Two phrases did not pass my lips last Saturday, as I climbed the stairs and surveyed the surroundings for what would be my last trip to the first marital home of my second born offspring. The two phrases, that I felt were best said silently were; "You will never get this place cleaned by tomorrow afternoon", and "What have I let myself in for!"
After giving a few quick, sharp orders, the troops were dismissed, and the process started. Edward was on laundry duty, and was sent to the washing machine with several loads to be washed, dried and subsequently packed (neatly) into awaiting boxes. In between the cycles, he was to remove as much as possible from the living area, to the garage, so that it could be put on to the truck the following day. He was awaiting the disciplinary charges that he supposed were going to be imposed (by me) for forgetting his wallet, which contained his driving license, thus preventing him from being able to hire the said truck on Saturday.
Samantha started to clean the bathroom. I had promised that I would lend a hand in my role as domestic goddess, but the bathrooms were in my 'no-go' areas. Edward appeared after the second load of laundry had been loaded, and asked Samantha why she was cleaning, rather than taking the remaining things from the upper level to the lower, and then looked over at me, and said, "Isn't that what you said we should do?". It was at this point that I took a step back, and told him that he should be the king of his own castle, and he and his queen, should be giving me the instructions, with an added look that could only be misconstrued as 'if you dare!' However, the gauntlet had been laid down, and the challenge to have nothing but carpet on the floor was finally taken seriously, no matter who gave the orders!
When all that I could take downstairs, was taken downstairs, I proceeded to load up Samantha's car with the trash, and not having seen the 'man that does' in his golf cart, I felt the freedom to drive the hundred yards to the place where the rubbish could be deposited. The bags were quite heavy, and I was thinking of enlisting the help of my able bodied son-in-law, but thought better of it, as he was putting the umpteenth load into the machine, taking time away from cleaning the spare room carpet. I did not wish to stem the flow. Hauling the first bag into the compactor, I noticed a car situated behind mine, and saw a middle aged woman peering into the back of my vehicle. "Is this all trash?" she questioned, and when I replied that, indeed, it was all to be dumped, she proceeded in taking several large, heavy bags, and placing them under her arms. Built very sturdily (to be polite, and I was polite, as I was extremely grateful) she effortlessly climbed the slope, laden down with not only the white plastic holdalls, but also with a box of bottles, and threw them into the rubbish arena with ease. My heart sank, as I envisioned her asking for help in return, to empty her boot, and was rather concerned that it would be something of weighty magnitude, but it jumped with joy as she announced that she only had the one bag, and ran back to her car, ready to drive away. Disappointed that she was leaving, as I still had half a car left to empty, but extremely glad that I only had half a car left to empty, I shouted my thanks, and continued to haul!
Upon my return, the kitchen was ready to be tackled. I was told that I was wrong in my assumption that in the three years that they had rented the apartment, the floor had not seen a mop, but it was not easy to convince me. I vacuumed along the edges, and moved the fridge from side to side, in order to get into the nooks. I scrubbed the fronts of the cabinets and then Samantha helped me empty the fridge. It took about ninety minutes to get the area spotless and sparkling, which would not sound very long, if the kitchen was of a reasonable size. However, when talking about a floor space that spans about four foot by eight, this seemed to be excessive! In their defense, I do not think anyone has ever swept along the top of the cabinets, from the time the apartment was first constructed!
After the kitchen, I started to dust around the bedroom, and wardrobe. No sooner did the words, "Have you ever....", emit from my mouth, did a resounded response, in duplicate, of "Yes!" come back at me. Samantha was dripping from head to toe, having attempted to clean the shower head, whilst it was turned on, (yes, my daughter in that aspect!) as she came to inspect that I was doing the job properly! Edward was still loading and unloading laundry!
