“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Paper Towels

I should own stock in paper towels. I don't care what company. I'm not currently loyal to anything but sale prices. The point is, with two little boys, one big boy, and a small dog, I use up ROLLS of paper towels per day. And I'm not overusing.

Our dog Bree dislikes going outside when it's raining. I read recently that it has something to do with sound amplification. I don't really care. Bottom line? She only has accidents in the house when it's raining. It seems she's a bit of a princess, and I'll tell you that in THIS house, there's only room for ONE of those. And it ain't the dog.

When I was working, we were actually told not to attempt to clean up body-fluid messes. We were told: "Our custodians are highly trained for that." It was said in such an authoritative voice, and I remember leaning back in my seat and blinking and wondering, "Why are you saying that in such a vehement tone? I'm sure nobody WANTS to clean those messes, anyway." But apparently, to be clear, there was no choice. We weren't highly trained. It suited me just fine. I was a princess at work, too. My favorite students were the ones who came up to my desk during study hall and said, "Mrs. Bielecki, do you need help with anything?" Why, yes, you charming little dear. You can organize my book shelves by author. You can put little stickers on all the writing folders. You can staple these papers. Oh, and you can water that plant. Yes, that's right. The one that's brown and crispy.

I was meant to rule.

But in all the time I was a ruler-in-training, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, told me about the paper towels. I wasn't highly trained. But I am now.

Just a little while ago I was cleaning up the kitchen. Rinsing dishes, loading the dishwasher, wiping down counters, happily disinfecting my little world. From the bathroom came Noah's unmistakable voice, loud and clear, "MO-OM! You need to come here. I had a little pee accident. Actually a BIG pee accident. It went everywhere! I don't know what happened!"

This happens to him waaaaaaaay too often.

I sighed, reached for the paper towels (a brand new roll, because it's raining out), and went to the little bathroom off our kitchen. I opened the door to find Noah standing, pantless, in the middle of a giant yellow ocean. In one hand he held his pants. In the other, a drumstick.

"I just don't know what happened," he repeated, truly mystified by the mess surrounding him.

"Noah," I said, pressing my lips together so I wouldn't yell, "what is in your hand?"

"My pants."

"In your other hand, Noah."

He looked at his other hand, like he'd assumed it was empty and I was alerting him to new information. "Oh!" he said cheerfully. "That's my drumstick."

"Noah," I said, still trying not yell but REEEEEEEALLY wanting to, "people do NOT bring drumsticks to the toilet with them. Not even rockstars. Definitely not YOU."

"They don't?" he gasped. "Why not?!"

Deep breath number one, deep breath number two.

"Because...they are BUSY DOING SOMETHING ELSE!"


I wiped up the floor with the paper towels, removed the soiled laundry, and helped Noah wash his hands. I retrieved the Lysol and, surprise!, more paper towels, and asked Noah to leave the room while I gave it a thorough cleaning.

"Okay, Mom!" he said. Damn his cheerfulness. "And by the way, I didn't get any pee on my drumstick. Not a drop!"

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