Following is a bit of a view into the home of a busy Mama who has an important letter to write one afternoon. The thing is, she's go three little boys...
This was not my June Cleaver day.
It was more of a Miss Hannigan, only with boys, kind of day. You know Miss Hannigan, the wild-haired snag of a woman on the movie Annie, who is driven batty by an infestation of little girls in her orphanage, the last of her good sense dribbling out with every liquor-laden note as she warbles out the song, Little Girls. Yeah, her. Well, this was a Miss Hannigan kind of day - minus the booze. The forces of our three little boys were against me, and one skittish look around the house told me that everything that could be shaken, had been shaken.
There weren't just crumbs underneath the dining room table, there was a grocery store under there, provided effortlessly by The Three. The sugar ants had voted hands-down for the Frito crumbs, and were mounting their forces to haul them off to the Frito Crumb Festival behind the baseboard trim. Well, let them fest. Fester. Feast. Whatever. I couldn't deal with it right now. I had to write a letter, The Letter. You know, the "have to write it today even if my house has exploded and my offspring have to gnaw on dry shredded wheat for dinner," sort of letter. I swept the crumbs from my mind and left them on the floor.
Passing the bedroom, I barely escaped a mocking glare from the precarious Everest of laundry that sat loitering on the bed. Loitering. Since Tuesday. A week ago Tuesday. But, I couldn't stop to fold it and put it away, not right now. Had to write The Letter. I walked on, needled by a vision of The Three as grown men: There they sat, their chins resting heavily in their hands, and with orphaned looks on their faces, they said in pinched voices, "Back when we were boys...the only things ever in our drawers were lint and echoes. Never were any clothes."
Nearing the school room and my desk, I passed the bathroom of The Three. An acrid odor reached out and buckled my nose hairs. I was afraid to look. But, with a deep breath held and my scrapes of bravery pulled to attention, I risked a peek. The rancid evidence jeered at me from its puddle on the floor. No! Somebody couldn't aim for the third time today! Please, just tell me how it is that a little boy can pee on a bug, dead aim at three feet out, but he can't hit a toilet bowl twelve inches across that's right in front of him! I mean, really! You can talk about gravitational pull and massive flushing force all you want, but this toilet bowl will not just slurp out of midair anything that's squirted in it's general direction!
Lysol and I skidded around the floor together while I croaked out the song, Little Boys.
On toward my desk, I carefully picked my way across the school room floor, which had become a minefield pocked with toys. Carefully, I say, because stepping on a Lego contraption is almost as painful as having your foot blown off. Almost.
But, that's not all that was on the floor. No, the floor had become a massive confusion of tiny bits of paper that had been carefully cut, cut, cut (brows furrowed), cut, cut, cut (eyes riveted), cut, cut, cut (concentrating), cut, cut, cut (almost drooling), cut, cut, cut (shuddering sigh), cut, cut, cut (could sit there for hours), cut, cut, cut by the youngest of The Three. Confetti, if you will. Everywhere.
I ignored the feeling of paper bits crusting my feet as I plunked myself down at my desk. Deep breath in, deep breath out. I rested my fingers on the keys, and stared at the blank page on the computer screen. And now, for The Letter.
Or so I thought.
You see, The Three had followed me into the room, and had started doing that hovering thing. You know the hovering thing. They climbed on my chair, leaned on my desk, wanted on my lap. They were needing me, wanting me, clinging to me as if I were their mother. Oh. I was their mother. Right. But, right now, gathering my thoughts was like herding cats, and I just couldn't do hovering. Not when I had to write The Letter. The fibers of my patience and good resolve were fraying out rapidly, so, I scraped together my jagged shred of sanity and my crumpled last nerve, and resorted to what any desperate mother would.
Now, scratch the shaft of heavenly light and the high angelic voices, this is not where June Cleaver comes in. I'm still very much Miss Hannigan. Back into the school room I marched with the hand-held vacuum, and thrust it toward The Three, muttering in a huffy staccato voice something to the effect of, "You made the mess, you clean it up!"
Now, usually, a directive of "clean it up" is met with three sets of slumped shoulders. Not today. Today, the directive was met with awe-struck faces, and three sets of perky eyebrows, for this thing I was handing to them had a motor! And it sucked! Their thoughts ran across their faces, "Oh, baby! Come to Papa!"
The Three dropped to their knees, attacking the doomed confetti with the gobbling vacuum. They were completely and totally enraptured. One enlightened soul made the discovery that if he held a piece of paper just so over the end of the hose, it sounded just like a... well, let's just say that it sounded exactly like something that sends boys into fits of side-splitting laughter. Over, and over, and over! After the laughter died down, they tried hanging the sucking hose from their cheeks. (No, not those cheeks). Cute, guys, an elephant of sorts. Just don't leave the hose there too long.
They didn't listen. Hickey cheeks. Nice.
Next, they realized that they could take the hose out of the sucking end of the vacuum, and stick it into the blowing end. Life had just gotten even better! How about blowing confetti instead of sucking it? How about blowing their mouths bigger than grapefruit? How about blowing their hair up? Really! Powerfully blowing air can create a fantastic finger-in-the-light-socket effect in mere seconds! Wiry-haired boys come out with the best up-do. There was simply no end to the entertainment value of air!
And, me? I was sitting contentedly at my computer (cue the light jazz in the background), taking full advantage of this wonderful space of uninterrupted time, courtesy of a vacuum-induced diversion, while sporting my new Miss Hannigan hair-do. Uh-huh. My hair had been blown-up, too. But, you know, it was actually relaxing, having my hair blown-up; nobody talking to me, nobody asking me questions, just the wind in my hair as I strung words together. My train of thought stayed firmly on its tracks, and all character resemblance to Miss Hannigan quietly slipped away as my fingers happily slapped out The Letter.
It was a good hour plus of time that I got to myself that afternoon, all because of a small household appliance. Now, who would have thought? A vacuum! The kind that sucks in one end, and blows out the other, just like a boy.
Everybody should have at least one.