A Penny Saved

The other day, Younger and my husband joined me in the cleaning of the house. Because Younger wanted a video game and the only way I agreed to take him to buy a video game was in a trade — his effort for my driver’s license.

His dad, on the other hand, is just an easy mark.

But as I rushed down the stairs in one of my many trips between floors, I stumbled to an awkward halt on the bottom stop.

My husband, one hand automatically and rhythmically and blindly pushing a mop over the hardwood floor, glanced up from the video he was watching on the phone in his other hand. “What?” As I blinked at him, trying to find my words, he added, a bit defensively, “I’m mopping.”

“Yes, you are,” I agreed, nodding my head. “You are mopping. Yes, you are.”

And I turned into the hallway without finding any additional words. Because help is, well, help, even if it is cheap help.

And I guess I can’t say he wasn’t worth the money.

Well, I could say it.

But I  won’t.

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In My Dreams

I have a few weeks between semesters, so I have been power washing the house, cleaning windows, waterproofing the deck, scrubbing tile, and so on and so forth. About 2:00 yesterday afternoon, I collapsed on the sofa for a nap before tackling my laundry room.

Now and then, I roused for a moment or two as Elder paced through the house, a video playing on his cell phone, as usual. But at one point I blinked awake and realized he was listening to a math lecture.

He is on summer break.

And he was watching math.

Unless I was dreaming.

Except it was math.

So, you know, that would have been a scary, scary nightmare.

Thoughts

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.

 

The Questions

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Of course, Elder and Younger were home for the week, so I found myself asking all kinds of interesting questions —

How did you fit all those clothes and your sheets into one small basket?

Why can’t you guys hook your two game systems into different televisions instead of arguing over one?

Are we really having this argument . . . in my bedroom . . . at midnight?

What if I hadn’t noticed the Cheetos that were mixed in with your clothes and washed them?

Why is my sofa turned backwards and shoved against the door?

How many pairs of socks do you think you have lost beneath your sink?

How is asking you for a bagel insulting?

Do you not see the laundry basket? Is that the problem?

How old are the two of you?

Why would you throw the cat onto the dog?

Did you know you can drink from the same glass more than once?

Twenty and seventeen? And you’re still arguing over video games?

How am I supposed to fit all these clothes and sheets back into one small basket?

Why is one week so short?

And now, alone in my silent house, I only have one question —

How long until Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 

Best Guess

Am I the only mother who finds scraps of paper all over her house with mathematical equations scribbled all over them?

And the boys never know if they are important.

Maybe, they tell me, snatching the papers from me only to leave them on another surface.

And so, I tuck the random papers in a growing stack, because I do not want to be the mother who tosses the first part of the equation that answers a question plaguing all humankind.

You know, that mother.

But as the stack of mathematical equations towers higher and higher, I have to ask myself —

Am I raising mad geniuses?

Or slobs?

I know, I know.

Mad geniuses.

That’s my best guess, anyway.

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.