Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Playing with a Great White Egret

The Great White Egret is ahead…just bear with me because I’ve been stewing...

Do you have a house cleaning service? Or are you the service, like me? With arms folded in front of me, peering through eye slits, I’ve looked on with jealousy at families who have them. There’s a stay-at-home lady across the street that has one and she’s forty-one with a twenty-five year old body. She runs every day. If I had a cleaning service and spent my days leisurely caring for me, I’d look hot, too. But I'd never run. She cuts the grass with a walk-behind mower for fun and cooks up delicious, home style Lean Cuisines for her grown sons and husband.

When I was a lot younger I could clean my entire house in a day. Then, when our homes got larger and I became older and busier, the house got cleaned on weekend mornings whether it needed cleaning or not.

Now my house gets cleaned when I hear my tennis shoes sticking to the floor, when I wonder who sneezed with a mouthful of orange juice… No more regular cleaning schedule at my house, let me tell you.

I want to come home from work and have my dinner cooked and my laundry washed and put away, just once. Or I want to retire from working outside the home, make good meals that don’t taste too healthy, and have the laundry finished before noon.

Does anyone routinely use glass cleaner on the underside of a glass top table?

How about removing those small dust pillows made of animal hair from the bottoms of the kitchen chair legs? I tend to ignore them.

The dog snot accumulates on doors and windows until the dogs can’t see through them. Well, it really doesn’t get that bad but I marvel at it long enough…

Do you move small pieces of furniture every time you vacuum? Not me… I don’t even vacuum behind the bedroom doors that often.

If you allow your pets to sleep in bed with you, what about the bed of animal hair that covers the carpet under the bed, against the wall, near the headboard? It’s so incredibly hard to reach.

Do you regularly check for dirt and dust that collects on top of the refrigerator? I usually give it a year before I look.

Cramming a week of errands and house cleaning into a 48-hour window is getting old, man.

Get my drift? I’m sickofitsickofitsickofit,

because, gentle friends, I’d much rather spend more time blogging and playing with a Great White Egret.




So, you want to hide from me?


Alrighty then.


Found you!


I can still see you. Be careful in there.


You are so elegant, so white, so pretty,


and you have a marvelous profile, too.


I didn't mean to scare you.



Stay away from the gazebo. There was this ghost...


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

My dear- you are in fine form! This post is hilarious. Here's an example of how well I clean:
Last Wednesday I vacuumed the kitchen/dining room/family room/stairs for nearly an hour. Thursday morning we pack up- dog and kids- and head north to Hasty Brook. When I walked in to the house Sunday afternoon I was greeted by furry dustballs the size of rats rolling across the kitchen floor!!

Beautiful egret. So very white.

Larry said...

Great photos Mary! Maybe you won't win any awards for housecleaning this month but at least you are honest and have a great sense of humor!

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh you do make me laugh, Mary. I used to spend Saturdays cleaning; Sundays doing the laundry and cooking meals to freeze for the week ahead. Now that I'm retired, I absolutely refuse to do any housework on the weekend in honor of those years.

Great series of Egret shots, and your dialog adds so much. Always refreshing.

NatureWoman said...

I SOOOOOO hear you, I'm sick of trying to cram my life into 48 hours, too. Really, really sick of it.

Love the egret photos!

thailandchani said...

Luckily I live in a very small space and I'm the only one who has to put up with my clutter. It doesn't really bother me that much so I do it when I want to do it.

I live on Lean Cuisine. :)


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I cackled all through this post Mary. This could have been written by myself. However I only work part time. I have no excuse not to have a clean house. My DB even breaks down and vaccums most of the time. tee hee.... I bet no one will talk about your dust bunnies after you are gone. We will all remember these hilarious, heartfelt posts for sure.

possumlady said...

Testify Sister Mary!!! I SOOOO hear you. In my great little neighborhood most folks have cleaning services and/or lawn service, even with a husband and wife and grown children around to help. Then there's little ol'me. Single, no money to hire anyone, no help to even move heavy things to vacuum. In charge of the inside and outside maintenance of the home. Cleaning gutters? Why that would be me. How about trying to saw off a dead tree limb that fell on my roof...me again. It does get old, old, old.

Some nights I come home and beg my cats, "would it kill you to clean your litterbox once in a while?" "How about getting dinner started for me?"

Now, let me tell you. I will still need to take care of my cats but guess what I'm doing at the end of August? Taking a full TWO WEEKS off of work. I can't afford to go anywhere but I feel I need to get out of the rat race for a while. First week will be spent leisurely getting the house and yard presentable, maybe painting the trim in my bedroom that is long over due. The second week will be doing anything I want. Going to movies, out to lunch with friends, taking walks. I tell you, I can't wait. I think you should plan something like this too!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

You know Mary, this is a lot like the reminder I've heard of how men on their deathbeds rarely regret not spending more time at the office.
I think the same rings true here, too. Life's short--who wishes they'd kept a cleaner house at the end?
Cleaning seems like such a circular task--as soon as it's done, it's begun to get dirty again.

