Saturday, May 29, 2010

We have an above-ground pool at my house that came with the purchase of the residence those years ago. When I was a young and impetuous child, I assumed that I would love to have a pool, and to avoid my readers writing me off as a bratty, overfed, underworked, conceited American, I admit that 80.5 % does love that pool. But consider for me what happened to an enchanted princess in an enchanted land one enchanted yesterday...

Our pool contains a removable set of plastic steps; hollow so that they can hold two sand bags about as heavy as sin. I imagine that sin is also covered with an inch of algae, so that's something else they have in common. Every autumn, these steps and the sand bags attract leaves and algae, according to the laws of the universe that state that nothing enjoyable will ever come easy, and accumulate about an even inch of scum on every square millimeter of its surface. Even when the pool is covered I can guarantee that the steps will be unrecognizable by the time April comes around.

It is therefore the task of we, the pool owners, to extract the steps from the pool. This may strike you as relatively simple, and it probably should be, but certain authority figures over me determined that it would be better to keep the 70-pound sand bags in their place (to keep them from feeling any nervousness or discomfort, of course.)

Yesterday afternoon I set my determination upon cleaning these steps, since I am the right size to climb inside the steps and have acquired the proper agility and disregard for my health to do so. I was armed with nothing more than a scrub brush and a real bad attitude, which science has proven scares the pants off most microscopic animals. In an effort to dress appropriate to my task, I was wearing a fashionable pink sundress.

I worked on the outside of the steps for about an hour and found that a maniacal sawing motion yielded the greatest results. As I set about scrubbing the inner portions of the plastic, I avoided thinking about many things, such as how accurately I was beginning to resemble a child's rendering of a dinosaur (that is, pink with green polka dots. Lots of green polka dots.)

I also avoided thinking about the illustrations of bacteria I had seen in Biology 207, which at that moment were most likely having a nice tea and chat underneath my fingernails.

Similarly, it never crossed my mind that the thing alternatively smelled like a river and an outhouse.

I was rewarded in the end by seeing the textured white underneath begin to shine through. And I don't think I've ever been more grateful for a shower.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Momma Rocks

When I was about four or five years old, I was sitting with my parents and brother in a Baptist church which we attended regularly. It was Mother's Day, and the pastor of the church asked all of the mothers to stand up. I looked over the crowd curiously and observed the number of women on their feet, and felt suddenly as though I was being excluded from something very special.

So, my logical reflection culminated something like this--"I am a mommy to my stuffies" (translation: stuffed animals) "therefore I am a mother."

With poignant sentiment and nobility, I stood up beside my mom hoping no authority figures would particularly notice. Everything was going just splendidly when I felt my dad's hand on my shoulder and heard the gentle rebuke: "Emily, sit down."

I sank back down into the pew as appreciation, recognition and small gifts descended on the mothers around me, feeling, to my surprise, justly disciplined. I fended off a feeling of embarrassment with the sudden overwhelming assurance that what was taking place was good and acceptable.

The point? There are many imitators and some alternatives, but nothing can compare to the fierce love and friendship of a mom.

I love you, Mom!