Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted
Sometimes I have trouble getting lost in the moment. Perhaps this is why I don’t like cooking – it’s impossible for me to put food into a pot without already visualizing what it’s going to take to clean that pot later on. Similarly, I like to clean because I like things clean – but I have a hard time sweeping up crumbs, dirt, wood chips and other tiny items from the floor without already bracing myself for the new layer that will surely appear once all three kids descend on the house after school.
A dear friend of mine used to make me laugh, regaling me with stories about how his cleaning-obsessed mother used to scream at him and his brothers if they walked into the living room, since she had inevitably just vacuumed. Then she would chase them back out and re-vacuum her beautiful floor, kids be damned. They’ll be fine outside; it’s not snowing!
I have so become that mom. Back in the good ole “full time cleaning lady” days of yore, I used to snack on rice crackers and chips and challah bread right alongside my husband and children, caring little whether I left a Hansel and Gretel trail behind.
I still let my kids and husband eat in the living room. I haven’t yet succumbed to my friend’s mother’s deepest instincts to chase them out with a broomstick, shouting, “Shoo! SHOO!”
But it is hard – nay, impossible, for me to watch them enjoying their snack without already seeing the layer of snack snowdrift that will accumulate once they have satiated their cravings.
This tendency of mine is causing arguments between me and my husband, too. He suggests a new idea, a new venture, and I’m excited! But I also mention all the work that will be involved, manifesting that new idea. This gets him upset – why am I such a buzz kill? Why must I shut him down at the moment he first lets a new idea fly?
I’d go ponder it over a bowl of cereal. But I hate how the milk always drips onto the tablecloth.
What? This place is like one giant perpetual load of laundry.
Okay, I think I need a vacation. Translation: a maid.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)