Keep spending your off-time in ways that make you (and others) happy.

beckie said...

I remember the days when my house was clean-my girls were little, I worked and had a huge veggie garden that I took care of and canned off of. What happened to that energy, that since of accomplishment? I got old that's what! And I realized that I won't care a whit, if at my funeral people say she wasn't much of a housekeeper. I want my grand girls to remember the special times we had together, how much they learned from me about life. Yes, I'm on a roll here.... Your egret is wonderful. How much better to see him tham a clean door window!

JeanMac said...

Too funny - but true! I've never had a service, even when I worked. Back in '74 I hired a lady and the first day she broke a treasured lamp! End of service - I'd rather do it myself.

Mary said...

Hi Everyone! This is truly an issue that most of us face. We like order and cleanliness. But, you know what? I'm sickofit. LOL!

And, Christine, it's funny you mentioned a two-week at-home vacation. I have an agenda for a week at home...if I can ever find the time to JUST DO IT.

Spring and Summer really pulls us outdoors. I spent more than two hours outdoors after dinner tonight. I don't regret it, either. Now, I wish you all a good night. zzzzzzz

Wasn't that Egret awesome?

KGMom said...

OK Mary--I am going to add my advice.
1) Cleaning services--you need to read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Most cleaning services don't to a good job. Maybe someone who lives in (which I have done--working my way through college). Plus they get paid way less that you pay the agency.

2) Let the house get dirty (or more so, since you say it is).
The 41 yr. old--well, I have an exercise program too--it's called mowing, cleaning, yard work, etc.

3) Keep chasing those egrets. And blogging about it.

Mary said...

And before I go to bed tonight, I admit this post is soooo insignificant. If you are watching Diane Sawyer's interview with Randy Pausch tonight, you'll understand.

jane augenstein said...

Oh, Mary you are funny!! Love this one. I have given up house cleaning in favor of taking an early morning ride on Gilly. Life is short, enjoying a morning ride is better for the soul than cleaning up a dirty house!!! :-)

Ruth said...

I so relate to your post! and got a good belly laugh as well. You have your priorities straight for sure. The worst thing about cleaning is that things just get dirty again. But Egrets don't just happen every day.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute . . . houses are supposed to be cleaned REGULARLY??? Not just when you have company coming. Dang. I've been doing it wrong! All wrong. Oh well, too late now. ps. I used to have a cleaning service and it was the best day of the week -- all day, I'd think. "Someone else is cleaning my house!" Awesome feeling.

Almost as good as getting amazing shots of an Egret. And, those, my friend, were some amazing shots! How fun!

Debbie said...

Oh, Mary, you make me laugh! I have been lamenting the state of my house...so cluttered and so very lived in. Thanks for giving me a good perspective.

I love all the pictures of the Egret...how majestic. I'm glad you choose blogging and picture taking over housework. It sure has brightened my day.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

What fabulous pictures! The pure white of the egret showed up perfectly in the pictures.

I've never had a cleaning service. There are times when I've become overwhelmed by all there is to do and I've considered it. I try to keep the downstairs clean and presentable, but the upstairs is definitely lived in.

I'm so glad you chose to have fun with the egret rather then clean.


You have my permission to forget the housework indefinitely if you keep bringing us these phenomenal photos.

Cheryl said...

Hi Mary......what a great post....and in our busy lives you tell it how it is for most of us....we just don't admit it. I would much rather be with the egret to.....I once said to Mr P.....if I was told it was my last day on earth, I would NOT be thinking "Oh good the house is clean and tidy, I can leave this world a happy woman"..............

Cheryl said...

Hi Mary......what a great post....and in our busy lives you tell it how it is for most of us....we just don't admit it. I would much rather be with the egret to.....I once said to Mr P.....if I was told it was my last day on earth, I would NOT be thinking "Oh good the house is clean and tidy, I can leave this world a happy woman"..............

Anonymous said...

Those are awesome egret photos. I love the expression on its face in the close ups - too funny!

My mother kept a spotless house - still does. She spends her whole life cleaning, and straightening, and fussing. As a kid, I hated living in a place where you couldn't relax and preferred to be at my friends houses. I made a vow I would never live that way when I was in my own home, and it's been an easy promise to keep.

Just tell anyone who cares that the dust bunnies are performance art.

Jayne said...

Tee hee hee... I resemble those remarks! :c) We should start a club Mary. Love your Egrets!

jane augenstein said...

Mary, I have something for you on my blog.

Annie in Austin said...

The photos are beautiful and comical at the same time - your vision is a gift, Mary and thank you for sharing it!

Fifty years ago Peg Bracken wrote about the random housekeeper in I Hate to Housekeep, saying ask yourself "Who or whom, are you keeping house for?"
"not for your children.. you keep house in spite of them. No, what you keep house for is for you and your husband but mainly for you. Because if things get too cluttered, you won't be able to think straight...Husbands...want a modest modicum of order, that's all."
"This modest modicum, then, is the thing to keep in mind...in spite of yourself you can turn into a compulsive picture-straightener, shade-twitcher, and ash-tray-emptier, which is a straight shoot to a terribly nervous old age."

