I would’ve written something last night, but I felt y’all deserved better than what my mind could conjure up. I actually sat down at the computer to throw a blog post together, and after twenty-minutes of catching up on everyone’s lives on Facebook, I just shut the Big Mac down and called it a day.
My conclusion was that EVERYONE had lived a more glamorous life than I did this weekend.
On Friday, I cleaned house. It wasn’t the kind of sporadic cleaning that I’ve become famous for lately, where I focus on ONE simple task and get ‘er done like a farm girl with a harvest deadline. You know… the cleaning where I say, “I’ll see the kitchen counters by the end of the day, or so help me, I’ll just go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes.” No, ma’am. On Friday, I pulled out all the stops. There was vacuuming and mopping. There was straightening and scrubbing and polishing and shining and a low point where I decided to apply more deodorant, because IS THAT ME? And then I sort of stepped back and thought, “The world needs to see this! I should make a You Tube video called THE DAY MY HOUSE WAS CLEAN ENOUGH FOR A MAGAZINE SHOOT.” And then I didn’t, because I’m still smack in the middle of Jodi Picoult’s new book, and I treated myself to a bit of reading instead of walking through my house with my cell phone set to VIDEO, saying, “And here is my bathroom sink, after I chiseled all the dried hairspray off of it.”
Then, when the boy came home from school, he fired up the neighbor’s riding lawn mower and drove over our lawn, which rather efficiently collected half of the 382 trillion leaves that are currently fluttering around our property and lying dead on our grass. Usually, we do the leaf collecting the old fashioned way, which is to say that we get out the rakes and the blower and the leather gloves and the giant garbage buckets, and we sweat and labor and fill the back of Hubs’ truck, until he decides to drive it over to the green-waste bins in the nearby park and dump it. And then we repeat that procedure one thousand and forty-two more times. It’s a lovely way to get all the family bonding done for the year, especially when one of you has to chase the toddler down the street, as he’s seen a wild turkey and decided to follow after it with deaf ears that can no longer hear his mother screaming for him to STOP!!
(Oh, I kid, people. I never scream outside at the boys. WHAT would the neighbors think? They’d think I’m that crazy woman in the cul de sac, who shoots rock salt out of a BB gun at kids who trespass across her lawn.)
By borrowing the neighbor’s riding lawn mower, we were done with nine hours’ worth of manual labor in forty-five minutes. And by we, I mean the boy was done with all that work, because all I did was stand on the deck with Thing 2 and enthusiastically clap with my toddler, every time the boy drove past us. Thing 2 provided his big brother with a fan club, who diligently cheered him on with happy shouts and fist pumps and jumping up and down, every single time the mower approached the deck. The boy couldn’t quit smiling over his brother’s enthusiasm, either.
Rest assured, we’re going to take full advantage of our neighbor’s goodness, because I’ve decided that I like being a cheerleader in the Spirit Club, while my big boy works, a lot better than I like being an unpaid day laborer. The boy and I have also tried to count our allowances to see if we could afford a riding mower of our own, and we’ve decided that between us, we have $48.34.
It’s a start.
On Saturday, Papa came over to help Hubs build a giant workbench in the garage. Basically, it’s like a glorified kitchen counter, without a sink in it, and Hubs can’t quit smiling over it. I think this is going to be named Command Center, as the big boys have enormous plans for everything that is going to take place on that workbench. Thing 2 sees it as a perfectly level spot that would be prime real estate for setting up his Thomas the Train set.
While all the hammering and drilling and sawing was happening in the garage, I decided to ignore the gloriously beautiful fall weather and submerge myself in the boy’s walk-in closet, while he was otherwise occupied. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but our teenager has done some growing.
And by growing, I mean he’s grown over eight inches in the past year, with no signs of slowing it down.
Thankfully, we’ve been pulling in some new clothes that actually fit him, through the generosity of our neighbors, who have bigger boys who have outgrown all of their American Eagle shirts and jeans. Plus, I did some online shopping for the boy, because I’ve reached a point in my life where I sit back with a piping hot chai tea and say, “Life is too short to spend any part of it forcing the boy into a dressing room.” It’s because the boy’s attitude sinks to an all-time, whining low whenever he’s forced to try clothes on. He’ll let you know, in colorful phrases interspersed with a wrinkled forehead and body slouching, that he HATES CLOTHES SHOPPING MORE THAN HE HATES THE BARBIE DOLL INDUSTRY. That is why Jesus provided us with online shopping, I guess… it sure saves this mama’s sanity.
