Mama said there'd be days like this: one sun-filled day, I awoke energized, highly motivated to clean anything. That should have been the first clue.
Uniformed in jeans and extra large T-shirt, the refrigerator was my first target. Though a respirator would have been advisable for this operation, I forged ahead. As suspected, decomposition had resulted in pond slime accumulation. The fuzzy and congealed masses of unrecognizable former food stuff were all ditched in the garbage can. Only the total wash down remained. Despite the kitchen sink filled with reeking storage containers, I was undaunted in my cleaning zeal. I lugged all removable refrigerator parts to the basement laundry tub. The poodle followed me. In puppy logic, the refrigerator door was still open. Therefore, a treat must be forthcoming.
Faced with the dilemma of how to rinse off large pieces under a very small faucet, I figured myself quite clever to attach the short piece of hose used to bathe the dog. I turned on first the hot water, then the cold. Nothing. I adjusted the cold a bit more–just a trickle. I turned it on more...and suddenly the end of that hose rose out of the tub like a snake out of a basket. It shot breathtakingly cold water under my chin and up my nose, coating my glasses like a windshield in a rainstorm. Blindly, I tried to catch the madly swaying hose while groping for the faucet handle. It eluded my soapy hands and continued it’s hypnotic dance, drenching everything in its path.
Eyes closed against the assault, I reached over the tub and turned the handle....the wrong way. Increased water pressure made the hose rise higher, swing farther. With vision blurred and slippery hands, I tried to anticipate where it would turn next. I miscalculated. Lunging to the left, the hose dodged the other way and nested under my right arm getting caught in the sleeve hole of my extra large T-shirt. An icy torrent cascaded down the inside of my clothing while I fought to free myself. I grabbed the snake-hose by its throat, jerking it from its indecent hiding place. It lashed about in my stranglehold showering me unmercifully as I fumbled for the faucet handle. With its energy source cut off, the snake-hose coiled limply into the tub.
Gasping for breath from such a chilling experience, I stood there numbly. Becoming aware of something plopping methodically onto my head, I slowly looked around at the devastation. Rivulets ran from the ceiling, there was a moat around the laundry pile, and the nearby fuel oil tank’s usual dusty cloak was splattered in abstract art water patterns.
What a sight I must have been: hair matted to my head on only one side, dissolved mascara made clown-like tears under my right eye, water still oozed from my right ear and nostril, and a tiny stream of water coming from the reservoir of my flooded jeans continued to fill my right shoe. It looked as if I had participated in only half of a wet T-shirt contest.
The poodle shook off water droplets, sneezed loudly, and turned to go upstairs. He paused to look over his puppy shoulder as if to say, “Now you know what I feel like on bath day” and pranced haughtily away.
Emotions started to bubble up within me. Tears or laughter? I couldn’t tell. A sudden flashback to old “I Love Lucy” re-runs brought an odd sense of affinity to the accident-prone redhead.
I was appreciative that the family pet had been my only audience. But it did occur to me that some people make a lot of money doing stupid stunts like that. From the depths of my convoluted sense of humor came belly-bouncing laughter. With tears of mirth adding to the moisture on my face, I thought, “I’ve got to tell my mother this!”
Bounding upstairs, every other step sloshing, I raced to the telephone to dial her number. As I related the story, detail by detail, I’d frequently hear a strange gurgling sound. Thinking I still had water in my ear, I elaborated more. In her best mother’s voice, she interjected consoling words to her daughter. But, finally, the dam broke. She could no longer control her laughter either.
“Oh, honey, I am so sorry for that mess”, she choked out, “but you know what your grandmother always said.....”
“Mama said there’d be days like this” we chorused.
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