the milk, hefted it into the refrigerator, and started to leave.

I called him back.

He picked up the tub of butter and put it in the fridge.  And then he started to leave.

I called him back.

He sighed and picked the can of Pam up off the floor.

I called him back.

He rolled his eyes a bit and put the cheese and the eggs away.

I pointed at the kitchen sink.

He picked the cheese wrappers out of it and threw them into the garbage.

And then I informed him that dried egg is VERY DIFFICULT to remove from a frying pan, after it has spent some time at room temperature, air drying.  I explained that it often sets itself onto a good frying pan like concrete, and that it might be PLUM IRRITATING for him to have to scrape off later this afternoon.

He began cleaning a frying pan out.  The cute neighbor boy came upstairs to help.

Thirty minutes later, with General Mama standing guard, the kitchen was back to the lustrous gloss we had achieved with it yesterday, and the boy sighed and said, “Is there anything else I can do?  You know…do you need any ditches or trenches dug outside?”

Summer Vacation ’11.

It’s on.  Like Donkey Kong.


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