There is a part of me that doesn’t like to be rushed or hurried. This is the part that I refer to as “my entire body.” On Monday afternoons, I hurry and rush to ready the house for the arrival of my daughter Anna’s piano teacher. My wife and I aren’t terribly extravagant people, but we shell out to have someone come to the house and make our kid sit up straight and speak in sentences. We pay him in chickens, thanks largely to our budget plan which is taken from reruns of Little House on The Prairie. Cleaning up for the piano instructor is always a challenge. The only time we’re actually at home during any given week is during the same hour that the piano lesson takes place. Somehow, the house is always a wreck, despite the fact that our family only sleeps and brushes our teeth here. Each Monday I come home and accuse unseen burglars of wrecking our little sanctuary. There are a lot of screamed queries to the heavens (“Why? Why would someone break in and leave dishes in the sink? Couldn’t they have at least cleaned the bathroom?”). The biggest step is getting the moving mountain of unfolded laundry to take a hike and glacially slide its mass to another room. I find myself, Moses-like, standing before the clothing pile shouting
Move laundry! Allow my people to get around your ponderous bulk!
Once the laundry is sufficiently stowed, or stuffed into a closet, there is the matter of the household smell. Grace, the spontaneously exploding beagle, has her own funk. She snuggles with her stink, cuddling it close to her. Unfortunately, Stinky the Wonder Dog also shares her tremendous gravitational field of malodorous misanthropy with the rest of the house. We were out of any kind of air freshening Fabreeze today, and I got nervous. No Fabreeze spray for boating accidents, nuclear disasters, or elderly, rancid beagles. I turned to the only thing sure to mask the stink. Deep Woods Off. I bug sprayed the blazes out of my house. It worked. The house took on the smell of summer camp and reminded me of …I’m not sure. I accidentally sprayed Off in my face and everything is foggy.
Our piano is a strange beast. As newlyweds, Lori and I gladly accepted the offer that if we agreed to take in the piano it was ours to keep. Huh. That’s how we got Grace, too. Several days after we said “yippeee!” to the offer ( or whatever newlyweds back then said), a group of Hobbit movers showed up at our house with a 1960 Wurlitzer baby grand in tow. There it sits, waiting to help our child with lessons in maturity and culture, and help us not purchase any other furniture because the daggone thing takes up our entire living room. Most years we end up putting the Christmas tree on top of it. Grace sleeps under the piano, her stench eating away at the finish. Like Grace, it’s ours. Part of our family story. Even if I do have to keep shouting, Moses-like, at the laundry pile “Don’t eat the piano!”