Just the Other Day: That’s Messed Up

Every now and then you see or hear something so far from being normal (whatever normal may be) that it causes you to say: “That’s messed up.”


The kids were coming for the Fourth of July weekend. The house was in good shape, but there were a few things I wanted to do before they arrived.  Even when the house is clean, I feel like I should clean it again before company arrives. At times I get distracted, or just forget things, then end up rushing to finish my tasks at the last minute. Determined that wouldn’t happen this time, I did something I doubt any man has ever done in the history of household preparation – I made a list.


The problem was, I had six days. Some of the tasks couldn’t be done yet. If I mowed the grass today, it might need to be cut again by Wednesday. I couldn’t go shopping yet, lest some of the groceries would no longer be fresh when the kids arrived. Waiting until Monday to start working on my list seemed the logical thing to do.


Monday came and I wanted to get started, but I needed to finish some writing I was doing.  Just like that, it was afternoon, then evening and time to make dinner.  Not to worry, I still had two days to get everything done – well, almost two days.


Tuesday came. I was up early, ready to start on the list. Oops, I forgot about an appointment in Duluth to have my car serviced and I needed a haircut.  There was still no rush. My oil change was scheduled at eight a.m. Afterwards I would get my haircut and be home well before noon to get started on the list.


I ran a couple other errands while in Duluth then stopped in Two Harbors on my way home to do my grocery shopping. I forgot to get Hershey’s Chocolate Bars for s’mores, but I could get them at the Holiday gas station in Beaver Bay. I still forgot them. I finally got home a little past noon, or so I thought. I looked at the clock. “3:49 p.m.? That’s messed up.” I said out loud, knowing there was no way it could that late. I checked a second clock. 3:52 p.m.  Humph.


I was getting a little concerned, but not worried – yet. I still had 24 hours to get my chores done – probably more because I knew our daughters wouldn’t get out of Waterloo, Iowa on schedule which would give me extra time.  I figured at best they would be on the road at 3 or 4 pm, arriving between 11 pm and midnight.  I stripped the guest bedroom and master bedroom sheets and started a load of laundry.


While the laundry was in the washer, I could check Facebook and a couple items I was watching on eBay. A couple new, similar items had been posted. I checked them out and just like that it was after eight p.m. I shook my head, looking at the clock, “That’s messed up.” I said it as if this was all the clock’s fault.  No problem. I could still get some work in that night. “I’ll go to bed early and get up at 6 a.m. and have all day tomorrow to get things done.”


I put the sheets in the dryer and started a load of clothes in the washer. In the kitchen I grabbed my list, drawing a line through item four; wash bedding, make the beds. “First thing checked off – I’ve got this.” Looking over the list, I smiled, drawing another line though item one: get groceries.  Feeling confident I boasted, “I’m so far ahead of schedule…”


While the sheets were in the dryer, I turned on the TV then laid on the couch to watch an episode of M*A*S*H.  The opening theme was playing and just like that, my alarm was going off. Why did I have an alarm set for the late night?


Confused, I rubbed my eyes then looked at the screen on my cell phone. 6:40 a.m.? “That’s messed up,” I said, then shuffled to the kitchen to double check the time. The green LED digits on the stove read 6:40; the microwave clock concurred.  Resetting my alarm for 7:30, I went back to lay down. After hitting snooze multiple times, I rolled off the couch at 8:20 a.m.  June and Edgar were looking at me. “Alright guys, up and at ‘em. We’ve got a lot to do today.”


Edgar immediately jumped on the couch, curling up on the center cushion to claim the warm spot I left.  June was standing in front of the couch, eyeballing the cushion to the right of the cat. I went down to the basement and returned with a laundry basket of fresh linens.


Edgar was sprawled out on the couch, sleeping on his side. To make certain there was no room for the dog, he had his front paws extended way out beyond his head, and his long tail stretched toward the other end. June was sleeping on the floor in front of the couch. I just shook my head and said, “That’s messed up, Edgar.”


“Come on June, let’s go make the bed.” I said carrying my basket to the guest bedroom. June followed close behind. Edgar came flying down the hallway, into the bedroom, one hopped the bed and crash landed into his window hammock. Pulling one suction cup loose from the glass, the corner of the cat bed dropped. Edgar started to fall through but caught the fabric with his front claws and pulled himself back up. June watched it all, saying, “That’s messed up, Edgar.”


Edgar laid in the hammock, June sat on the floor, both watching me make the bed. When I was done, June and I started back for the living room.  Edgar launched from the hammock like a steel ball being shot from a cannon. He one hopped across the smoothed bedspread on top of the bed to the floor. Nearly running over us as he passed, he went tearing down the hallway. In the living room, he jumped up and sprawled out in the middle of the couch making sure there was no room for the dog. June looked at him then surrendered to lay down on the floor. “That’s messed up, Edgar,” I said. That cat is smart – too smart. One day June’s going to get even!


I went to start on the kitchen but remembered I hadn’t made the bed in the master bedroom. I went back to do that, then returned to the kitchen to look at my list. Edgar was on the counter, sitting on my paper. “Edgar, move. I need that paper,” I said.

