Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Last week, from Sunday to Saturday, Little Mark was in Augusta with his grandparents—Mark’s mom & step-dad. They both adore LMark, and he returns the sentiment. They have four dogs which add to his enjoyment. Several times he has voiced a preference to stay with the dogs than to return home to his four siblings.

Every time I get a break from my 24-hour, 34-pound mischief-maker I try to get something done around the house. In his absence I have
cleaned a houseful of carpets and have painted a few bedrooms, a kitchen, a foyer and a den.

This time, our biggest project was mopping the kitchen floor. This might not seem like a lot, but when you have white linoleum—and a weird cleanliness compulsion like I do—a discovery as momentous as
Mr Clean’s Magic Erasers (or, rather, the cheaper Wal Mart copy) can rock your world. I discovered these sponges can almost return my 7 year-old white linoleum to its former glory—minus a few nicks here and there from tap shoes, and large knives dropped once a week by Margaret.

All of us, except for the two Marks (we actually get more done with
neither of them around) were on our hands and knees scrubbing the dull-grey floor to a brilliant, not-so-dull grey. Oddly, we had fun.

My only problem is the stress associated with the newly mopped floor. For days I feel like I can’t cook anything. If I do I am more interested in what goes on the floor than what goes in the pan. I also cringe every time the kids eat, drink or play in the kitchen, which, of course, is also the
only place they want to be when the floor is so clean.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so I have made up several new and exciting games like: shop-vac monster; wash-cloth feet; and mean step-mother and Cinderella. I have also come up with other, less imaginative games like “stop throwing noodles,” and “clean up the brown spots.”

These aren’t as popular with the target audience.

When LMark returns,
attitude detox begins. Fr Mark & I so termed it many years ago when Rose visited her grandparents for a few days and returned a monster.

Certainly when any child breaks from routine for a period of time, he sometimes has to go through attitude readjustment to get him back to normal. My difficulty is dealing with the
nightmare that is Little Mark from the time he gets back to the moment he realizes he is not the only child in the house, and his Mama doesn’t abide scowls, snotty attitudes, whining, tantrums, and horrific scenes of two year-old fury.

The nightmare almost makes his vacation not worth it.


Then I look at my painted rooms, clean rugs, and the morning sun (kind of) sparkling off the kitchen floor...

so he gets to spend quality time with his grandparents and the dogs.