At around 3:45pm, I announced that my time of aid was coming to an end, and was there anything else with which they required my assistance, as I had to get my grocery shopping done, and get home to my husband, and their dog! The request was for me to vacuum the stairs, if at all possible. Unfortunately, the task was completed too soon, as they had forgotten that the balcony had not been cleared, and upon said ledge were two plastic containers of earth and grass, which was used by the dog when it was not convenient to take him outside. Despite the deposit being only liquid, the containers were very heavy, and the dead grass was quite brittle, leaving a slight residue on the newly cleaned stairway. I was assured that this would not take long to redo, and I loaded the containers into the car and visited the compactor, again. My helper was not there. Instead there was an able looking young man, emptying his own car. He watched, as I struggled with the plastic box, and continued to watch as I dragged it up the slope. He waited for me to lift it on to the ledge, tip it over into the metal bin and repeat the procedure with the other container. For that moment, I was convinced that chivilary had died a very nasty death, and wondered what part women's lib of the seventies played in its demise! I drove back to the apartment, and once again asked if there was anything else they would like me to do. The answer, thankfully, was "No!" I left, and went to Walmart!
Despite my once local, and once oft-visted store being brighter, and feeling somewhat cleaner than those that I have visited recently, the contents were rather dismal, and I left with my groceries, feeling somewhat disappointed, as I had hoped to be invigorated by the change, in the assumption that it would possibly be as good as a rest. I arrived home, once again, exhausted!
Sunday was a beautiful and warm day. We breakfasted, blogged, and then I took the opportunity to sort my outside shed. Although not a complete disaster area, I moved items around so that those belonging to Samantha were one side, and those that were not, on the other. It took two hours to complete the task, and I felt quite refreshed when I had finished. The dog, who had been dropped off in the morning, was collected at around 8pm, and I fell asleep watching an episode of something that apparently did not hold my attention!
I found my way to the new house quite easily on Monday morning. Dana had gone to work, and I was enjoying the freedom of a bank holiday. I stepped into the abyss and again wondered, 'What am I doing?' With the tiny piece of me that is my mother's daughter, I strode into the spacious area, and took charge. Samantha had bought coffee, and donuts, for sustenance, and the kitchen was my first target! Without a third thought (the first and second were unavoidable) I took a box and slid a knife along the taped top, to reveal contents to be unpacked. Within an hour, we had opened, unpacked, and relocated about twenty boxes. The pantry was now fully stocked, the bottom cupboards panned, and the top glassed. Plates, bowls, containers and cutlery all now had a home. Edward had been sent on an errand, and returned a considerable time later with door handles, and other essential items.
After the kitchen had been cleared of boxes, we started on the living room. Bags of clothes were taken up to the bedroom. Upon the bed was a bundle of sheets, and beside the bundle of sheets was the dog. I was a little surprised, as he usually follows Edward around like the proverbial lost puppy, but he appeared to be content to be laying down, going to sleep. Suddenly the bundle of sheets moved, and out popped a sleepy looking head that murmured something incoherent. Apparently my son-in-law was tired! I subdued all the words that were forming in my mouth which would let him know, in terms that would not be considered reasonable around small children, churches or ladies circles, that I was not happy, and decided that the anxiety levels that he had been encountering, had finally subsided, and he was merely destressing. The ladies descended to the lower level, and attempted to drag the new boxed comode back up the stairs. When asking Samantha whether this was, indeed, to replace the one upstairs, she replied "No, I am just getting you to take it up, for kicks and giggles". We laughed so hard, that the dog bounced off the bed to see what was causing the commotion, and we found it rather difficult to keep the box from slipping down. I commented that when the 'giggles' had stopped, I would take care of the 'kicks', which caused us to laugh even harder!
