I don’t know if you ever fell down a flight of stairs in high heels in a dress, but it hurts, I can tell ya.
Every year around April Minnie goes on a big spring cleanin’ kick. You’re sittin’ there watchin’ the game on TV, the next minute all the pictures are off the wall and she’s scrubbin’ ‘er down with a bucket and one of them squeegee mops.
I’m happy to chip in with that stuff – it would just be nice if she told me before it happened. The way it usually goes is, I wake up thinkin’ it’s a good day to play around with the lawnmower engine or somethin’ like that. I’ll think about it all the way to the bathroom, and while I’m doin’ my business, and on the way down the stairs. But then – BAM – there’s Minnie scrubbin’ down the cupboard doors, passin’ ya a J-cloth and tellin’ ya to polish her spoon collection.
Of course, I’m not the best man for a job like this even on a good day. Because the more stuff I’m told to dust off, wipe down, put back up, the more I ask her what in the hell we’re doin’ with all this stuff anyway.
Why do we have two ceramic Santa Claus chipmunks with bells up their arses sittin’ out on display in May?
That’s the first Christmas gift Little Bill ever bought for us on his own, when he was five! You don’t remember nothin’, do ya?
On and on it goes for everything.
This past spring, I managed to weasel my way out of her spring cleanin’. My brother-in-law Cyril got this little barn out behind his house that he’s been “workin’ on” for a while now. It’s basically an excuse to get away from the women, shoot darts, talk about hockey and pretend to look busy. When I snuck out on the cleanin’ I said I was gonna help him hang gyproc. (Nevermind the fact that nobody I know got gyproc in their barns, or that Cyril didn’t even have gyproc to put up.)
To tell ya the truth, I felt a little guilty when I came home and the house was all clean and I realized Minnie did all of it with no help from me. But then I realized how I got out of arguin’ about pictures and trinkets and nonsense and I was pretty pleased with myself.
So the whole summer, I’ve been thinkin’ I dodged a bullet this year by avoidin’ Minnie’s annual spring cleaning. Which is why it came as quite a shock to me to stumble downstairs last Saturday to find pretty much everything in the living room piled on my chair and Minnie with bucket of water about to scrub down the walls.
What’s all this? I says.
Well, she says, since we only did a half-arsed job of spring cleanin’ this year, I figured we should get it done now, before the kids go back to school and things get too busy to do it.
Half-arsed job? I said. I remember we spent the whole day doin’ it, me and you. Remember we sat at the kitchen table havin’ our tea when it was all done?
Nice try, she says. We sat at the table havin’ our tea about five minutes after you got home from pretendin’ to work on Cyril’s barn, when I had all the work done myself.
We remember it different, I lied. Besides, if ya did it all yourself then, why does it have to be done again now?
Oh buddy, was that ever the wrong thing to say. She took it as if I was sayin’ she never did a good job the first time, and went up one side of me and down the other about how since she had to do all the work she did it fast.
I just gave the walls a lick and a promise! she said. Some of the pictures I never even took off. No way, buddy – we’re gettin’ this place spic and span before school goes back. Because then I’m into lunches for the kids and drive me here and pick me up here and can I have ten bucks for this or five bucks for that. YOU can start right now, take the duster and dust down them mini-blinds in the kitchen.
The duster?! I said, as she threw it at me – one of them ones with a white handle and a great big bushel of pink feathers comin’ out of it.
Obviously, Minnie was provin’ her point, gettin’ me to use the pinkest, frilliest, most girlie thing she could. But rather than get even worse into a fight with her than I already was, I decided the best thing to do was try to make her laugh. That’s what keeps ya goin’ in a marriage, really, when ya can pick out the spot where you could both use a good laugh.
So I told her I had to use the bathroom and snuck the duster with me. My plan was to go upstairs, dress up like a french maid and come back down and start cleanin’. Only when I got up there, I realized Minnie don’t got clothes that look anything like a french maid. So I stripped down to my underwear, squeezed into the dress she wore to Nicky’s Christening (without zippin’ it up, of course), wobbled into her high heels and slapped on a bunch of her lipstick.
I’m coming to clean zee blinds, I said from the top of the stairs. But the first step I took in the high heels, I went arse over teakettle, bounced all the way to the bottom and sprained my ankle really bad.
We were halfway to outpatients when I realized I still had on the dress and the lipstick. So she did laugh – eventually.