Clean Freak

I used to clean my house every day.  Seriously.  EVERY day.  I had a routine that included vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the bathrooms.  I went through so much Windex my husband dubbed me the Windex Queen.  And it didn’t stop there.  My family had to endure countless times of searching for the glass they set down on the counter to refill because just as quickly as they set it down, I put it in the dishwasher.  On one occasion apparently my son fixed a bowl of cereal and when he turned his back to get a spoon, I dumped it in the sink and put the bowl away.  Truthfully, I never even knew I was doing it, it was just an automatic impulse.  My poor family – probably scarred them for life.

I LOVED to clean.  Not just clean, but organize.  I took great pride in the towels in the linen closet all lined up perfectly or the junk drawer being arranged by category.  Okay, I admit it, it is a little disturbing.

One of the best things about the chores of the day was the treasures I would find.  Laundry was the most financially rewarding.  Tom carried a money clip that he would often leave in his pocket and while it didn’t ever have anything larger than a few George’s, I stood fast in my belief of the motto “finders, keepers.”  A girl always needs a little cash for an emergency, albeit secret, chocolate craving, right?

Not all my cleaning discoveries were good ones.  When the kids were little, I learned the hard way that I needed to check their pockets before I washed.  It was during the early 90’s when some genius at Elmer’s decided glue should come in neon colors.  Stephen loved pockets and put his glue in a pair of white shorts.  (I know, why would I ever let a 5-year-old wear white?)  I spent the next year adjusting my shirts because they would get stuck to the hot pink splotches on my bra.

During that stage of life when the kids were little, I would find everything from Batman action figures, rocks, and Matchbox cars to crayons, pennies and Polly Pocket’s shoes in their pockets, their beds and what they thought were their hiding places.  One time I was cleaning and found a thimble in their secret playroom in the attic.  It wasn’t a real secret playroom – no Flowers in the Attic, I wasn’t that kind of mom, though a room with a lock was appealing at times (for me, for ME, not the kids!!) – but a playroom in the attic that could only be accessed from the secret door hidden inside Stephen’s closet.  Anyway, a THIMBLE.  I didn’t use them, but I had recently been to a fabric store with both of the kids.  Could it be that one of my kids had stolen the thimble?  And why?

Being the detective that I was (it’s one of the many Mom hats we wear) as we put them to bed, Tom and I told a story about a very bad little boy who stole things.  I’ll admit, we both assumed that it was Stephen because, after all, he LOVED his pockets and putting things in them.

We had barely made it through the story when Courtney burst out “I did it!  I stole the cup!  It was for Polly Pocket!”

The following day we made a family trip to the fabric store and I made her return the thimble and confess to the store clerk.  Unfortunately, the clerk thought I was crazy for making her return a 99 cent thimble, but trust me, Courtney has strayed as far away as possible from anything remotely related to sewing!

Back to the topic of cleaning house, I would like to note that it has changed through the years.  When Stephen got his driver’s license and started carrying a wallet, I can tell you that his wallet was the cleanest wallet in town because I must have washed it once a week.

But now that Tom only uses a debit card, my cleaning days are less fruitful.  The kids are gone, so I think the most profitable day in laundry was the day I found 11 cents in the bottom of the washer.

I cleaned house Thursday.  Now I’ve gone from every day to once a month.  And only because the cat hair floating across the floors is overwhelming.  And I guess you could say my finds are, er, different.  This time I found 2 orange ear plugs beneath a sea of cat hair under the bed, next to a stale frosted mini-wheat.

Times have changed?  I guess this is what life looks like when your nest is no longer full of children and has been replaced by cats.  Welcome to my world.

Holy terror

Last year my daughter brought her kitten Lola to Tulsa to live with us.  Courtney was moving into a different apartment in New York City and she couldn’t have pets.  We agreed to kitten-sit until she graduates in May.

We have our own cat, Meow (I know it’s corny, but can your cat say her name when asked?)  And we’ve had several cats through the years, but none like Lola.  We had a cat that liked to sleep on the tires of the car, but needless to say, he didn’t live long.  We had a cat named Madison that Tom called Fattest One.  He was a great cat except he liked to jump in laps when you least expected it, causing more than one man’s voice to change an octave or two.

But we’ve never had a cat who gets on the dining room table. We’ve never had a cat who gets on the kitchen counters.  And we’ve never had a cat who just refuses to obey.  Until Lola.

