KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
We’ve a Confirmation this week, so obviously, I am renovating the entire house and garden. And I swore I wouldn’t do it this time. After the Communion, two years ago, when I got the whole house repainted and ended up in a sort of frenzy down at the flower shop, panicbuying planters along with half the Second Class mothers of Templeogue (that’s a reference to the school, incidentally, not a reflection on our parenting skills — though, come to think of it…), I vowed that next time, I would simply tidy up. So I started tidying up. And before I knew it, the floor sanders were on their way and there was a skip outside the house.
I suppose I could blame Kate. Kate, who’s not really called Kate, is my highly intelligent friend who, for 365 days of most years and 364 of the others, is a perfectly sane and well- adjusted mother of some lovely, sane and well-adjusted children. But when Communion time comes around, Kate is capable of leaving the rest of us in the starting blocks in terms of the whole house and garden thing.
I’ve told this story before — so forgive me if you’re over the shock — but on the day before her first child’s Holy Communion, when I complimented Kate on the pristine planters in her front garden, she told me that she was planning on putting one of them, which hadn’t come on quite as well as the others, in the attic for the big day.
Anyway, Kate, who will kill me if she reads this even though she’s not really called Kate, has just had another Communion. On the night before it, a rain shower brought down quite a lot of cherry blossom petals into her back garden. So she sent her husband out to pick them up. See, to many, that would constitute borderline insanity, but to Kate, it’s simple common sense. And to me, it’s called raising the bar.
And it’s not as if I don’t understand that there will be nobody here after The Boy’s Confirmation who hasn’t been here a dozen times before. In other words, there won’t be a single person in our sparkling house or garden that evening who hasn’t already witnessed a substantial body of evidence that suggests that we live like slobs.
In fact, most of them have observed — as I myself have — the curious wilderness that our
‘I started tidying... and before I knew it the floor sanders were on their way and there was a skip outside the house’
garden was quietly turning into after we lost our young student gardener at the end of last autumn. When they see it, pruned and planted to perfection on Wednesday, they will know that I’ve gone through a mad burst of craziness and that I will now not pull another weed until, well, probably the next Confirmation.
Even the children who will be invited into our children’s bedrooms can testify that, usually, they have to fight their way through several layers of rubbish just to make it beyond the bedroom door. Actually, in deference to my daughters, that last bit is only really true of The Boy. For fear that there might be health and safety issues involved, his was the only room that I insisted he tidy himself before I went in to spring- clean it during the week. It still took me more than twice as long as the girls’ rooms.
Essentially, the biggest problem in The Boy’s room is that he has an elevated bed, cleverly designed so that he can put all his boy’s stuff underneath it. Unfortunately, most of his boy’s stuff tends to consist of sweet wrappers, empty cans of Lynx, dirty socks and guitars with no strings on them.
This magical space and its contents also tend to gather a huge amount of dust, to which I am quite spectacularly allergic. Normally, as my face swells up and my sore eyes disappear into a sort of elephant-man-type arrangement, I take short breaks to breathe in normal air and give my changing appearance a little respite.
But the day I cleaned the Boy’s room was the same day the floor sanders did their thing, and it turned out that the fumes from the varnish downstairs were every bit as punishing on my poor faculties as the dust above.
I am writing this two day later and you’d still be afraid to prick me with a fork. I just hope that by Wednesday, my face will have returned to regulation size.
And that it doesn’t rain on Tuesday night. Because if it does, and it brings the blossom down, then arthritic knees or no arthritic knees, the husband’s going out there.