My mother called.
She wants puppies and kitties again to stitch. Little duckies and bears with rainbows and ribbons and bright perky flowers and everything pastels on a vast sea of mind-numbing whiteness. She wants to make blankets and pillows and towels and nappy covers and dresses with bows and laces and bibs. She wants to make her bright shiny happy perky world and suck me into it.
I'm not falling for it ever again. If she wants a baby so badly, she should adopt or get married again, or something.
I carefully put the phone down, slipped Tony into the tape player as loud as it could go, and took a long shower. I'd like to wash away the sound of my mother's voice all wistful and proud.
But I know what the truly sad part is. I know I will be giving her the fabric and the thread and the pictures, and let her make of it what she will. We all need to be happy some how, and who am I to tell her that she's insane? I love my mom. Let her be.
Today was Vacuum day. Fill the void!
I have my methods. Everything must come off the floor. All of the shoes, all of filthy white socks, the half-read magazines and the dirty dishes must be lifted off the floor. I tuck the shoes on the pegs, which annoys Frank, because he says only hats belong on those pegs. But we don't have any hats. And I have to vacuum where the shoes go, or the dirt builds up. Frank takes his socks and shoes off before putting on his slippers. And he just abandons his socks. So I carefully unball them and tuck them in Aunt Tillie's vase. It's a huge pseudo-Chinese horror that I'm going to knock over some day. The vase gets picked up off the floor and put on the easy chair. It's heavy, but if I add the socks after I putt vase where it belongs, it's not so bad. Then the dishes go to the kitchen. I soak them in bleach in the sink while I vacuum. Then I know they will come clean. Frank doesn't notice how many dishes are in the parlor. Ever. Then he wonders where he can find fork. Silly man. The magazines get bookmarks. Then they are put in the drawer for coffee table. Then I have to put to coffee table on the couch. Then and only then is the floor clear enough to vacuum. I like to do a checkerboard pattern, like Gene across the street mows his lawn. Then I can put the vase down and remove the socks. I like to put them back where I found them. And I put the coffee table back and remove the magazines, carefully opening back to where Frank left them.
I leave the shoes where they are, just to annoy Frank. The walls are too bare, and the shoes dangling on pegs are wonderfully artistic mobiles.
The dining room chairs fit neatly upside down on the table. I planned it that way, because that's what they do in restaurants. It makes it very nice to vacuum the rug there. I try to do ocean waves, because it's a very blue room.
The kitchen doesn't need to be vacuumed. No rug. Rugs collect too many spills and stains and aren't pleasant in kitchens. Sometimes though, I take the bathmat from the bathroom and put it in front of the fridge and sit on it. This is my favorite way to handle those really warm nights when I don't want to sleep. I like to open the fridge and just stare at the neat rows of food and juice. All the colors and shapes... it's comforting. I don't try to do anything. I just look at it.
Don't tell Frank, but I like to pretend the bed is a Murphy bed on vacuum day. I lift the whole thing up on one side, and vacuum it. I have to move his videotape collection, but I'm careful and I put it back the way he had it. It's not porn. Porn is anything in a man's sock drawer that isn't socks, my mother taught me. But these aren't romances either. Before mom explained that to me, I didn't think pistols were pornographic. It's straight lines only in the bedroom. The same way every time. And it all goes back neatly as if I never even vacuumed.
If the weather is good, I take the bathroom rugs out to the clothesline and abuse them with my golf clubs. Franks doesn't let me play golf any more and I like the swing practice. This always worries the old lady next door. That cat goes in and out several times while I beat the rugs. Usually, the cat gets tossed out, because it doesn't want to be in the yard while I hit the rugs. These are always my favorite times of the day.