Last night I measured out two tablespoons of cough medicine and set it on the kitchen counter to take before I went to bed.  I was watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills doing my devotions when I heard something fall.  I walked into the kitchen to find a sticky mess all over the floor, the cabinets and the wall. And Lola?  She was eating, pretending like she had no clue what had happened.  It took me almost 15 minutes to get the syrup off of everything.  Once it was clean, I walked into the living room only to discover that Lola had knocked over my glass of Crystal Lite.  Twelve ounces of raspberry lemonade spilled all over the living room rug.  As I was soaking up the lemonade, Lola jumped on the dining room table, knocked a folder containing pages and pages of Tom’s journal onto the floor, and then dashed into the kitchen to eat.  Again.

After a night of Lola’s antics, I decided I better go to bed before I put her in a box, taped it shut and mailed her to New York – via pony express.

I pity the mothers of toddlers.  Terrible two’s, three’s, four’s, and sixteen’s are exhausting. Who am I kidding?  It’s all exhausting.

The difference between kittens and toddlers?  Not much.  Except I can banish Lola to the basement with a bowl of food and water and get a good nights sleep.  Parents, on the other hand…well, isn’t that why God gave us grandparents?

The MOJO of Christmas

Christmas is magical.  And if you’re an Odessa, Texas, Permian football fan – Christmas is pure MOJO.

Kids are so honest.  Listen how my son tells the story of the birth of Jesus – and notice my daughter’s little voice when her daddy makes the request.

Nothing sweeter than the little voices of my babies.  Twenty years ago they were babies, today they’re who I want to be when I grow up.

Magic I tell you, pure magic.

All I want for Christmas

Twenty years ago today, this is what my son wanted Santa to put in his stocking.  So it shouldn’t have been a shock to me when he became a teenager, that, not only would his favorite scent be Sulfur, but his bedroom window would be the best place to shoot roman candles and bottle rockets.  At least, according to him.

And in case you’re wondering, Santa did NOT come through with his last minute request.  It helps when you sleep with Santa.

Oh the joys of parenting boys!

Happiness deserved?

Happiness Deserved

 

Not necessarily – DESERVE being the operative word.

It seems to me that there is a common misconception that everyone deserves to be happy.  But the definition – to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment) because of actions, qualities, or situation – tells me that happiness is a product of positive behavior.

If someone is unhappy in their marriage, and assuming that we are all deserving of happiness, does that mean that she has a right to walk away from it in her pursuit of greener grasses?  And if happiness is deserved, than what about her spouse? He suffers so that she can be happy?

When we choose to be selfish in our pursuit of happiness at the expense of others, it’s impossible to be fulfilled and truly happy.

I posted the question “Do you think we all DESERVE to be happy?’ on my Facebook status.  I was immediately inundated with several responses.  This one, from Toni Sawyer, was exactly what I was hoping for:

Happiness comes and goes, I find that it is an elusive thing to pursue, and maybe not worth the pursuit, it is kind of a self-centered emotion. Joy, on the other hand, is deeper and much more satisfying, you can be joyful in unhappy circumstances. Happy people can be annoying to those going through trials, joyful people can be a Godsend. All that being said, I don’t think I ‘deserve’ to be happy, like an ‘entitlement’ thing, but I sure do ‘like’ to be happy.

This from Diane Smithson:

If we are focused with a steadfast mind, then we should experience God’s joy & happiness. (Isaiah 26:3)

Julie Atchley Robinson summed it up quite well:

happiness is a choice… it can only come from within you, it cannot be given to you.

And Miriam Taylor rounded it out with:

We deserve death. But I’m so thankful that HE gives us life and joy instead!

Happiness is not the same as JOY.

Isaiah has a precursor if we are focused with a STEADFAST mind” – steadfast meaning unwavering, firm in purpose, then we should experience God’s joy and happiness.”

Let me break it down.

If I eat a bag of Double Stuff Oreos every day, I deserve to be fat. If I drink a 24 ounce bottle of Coke before I go to bed, I deserve to be wide awake at 2 am.

The only people who DESERVE to be happy are children.  Or Mother Theresa.  Perhaps someone who gives his best, does everything humanly possible to give back, puts his family first, and makes a difference deserves to be happy.

Joy comes from within, but happiness is earned.

Have you earned it?