Thursday, July 26, 2012


I had asked my grandkids to help me straighten up the living area once and was ignored. Twice more I asked the same question, twice more I was greeted with the same non-response.  I got a little loud, yelling “HEY” in their general direction. 8 limpid eyes rolled towards me, blinking furiously as if they had just been woken from a trance or pulled up from the depths of the sea. The children make little sighing, grunting strung together sounds which all seem to end with the only understandable word being ‘tired’.  After 15 minutes of this I shouted (This is how you know I am a college educated, literate, refined and calm woman) “Dammit all, if you can make a freaking mess for 10 freaking hours straight you can help pick up your freaking mess  for ten freaking minutes without wearing your scrawny freaking mess-making ass freaking out!  FREAK IT, FREAKEDY FREAK FREAK FREAK IT ALL!”

At this point I feel I must explain a few things:
  1.          I stopped smoking. Since homicide is frowned upon, and lollipops are NOT a satisfactory oral substitute, I find that my temper is, on occasion, a bit quick and disproportionate.
    2.    Yelling ‘freaking’ is just not as satisfying as dropping an F-Bomb so I need many more of them, more and louder it seems, to get my point across with the same intensity. I have yet to determine the number of ‘FREAKING’s necessary to make people snap to it as crisply as one well placed F*CKING would have done before I became a kinder, gentler person but I can tell you the eleven  repetitions  in the sentences above are still not nearly enough.
    3.    We were supposed to close on a new (to us) house a month ago. In anticipation of the move my son, his wife and four children moved in with us as they would be renting the house we are in now. Their lease ending overlapped our closing by a few days, NO BIG DEAL. Surely everyone can get along for a few days! A month later all 8 of us are nearing the end of our patience and my poor house is a shambles. Boxes line every wall; people are crammed into every room…. Picture cold war era Soviet Union style (but bigger, granted) living quarters. Without the vodka. Not even a Zima. Argh
    4.    Our air conditioner chose a day with a high of 98 degrees and about the same percentage of humidity to conk out on us. I have vaulted ceilings upstairs so by 6 pm it was 100 degrees in my bedroom and still warming up nicely. My husband was working late, fixing someone ELSE’S air, and wasn’t sure when he would be home.
    5.    Gobstoppers stuck to the carpet stomped on with bare heel when one is nicotine starved, sweat soaked and claustrophobic are the freaking tripper of all triggers. Who’d a thunk it?

The kids, like wild animals penned up together for too long snarled and snapped at each other until their mother jumped in. With lots of tattling, ‘I didn’t touch it’s and ‘that’s not fair’s the rooms were picked up, swept up and vacuumed up in a random kids-don’t-see-mess-but-mom-promised-us-junk-food-if-we-do-it sort of way. I felt a little bad about losing it, but not enough to not appreciate the now litter free rooms. 

By the time they were done the kids had forgotten what they were snapping at each other about and were enthralled with the forgotten treasures they had found while cleaning up. I pointed out to the tots that they had complained for an hour and only cleaned for 15 minutes. Although I clearly remember doing the same thing when I was little I don’t remember WHY so I decided to consider this an invaluable anthropological experience. When I asked them, because I am a foolish granny who apparently loves redundant and/or rhetorical questions why they balked so when I asked them to help me clean up responded “But it’s easier to make a mess!”  How can I argue with that? 'Freaking-A' I responded.

My son piddled about in the kitchen with supper and my husband came home and Glory-FREAKING-Hallelujah had the needed part for our AC in the garage. I ate my meal, went upstairs to a now seemingly balmy 96 degree room and listened to the hum of the air conditioner while I contemplated what I had learned.

Air conditioning can be considered a necessity in the south in July if for no other reason than that it stops gobstoppers from melting into the carpet. Kids never, ever change from generation to generation, and there might be some merit to being a pack rat although I will deny I ever said that if called out by my mate, I am glad I stopped smoking even if it isn’t freaking easy and my life is never dull. All in all a handful or worthwhile lessons.