Yesterday was house cleaning day at my house. House cleaning day is always oh so fun! The kind of fun one has when, oh lets say, ripping your eyeballs out with a rusty spoon, for instance! In order to get a good idea of how intense my dad gets about this cleaning business, imagine that Tony Soprano and a drill sergeant had a love child that later grew up, married my mother and then developed OCD tendencies and a sliiiggghtt case of neuroses.
About three days before this “epic” day, my dad marches around informing us about 473 times that HOUSE-CLEANING DAY IS UPON US and we will clean…or ELSE! After 20 years, you would think I would be used to cleaning day. But, my dad uses gorilla-style tactics and strikes when you least expect him. This brings us back to yesterday.
Before I could make it the 2 feet from my bedroom to the bathroom in my usual morning wakeup routine, Sargaent Soprano (as he shall henceforth be called!) pounced! He had been waiting for me. I could tell! In fact, he probably started patrolling outside my bedroom door at 0500 waiting for any signs of life. I futilely try to avoid eye contact, hopelessly clinging to the childish notion of I CAN’T SEE YOU, SO YOU CAN’T SEE ME…but it doesn’t work.
Sergeant Soprano marches up to me and somehow manages to deliver the following question as a demand. “When are you planning on cleaning the living room (I secretly think, in his head, he adds maggot here)?” My natural instinct is to reply with “I don’t know, I just woke and I haven’t thought about it yet” but then I would appear weak. I’ve known about house-cleaning day for three whole days now. I should have it planned out…better yet, already finished!!!! With my childish notions crushed, my inner child is now cowering in a corner, drooling and crying hysterically, the rational part of my brain is still asleep and I just panic and say the first arbitrary time that pops into my head. “I will have it cleaned by 5pm!”
He cornered me at 9:36 am and by 10:04 he was on my ass like white on rice! It was an endless string of “Why haven’t you started cleaning yet?” “When do you actually plan on cleaning?” “You’re running out of time to clean!” and of, course “You better get it done (maggot) before 5 o’clock or you can’t eat dinner!” My inner child decided to stop being a coward and suited up to fight back. She is a growing girl after all, she *needs* her recommended daily allowance of all dietary nutrients…and yeah, okay, she just wanted chocolate.
My inner child is now screaming “I am not 12! I am 25 years old and if you think you can, for one second, withhold dinner from me, then you have another thing coming Sergeant Dumbo!” inside my skull and I have to distract her with a mental image of a shiny object so I can think rationally enough to tell Sergeant Soprano that I’m just going to start now.
Now that Sergeant Soprano is reassured that I am actually going to clean the living room instead of letting it fall into the enemy hands of the diabolical dust bunnies, he turns on his heels and marches away and I sigh in relief. At least until I realize that he has decided now he shall clean the room that he has assigned himself for the week! In a last-ditch effort to rid me of all my sanity, he takes ALL the cleaning supplies with him, probably as prisoners of war. My inner child is back in the corner, drooling and screaming YOU CAN’T CLEAN WITHOUT CLEANING SUPPLIES! And the rational part of my brain is screaming back, I KNOW!! And right when the rational part of my brain begins to seriously considering joining my inner child in the corner, my dad finally gets done cleaning enough of his room that he feels he can release the cleaning supplies. RELIEF!
Except that means he is going to come out of his room and I haven’t cleaned anything! I consider just blowing the dust off the table for a brief moment hoping he wont notice that I haven’t done anything, but Sergeant Soprano is too smart for that and I know it. He marches into the living room and begins to clean, glaring at me with a look that could reduce Ganges Kahn to a weeping man-child. I try to reassure him that I will clean the living room, I just need the cleaning supplies but it is too late. He has already seen my weakness. He continues cleaning furiously, and I muster up the last ounce of strength I have and insist that I can get the job done if he would just surrender the cleaning supplies! He glares at me again, considering my request and somehow decides that I am trustworthy and relinquishes the pledge and dust rag, turns promptly around and marches toward the kitchen to whip my mom into shape.
Then he spends the rest of the day playing the martyr because he had to clean the WHOLE HOUSE by himself. I know that doesn’t sound very Sergeant-like of him but…GORILLA TACTICS! I am sure he has ulterior motives.
Coming soon: My dad’s neurotic cleaning techniques! Hint: You know how Danny Tanner cleaned in Full House? Imagine that with about 114 times less efficiency.