Anyone reading remember Operation Tidykleen, the household de-clutterification "system" I started back in early May to make sure everyone's junk is picked up and put away on a daily basis?
Well, I told you it wouldn't last, didn't I?
Here we are in the first week of July: We have the flotsam and jetsam of nine uncompleted 4-H projects strewn from the front door to the back, also HISTO Indiana History items, ditto. With all the cooking we've been doing, the dishwasher always seems to be stuffed like a Christmas goose, with dirty dishes stacked haphazardly in the adjoining sink. There is laundry -- folded and unfolded -- on various chairs and pieces of furniture; my clean underwear is decorating the dining room buffet, right in front of a picture of the Sacred Heart. It is cringe-making. Wet bathing suits and towels and flip-flops and swim bags are dotted around the laundry room; there is a shoe on the kitchen table.
It hasn't looked this bad in here for more than a month. This house looks like a place that the Department of Health and Human Services might film for an employee training video to be presented at an in-service titled: "The American Family: Degeneration into Third World Squalor."
So this would be the day that the workers from the gas company are back on our street with their jack hammers and their yelling (but the central air is on, so I've been unable to hear any NAUGHTY LANGUAGE being hollered outside my window), waking us all up very early and causing three out of the four of us to come stomping downstairs with unpleasant attitudes. My name should be sent to Rome for putting up with those people.
Not only are they back on our street, they're also in our house. To turn the pilot light back on for the gas stove, furnace and water heater.
When the unexpected knock came at the front door, I was in the powder room, er...powdering my nose. And it looked like it was going to take a while, if you know what I mean. So I yelled through the closed door, "MEELYN!!!! ANSWER THE DOOR!!!!"
She did, and then came back. "There's a man from the gas company out there. They've installed the new meter and he says he needs to talk to my mom."
"Great," I muttered. "Tell him I ran away to join the circus."
"You don't want me to tell him you're pooping and that you'll be out in half an hour?" she growled into the crack of the door and then started laughing really hard.
"How old are you?" I asked her sweetly.
"Silly, you know I'm fifteen!"
"Oh, yeah. Fifteen. Well, listen, smartypants, do want to live to see sixteen?"
"Okay, I'll tell him you'll be there in a moment."
A few minutes later, flushed and flustered, having just-in-case sprayed the entire downstairs with cinnamon-scented "odor eliminator," as the can so delicately reads, Iwent to the door. A smiling man in a hard hat was lounging against the porch wall, no doubt thinking, "Finally! The lady who was powdering her nose has come to allow me admittance to her basement!"
I showed him to the basement door, cautioning him to watch out for possible vampires, mummies and other scary stuff. He was down there for about five minutes, which gave me plenty of time to look at my house as someone else might see it. Horrible. If I was embarrassed before, it was nothing compared to how I felt when he came stumping back up the stairs and went in my kitchen. If he'd had to go upstairs and look in my closet, I probably would have just took a fit and fell out right there, as we say here in Indiana.
He left, politely thanking me for my generosity in allowing his crew to install our new gas meter (does he know it's me who yelled out the window that day?) and I closed the door behind him and slumped against the wall. How many days has my house been in a pristine state of tidiness, only to have no one drop by to pay a call, deliver a package, or re-light my pilot lights? How many? WHY TODAY, OF ALL DAYS??!!
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