Hi. My name is Kay and I’m a recovering enabler, procrastinator, grammar hacker, and, well …. slob. (I’ve made GREAT strides on that last one :)
Recently, I Facebooked my college roommate, Susan. I felt compelled to offer yet another apology for the messy room I inadvertently plopped on her our freshman year at Baylor. I was reminded of my less than tidy ways by my friend Collynn who hilariously emailed me, after reading the MOAT, to see if I had informed the kids of my former sloven ways. (Girls in our dorm would actually bring their parents by our room just to show them bad it could be. Poor Susan, I corrupted her!)
I don’t think I was dirty, just stratospherically messy. Here’s her response to my apology:
“Hey, I’ve been thinking about you too. I had to answer a security question this week – Who was your first roommate? You were a great roommate – though a little messy. :) I will never forget being grateful for your cleaning the room including my side; only to find out that it was your mom. It was still nice having a clean room. We were having fun – who had time to clean?!”
Yikes. My mom is a recovering enabler, too!! I guess it’s generational. (I’d like to think of it as a sign of creativity.)
While I’m confessing, I should probably own up to the fact that I had NO idea of how to cook or clean before getting married. On my first trip to the grocery store after we got home from our honeymoon (a whirlwind of romance to my folks home in Az thanks to a hurricane that pummeled and canceled our planned trip to Bermuda. Jon still owes me a dreamy get-away.), I raced through the aisles throwing stuff in my basket. Having no idea how to “stock” a pantry, I tried to remember what Carol Brady had in her kitchen. Of course the real key to Mrs Brady’s kitchen was Alice. (Isn’t it always a staffing issue?!)
Before getting married, I had never perused a market’s aisles, I just ran in for milk, cereal, yogurt and a little PB&J. My friends & I ate out a lot! At this point, the Economist & the Wall Sreet Journal captivated my attention – Southern Living & Martha Stewart had yet to take over as King of the Hill.
I knew so little about a kitchen, I couldn’t even fake it. Thanks to a nice couple who had given us a waffle iron, I whipped up (at least three times a week!) B for D. Yes, waffles for dinner. Jon never said a word. He just happily ate what I served. It was the only thing I knew how to make.
My kitchen skills, as pathetic as they were, actually exceeded my knowledge in the cleaning arena. I wasn’t a slob anymore, but I had never really cleaned a bathroom at the point of our nuptials. Maid service fell into the “essential” category in my non-existent budget before marriage. (I never had debt, I just didn’t track my spending … or even balance my check-book … ooohh – another recovery category.) Well, thanks to some law school loans Jon brought with him … Merry Maids were not coming to my rescue.
So, I hopped in the car. Drove to Wichita Falls. And picked up Beatrice Howard – a spunky little fireball of a woman who came every day to clean our house and whip us into shape when I was growing up. She would joke that her friends came to our side of town to take care of us while our moms traveled to her side of town and to take care of them. Many a day she would get after us with a yellow fly swatter (the pink was reserved for bugs) and keep us in line, all while watching her “stories” (that would be the CBS line-up of soaps).
I loved Bea. We had such a sweet time together as she walked me through the steps of cleaning our little Dallas rent house. I’ll never forget the two of us in on our hands and knees scraping the grime from that old bathroom floor. She, in disbelief that I genuinely had no idea what I was doing. Me, grateful for this non-judgmental teacher who showed me the ropes. She died less than 2 years later. Thankfully, I did get to drive to the Falls and introduce her to our first child before she met her Savior.
Needless to say, I’ve come a long way. I’m hoping that our Revolution will not only equip the kids (maybe give them a leg up on the day they hit the life highway) but also build their self esteem.
I was a tad embarrassed that I didn’t know how to do simple life tasks. In the name of love, my mom made many aspects of life “easy” so we could excel in school and sports. (It has given us a good laugh lately.)
So here’s my stab at equipping. Last week as I introduced Sister Save-a-Lot to the toilet brush, I was met with an indignant, “EEWWWW. That’s GROSS! Why would anyone have to CLEAN a toilet?!!!”
I rest my enabling case.
Thanks for walking the road with me.