Monday, December 7, 2015

I Am NOT Becoming My Mother, I Married Her?

I Am NOT Becoming My Mother, I Married Her?

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness…..” Nope, it is not in the Bible, I looked….
 
My least favorite chore in house cleaning is mopping the floors. I am not quite sure why. Today is floor mopping day, one of our kitties had a big accident and, well, it is definitely time. When my sister and I lived with our parents, we did that chore on hands and knees, no mops used in the household, no, sir.
 
Mom was, well, my sister and I affectionately called her Mother Immaculate.
 
SMACK as she wacked the arm of the sofa "This is still dusty, who was supposed to vacuum the living room?" Mom then grabbed the poor little Electrolux with its hoof-like attachment and proceeded to beat-vacuum the whole couch over again.
 
I looked at my sister, she looked at me and while mom demonstrated the correct vacuum technique our eyes looked slightly towards the ceiling. Slightly and we'd best not get caught.
 
"There, that's how it is supposed to be done, you girls please finish this up," mom said as she bustled off to the kitchen getting back to her cooking.
 
The floors on hands and knees we mastered but apparently we were still learning about the sofa beating techniques. We were in grade school.  Our neighborhood was surrounded by hills complete with sand stone caves and playing places. Besides being mama's little helpers we were also the boys dad never had. We went up those hills and played in the sandstone, dust and sand. That meant that some came home with us.  It was making this cleaning day so memorable.
 
The plus was that dad taught us to use tools and paint.  By the time I was six, I knew enough about hammers and screw drivers to have put together a little stove for our basement playroom. Complete with wooden checkers, screwed into the orange crate, for knobs to turn the burners on and off.
 
This “chores and lists stuff” wasn't all bad, but you couldn't have told us that back then.
 
"OK, did you both dust your rooms? " mom was answered by fast moving faces nodding up and down.
 
"Let's go have a look" Oops.
 
Was it only in my good imagination or did she really used to don white gloves before inspecting Colette's and my rooms very carefully?
 
"Hum, Marijo, there is dust on this nick-knack shelf, I want it done over and please do it correctly or this will be subtracted from your allowance."
 
My sister’s shelf passed but then mom looked under her bed. "What is all of this? These clothes must have been here for a week and should have been in the laundry hamper this morning before I sorted the wash!  Ohhhh, Colette what are we going to do here? You know you aren't allowed to have anything under your bed…"
 
Colette elbowed me and whispered "At least she didn't find the dust bunnies." 
 
The battle started. Mom decided to confiscate Colette's underwear and charge her a quarter to get it back . Our allowance was around 50 cents a week, so this was a big deal back then.
 
"That's ok, you can have them, I'll just turn the dirty ones inside out and wear them." was the solution my inventive sister presented.
 
Not to be outdone by an eight year old, mom had a new plan. Colette had the small bedroom with the big closet. Dad made a five foot tall drawer stack all down one side of the closet.  The drawers were partitioned off into small compartments to hold socks, underwear, jewelry and organize all those little hair things. Colette also stored all of our board games in her closet.
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I got home early the next day and ran in to get something from Colette's room. Oh, my, there must have been a tornado while we were at school. Apparently mom had taken each drawer and dumped it on the bed, on the floor, on the desk. All the board games joined in too, because there were parts and pieces everywhere. I left through her back door, yes, the smallest bedroom had two doors in and out, and circled around through the kitchen.
 
I heard the front door and in came Colette. Mom followed her down the hall to her room.
 
"Ahhh, what happened to my room?!" my sister was moaning.
 
" I thought since you liked to live in a mess, maybe you'd like some help." Mom commented as she left to hang wash outside the house.
 
We didn't see Colette for several hours. Amazingly it worked. I don't think Mother Immaculate ever found anything under Colette's bed again, not even a dust bunny.
 
Fast forward. My sister and I are not that bad at housekeeping, really.
 
I married a wonderful guy. On the weekends, before I retired, we'd clean together. He started upstairs and I started downstairs and we'd meet in the middle.
 
Then I retired, after an unplanned lay off. It made sense that the house cleaning was all mine now.
 
I had just finished the downstairs bathroom.  This meant that I had gloves on and scrubbed the toilet bowl, then wiped it down, used the scrub brush and finished with Scrubbing Bubbles and another wipe down. Not to mention mopping the floor on hands and knees, it is a small bathroom and a mop just doesn't do it…..
 
"Honey, there is butt dust on the toilet…"
 
"No way, I cleaned that toilet three times and with gloves on, show me…" 
 
I went into the bathroom and my honey was doing something on the back, where the toilet seat hooked on.  Yep, he'd flipped up a little flap that I did not know existed. There was a screw where the seat attached to the toilet bowl.  Yes, there was some dirt in there. I closed my mouth so the steam wouldn't escape while I bit my tongue. Interesting logistical trick, try it sometime.
 
"Ah, honey, I didn't even know that little flap was there. You know, there are some Q-Tips in that drawer and if it really bothers you, have at it," I thought that was a mild response considering how the bathroom gleamed.
 
I married my mother. I can't believe I married Mother Immaculate! At least he likes my cooking!
 
So why am I taking you down this cleaning travesty trail of reminiscence? I used a mop today but, the floor has to dry, doesn't it?
 
© Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.

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