It's an old book and dated of course - hopefully few of us are ash-tray-emptiers these days - but I've always liked the phrase "a Modest Modicum". Post-blogging, even that much isn't happening!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

PS A see-through table top so the dogs can beg through the glass? What were you thinking!

Balisha said...

You talk about cleaning the glass under the table. At our kids house...we eat, they get the table cleared, one of them fills the dishwasher and the other takes the Windex and cleans the top and underside of the table.They are so fast in the kitchen.... Makes my head spin. When they come to visit I say, "The Cleans are coming." Everybody knows who I am talking about. This blog was hilarious today...loved the pictures.

Wendy said...

What beautiful pics of the Egret! They are so elegant looking. Lucky you to be so close as to photograph them.
Housework? Well, shall we get into rhyme once again about how much I hate housework, especially in summer? Ha! Don't blame you one bit! Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, not filled with dull, boring tasks.

RuthieJ said...

What do you mean, "the bed of animal hair that covers the carpet under the bed, against the wall, near the headboard?" My pets sleep in bed with me and I've never seen this (perhaps if I moved the dust ruffle.....)
LMAO--that's why I love you Mare!

Susan Gets Native said...

True Story:
I had a cleaning service come to my house. Twice. When I was about to deliver Isabelle, and then two years later, Lorelei.
I asked Geoff for one small thing....to bring our babies back to a clean, orderly home.
With Isabelle, the living room carpet was gone. So we stomped and echoed for 4 weeks until the new stuff was installed. And no, the house was not clean. Merry Maids, my LEFT ASS CHEEK.
With Lorelei, these chippies came to clean, and they said, "your house isn't really dirty...it's just HAIRY." Gee, thanks, Mensa candidate. But could it have killed you to MOVE THE TOASTER when you wiped down the counter?

It's those Eighties Moms we have to blame. Those Super Moms who tried to make it look like we could do it all and not have a nervous breakdown. Wait a minute...weren't YOU an Eighties Mom? No, Gina's not old enough.
Know what I do? Once a month, the house gets a good shaking up and the rest of the time I just clear paths from front door to living room, living room to kitchen, etc.
Thankfully, I have one child (Lorelei) who LOVES to help me clean things. And today, the Angelic Being got mad when there weren't any more CLOTHES to fold.
Another thing to be thankful for: I have a husband who does dishes. I do love that man.
Lynne's comment cracked me up: "furry dustballs the size of rats rolling across the kitchen floor" LOL!

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, yeah. Forgot to commend you on your egret pics. That snowy white back....perfection.

We are going to Florida next week, so you will probably be sick of looking at all the great egret pics I will be sharing.

TR Ryan said...

OMG - you rock sister. I love to come here and laugh just before heading to bed. Thank you so much -- after these long Olympian days -- your post is just what the doctor ordered.

Those bird pics - my gosh - you'll have your own gallery opening soon. I just don't know how you do it. I am going to start calling you the Bird Whisperer -- that's exactly what you are - the Bird Whisperer.

Corey said...

You're a riot Mary . . as you probably guessed, I am my own cleaning service. I like to think of my self as 32 with a 31 year-old's body . . not the 16 year differential your neighbor's flaunting, but still ahead of the curve!

Your egret was very well photographed . . I always struggle with white subjects.

Anonymous said...

Mary, your house always looks so good in your photos! I know you don't use a soft focus lens, because the dogs look so sharp.

Does your husband do chores?

Mine is going to retire in less than two years, and he is supposed to be thinking now, of what chores he wants to take over when he is home all the time!

You got really close to the egret. The other day, I snaped a shot of one, and didn't realize until I got home and looked at the photo that it was a fake one.

BJ said...

Mary - you have surely given me the laugh of the day! I kid you not....this was too funny.

I have never had a maid. I was and still am the maid. But you know what....it is with the aging process that I don't, quite frankly, give a damn about all of that cleaning stuff anymore. Besides, it takes me much longer to clean than it used too. I no longer specify the week-ends to do my cleaning. I do it when I can't stand it any longer.....the dirt, that is. I have nothing to prove to anyone....and I love my way of thinking now!

The pictures of the egret are so beautiful! They are so clear....you surely take great pictures.....love them all.

Trying to catch up with my blogging friends. Had a little away time at the beach(Ocean City) with my daughter & her family. Then went to Salisbury and visited with my sister for a few days. Hope that you are having a lovely summer. It is toooooo hot for me. I can't wait for cooler days & nights.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
The Great white Egrets are elegant! I wonder how they stay so white.
I would have brown spots here and there from playing in the mud with the toads.

Kerri Farley said...

Oh Mary, what a Fabulous post! I am right there with you with the cleaning!!

The GWE is lovely...I love how you played hide and seek! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see one of these!!