Mommy Claus is coming to town!

Fried RiceHeidi RiceGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

“This my list and I’ve checked it twice,” I informed husband-head as I shoved the piece of paper in his face. “These are the things we need to get done by tomorrow.” Husband-head looked at the list and shook his head.”There is no WAY we are going to get all this done in that time,” he insisted as he read it. “There’s no way we could even get all this done by next WEEK!”I didn’t think it was unreasonable.”I can NOT paint the entire outside of the house by tomorrow night before your mother arrives,” husband-head tried to reason. “Nor can I put up new balusters on the porch and gutters within that same time frame.”Then he peered into my face with a quizzical look.”Have you been hitting the spiked eggnog or watching too many Lowe’s commercials?” he asked.

OK, so my list was a little aggressive, but I didn’t think it was undoable. But my mother was coming to visit us for the Christmas holidays. She hadn’t been here for a while and I wanted to make a good impression.”She’s not going to, like, bounce quarters off the bed or do the white glove inspection thing, is she?” husband-head said fearfully.”Nah,” I assured him. “But you’d better shine your belt buckle and your shoes.”Actually, my mom is a wonderful woman and one of my best friends so I really just wanted everything to be nice for her when she arrived.But “nice” included dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing the bathrooms, mopping the floors, cleaning the hot tub, putting away the laundry, taking the booze out of the refrigerator and replacing it with a variety of juices along with buying an assortment of fruits and vegetables at the grocery store to pretend like we eat them.”We clean the whole house every Saturday morning,” husband-head pointed out. “It’s really not that dirty.”But being a team player, he volunteered to clean his own upstairs bathroom – a chore that I detest because the shower stall is all glass and cleaning it entails getting really wet while you rinse the soap scum off the walls.I became worried when I didn’t hear a peep out of him for more than an hour, so I went upstairs to see how things were.”Honey?” I said as I gently opened the door. “You OK? You haven’t asked for a beer in a long time.”Husband-head was butt naked in the shower on his hands and knees, scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush.

Now that’s a devoted son-in-law.But somebody who didn’t know he was cleaning the shower for my mother’s impending arrival might have thought it looked a little strange.And in the midst of all the frenzy, my sister called.”I’ll bet you’re furiously cleaning,” she laughed. “You’re doing the ol’ ‘Mommy-Dearest-is-coming-to-town’ freakout, aren’t you?”She should know.Several years ago when my sister and I lived in the same town and our mother was coming to visit, I remember the two of us laughing hysterically in a similar conversation.”I am on my HANDS and KNEES scrubbing the kitchen floor!” my sister screamed in a manic tone of voice. “How about you?””I just wish somebody would tell me what the purpose of baseboards at the bottom of the walls are except to collect debris that you never get around to cleaning,” I grimaced as I wiped away several years of dirt.Then we realized how totally ridiculous our obsessive cleaning behavior was and decided it would be more beneficial to have a cold beer than to obsess.But this time, my sister had a little bonus to add to the cleaning frenzy.”I know you only see Mom once or twice a year,” she said knowingly. “And just so you know, she’s now a vegetarian.”

Huh? We grew up on steak.”Yup, she only eats grilled vegetables,” my sister continued. “I hope you’re prepared.”Not that I care if someone chooses not to eat meat, but there went the prime rib roast I had planned for Christmas dinner.”So now I have to go buy all kinds of vegetables?” I asked with disbelief. “And I have to use tofu?””They can make tofu look like turkey,” my sister assured me. “You’ll be fine.”I could hang with veggies for a few days, but I didn’t think husband-head – a true meat-and-potatoes guy – was going to be very happy.”It’s OK,” he shrugged. “I’ll just sneak off to McDonald’s for a Big Mac while you guys are sucking on soy beans.”Fruits, vegetables, cleaning supplies or nuts – it was good to have Mom home for the holidays.Merry Christmas everyone!Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at

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