The other day however, I regretted making plans to have Vanessa’s friend over because my friend called and wanted to bring me to an open house. Hmmmm…..I wanted a play date for me! What to do…..??? Oh I know! I’ll pick up Vanessa’s friend, bring her to the open house and just head back home – I won’t make a big thing of it and really, this little girl is a very good kid; I totally trust she’d be fine.
When my friend came out to the car, she was surprised to see that I had another kid in tow but didn’t seem to mind- she was just excited to show me her possible new home! Before we went into the house I gave the girls the speech about being on their best behavior – no running, no loud talking, no touching things. Well of course that was near impossible when the girls saw the giant bucket of Halloween candy in the (very large and pretty!) front foyer.
Their hands were wrist deep before the Real Estate agent rounded the corner. I gave them the eyes – you know – “mom eyes” with pursed lips and they took their handfuls of candy and shoved them in their coat pockets. I’d like to say they didn’t take any candy – but that would be something a kid with a disciplining family would do – not my kid.
Their stash was too much for their little pockets and several Hershey kisses fell onto the floor. As I heard the agent coming towards us, I kicked several pieces of candy under the closet door with the thought to get them before we left. Yes, it would have made sense to pick them up but in the moment, side swiping them with my big foot felt a quicker way to get rid of the fallen sweets.
We walked through the house and the girls were relatively good – I only had to remind them once not to jump on the bed and I had to inform them that yes, it was a tub and no, definitely not OK to go in while wearing sneakers – so get out of it.
Like I do in almost any home I ever visit – friends, family, and now strangers – I peeked in medicine cabinets, changed the way the toilet paper was hanging on the roll if it was going “over” and straightened pictures and lampshades. At a friend’s house, I sometimes even rip the warning tags off throw pillows. I know – it is kind of over the line considering it is not my home. It’s a sickness. Yes. I don’t disagree. Sometimes, I will turn the decorative pillows in way so that at least you can’t see the offending tag. I take this route if I am with other people in a room don’t want to show off my crazy.
Today, I wondered what excuse would hold up when I was left alone in the master bedroom with a bed full of decorative throw pillows. They were all pretty in their rich brown and blue colored patterns and yet these horrifying tags were erratically popping out of a sea of coordinated colors. ACK!! I was practically sweating when my friend left the room. I could hear that the kids were still in a random bedroom as I stood there just starting at the king size bed.
I didn’t blink for what felt like two minutes when finally – I couldn’t take it. I leaned over and started tearing tags off the pillows with a fierce tug that sliced the labels from the seams. I was moving at lighting pace, yet challenged as I was trying to be gentle enough to keep everything in place. There has to be 15 pillows on this bed and I was motoring through the tag removal; my pony tail was swinging wildly about my face and by the eighth pillow, I was grunting and my hand was cramping taking more than one swift move for the tag to rip free.
It was trying. I was winding down. I gave in. I jumped on the bed like the squirrel on Chevy Chase's back in "Christmas Vacation" (Yay for those of you who know exactly what I am talking about). If someone walked in and didn’t know me – they might think I was the realtor or home owner by the way I was working the place. And clearly, it would be weird for me to be some stranger plucking tags. Rip! Rip! Rip! They were all flying off now!! Exhilaration!!
I heard it then. I heard the rip of one of the final pulls on one of the last pillows. As the sound pierced through the quiet room, I froze. In the silence, I heard my heavy breathing as I looked at the bed that now had a pile of warning labels scattered about the top of the comforter – which I should have taken seriously. I looked at the pillow I was holding and sure enough, I had ripped it.
I heard my friend coming back my way. I turned around in a circle like a small, panicked child looking for a hiding place at the start of the count for hide-n-seek. I didn’t know what to do and with a split second of a thought – I jumped on the bed to stuff the torn pillow between the wall and the headboard. I launched on the bed with more intensity than necessary and landed with a loud “umph”. I reached up over the wooden headboard and shoved the pillow far enough down that it looked like it could have naturally landed there for some reason. And with a million other pillows still on the bed, I was certain by the time someone found this one – this day would be long gone. My friend walked in as I was sitting up on the bed and shoving handfuls of tags in my coat pocket.
“Comfy bed”, was all I said and I left the room in quick-step and headed towards the front door.
After leaving the house we were driving down the road...I felt like everyone in the car had pockets that were full of some part of this home – candy for the kids, tags for me – I have no idea what my friend had. She was looking in the bathroom for a while – if she had a pocketful of mini-soaps, I’d say it would really round out this story.
But it was instead certain that she had done nothing offending when she yelled out, “Shit! We forgot to pick the chocolates the kids dropped up off the closet floor!”
“Yes! We suck.” I said. “And so I really think that you should never, ever call about that house. Like, ever.”