Summer Vacation, Toothbrushes, and Other Pithy* Comments

Vacation? They call this vacation?  For the dedicated teacher, newly released from the constant demands of evening and weekend lesson planning and grading, the first week of summer vacation usually plays itself out in one of two ways.

The sane teacher, in an attempt to relearn who she is after ten months of being Mrs. %&#!!, takes a week off to go to lunch with friends and read before getting on the housekeeping assembly line.

The other teacher, the crazy one, spends the first week of summer vacation in a frenzy of housecleaning and gardening stemming from pent-up frustration with her lack of homekeeping during the school year.

Parolee Tracking Bracelet

Which one of these parolees do you think I am? (I went looking for an appropriate image to go with “parolee” and found lots of scary mug shots and this photo, which is actually hysterical and possibly a commentary for another day.)

Of course you know which one I am. I am the one who cleaned my two guest rooms for upcoming visitors by first carting all of the stuff I hadn’t used for months out to the garage for “sorting.” Then I cleaned the bedrooms — and by cleaning I mean I dusted, vacuumed, washed bedcoverings, and re-sorted the craft projects and spill-over clothing items that are crowding the guest closets.

Have you ever used that spray stuff for melting the dust off of silk flower arrangements, by the way? It’s magic, but I digress…

Now we get to the pithy part. With guests coming tomorrow night, I invited my new best friend, my contractor, to replace the vent fan in my guest bathroom, repair some plaster problems resulting from a leaky skylight, and repaint the ceiling and skylight well. Sounds good, right? Easily accomplished with a couple of hours of work.

Not so fast, buster. Imagine my horror when said best friend showed me the bungee cord that had previously attached my vent fan to the exhaust tubing. And then showed me that the tubing is full of insulation because, YOU GUESSED IT!, the tubing does not vent outside and is filling up my attic with lovely hot wet air and sucking fiberglass particles into my house. Now the couple of hours of work has turned into a couple of days of work and a “couple” of more dollars. The good news is that I trust my contractor and also that I was here to see the unveiling of the bungee cord. All will be well next week.

That brings us to toothbrushes. There is something really fulfilling about cleaning with a toothbrush. Lampshades can be denuded of lingering dust, crevices in carved furniture can be scrupulously scrubbed, and oh my, the sudsy miracle of erasing the caked-on soap from the soap dish. It’s the little things in life that count, my friends.

I’m saving the garage for another day. Nobody has to sleep or shower there this weekend.

* I’m not sure pithy is the right word, but I love how it sounds so I’m using it anyway. Here’s the definition from brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible.


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