Saturday, January 15, 2011

The View from Saturday Morning

VALRICO - Saturday AM: Typically, Saturday is cleaning day. It's sacrosanct, burned into the psyche, non-negotiable, almost as holy as going to church.

You know how it typically goes:
  • Catching up from the week-long deluge of putting things off
  • Dirty dishes overflowing from the sink
  • Piles of clothes littering the bedrooms
  • Bathroom bacteria to the extreme
  • Stuff strewn all over, waiting to be returned to its home in some other room
  • Enough detritus in the carpet to justify a triple vacuuming
  • Dust bunnies combining with pet hair to create tumbleweed like phenomenon the size of basketballs....
Oh, wait... that was before the children left home! Nowadays we have a pretty-much perpetually clean house, courtesy of "The Empty Nest". And (check the picture above) we have actual adult living spaces!

This morning I'll run a light vacuum and that's going to be about it. I completely clean the kitchen after every meal, Scout spot-checks the floor every fifteen minutes for crumbs, and everything else is taken care of as we go along.

Joys of the Empty Nest!
Standing in line at the grocery store the other day, I fell into conversation with a woman buying a week's supply of food for her school-aged family - she had two carts. I smiled at the three gallons of milk, multiple packages of hot-dogs and boatload of pop-tarts. She made some observation about my scallops, artichokes, pine-nuts and wild rice.
"Our kids are in their 20's," I said. "They live in Connecticut and Italy." 
"Wow....," she replied. "I'll bet your grocery bill has gone way down since they left home." 
"Not at all," I smiled. "But the quality of food has certainly gone way up."
The conversation made me think about some of the joys of having young-adult children who live independent lives.
  • Two extra rooms, dedicated "craft space" for Rebekah and - for the first time in over two decades - actual decor in the living spaces.
  • Andrew treated us to dinner out the last time he was home.
  • My car-keys - and my car - will always be exactly where I left them.
  • When I turn my car on in the morning, there will still be gas in the tank.
  • We don't have to call in the EPA to Haz-Mat the guest bathroom before company comes over.
  • Breakfast cereal without milk (because there are two EMPTY gallon jugs in the refrigerator) is now a distant memory.
  • The best Christmas presents under the tree are from them to us.
  • Dinner selections featuring hamburgers, fries, lettuce, tomato and a glass of milk have morphed into Fillet Mignon with asparagus, Greek salad and a nice glass of Chianti.
We miss Andrew and Naomi, of course. We visit their homes whenever we can and we celebrate like crazy when they're in town. But life moves on, and I have to admit that - so far - our ongoing adventure into the "Fabulous Fifties" has been a study in mid-life merrymaking. 

Bottom line, life is good... and a clean house certainly doesn't hurt!

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