Last week, I hired someone to clean my house. Having someone else to care for my space isn’t something I was raised to do. We are the people who, if anything, care and clean for others’ spaces. But Lord, if you could have seen my sinks, you would have understood. We were about a week away from our bathrooms resembling some sort of post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-like stage set. So in came Rhonda – awesome, understated, “Do you have a rubber band? I need to dust your ceilings” Rhonda.
The evening after Rhonda’s visit, I came home to sparkling grout. Obliterated under-microwave crumbs. Scrubbed fireplace walls. Already blown away, I opened my refrigerator. It was factory clean. She had removed every food item, shelf, and drawer, scrubbed the interior, scoured and reassembled the fixtures, and restacked the food items by grocery grouping.
Holy crap, it was a moment. An amazing, crisply-cooled, heart-surging moment. A moment that, for whatever reason, I knew would always stay with me.
That moment started me thinking about all of life’s little moments that have lodged in my brain. Moments that don’t demand (or desire) much explanation, but filter through my train of thought now and again. They make me smile, reflect, laugh unprompted, or outwardly cringe. They are reminders, lessons, and snapshots. They are “that time…” that refuses to pass me by.
- That time I sprained my ankle trying to click my heels together. While I was by myself.
- That time I wore waxy pink Chapstick as blush.
- That time I smashed a coffee mug into my forehead.
- That time it dawned on me that I should probably graduate from training bras (the term ‘eye patches’ came to mind).
- That time none of my winter gloves fit over my recently stitched-up thumb, so I wore a Wile E. Coyote oven mitt to class.
- Every time I scream JEEZUSMARYGOD! thinking someone snuck up on me (almost always, it’s my own shadow).
- That time, half asleep, I kept stubbornly shoving Kleenex at my mom in response to her asking for the tv remote.
- The individual, mortifying moments I learned the difference between the words ‘obese’ vs. ‘obtuse’, ‘condom’ vs. ‘condominium’, and ‘noogie’ vs. ‘nig–‘.
- That time I got my boob caught in the vacuum cleaner while trying to connect the carpet brush attachment.
- That time I’ve never told anyone about.
- That time I had to simultaneously make a left turn and hold my little brother in the passenger seat so he wouldn’t slide out the broken car door.
- That time I convinced my little brother that a swarm of red ants were about to come in the door so when he heard our parents turn the outside knob, he panicked and shimmied up me like a monkey on a tree – all because I simply wanted to be hugged.
- Pretty much every time in Denmark. And a bit in Finland. And a very drunken ferry ride out of Sweden.
- That time I set the hymnal on fire during the candlelight catechism mass (related: the time I first realized I might need glasses) (related: the time I witnessed Sister Rachel’s impressive extinguishing skills).
- That time I was held hostage by a long-haired cat, hung myself out the window over the bedroom door, and squirt-gunned myself to allergen safety.
- That time I epically failed at trying to smoke pot.
- That time I didn’t speak up when I noticed the un-scanned box of diapers under my cart.
- All the times Uncle Jeff came home at 5:10pm and transitioned out of his suit coat and dress shoes just like Mr. Rogers.
- That time I had an anxiety attack.
- That time my older and far more worldly cousin explained the storyline behind Tom Jones’ song “Delilah.”
- That time I was terrified for my friend’s safety, but couldn’t admit it. So I just got mad at her. Regretfully, for a year.
- That time I realized I mooned the college Dean after I pulled up my pants.
- Those days I kept compulsively opening and viewing my newly-organized linen closet as a means of stress relief.
- That time they cut my hair in order to free me from my drafting table.
- That time they Crisco-ed my hand to free me from the lunch table.
- That time I McGyvered myself out of a broken freight elevator.
- That time I saw my daughter no longer as a baby. And my heart broke.
- That time I started to smile for pictures instead of avoid them.
- That time in my 20’s I glanced out my second story apartment window to see the neighbor watching gay porn, on rewind, in slow motion.
- That time my grandmother told me to not criticize farming with food in my mouth.
- That time I gave up coffee and nearly killed everyone.
- That time, last night, when I discovered an opossum in the trash barrel, tore upstairs to the neighbors, played the Girl Card, and demanded the three guys on the premises deal with it while myself and the other two women made commentary from the second floor as the boys drunkenly jockeyed the occupied trash, martini glasses in hand, and man-giggled at their own hero status & opossum-themed euphemisms.
That time was good fun.