Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Rice Rice Rice

I've been cursed.

Cursed with the messy house syndrome.

People always seem to stop by when it's a mess. But after I've cleaned it and have it smelling fresh and like whatever candle I've lit that day, no one bothers to stop by.

Yesterday, someone stopped by.

When the house was a mess.

Two days ago the house was sparkling clean. But I live with two boys and sparkling clean turns into a disaster area fairly quickly. I suppose if I were a better housewife I'd keep up with the mess but to be perfectly honest, I get rather annoyed when Tom leaves his dishes or dirty clothes out or if Tommy doesn't put his toys away. And I figure I'd rather not start a fight and I'd rather not do it myself so I leave it.

And it just piles up.

The doorbell rang yesterday around four. I was confused. For starters, most people know not to ring the doorbell. For some reason I've noticed the doorbells in England sound like a dying animal. In slightly higher decibles mind you. In the States, many of the doorbells are a sweet sounding Ding Dong. (Of course you get dying animal doorbells in the States too, depending on where you live.)

The doorbells here, well, they scare the beegeezus out of me. So when the doorbell went off I jumped. Which made Tommy jump.

I opened the door and there was an unfamiliar guy staring back at me.

"Uh hello," he began. "I'm Airman SuchandSuch and I'm going to be moving into your house when you leave. I was wondering, do you think I could take a look at it?"

I just blinked at him in confusion.

Because not only was my house a mess but I had just washed my hair. And that means it was a giant puffball on top of my head. I let it air dry you see, I heard it was better that way.

(Plus I don't own a blowdryer. I wouldn't know what to do with one. People say that they straighten their hair with a blowdryer and that still baffles me. How? Don't you need a straightner for that? Girl stuff confuses me.)

"I tried to call but I think they gave me the wrong number," the guy continued, seeing that I looked perfectly baffled. And I probably resembled a puffed out poodle, thanks to my hair.

I figured I ought to talk, the guy was starting to look nervous.

"Well," I began. "The house is sort of messy.."

"Oh that doesn't matter," the guy said calmly.

IT MATTERS TO ME, I wanted to shout.

Instead I said he could come in, if he wanted.

"Great, let me just get my wife.."

While he got his wife I tried to quickly clean things up. I pushed Tommy's toys in the corner, tried to organize the table better, tried to push my unruly hair down...I didn't have time to do much, they returned a few seconds later.

"So," I began. "This is the living room."

I felt like I was in real estate or something.

I even gestured with my hands for goodness sake!

"The kitchen is quite nice. The microwave comes with the house," I dictated as though it were my mission to sell this house.

I showed them the backyard.

"The storage is nice back here," I continued and even opened the storage doors so they could see.

Then upstairs. Which, I'm happy to say, WAS clean.

After I showed them the house they asked about TV channels.

"I mean what's better, AFN or Sky?" the guy asked.

I told him we've had trouble getting AFN so we use Sky. But that Sky can take FOREVER on getting shows from the States.

His face fell on that one.

"Some British shows are okay. I mean you get the British versions of Wife Swap and Supernanny. Those are funny," I explained. "However, after ten, watch out because some channels turn to," I lowered my voice, "porn."

Then I felt my face turn red. PORN?? Did I just say PORN in front of perfect strangers??

Holy crap, Amber.

The wife giggled. The husband looked interested. "Oh really?" he asked and his wife jabbed him in his side.

They left soon after. It was bittersweet. I felt sad because I knew this was real, that we'd be leaving soon. I also felt relieved to be leaving. Three years is too long to be stuck over in Europe.

After they left I planned on lying down for a few minutes. Right as I settled down onto the couch the phone rang.

It was Tom, asking what we were having for dinner.

"Beef stirfry," I told him.

"Blah," was his response.

"Tom, you know I hate cooking, at least APPRECIATE what I cook," I snapped angrily.

"You know I'm not a fan of stirfry," he explained.

"You're not a fan of much, Tom. You're very very picky," I pointed out.

"I'm not picky. I just know what I like."

(Translation: PICKY)

After I got off the phone with him I went back to the couch.

Got settled down and then Tommy dropped his cup on me.

"More water please," he said cheerfully.

I set the cup on the ground. "Let Mommy just rest for ten minutes..." I said, closing my eyes.

Seconds later, Tommy's face was pressed against mine. I could smell the crackers he had eaten for a snack on his breath as he said, "Cold water. PLEASE." He stressed the please, as though he were showing me that yes he was using his manners and yes, Mommy had better get up off her butt and fill up his glass.

So I did.

Back on the couch I went.

Then I realized I had forgotten to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer.


Sometimes I won't even remember until the very next day.

So I switched those over.

And by that time I had to do dishes and start dinner.


Tom came home and refused to eat. He said he was still full from lunch.

"You know I'm not into stirfry!" he argued when he saw my death stare.

So I ate. And I must say, it was delicious. Tommy liked it too.

At one point he was pressing rice grains over his upper lip and he announced that he had a mustache like Papa.

"You look very grown up," I told him solemnly, nodding towards the row of rice grains that he had pressed over his upper lip.

A few minutes later Tommy muttered out, "Mommy."

He sounded like he was in pain.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Mommy," is all he'd say.

So I got up and peered at him.

Noticed something white poking out of his nose.

And realized he had just stuck many grains of rice up both nostrils.

"Tommy," I began. "Did you stick rice up your nose?"

"Yes," Tommy responsed.

"And can you not breathe from your nose now?"


So I squeezed his nostrils. And the grains popped out.


All but one, which was stuck wayy in the back.

So I had Tommy blow.

The grain flew out of his nose and stuck to the TV.

"GROSS!" Tom shouted, having watched all this from the computer.

"Better?" I asked Tommy.

"Oh yes," Tommy replied and gave me a big smile.

I wagged a finger at him. "No more rice up the nose," I lectured.

Then I cleaned off the TV.

Then Tom re-cleaned it because he said he wouldn't be able to enjoy his shows knowing that a piece of rice was once stuck on it. And that the rice had come from his kid's nose.


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