Tonight's post has nothing to do with writing or publishing or the ongoing tragedy of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico...although there were times this evening when my kitchen floor looked like an aerial photo of the gulf. I don't often stray completely off-topic, but this evening was a perfect snapshot of the life of a homeowning single mother who is neither burly nor handy.
If any of you are writing about such a character, I offer my experience to you as a freebie. Stick it in your book with my blessing. If you're not a writer, you can just read it, shake your head, and ponder the effects of entropy on the lives of unsuspecting human beings.
So I woke up this morning and found a ladder in my kitchen. Also, I found a kitchen stool. And a bunch of pantry goods that had been liberated from the pantry were sitting on the countertop. All of these things had appeared after I went to bed at the astonishingly early hour of 9:30 pm. I'm usually up and kicking until midnight, but let's think about what I did during the first 20 days of June:
I took a trip to Louisiana to see the oil spill.
I came home told you people all about it.
I chased my adorable 2-year-old grandson for a week.
I got pharyngitis. Quickly followed by bronchitis.
I got some antibiotics.
I flew to Arizona to see my daughter and return my grandson to his rightful parents.
I got some more antibiotics, since the first batch didn't work.
I flew home, and I found that the good fairies had not maintained my house and yard while I was gone.
This brings me up to last night, when I felt an incredible urge to go unconscious at 9:30 pm. So I did. And there was no ladder in my kitchen at that time.
I had to get up early this morning, because today's job was to supervise the people moving my mother's stuff to her new apartment. When I woke my daughter to tell her I was leaving, I said something like, "Ladder? Kitchen?"
She explained that she'd wanted some chocolate syrup for her late-night ice cream. It was on the top shelf of the pantry. While getting it, she'd knocked a shelf off its supports, and she was truly and deeply sorry. I said, "Fine. No problem. I'll fix it tonight."
I spent a full day dealing with the move. After supper, my daughter said, "I'll clean the kitchen like you asked, but you really need to fix that shelf first."
I'm not a very tall person, so I crawled up the ladder. (Which was conveniently in my kitchen.) I'm also not a very strong person, and that shelf was heavy. I wrestled with it. Some curse words slipped out. ("Mom!" she says, as if a person isn't allowed to curse when she cuts her finger while juggling something oversized.)
Then I lost control of the whole big slab of particle board. It crashed down on the shelf below, knocking off the peanut butter and the nonstick spray and, yes, a glass bottle of balsamic vinegar...that was completely full.
As you know, balsamic vinegar is near-black and sticky. This is the point at which my kitchen floor looked like the Gulf of Mexico.
So far, we have picked up big chunks of glass. We've used towels to soak up the vinegar and wipe up the minuscule shards of glass. She vacuumed. She ran the steam mop. Right now, copious quantities of hydrogen peroxide are fighting the near-black stains in my grout. If this fails, I may need to stain the whole floor with balsamic vinegar, just so all the grout matches.
What is the moral of this story, and why am I telling it to you?
It's simple. If you ever wake up and find a ladder in your kitchen...go back to bed. :)