I Ought to Go to Bed
August 25, 2008 § 18 Comments
But before I do … I sure hope I’m not giving my Gram the business in this photo, because it looks an awful lot like I’m giving her the business.
And, just a quick story: When I was growing up, Gram lived just up the hill from us. She’d give me a nickel and take me on the county bus to the pharmacy and out to lunch; one time she bought me a little plastic aquarium and some fish (color Dad unhappy). There were no other kids my age near us, so in a lot of ways she was my playmate (or that’s how it seemed to me — to her it was more like babysitting, I’m sure).
Anyway. One time — I think I was probably, embarrassingly enough, in high school at this point — Mom and Dad and brother were all at work, and I was home alone before work; it must have been the summer I worked as a short-order cook at the local swimming pool (party goodtimes; I still have scars from the grease burns to show for it). One morning while I was making a bowl of cereal for myself for breakfast, a plastic gallon jug of milk slipped out of my hand, landed on our floor and split open.
Needless to say, MILK. WENT. EVERYWHERE. And it didn’t help that I stood there for a good 10 seconds, mesmerized, just watching all that white milk come tumbling out of the container.
Now’s probably a good time to mention that Mom is a neat freak — she used to dust/mop/vacuum the entire house EVERY DAY; my greatest form of rebellion was only cleaning my room once a week when I’d come home from college in the summers. And I knew, as I watched that milk stream across the floor, down the cabinets, and under the fridge, that I was in deep shit, because I was never going to be able to clean this up in a way in which Mom would never discover it. I was, and have always been, vastly inferior to my mother when it comes to cleaning.
So I called in the big guns: Gram.
“Please just come over, as soon as you can,” I told her, abject terror in my voice.
She was there, I’d guess, within three minutes, probably expecting a blood-red murder scene, and got the exact opposite. When she arrived, I was on roll of paper towels No. 2 on one end of the puddle mopping up the spill while our old dog Cotton was at the other end lapping up as much as she could. “Son of a peach can,” she said, surveying the scene, “How the bejesus did you do this?”
I explained, and she helped me — we mopped the floor. We moved the fridge and mopped underneath it. We wiped down the cabinets. We threw the rags into the washing machine and Gram gave me $3 and sent me to the store for another gallon of milk (that bit was genius on her part). We sat and ate cookies and each drank a glass of milk (to get the new gallon back to the level of the old gallon) and waited for the dryer to finish. And then we put everything away, and I gave her the biggest hug ever, thanked her, and she went home, and I went to work, where I no doubt spilled and burned 887 other things.
But it didn’t matter — I wasn’t going to get caught. The Great Milk Heist of (Circa) 1997, or Milk’s Two, had been successfully pulled off.
Now, I really want to say that there was a happy ending, and that Mom never knew what had happened, but, in fact, what happened was she came home, took one look at the kitchen, eyed me suspiciously, and said, “What was my mother doing here today?”