The Rescue Team has just arrived at my door.
Thank Almighty God.
Every two weeks, I have a team of four wonderful individuals come and do a "deep cleaning" of this stinkin' heap my family and I call home. Oh, I try to keep things up in-between visits. But, no matter how hard I try, no matter how much damage control I do, and no matter how loudly I shriek at the family to "CLEAN UP WHAT YOU MESS UP!!", it would seem that without fail, by day fourteen, our lovely, sweet-smelling, spotless home has disintegrated into a cross between a bug-house and a bear pit.
The Ladies are everything that a Rescue Team should be. They are thorough. They are meticulous. They are honest and trustworthy. They are extremely kind to my children. They are amazingly tolerant of ME, and happy to work around the crazy woman who is usually found hunched over a desk-full of paperwork, cursing fluently under her breath, and scribbling notes.
The MOST stellar quality that the Rescue Team possesses has nothing to do with their formidable cleaning abilities, however. It turns out that The Ladies are extremely discreet. And it's a good thing, too, because besides my husband, there is little doubt in my mind that THEY know more about me than anyone else on this planet. They've seen it all. The closets. The bathroom counters. Heck, probably even the odd VISA bill that I have forgotten to tuck back under the mess of my desk. I try to do a major tidy-up before they arrive every-other-Tuesday, not just for the sake of hiding any potentially incriminating evidence, but for the simple reason that they need to be able to SEE the surfaces I pay them to clean.
A few weeks ago... I forgot to double-check our bedroom.
I need to preface this little confession by explaining that my husband, in his youth, was a spectacular sailor. From his earliest days, he spent every spare waking moment in the local "Junior Club". By the time he entered his teenage years, he was achieving considerable success on the competitive front. He even reached the Olympic try-outs... but I'll save gassing on about all of that for another time.
Now that he is an "old married man" and the wonderful father of our all-girlie "crew", there is considerably less time for sailing. However, one particularly useful skill that he learned from his time in a boat is his ability to tie knots. Thanks to his vast trove of knowledge, I am pretty sure that we must be the ONLY couple who has never lost a newly-purchased piece of IKEA furniture, or a freshly-chopped Christmas tree from the car roof rack whilst hurtling down the highway. The man can tie the most intricate and spectacularly secure knots that I have ever seen. He has books full of illustrated instructions that he constantly studies, and tries out new knots using two lengths of soft rope.
I find his knot-tying bibles and little "practise ropes" in different places all over the house on a regular basis. Sometimes I find them in his pockets, as I'm going through them before I start the laundry. Other times, they're on the coffee table or on his desk. Once, I found them beside the kids' bathtub, where he had been sitting on a stool and was SUPPOSED to have been scrubbing his filthy littlest daughter in preparation for bedtime.
But, dear readers, on this particular day, I found my husband's knot-tying ropes in a new spot. I had returned home at lunchtime, after leaving The Rescue Team to clean the house while I went out and did the grocery shopping. They were gone by the time I finally struggled through the door, and so I quickly made a round of the house, to make sure that there had been no difficulties during my absence.
When I reached our bedroom, I was horrified to find that The Ladies had discovered the two lengths of "practise rope"... and had coiled them up neatly... and placed them right smack in the middle of my husband's otherwise-spotless bedside table.
I felt the bottom of my stomach drop, and the life force begin to drain out of my body, in sheer... HUMILIATION...
What were those four sweet little Ladies THINKING OF US???!! What on earth must they imagine goes on behind closed doors in this house after dark???!!
The night before, while I had been watching Jon Stewart's Daily Show on television, my husband had been sitting up in bed with one of his knot-tying manuals, practising sailor knots. And most CERTAINLY not practising them on ME.
But had the cleaning team found the sailing book and placed IT back on his bedside table? No. Just the ropes.
My heart was just about exploding from my chest, I was under so much emotional stress when I reached for the phone and called my spouse:
Me: Jesus Freakin' Christ!! You will NEVER guess what I just came home and found!!
Him: (apologetically, in hushed tones) Uh, I'm in a meeting, here, can this possibly wait?
Me: NO, IT CANNOT WAIT.
Him: (immediately excuses himself and frantically hisses down the phone) What?! What's wrong??! What on earth's the matter?!!
Me: (practically in tears, I'm so hysterical) THE CLEANERS!! They found your knot-tying ropes by the side of the bed!! You were doing your freakin' sailor knots in BED last night and you forgot to put the ropes away before the cleaners came!! They found them and they coiled them up for you on your bedside table and EVERYTHING... and NOW THEY THINK WE'RE KINKYYYYYYY!!! (bursts into sobs)
Him: (Trying not to laugh) So WHAT?!
Me: Oh, you're such a TYPICAL MAN. You don't even give a crap, because YOU THINK THIS MAKES YOU LOOK GOOD!! Well let me tell you, I've got to live in this town!! I'M the one who has to be able to hold her head up in the Kindergarten Playground!! And IF THIS GETS OUT, I'm telling you, Funny-Boy, I won't be able to do it!! I'll call the real estate agent, and WE'LL HAVE TO MOVE!!
Him: (Now really laughing) Oh, come off it. We're NOT moving. They're not going to say anything. You're just being overly-dramatic, as usual.
Me: I AM NOT!! I swear, I'll move, or I'll have to become a hermit or something!!
Him: Oh, calm down, why don't you. They're not going to say anything. There's nothing they CAN say, anyway!! It's obvious!!
Me: (NOT calming down) How can you SAY that?! The "evidence" is sitting right here on your bedside table, in front of me!! How can you say that this is NOTHING??!
Him: Because, Sweetheart!! WE HAVEN'T GOT A HEADBOARD. What the hell do you figure they think I'd tie you to??!!
This, dear readers, is what men apparently call "logic".
All I know is, in spite of everything, and to my infinite relief, The Rescue Team returned to my bear-pit of a home this morning. And from what I can tell, none of them are giving each other long, sideways looks whenever I appear, or are sniggering behind my back...
Thanks be to God.
Because man, every two weeks, at LEAST, I need to be Rescued.
And I have a horrible suspicion The Ladies can sense that...