Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: The Lazy Days of Summer
By Joanne Malley
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Thankfully, summer vacation is almost over and my life can get back to normal. The retreat from my usual daily grind had memorable moments, and a special prayer was answered, but I miss the normalcy.
Let me explain…
Before school ended, I was a spotless, organized mother of two who ran a tight ship. My home was super-clean…and tidy to boot! I even trained the Palmolive bottle to close its own cap and return to its designated storage spot after each use since detergent bottles aren’t my idea of a decorative accessory—even if they do sport one of those hideous miniature dresses. It has an eerie resemblance to a headless maid.
Enough about them! I don’t want the nightmares to start again.
While my kids were still in school, book bags and shoes were forbidden to congregate in the hallway. I forced loose socks without companions to embark on a search for their missing mate or else.
I made beds soon after the kid’s morning departure, stacked dishes in the washer and made at least twelve rounds through the house in an effort to collect junk left behind by my offspring and male kid at heart, aka: husband. Who needed Curves or a jogging regimen? I was out of breath each morning before Kelly Ripa’s pearly whites and perkiness bombarded my family room.
When I found elastic hair ties, lone toy parts, or razors left behind, they met their demise with the Consolidated Waste Management truck the following Tuesday. After all, enough was enough unless I suddenly acquired magical powers that would zap objects and trinkets into their appropriate storage place.
Since I knew that would never happen, I reveled in the enjoyment of sending whatever was left behind to the township trash compactor. I have to admit, the sinister smirk and laugh I’ve acquired during clean up time began to concern me, and I’ve learned that one never knows how true enjoyment will emerge.
If my family can’t find a single closet or drawer, then they’re going to have to realize my newest organizational method involves only the trash bin.
Anyway, my behavior has concerned those not in my family. Some consider my obsessive traits regarding organization and cleaning to be bizarre, but many of my relatives understand perfectly. After all, I’m fairly certain it was one of my ancestors who actually discovered the first germ and tried to eradicate it with drastic measures.
However, a consistent change occurred as the days of summer passed. It’s been a true get-a-way from the daily grind and the little kid in me has once again emerged.
Day by day, I cared less about the condition of my home. The dish detergent bottle and Lysol container found residence on my kitchen counter with high hopes of being used, but for some strange reason, I began to feel an attachment to the germs in my home and refrained from touching cleaning agents completely.
Now…that was bizarre to me!
Those bottles have since become my favorite decorative accent. The color of the Palmolive liquid matched perfectly with my décor and I opted for that new, inexpensive look.
I’ve given a new name to “Design on a Dime.”
A twinge of guilt and disgust recently emerged, but I suddenly heard my best friend’s words—“Clean it later; summer goes so fast! Just relax.” She was right, and I did pray for the opportunity to kick back for a change.
The pool enticed me from the kitchen window’s view and I decided not to waste my time on any wax-on, wax-off cleaning techniques that previously took hours. Besides, I could swear I heard the blow-up whale offer me a ride. Suddenly, all pool floaties began to call my name. So what, if I had no clean towels to dry off? I’d air dry while lying in the sun and get a tan all at once.
I liked this new chick. She multi-tasked pretty well.
But, who is this new woman who took over?
If you find her, tell her to sign her name on my dusty end table so I can thank her for a truly wonderful and relaxing summer vacation.
And, if you find the real me roaming somewhere, send her back and tell God the joke’s over. Although I thank Him for my answered prayer, I miss my clean and tidy house.
Once again I can’t wait for those words, “Back to School” to ring in my ears!
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