What I think our animals think when I clean the house:

Dusty  (our border collie): She’s using the evil forces again. I shall remain in the bubble of safety surrounding the stairs. I will not even look upon evil, so that it might not catch me in a weak moment.

George  (our lab mix who spent five years in an animal shelter): She cannot hear me over the caterwauling of the blue machine, so I must follow her to let her know I am still in existence. And when she stops, I must halt, also, unknowingly behind her. I am not sure why she does that flip backwards over me. I think she must enjoy it, but now I, too, should find the safety of the stairs.

Seven and Thirteen (our two rescued black cats): What is this loud noise? I must see. Too close. Back up, back up. What is this pet that spews liquid onto the floor? I shall catch it as it moves, back and forth, back and forth. Leap. Now. Sticky paws. Sticky paws. High step, high step. What is she doing with the pile of clothes I have been napping upon? No, she must not have that washcloth. I must first render it un-living. I must, I must. Ah, okay. She can have the washcloth. But not the sock. Not this sock. It is mine. Mine, I say. Mine, mine, mine. Why is she fussing over the animal I brought for her? I did render it un-living. Why has she not sit down and cuddled me? I shall climb her like a tree. Ah, yes, claws work good. We’re going outside now? I shall find her another animal.



Some Lucky Lady

“Hey, Mom,” Younger hollered down the hallway last night.

I peeked around my computer towards the direction of his voice. “Yeah?”

“Have I taken a shower tonight?”

I blinked. “Uh, I don’t think so?”

“I don’t think so, either,” he finally muttered.

“Well, is your towel wet?”

“Oh, it’s hanging up. Not in the floor. So, I haven’t taken a shower today.”

I sighed. “That’s just sad, Younger.”

“Just honest,” he replied cheerfully. “And a little funny.”

Ah, yes, and, some day, he will bless one lucky lady with his humor.

She may strangle him with a wet towel.

But she’ll be laughing all the while.



Dust Gets in His Eyes

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2002, when Elder would have been five years old…

An hour ago, when we were cleaning the toy room, I had to remind Elder several times of his objective, finally telling him, “If you don’t start picking up those logs, I’ll have everything else put away before you’re done.”

“How do you know that?” he questioned.

“Well, Elder, it’s not that hard to figure.”

“Oh. When I didn’t pick up before, it was because I was lazy,” he announced.

“Well, Elder, now, I don’t think you’re lazy. I just think you’re easily distracted.”

His eyebrows came together. “What does ‘stractd mean?”

“It means you start doing one thing when something else catches your eye and you forget what you’re supposed to be doing.”

“What catches my eye, Mom. Huh? What catches my eye?”

“Well, Elder…”

“Dust? Does dust catch my eye?” I was too busy controlling all signs of my instantaneous amusement to answer. So he started waving his hands in front of his face. “Get back dust. Go away. Stay out of my eye!” He looked at me. “I won’t let anything catch my eye. Okay, Mom?”

Yeah, okay.

Except, during the entire conversation he had not retrieved a single Lincoln log.

And I had finished with the other scattered toys.

It ain’t just dust that gets in his eyes.


Robots and Their Followers

We now have a Roomba. Which is a great cleaning tool. But an even better source of entertainment.

Our border collie hides on the stairs while the little round robot rolls in mystical patterns across the wood floor, but our black lab, who usually follows me when I’m cleaning, now trails his new buddy.

Which I thought was amusing.

Then I cranked up the Roomba last night for the first time while Younger was home.

And when I glanced up from cooking dinner, I discovered the teenager traipsing behind the squat robot, gleefully announcing, “Oh, oh, you’re stuck now. How ya gonna — Oh. Well. Now, where ya goin’?”

A Roomba, a couple dogs, and a teenager . . . the fun may never end.

Me and Daddy Think

Today, I thought I would share an old story from February 2003. Elder would have been six years old. My husband would have been old enough to know better…

After a day filled with housecleaning, my vacuum exploded in a puff of smoke in the middle of sweeping the boys’ room. “I think you have it too full,” Elder told me, posed in the middle of the room with two Nintendos lifted high above the danger zone. “You need to empty it.”

“I don’t think that’s the problem,” I told him. Now, I will admit the canister needed to be emptied. But the hose extension worked while the base did not. Besides, I had been fighting with the thing since July. “I don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe Daddy can fix it. Or maybe we’ll have to buy a new one. Just don’t make any unnecessary messes.” Then, when my husband arrived home, I announced, “Something’s wrong with the vacuum. I need you to look at it.”

Walking towards the bedroom to change clothes, he glanced carelessly at the vacuum propped against the sofa. “Looks like you need to empty it.”

My jaw locking, I glared at his back while another voice pitched, “See, Mom, me and Daddy think –“

I switched by glare to Elder. “Shut up.”

Grinning, he followed his precious Daddy. And I really think I could have found a good use for a broken vacuum and any woman on any jury would have let me walk.