Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cookie Momster

This Christmas, I took almost two weeks off work (yeah! insert double fist pump here.). It started off like a real vacation should — visiting family and friends, decorating the Christmas tree and eating way more cookies than I should have.
But after the presents were unwrapped and the leftovers devoured, I took a good hard look around at our house. And it wasn’t pretty.
Hey, I’m a working mom married to a working dad with three kids, who, if it weren’t for a little thing called school or child labor laws, would also be working. I’m too busy to do much more than the basic home upkeep during the other 50 weeks of the year. Too busy, I tell you! Really!
When I’m on vacation, I’d much rather lounge around and watch movies and eat Christmas cookies than clean. In my book, the “c” in “vacation” does not stand for “clean.” It stands for “cookies,” “candy” and “chocolate,” all of which taste best while eaten on the couch during said vacation.
Now don’t get me wrong — every Saturday morning the Huffman cleaning crew is put to work (usually along with a hefty dose of complaining). We hit the hot spots — the kitchen, bathrooms — the obvious stuff. The dog hair dust bunnies get vacuumed, the dishwasher is emptied, the toilets are scrubbed.
Unfortunately, the things I normally wouldn’t have time to notice during the rest of the year became all too obvious as I was lounging around eating all those Christmas cookies last week.
A house that was new 14 years ago is showing its age. And like a teenager, there is no end to its complaints. “Paint me!” yell the doorjams. “Clean me!” scream the floorboards. “Dust me,” sulks the screen door.
The offenses go on. A 2002 paint job in the living room looks like it needs a date with 2012. Blue paint drops from another paint job dot the carpet in one bedroom.
Battles between the girls have left their mark on walls and doors. I don’t think she was trying to actually break it down, but whichever sister left the black scuff marks on the bottom of the bathroom door sure gave it her all.
The kitchen and appliances we so carefully picked out in 1998 are showing their age. The fridge has started making an ominous rattling noise. The gas stove burners have become temperamental in their teen years. There’s always one or another that refuses to light.
And don’t get me started on the girls’ rooms. I watched that TV show “Hoarders” the other night and started wondering if a de-cluttering intervention with one daughter might be required.
I’ve decided that our house would be the perfect candidate for one of those home makeover shows. You know, the show where a “before” home is turned into an “after” with the help of an amazing design team, crafty builders and clever hosts who always look way too overdressed to be doing any real work.
These people don’t mess around. They descend with their army of helpers carrying crowbars, power tools and truckloads of new furniture. Elaborate sketches are drawn up. Walls are broken down, entire floors built or rooms added on. These people have paint and power tools and they aren’t afraid to use them. At our house, we have some paint and we have some power tools, but we don’t have time to use them.
During the makeover, the homeowners describe their “perfect” room. The designers come up with all kinds of fabulous interpretations of those wishes, including a spa-style bathroom with massage table, indoor basketball court and theater-sized TV.
The lucky family then is whisked away to Disney World or some such place while the “before” home is magically transformed.
A mere 48 minutes later, they are greeted by what seems like the whole town, cheering their arrival — usually by limousine.
Clutching hands, the family steps through the front door, where the “after” is revealed. Jaws drop, the tears flow. There’s usually a lot of “Oh, my God”–ing and other expressions of amazement.
I think we need to get into this game.
Attention Hollywood: The Huffman house is at your disposal. We don’t require an indoor bowling alley, volcano-style fire pit or computerized refrigerator. Well, an extra bedroom and that spa-style bathroom would be nice.
We won’t be the neediest family you’ll encounter, but if it’s tears you want, we can do that. We’ll give you buckets of tears. I’m also offering copious amounts of fainting, swooning, or any other wild expressions of disbelief.
You deliver the makeover, we’ll deliver the drama.
I’ll even bake Christmas cookies.

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