Skip to main content

"You're a mess"

I'm a lot like Pigpen -- the Peanuts kid beleaguered by filth. I'm messy. I cook messy, do my hair and makeup messy, get dressed messy, fix my coffee messy
-- I clean messy.

My husband hates it, and I hate that he follows me all over the house to catch me in the act of making messes -- and the moment I turn my back on something that's not where it belongs he jumps out like a jack-in-the-box and scolds me. It drives me insane -- explode-out-of-my-skin homicidally insane.

It occurred to me last night while I was angrily rolling out a pie crust -- swearing because the dough was too warm -- that Jerod -- my husband -- is my Grandma Kay's revenge.

She popped into my head first because she'd disapprove of my swearing. Then in mid chuckle -- my mind's eye picturing my grandmother clap her hands and chirp something disciplinary like "don't be so ugly" or "I'm very disappointed" -- I felt something soft and slippery glop between my toes.

A chunk of butter had fallen on the floor, and I noticed for the first time since I started my project that the kitchen was trashed with flour and wrappers and dirty measuring cups and purple globs of apple-blackberry pie filling.


I thought to myself, "Grandma'd be swearing too if she saw this mess."

She yelled at me all the time for soiling her spotless kitchen with crumbs from potato chips and graham crackers; sugar for my cereal; and whatever else I was into. Oh, it made her mad.

"Do I have to follow you around with a broom and dustpan," she'd ask me. "Why are you such a mess?"

My grandma.

She was 4'10" in heals, and all of her grandchildren were promised ice cream cones the day they measured 4'10.01". She was little, but she was a ball buster. There was no sitting around her house in the same pair of sweatpants for days on end eating ice cream out of the carton watching General Hospital and Days of Our Lives.

I did laundry -- properly.

I cleaned the dishes -- by hand, because the dishwasher was reserved for voters.

She told me to write and I wrote. She told me to draw and I drew.

There was no arguing with Kathleen Bacharach. I tried many times, but even in her small voice the words  "no, NO" dropped like cinder blocks, and I wanted to switch places with some tidy child who was mismatched with a messy house and sloppy parents who decorated their yards with garden gnomes and plastic flamingos.

I bet she gets a kick out of Jerod's hand wringing -- the look on his face when I'm done in the kitchen, and the defeated whimper when I absentmindedly drip laundry detergent over the washing machine. She had her victories -- I graduated from college and I wrote for a newspaper -- but she never shamed the Pigpen out of me.

I can see her now, grinning at jerod's frustration.

"Heaven help you," she says. "Heaven help you."

Comments

  1. I am Jerod. I am Kay.
    You are a pig.
    But I need you to come pig up my house. Stat.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I showed you mine -- it's your turn now.

Popular posts from this blog

The insecure writer's support group

The ground is important -- for several reasons.

Among them

Gravity makes no sense without it -- there's no mandate that science be logical so long as our scientists are the smartest smartypants on the planet, in which case "because I said so" is an acceptable explanation. The ground is important, because it's something to build on -- a starting point, a foundation.

I respect the ground, because it has on occasion fallen out from under me, and it's rather unsettling to watch your life in free-fall mode -- to see your accomplishments disintegrate in an instant or a decade in some cases. It all depends on how fast you're falling.

Most of us drop in slow motion. We'll catch a ledge or an up draft every once in a while and think "this is it!" But then we go on falling. Or do we? Is the "bottom" just a figment of our imaginations? Can we lay new ground wherever we choose?


Ask Alice

None of my friends growing up were impressed with Disney's…

Writers get laid

Writers get laid -- or they would if they tried -- because people -- especially women -- are impressed by the phrase, "I'm a writer." It's romantic.

Introducing yourself as a writer insinuates substance and depth of character; people like that. They don't know why, except that one-dimensional characters on T.V. sitcoms and big-screen romantic comedies prattle on and on about the whole package -- a good looking, funny, intelligent single with rock-solid values and money.

People admire the skill and dedication it takes to be a novelist or a journalist or a screen writer  -- "I always wanted to be a writer," they tell you with stars in their eyes.

Whether they know it's a myth or not they imagine us in rich, thrilling lives with sports cars and beach houses and Louboutin shoes like Carrie Bradshaw. So the woman at the grocery store doesn't feel bad when she puts back the US Weekly she read cover to cover before she checks out.

Or downloading unauth…

My favorite geeks

Imagine a little girl in pink granny glasses. Her haircut gives her a boyish look and she’s dressed in a purple checked sweater with red high waters and electric-blue duck shoes. A couple of kids on the playground tell her how cool she looks, and -- not comprehending their sarcasm -- she smiles brightly and thanks them.
That was me -- the dork in ginormous glasses. I answered to many names in elementary school -- loser, duck feet, four eyes and a few others I'd rather forget -- smart, pretty and fashionable I was not. It felt like the end of the world back then. All the popular girls braided each other's hair during story time at the library while I picked my nose and talked to myself. 
I'm not ashamed to admit it. I was a dork -- as big a dork as it's possible to be -- and it gave me character. I think Lester Bangs said it best : "Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts."
No one called 4-year-old Paris Hilton -- or Lindsay Lohan or B…