So… on Saturday… while the boy was helping build a giant workbench in the garage… I ripped into his closet to pull out everything that no longer fits him, EVEN THOUGH (!!!) the weather was so beautiful outside, I felt absolutely guilty for staying indoors with the toddler. And this is where I admit that I was a terrible parent on Saturday, because I plugged Thing 2 into the cartoons, and let him watch an entire marathon of mind-rotting adventures of Mickey Mouse and Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig, while I sorted and folded and rehung things and tidied up.
In the end, I had a pile of discarded clothes that could only be crossed by Olympic pole vaulters.
And then I unpacked the bags of hand-me-downs and the bags of brand new clothes, and I hung them up so nicely that a heavenly glow started to shine in that closet. I folded jeans and matched socks together that haven’t seen their twin since 1954, and then I sat back and sighed.
By this time, I figured I’d been in that closet for the better part of the day, and I was beat. Thing 2 was revved up, because he’d had no contact with the outside world, and because he had been lethargic in front of the cartoons. So… he decided to liven things up around our house by pulling out a box of pancake flour from our pantry, which he unloaded completely on my kitchen floor.
And then he walked through it.
And then he threw pancake flour high into the air above his head, while he clapped for himself.
And then he rolled in it.
And that is the point when I came flying into the kitchen from the boy’s closet, to discover that my PRISTINE KITCHEN was no longer clean, because it looked like a flour factory had exploded.
I won’t lie.
I wanted to sit my sweaty self down and bawl, but crying is for the weak. So… I hauled out the vacuum cleaner, and let Thing 2 suck up the majority of his mess, which made him happier than MAKING THE MESS had done. In the end, I finished the finer vacuuming, getting the spots the toddler missed, and we mopped again… and wiped down all the kitchen cabinets… and the kitchen counters… and gave Thing 2 a sponge-bath in the sink, because he was completely covered in flour, too.
By Saturday evening, I was beat, which is why I only had the energy to microwave some chicken nuggets and pull out the mandarin oranges for the family’s dinner. Hubs played his Get Out Of Dinner Free card, and claimed that he was still pretty much full from lunch.
I have no idea how June Cleaver managed to clean her boys’ closets and clean up a flour explosion all over her kitchen, and still whip up a beef bourguignon and roasted potatoes for dinner.
On Sunday, Thing 2 and I did a park tour, while the boy went to his tennis lessons and while Hubs stayed home to accomplish some little projects. That little boy of ours needed to run and run and also RUN. So… we climbed and did the slides at one park… and then we loaded up into the Suburban and moved on to the next park, where we repeated the entire procedure again. I had him roll down the grassy hills and climb up to the tallest slides, over and over, because USE SOME OF THAT ENERGY UP, SON!!
(Please don’t worry about this snapshot. Although this could be labeled as VERY DANGEROUS for other toddlers, Thing 2 is a trained professional when it comes to dangling off the HIGH pull-up bar at the park. He’ll do a pull-up of his own, and then he just… drops to the ground and claps for himself.)
And today? Well, I got up this morning and decided that my home no longer resembled the uber-clean house that I’d lived in on Friday. Somehow, we had real messes again, so I spent the morning tidying things up.
Then… I did ALL. OF. THE. LAUNDRY.
Oh, people! I did. Today, I washed every last piece of dirty whatever that we had. I washed it all. I ran my washing machine into the ground… I just kept whipping the side of it, like it was a wayward racehorse, as I shouted out, “More! Faster! Give me more speed!” And it did, which is surprising, because our washing machine is old enough that it’s only one degree removed from the washboard-in-the-creek method of laundry-doing.
I’m trying to remember the last time that I had all of the laundry done at one time, and I’m coming up with 1936.
And then, as luck would have it, the boy had a double-header soccer game this evening, so now my laundry baskets are filled with dirty, sweaty, smelly soccer stuff. I have stinky socks and shorts and jerseys in there, just waiting for tomorrow’s list of chores to roll around, because there’s never any rest for the mothers.
Also? Well, while I was downstairs in the laundry room, swapping one wet load from the washer and putting it into the dryer this morning, Thing 2 was upstairs, raiding the pantry. He decided that Cheerios would make a fine mid-morning snack, so he tried to open that brand-new, still-factory-sealed box on his own.
That’s the reason our cereal box now looks like this:
Happy Monday, everyone. Happy Monday.