“What is it,” he asked.

“It’s my list of things of things to do,” I answered.

“That doesn’t look like Mom’s handwriting,” Edgar noted.

“That’s because I wrote the list,” I explained.

Edgar looked at me, questioning with disbelief, “You wrote your own ‘honey-do’ list?” He shook his head, “That’s messed up, dude.”


I gave him a glare, “It’s not a honey-do list, It’s my own to-do list.”  Edgar snickered until I shooed him off the counter.


With the bedding washed and the beds now made, I drew another line through item four. It felt like real progress to mark another, well actually, the first completed task off the list. Reviewing the list, I pointed my finger to item seven: the kitchen. Being my favorite room, I find it fun to put a shine on the countertops, arranging and rearranging things so they’re just right.  I got side tracked thinking about what meals I would cook on which nights and lost track of time. Everything in the kitchen was done but I wanted to mop the floor again, which I planned to do when I mopped the rest of the hardwood floors in the house.


About 3:00 I got a text message. I knew it would be from one of the girls letting me know they would be on the road within an hour or so. It was from my daughter, Annie: “We got on the road at 12:30. Just finished lunch. With gas stops, we should be there about 8:00.:


What? Now I was concerned, worried and a little agitated. I hadn’t even mowed the lawn yet. How on earth could they be on the road ahead of schedule? That’s messed up!


The floors in the house looked good; I had cleaned them just a few days before, but I wanted to hit them again. It just seems like the thing to do with company coming.  I picked up my pace vacuuming the oak floors, then filled my mop bucket with warm water.  I like to use a little Murphy’s Soap Oil for the hardwood floors, and Pine-sol cleaner for the kitchen and bathrooms.  I mopped all the floors in the house.  The day was warm and humid. I was sweating and wondered how the floors would possibly dry in this humidity.


Melissa walked in the door around 4:30. Rubbing her arms while walking to the hallway, she asked, “Why is it so cold in here?” Looking at the thermostat, she exclaimed, “60 degrees? Why do you have the air conditioner set at 60?”


I answered quite smartly, “Because the air conditioner is a dehumidifier and I’m using it to dry the floors.” Then added, “I also have all the ceiling fans turned on high to help circulate the air.” That created a wind chill inside the house.


She shook her head. Pulling her light sweater closed for warmth. She repeated, “60 degrees?” Although she didn’t say it, I could tell she was thinking: that’s messed up. With the floors drying the only thing left to do was mow the lawn.


I sat in the seat of the John Deere lawn tractor and fired up the motor. After letting it warm up for a bit, I started to back up. As the tractor started to roll, a bunny ran out from under the mower deck. I said, “That’s messed up rabbit.”


The little guy ran about ten feet away and sat in the grass, right where I would start mowing. I went over to talk to him. He let me pet him a little. I lectured him, “Under the mower is not a good place to sit. If I would have started those blades, it would have been a bad situation.” I gave him a little nudge on the rump, “Get going now. I have work to do.”


The bunny hopped away running parallel to the firewood stacked under the edge of the deck. He stopped there – right where I was going to mow. I walked toward him to shoo him away, but now he was sitting in the grass about five feet in front of the wood. I looked again and the rabbit was still by the wood pile. I looked back and forth. He was sitting both in front of the wood pile and out in the grass. “That’s messed up.” I said, thinking I was seeing double! I looked ahead of me and there was a third bunny sitting next to the pine tree. Was I seeing triple?


All three were the same size – small bodies with great big back feet. Snowshoe rabbits. They must be from the same litter.  They all sat and stared at me. For a moment I thought the three of them were going gang up and attack me! It felt like a scene from a low budget horror movie. I walked briskly back to the tractor.


When I came around the corner on the riding mower with the blades spinning, headed in their direction, the three bunnies scurried away seeking shelter under the low branches of the pine tree. I laughed thinking it would make another great scene for that flick.


In all I saw seven snowshoe bunnies in the yard while mowing, each retreated to that same pine tree. I kept an eye toward the base of that tree with each passing. Maybe they were plotting a sequel movie: Revenge of the Snowshoe Hares – The Bunnies Are Rabbits Now.  The idea was messed up; maybe I was catching some exhaust fumes from the tractor, or I was just getting tired.


I was worn out by the time I finished the lawn, but I felt good. Everything on my list done. The girls stopped at Black Beach, to spend some time on the shore of Lake Superior before dark, then arrived at the house around 9:00 p.m.  We had snacks, beer and good conversation before bedtime.


The next morning, I noticed water spots on the tile in my shower. Although the bathrooms were already clean, cleaning them again before company arrived seemed like the right thing to do, so I had put that on my to-do list. I wondered, had I forgotten to polish my bathroom shower?  No way, I thought to myself. I did everything on that list.  I dug through the kitchen trash can and found the sheet of paper.


Item five was scratched off: main bathroom, shower/sink/toilet, etc. Item six was also scratched off: master bathroom, sink/toilet, etc.  “What,” I questioned without accepting responsibility. “Nobody wrote, ‘polish the master bath shower’ on the list?” I shrugged my shoulders, “That’s messed up.”