Friday, March 11, 2011

The Case of the Vacuum and Broken Lollipop

I prefer not to make myself look pathetic on the World Wide Web, but I think this story deserves telling, if only to shame myself into being a more responsible member of my own household. I recently bribed the girls for doing something or other, I can't recall (one can't be expected to keep track of all forms of bribing when one's main parenting technique is bribing) and as a result we marched back home from the drug store with those obnoxious lollipops as big as one's head. As an aside, just out of curiosity, I read the "nutritional" information on the back and each lollipop is 550 calories of pure sugar.  But a half thousand empty calories were fine with me if these two WOULD JUST SHUT UP. We were having a rough day.

So anyway, Moxley still had some plastic wrapper on her stick and was hemming and hawing about it and I was on the phone with my mother trying to explain that I could at any moment plunge my head into a vat of boiling oil and while I'm wondering aloud how one might obtain a firearm in Chicago I'm trying to get the damn wrapper clinging onto the lollipop stick off and I drop it and it shatters like glass all over the kitchen. It's like shrapnels of blue sugar attacking my floor and if I had wanted to shoot myself before this happened how do you think I felt afterward with 550 calories of blue sugar covering my floor and a three-year-old shrieking hysterically over a lost lolly while her twin gloats and licks her still-intact pink one? Right.

I calm Moxley down by offering her a piece of cake that she can decorate with blue icing ("The lolly was blue and the icing is blue!" I sang merrily and somewhat desperately.)  I get the girls up at the table up to their eyeballs in cake and icing and look at the kitchen floor. I have absolutely no idea how to clean it and had I been in a better frame of mind I would have taken a photo for illustrative purposes. So I do what I normally do in such situations: I call my husband at work and start yelling at him.

Yes, I realize he was not there, did not drop the lollipop and in fact does not approve of the girls eating lollipops the size of a helium balloon. However, I could think of no other blameless person to yell at who might still talk to me later.

"Where's the f@#$ing dust pan!" I screamed. When I was informed we didn't own a dust pan (who doesn't own a dust pan???) I demanded to know how the hell I was expected to clean up this mess without a f@#$ing dust pan. "Get the vacuum cleaner," he calmly replied. His nonchalant demeanor only infuriated me more. I pictured him sitting in his office, only half listening to me, perhaps mocking me with obnoxious faces to his co-workers as I went nutso over a broken lollipop.

"Fine, where's the f@#$ing vacuum cleaner then???!!!" I demanded.

"In the downstairs closet where the water heater is," he replied pleasantly.

"F@#$ you!" I yelled and hung up. Just for the record, I did not yell this in front of the girls, who were happily drawing blue icing on each other and watching Wow! Wow! Wubzy! upstairs. So, as directed, I retrieved the vacuum cleaner and observed to myself that it is heavier than it looked. I briefly pondered leaving the mess for my husband to clean when he got home but that wasn't for four hours and I didn't think I could keep the girls out of the kitchen that long.

I dragged the vacuum upstairs and plugged it in. Then searched for the "on" button. I couldn't find it. I have very little pride, but enough not to call my husband back and ask where I might find the on switch to the vacuum cleaner. No, instead I turned to my three-year-old twins and asked them, given they like to help Daddy vacuum. They enthusiastically showed me how to turn it on.

And that's when it hit me. I've lived in my home more than six years AND HAD NO IDEA WHERE THE VACUUM WAS KEPT OR HOW IT WORKED. And HAD TO ASK MY THREE-YEAR-OLDS HOW TO TURN IT ON.

It was the first time the following thought ever crossed my mind: "Shit, I hope he (my husband) never leaves me." I'd be like one of those hoarder people found buried under a pile of their own rubble except I'd be buried in broken lollipops or similar.  But the good news is I now know where in fact to find the vacuum cleaner and how in fact to turn it on. Hopefully, I can avoid doing so for another six years.

--Incidentally, blogger will not allow me to upload photos recently and I even had a nifty graphic of a vacuum cleaner with a line through it like "No vacuum cleaning." WHY CAN'T I UPLOAD PHOTOS?