If you read the previous House of Mars post you know all about my relationship to cleaning; a truly dysfunctional one, dating all the way back to childhood Since these early rules were imposed by my mother, let’s call them matricentric. I’m not sure if that’s a real word, but I like its sound, so let’s extend it to patricentric because my father had a later hand in contributing to my work attitude, and it haunts me still.
As the years went by, we moved from the apartment in Harlem to a brick row house in the Bronx. The house had what we all wanted, which was very simple for my brothers and me – upstairs bedrooms. Ironically these very stairs strike fear in my heart when I recall Sundays, and what should have been a day of rest. Isn’t that what Sundays are supposed to be?
We’d be back from church and breakfast at the Pancake House. I’d have changed into – I don’t remember exactly what, but in today’s world it would be sweats. Ahh, there I was, all comfy and sprawled on the couch – my face hidden behind the Sunday comics. My mother would be in the kitchen, starting preparations for the Sunday roast. My brothers? I have no idea; perhaps they were wiser than me, and maintaining a low profile.
Yes, a typical sleepy Sunday…….until the dreaded sound of sneaker clad feet beginning their descent down the fifteen steps. By the twelfth step each aforementioned sneaker would come into view,and by step #10, neatly creased pants cuffs, tan or white depending on the season. I just knew that I had about five steps more before I’d hear the dreaded words – 9, 8, 7,6,5. Yes, at step#4, he’d glance at me and lean over the railing to call into the kitchen
“Mommy, do you have anything around the house for Virginia to do?”
The truly alarming thing is I’ve been hearing these words, louder and louder for each of the last fourteen years, the years I’ve been living in The House of Mars. Well, maybe not those exact words, but the spirit behind them. I’m racked with guilt if I linger over the paper once my coffee cup is empty. And it’s spread, I hear them not just Sunday mornings, but Saturday too !
Is there such a thing as WA? I think I’ve become a Workaholic, albeit a procrastinating one when it comes to some chores – the ones that strike fear in my heart; the ones that involve tools you need to plug in or engines to be started up. Now this is really quite puzzling because my level of tool love borders on the macho. Everyone knows I’m proud of my power drill, power screw driver, and all my power saws, and of course my power pressure washer. I just suffer from the what if they don’t work and I have to have them repaired jitters.
Well, the time to bite the bullet finally came. This year February had it in for everything wooden, and even I was getting tired of my own sad fixes.
February also delivered the weather that led to the customizing of my mailbox at the hands of some sort of moving vehicle. (Dare I say a town owned vehicle masquerading as a helper in clearing away the snow?)
So two weekends back I gathered my trusty screwdriver, said a Hail Mary and yes, yes, we were in business! Now everything looks like new!
Well, there was a slight problem with the thermometer ……..
but what the heck nobody’s perfect!
And in case you’re wondering about the answer to next weekend’s Anything for Virginia to do around the house?