Sunday, January 25, 2009

Welcome to Kelly’s Life, Episode 18

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my leisure tour! Ahh…the delight of economic downturns, the unemployed masses, the bleary eyed folk of former usefulness. Left home to sleep in, spend until 3:37 in the afternoon in socks and pajamas and unkempt hair, hoping the FedEX guy doesn’t ring the doorbell to see me in all my unemployed glory.

There is something to be said for the freedom of it all, but when the bliss wanes and the reality creeps in, the next step of any leisure tour is to maintain productiveness! And what better way than to attack all of those old home projects and spend days in sheer domesticity, cleaning and cooking, painting and organizing, exercising and watching Oprah. Ok. Maybe not watching Oprah.

Monday – Day 1:
And so my first weekday of the leisure tour begins. I make a list. A LONG list, of errands to run and stores to visit. There are many items I will need in order to begin projects, make dinner, go to the gym and have the house in fine order before the husband comes home. He will be gleeful when he walks in and smells the aromas of a home cooked meal and a shiny clean house. If only I had an apron. I’ll add that to the list. It’s 3:36, and I’m still in my pajamas and socks, my hair is flat on one side of my head and sticking straight out on the other. Many errands…must hurry. Like a woman with a work deadline, I manage to pull myself together in eight minutes with the help of a baseball hat and a charming pashmina, and grab my keys to go. I hit the garage door opener…I look outside to see the door remain motionless. I stare at the door, then the opener, urgently willing the door to open. Places to go. Things to do. People to see, you know? I hit the button again and nothing happens. So naturally I go outside to open the door but then realize the opener will prevent the door from moving, and alas – the outside keypad still needs to be rewired. I’ll add that to the list too. A-HA! There’s the side door. I go to the side of the garage. The door won’t open. I grab that damn doorknob, give the door a swift kick, and splinter the base of the door...which remains solidly shut. I probably should not break the door down because that would have to go on the damn list too.

So it’s 3:58. Just in time. I go inside and sit down and watch Oprah.

Tuesday - DAY 2:
My dear husband has fixed the garage opener, surely in the hope that I will not break any more doors. So I will actually leave the house today, list in hand, and accomplish something useful. Later though, after the Project Runway marathon is over. I do have my priorities.

By the afternoon I have emerged from my cocoon of TV land and squinting in the bright sunshine, decide to putter around the garden and give it a good soak before heading off to the gym. There’s nothing quite like getting ones hands dirty in a garden of their own, munching on green beans, talking to the ladybugs and smelling the ripening tomatoes. I decide to make best use of the days warmth and bike to the gym. It does seem most logical to forgo a vehicle and get my warm up in on the way there, and I am pleased with my brilliant idea. I decide that I will interpret my ride as a stage of the Tour de France and peddle my heart out the many (uh – two) miles there. I arrive hot and sweaty and loathing the idea of any more exercise, so I take my time stretching, lifting weights, and rowing the imaginary boat to nowhere. I eventually head home, at a much slower pace, looking at the trees, listening to birds, and gliding my bike in lovely patterns around the bumpy parts of the street. As I pull up to my house, I hear the familiar hiss of a running hose…and it dawns on me right then and there that I left the water on in the garden this entire time. I throw my bike down, run to the back yard…er swamp…and see a lovely river of water running from the garden, around the play house, around the tree, into our neighbors yard. My garden is under three inches of water. Oh for the love of Pete. I’m an idiot. OH! Oprah’s on.

Wednesday - DAY 3:
I am a master of organization and I despise clutter. I am up and dressed well before my self-imposed 9:00 am deadline. Dressed in actual outside clothes and everything. So it will be a day of cleaning out the junk and donating our excesses to Goodwill. The kids have sorted their outgrown clothes and piles of toys, and the basement has been gutted of the miscellaneous knick-knacks and house wares. We’ve got piles of old furniture, boxes of pots and pans and clothes and left boots and train sets and the occasional random Power Puff Girl action figure. I decide the pile of items in the garage can wait, and back my unfortunately new car to the side door to load up. Now, the gift of master organization comes with the nifty gift of being a master packer as well, and I am able to cram WAY more stuff in my little Scion hatchback than should be humanly possible. So with the basement emptied and room remaining, I pull forward into the garage to get the rest of the stuff.

That is to say…I pull forward, with the hatchback gate wide open.

