Vince Vaughn waterskied circles around my raft as I packed my bag preparing to retreat to the hilltop compound.
“Your turn, Anita,” he shouted above the motor’s roar. He jumped the wake.
I thumbs-upped his athleticism, but pointed to the sprawling, two story lake home. Declining Vince’s offer to ski while he spotted me, I clambered uphill.
A badminton net stretched across the lake home’s expansive front lawn. A twosome faced off a shaggy haired blonde fellow struggling to score against the unfair odds.
“Anita, I could use your help,” he pleaded sprinting to swat the birdie. I recognized the distinctive nose and mellow voice – Owen Wilson.
I refused with a head shake.
“I’m on a mission.”
Yukking it up with Vince and Owen? In my dreams!
Actually, it was a dream, I tend to dream in genres – mysteries (sleuthing in a trench coat), musicals (Bruce Springsteen singing), thrillers (chasing a serial killer through a trainyard.) – all entertaining.
The fun factor potential for my dream comedy crashed upon refusal to interact due to “my mission.”
“My mission” consisted of sweeping the lake home’s floors, dusting the chandeliers, and arranging enormous tables that I easily lifted. (Hey, it was a dream.)
I blew off Vince and Owen to clean house.
The dream floated on my wakened reality landing on a sore spot. Ouch, I’d actually done that. Not passing on living it up with Vince and Owen to clean house, but passing on good times in general to clean.
Over the years I cultivated good habits to keep a tidy home. To name a few I emptied the dishwasher while waiting for the coffee to brew, banished dirty clothes to the hamper immediately after showering, and made the bed as soon as I got up.
With these habits and more I’ve reaped the benefits of a clean home – physical health (Be gone, germs!), time (Be gone, searching for lost items!), and productivity (Be gone, cluttered desk!)
Somehow obsession tinged my good cleaning habits, giving them authority to cut in front of fun.
Be gone, good times!
During a visit with my brother, Tony, we perched on kitchen stools chatting about old family times and upcoming events. These planned visits occurred about every two months or so. He’s not a “drop in” sort of guy. I hadn’t finished cleaning house before his arrival and did a lick and a promise job on the kitchen floor. From my vantage point at the counter, I noticed a dried coffee spill as well as several other smudges. As my mind focused on the blotches it unfocused on the conversation.
I excused myself to fill a bucket of Mr. Clean powered water and mopped the floor as we talked.
Although it only took a few minutes (and we did drink beer as the floor dried), he deserved my full attention and Mr. Clean had distracted me.
Channeling Monica Geller
A couple that Mike (my significant other) knew, stopped by as we enjoyed cocktails by our beach. We offered beers from our cooler and the four of us clicked. (It didn’t always happen with couple friends.) All went well until Mike invited them inside the house that hadn’t yet undergone the weekly thorough cleaning.
What was Mike thinking, I thought to myself.
Mike was thinking that we were having a good time and wanted it to continue.
I was thinking about the dust bunnies crouched under the sofa, the crumbs that speckled the area rug, and the toothpaste drip that formed a rivulet in the bathroom sink.
Apparently, I cringed dramatically and the couple declined the invitation. The fledgling relationship almost sank under my panic about unkemptness that may or may not have been noticed.
Chandler once told Monica (the “Friends” neatnik) that they like her in spite of her organizational skills not because of them.
Cleaning Up My Act
Luckily, I recognized my good habit gone bad when a friend arrived late and joined the other guests who had congregated in the kitchen area. Not wanting to interrupt the ongoing conversation and cooking, the late comer tossed his jacket over the banister and joined the group.
I found the carelessly stashed jacket grating. I stopped myself from surreptitiously removing it after glancing around at the fun-loving group. The unhung jacket hadn’t interrupted the bantering, teasing, and anecdote sharing.
No one, but me, cared about the out of place item.
Comfortable in the nonjudgmental company, I relaxed and enjoyed a good time.
The tossed jacket reminded me of (forgotten) pearls of wisdom.
Too much of a good thing
Everything in moderation
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
From now on I’ll invite friends in spite of dust bunnies under the sofa.
I’ll visit with my brother and ignore the floor smudges.
I’ll let my friends toss their jackets willy-nilly.
Then maybe in my next dream comedy I’ll water ski with Vince Vaughn and play badminton with Owen Wilson.