Eventually, downstairs was in an acceptable state, and we decided to call it a day! Samantha and I drove to Ikea. I treated us to an ice cream, and we strolled around the warehouse like we were taking a stroll along the pier! My trusty tape measure, which is probably the only thing that I have ever received out of a Christmas cracker to be useful, was utilised many times. We purchased a couple of things, and left to proceed home. As we exited the parking area, I complained bitterly about the driver in front, who was not looking at the 'bigger picture', and sat waiting for a gap in the traffic, which would allow him to cross four lanes, rather than exiting and gradually moving over. Although he probably could not hear me, I told him that Christmas was eleven months away, assuming that it was indeed Christmas that he was waiting for! He did move out, eventually, and I followed close behind, and crossed the four lanes, refusing to let him in front of me, as he had caused us to wait so long to get on to the road. Not normally an aggressive driver, I found myself to be acting totally out of character, and put it down to the fact that I was tired, and perhaps needed to be tucked up under some sheets, myself! As the lights changed, Samantha expressed an urgent need to go somewhere quickly. She had consumed a larger quantity of dairy than she should, and the ice cream had tipped her over the edge! The supermarket on the opposite corner would be a viable proposition, and she suggested, strongly, that I make my way back across the four lanes of traffic, which I did, thus cutting off, again, the driver of the vehicle whom had failed to see the 'bigger picture'. I raced to the entrance as fast as my car, and traffic, would allow, and Samantha alighted from the car, leaving me to find somewhere to park.
The 'special' on raspberries was my prize for getting my daughter to the facility in the nick of time, and I purchased a few punnets at the special price. Feeling that this was the change that was as good as the rest, so needed, I was now revived enough to take on any further challenge that was ahead. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived back at the house, my enthusiasm had wained! Edward had surfaced by the time we returned, and was fixing a leaking shower head. It appeared that he only needed a catnap to revive him, rather than a trip to the supermarket! I called Dana, as we had planned to treat the kids to a meal, as the delivery of their electrical appliances had been delayed, and their ability to cook was limited, but he was in the middle of a work project and was a bit reluctant to leave it at this time. Samantha was quite happy to receive a rain check as her digestive system was still not quite one hundred percent in tact, and Edward was just experiencing his second wind, so he wanted to keep working. Who was I to argue!
I drove myself home, without getting lost! The only real hazards were to stay off the toll road, and being able to see the sign for the interstate, as the sun was very low, and blinding. I recognised the landmarks, and was soon driving along the main thoroughfare that took me to the exit which led to my own home. Dana was still working when I arrived home, but we went out to dinner a little later.
The rest of the week was work, work, work. As my daughter did not have the required appliance to do any laundry, mother came to the rescue, and her appliances were now running overtime! This weekend was again filled with unpacking boxes. We managed to empty many, place everything in its own home, and even tackle the excess that had been stored in the garage. Edward did not take a horizontal break on Saturday, whilst I was on the premises. I tackled the situation, again, and heard my mother speaking several times, through my own lips! I had to keep reminding myself that this was not my home, and my suggestions were only suggestions, but this was not easy, as both the kids would ask, "Is this okay to put this here?" I had to keep reminding them that this was not my home, and my suggestions were only suggestions!
I have made the promise of help for one more week, before starting the arduous task of clearing all Samantha's things from my house. I decided that it would be counter-productive to take the remainder of her belongings before she had space to receive them. As I have said, her house is not my domain, but as I have put so much effort into helping her make it into home, I would only be undoing my own work! I could not really swallow that bitter pill!
As I sit here, typing, on a glorious Sunday afternoon, the only chores that are left for me to do are those which should not really be mine. I have to unload the washing machine and hang up the clothes that do not belong here! However, I am a mum, and as mum's know, you don't ever stop being a mum! Despite letting your offsprings stand on their own two feet, a helping hand here and there is not perceived as interfering! I am very much looking forward to having a 'craft room', as is Dana looking forward to having an 'office' in the third bedroom. Perhaps it will be both, but otherwise, let the battle begin! Being as deferring as my husband usually is, to my wishes, it will be interesting to see if he will insist on having an opinion as to how our new room is set up. I am sure all will be revealed in good time, in .......... another story!