Swearing enough to make a sailor blush, I leap out of my car, and pull the open hatchback out from where the garage door opener has imbedded itself. There is a lovely band of white paint across the length of the tailgate, with a few deep scratches in it for good measure. I tell myself that a few scrapes I can tolerate, but the white paint I will wash right off. I go get the kitchen sponge and furiously start rubbing the painted area, but to no avail. So naturally, with nary a thought, I flip the sponge over to the scrubby side, and up the white paint comes. I’m positively giddy…until…

The water dries and I am left to see circular scratches running the length of where the white paint once was.

Seriously!? Doesn’t the karma of donating items to goodwill PREVENT things like this from happening!? Apparently not. There must be something on TV right now. Something better than this…

Thursday – Day 4:
I have yet to demonstrate my abilities to be a housewife and I am determined to make my case today. Today folks, is cleaning day. I will do the dishes, dust the furniture, clean the countertops, and vacuum every square inch. I am a master cleaner. Really. Now, admittedly, I generally wait until you all are coming over for a visit before cleaning, but nonetheless, I am not afraid of a little scrubbing. Just ask my car.

Now, I do have kind of a little house so cleaning should be a piece of cake. But I also have two dirty little kids and two hairier dirtier not so little dogs. And since you all don’t tend to visit much, I don’t tend to clean much. So this was going to be an epic cleaning event, and my poor unsuspecting husband would be so pleasantly surprised to come home to his clean home and exhausted but domestically fulfilled wife.

Dressed appropriately in spandex, flip flops and an Aunt Jemima headband and bright yellow rubber gloves, I set to clean the house from tippy top to tuppy bottom. I break out the horrifically un-environmentally friendly health-risk-with-impending-death cleaners, so I can do the job right. I wipe down every surface, with only the occasional wheezing from the toxic chemicals. With the walls and surfaces scrubbed, the only remaining task is vacuuming. I rather enjoy the new vacuum cleaner, with it’s little bagless compartment where you watch the fruits of your vacuuming labor swoosh around in the clear plastic window. I vacuum the last of the kitchen, down into the lower entryway, mesmerized by the slowly spinning dirt and copious amounts of dog hair. Suddenly it feels like I’ve been struck by a baseball bat, and fall down on the floor while holding my head.

It seems I’ve managed to drop the vacuum…on my head.

Shortly following the unprovoked vacuum attack, dear husband comes home and immediately asks, “What did you do to your forehead?” I quietly mumble something about being attacked by a small herd of squirrels, lest his belief in my domesticity waiver.

Friday – Day 5:
With my week’s attempts at housewifery failing miserably, I decide to tackle the major task of laundry. Now I must admit…I HATE doing laundry and more so than that, hate folding it and putting it away too. But I realize, in order to plead my case, completing the laundry is a right of passage for all domestic goddesses. And a goddess I will become. Even if it kills me, or gives me a small forehead flesh wound.

Up the throw rugs come, down come all the bath towels, all the bed linens, the blankets, and the piles upon piles of dirty clothes. Because not only am I out to prove my laundering skills, I’m on my last pair of skivvies. I make many trips to the basement, and dump the piles of clothes and such on the floor and begin the big sort. We’ve got the very whites, the mostly whites, the beige’s, the jeans, the non-jeans, the bright colors the medium colors and the dark colors, the light linens the dark linens, one load of only socks (lest they make a run for it and we only have errant mismatched pairs), and last but not least, the very reds that will turn even a dark pair of jeans a lovely shade of pink. Ask me how I know.

I decide that while I’m doing all that laundry, it seems only fair to catch up on some Law & Order, because there’s always one version playing on some channel some where any time, each and every day. As each load of laundry ends, I neatly fold it all up and decide that the sheer magnitude of laundry will require me to pile it on the floor.

I finally put the last of it, the redder than reds, in the washing machine and settle down to watch Sam Watterson skillfully put away yet another complex case. When I hear…a curious…splashing sound. Half of my brain perks up and says: Ah, yes. The rinse cycle and waste water in the sink basin. Everything is fine. TV is on. Watching TV now.

More splashing – only louder. And my attention to Law & Order wanes as the housewife senses rise. I leap into action, rush into the laundry room, and watch as a fountain of bright pink water splashes all over the floor. The very floor, where the last 12 loads of laundry are piled so neatly. And are completely, and thoroughly soaked. With Dirty. Pink. Water.

So. The moral of the story is:
1. I am not domestic
2. Don’t use the scrubby side of the sponge on your car’s paint finish.
3. Maybe waiting a week to begin looking for my new occupation is NOT such a good idea
4. I am really not domestic
5. I should invest in some bubble wrap and duct tape for my head and my cars bumper…I’ll add that to the list.
6. Make sure you clean out the lint trap before washing 12 loads of laundry, lest your laundry room turn into a pink wading pool
7. Have I mentioned I’m not domestic?