Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

You Can Have It All, Part II

Okay, so I can't have it all, or rather can't do it all. I know. But I try to do as much of it as I can. And, as I mentioned in my first post, that was seeming fairly manageable. And then suddenly it began to seem less manageable.

What happened?

Well, first of all, this guy I'm really into talked me into joining his band.

It's sort of a long story, but my Old Man has been playing in various permutations of nascent rock bands for the past two years or so, having fun playing music again but frustrated that no particular lineup seemed to be gelling. Flakey, drunk drummers and flakey, overcommitted bass players seemed to plague him. But he's been playing with a reliable drummer for awhile, and a couple months ago he began encouraging to come down to the basement and play bass with them. Finally I found a little "extra" time to do it. So now I'm in a band again. A very low-key, low-pressure band, to be sure. But a band takes a certain amount of time, even a low-key one. It also takes energy, and though my main issue is the scarcity of time, I'm still a teacher and mother of two in my early forties: energy is also a precious commodity in my personal economy.

The other thing that happened is that my Old Man and I started cleaning our own house again.

For a bit over three years, we've been having a paid cleaning crew come in and clean our whole house once a month. This was begun at my insistence, inspired by the time issue. We never seemed to have time to clean the house adequately. And having someone else do it once a month was really nice in some ways. I loved the feeling of the whole house being clean all at once, a feat we could never seem to accomplish when we were doing it all ourselves. It was also great to just have it done without having to put in the time. But there were problems. The first cleaning crew we tried kept canceling. We'd spend two harried hours tidying the night before and morning of a house-cleaning day, only to come home to a dirty house that afternoon and an apologetic message on the answering machine. There were always good reasons. Car accidents. Sick children. Surgeries. Asthma and high pollen counts. I don't doubt a single one of the excuses given for any of these missed cleaning days. But the fact was that these cleaners seemed to be coming maybe one in three times they were supposed to come. And straightening up our whole house for no reason again and again was getting old (as was coming home from a tiring day and finding that I had to sweep and mop all the floors like now, before the kids turned them back into a zone of toy chaos).

So we tried another service. They were more expensive, but they came every time. And that was great. For awhile. Then they started missing things. They didn't mop the floor. (Ugh. So now I'm coming home from work and mopping the floor again.) And when I called to tell the owner of the service this, she apologized and took twenty bucks off our bill. But then it happened again. And then we came home to find a damp rag sitting on top of my Old Man's laptop. (WTF?!?, in the parlance of our times.) And then they not only didn't mop the floor, but failed to sweep or vacuum significant areas of the floor (like, behind every single door). I am not a boss lady by nature, and I can only call and bitch about shoddy work so many times. My Old Man, who has never really liked the idea of strangers coming into our house when we're not home, nor of other people cleaning our toilets, suggested maybe we save ourselves the cash and the hassle and go back to doing it ourselves. And so we have.

And, actually, it's great. We clean our house more thoroughly than any service we've used would, and we can tidy and clean when it works for us, not on some preordained day that always seems to be the most hectic time. And I actually like cleaning my house. I'm such a grown-up. It's satisfying and theraputic, and I can blast my ipod and lose myself in the zen of scrubbing. But I don't have time! It's really hard to find a weekend that is not crazy packed with obligations, and/or grading, and/or enticements. And yet, of course, we make the time, just like we make time to have band practice or to record a new song. But it comes at a cost. And I think something else has to give.

I just haven't figured out what yet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interlude: tickle = torture

I was hoping to return for another installment of my post series on too much to do and not enough time, but I'm too busy. (Ironic, non? C'est la guerre.) But I've got a word to say about tickling.

My Non-Fiction Writing students are keeping blogs this semester, and today one student's post was on tickling, how it's really no fun at all if you're truly ticklish. I couldn't agree more. I honestly think it's torture to tickle a kid for more than about one second. Seriously.

When I was a little kid I used to be subject to this torture of being tickled for long, agonizing minutes, and it was so horrible and such a chronic problem that I consciously worked on a way to get grownups to stop it. The maddening dilemma of tickling is that you want to say "No, you asshole! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!" but all you can do is laugh, which seems to send a message along the lines of "Oh, what fun I'm having!" It makes the tickling so much worse, this way that your own body seems to be betraying you.

And so, as a very young child, I taught myself to convert the involuntary laughter my body produced when I was ticked to tears. There's a switch in there somewhere, and if you can trip it, you stop laughing and start crying. It was the only way I could get my uncle Joe to stop tickling me for torturous minutes at a time. I know he didn't mean to be cruel, but it was cruel. And he felt terrible the first two or three times I cried when he tickled me hard after I figured out how to cry while being tickled. But I didn't care; I was just so relieved to be able to stop the torture.