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Happy housecoats and housekeeping!

“Here’s your housecoat and here’s a mop,” I said, handing the items to Husband-Head. “Merry Christmas ” now be a good little maid and do what’s on this list.”

I proceeded to hand him a foot-long piece of paper with things I needed him to do around the house before the holiday.

“No way! A person couldn’t get all this done in a year!” Husband-Head protested as he read through it. “And for your information, I can’t wear this housecoat ” these colors don’t go with my skin tone ” I’m a summer.'”



Yeah well, you’re gonna be a single if you don’t help me with this stuff…

We were about to embark on what Husband-Head called “The Douching of the House” ” sort of like the 1991 hit movie starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins ” only our episode didn’t involve any lambs.



The idea was to clean and purge the house of all items that we hadn’t used or that didn’t work anymore. And believe me ” there were quite a few.

This monumental task was prompted by the fact that my mother was coming to visit from South Carolina and stay with us for Christmas. We love Mom and wanted things to be just right. Not that she probably even cared, but there’s nothing like a visit from your parents to make you complete projects that you’ve put off for a very long time.

“We don’t want Mo to think we live like slobs,” Husband-Head said as he furiously began to wipe down everything in sight, including the pets.

And we don’t ” we religiously clean our house every Saturday, but not like this. This was the big enchilada cleaning job.

We decided to start with the kitchen that contains a table I use for both business and cooking.

“There are pens in here that probably haven’t worked since 1998,” Husband-Head reported as he weeded through a jar on the desk.

Then there was the stack of catalogs, a pile of old receipts and a slew of expired warranties.

“We’re definitely pack rats,” Husband-Head sighed. “I think we have stuff in here from 20 years ago…”

But once we started, we began to get really into the whole project and started scouring all the appliances, the hanging utensils, wall decorations, oven and any other stationary object.

There were cookbooks that needed to be organized, pots and pans that had to be arranged in the cupboards and a cabinet full of spices that fell out every time you opened the door.

“You know, I could probably paint this whole kitchen in three hours,” Husband-Head stopped and looked around.

“Better yet, why don’t we just raze the house and build a brand new one…” I suggested. “You know, this isn’t right. A person shouldn’t be this neurotic about their house

The living room was next and Husband-Head – who is the Vacuum King – decided he was going to make an extra special effort so there was no pet hair on the couch, which drives Mom crazy.

Husband-Head began intensely vacuuming the couch with a special nozzle, sucking everything in sight.

“CAREFUL!” I yelled at him. ‘That’s not a pillow ” that’s our cat!”

Husband-Head was designated the Vacuum King because of his uncanny ability to find hair and dust mites in far-reaching corners of our home while he pretends that he’s playing a video game in which he sucks in and conquers the enemy.

“I WON!” he screamed, raising his arms after the vacuum sucked in the last hairball he could find. “I am the Walrus! Goo-goo-g’joob!”

Then there was the dining room, the bedrooms and the bathrooms.

“Your office looks like a bomb hit it,” Husband-Head observed as he passed by and looked in. “I’d say the number of papers on your desk equals an entire forest of trees. Or the remains of the Hiroshima bomb…”

But Husband-Head and I finally finished and Mom arrived right on schedule.

On Christmas morning, Mom handed Husband-Head a package, which he immediately opened.

“I thought you’d like that,” she beamed. “And it looks just like you.”

The colors of the housecoat matched his skin tone perfectly.

Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Her new book “Skully Says Shut It! Life, Love and Laughter” is available at the Post Independent or visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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