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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


The Lazy Days of Summer

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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This article has been read 1232 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Katherine Douglas08/08/05
this is very funny...I don't have a pool and I could hear your pool floaties calling my name.
Shirley Thomas08/08/05
This is just too funny! I love your easy style of humor and life. GREAT Job!
Dixie Phillips08/08/05
School starting will be a "RETREAT" for many moms thanks to your story! Great Job!
Venice Kichura08/09/05
Loved it! I remember those days!
Debra Brand08/10/05
So true, so true!
janet rubin08/10/05
Beautiful. Once again I'm jealous- wish I wrote it!
Lauren Bombardier08/10/05
I need to let my mother read this!
Joanne Malley08/10/05
Oooops...I found a faux paux. The sentence that stands alone should read: "I've given a new MEANING to Design on a Dime." See, now that the "real" me is back my time is spent on too much cleaning instead of proofreading! :)
Karen Ward08/10/05
I just knew you were one of those tidy house types that I admire and envy! Great read! Thanks for the hint.
Sally Hanan08/10/05
If you like this new chick, I think she should stay, no matter how much you miss the old chicken :)
Penny Baldwin08/10/05
Ahmen! Although I'm trying to be more tidy after being too lazy!! lol.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/11/05
Great humor writing, Jo, as usual. I'm glad you got a retreat from the clean freak and could become someone else for a while. There's something to be said for that relaxing thing, eh?
Great article!
Love, Lynda
Jan Ackerson 08/11/05
Very amusing! I like your phonetic representation of sarcastic laughter. Well done.
Linda Watson Owen08/11/05
A really cute and very entertaining story! Great read, Jo!
Shari Armstrong 08/11/05
LOL You mean there is hope to have a clean house again?

Suzanne R08/12/05
Sounds like a great summer ... a real retreat. You promised to shock our pants off, and you did indeed....
dub W08/12/05
A great read, very entertaining. I hope this one wins some credit. Thanks.
Pat Guy 08/12/05
Love the evil laugh - don't we know it well around here! ;) Such a refresing read - a retreat in itself! Loved it!
darlene hight08/12/05
Chuckle..Chuckle...Snort...I loved this! A very fun read and I would think a welcome addition to some women's magazine.
Maxx .08/13/05
Strong word usage skills. Definately talent here! Since it is a strong piece, maybe even a contender level piece, I will be a little picky and say I would have liked a little better structure in the conflict between the hyper-cleaning fall lady and the lazy lolling about summer lady. BUT, only my 2 cents. A great read.. made me laugh. Can I come play in the pool?!?
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/13/05
Hilarious and really hit the spot. Well done!!!
Crista Darr08/14/05
Hooray! Well done! The best comedies are always the ones laughing at reality. This is perfect!