Better than flowers or chocolate

This past weekend I loaded up Thing 1 & Thing 2, as well as all the accessories needed to A) supply a third-world nation, or B) travel with toddlers for 2 days. With our bounty of sippie cups, juice boxes, goldfish crackers, diapers, portable crib, blankets, pillows, swimming gear, multiple changes of clothes, etc, we drove 3 hours to our friends’ house in the mountains. Martin held down the fort at home.

All he had to do was feed the sheep, horses, and smaller beasts. Muck the stalls. Entertain the neurotic dog. Mow around the house, bush-hog the fields, weed-whack, water the new trees, spray them against pests. And move his office furniture into the Mouse House.

We both know that he got the better end of the deal. Cake walk.

Still, it didn’t stop my long distance nagging (“that farm better look ship-shape when I get home…”), though admittedly, I didn’t expect much. Even when he claimed that he cleaned up the barn.

Well, imagine my surprise when I rolled up the drive at 11 pm — knee-deep in McDonald’s wrappers, with two limp, slack-jawed toddlers in the back seat — and snapped on the lights to see this:

Sorry, no “before” photos available but take my word for it: even when the barn is clean, it’s a mess. It’s always awash in cobwebs on the ceiling, grime layers on the walls, and dust bunnies the size of snow drifts. And that’s just the dirt. Don’t forget the debris.

Traditionally, “tidying” the barn means taking all the random junk — mountain bikes, garden hoses, extension cords, saw horses, tools, horse blankets, jumps, buckets, paint cans — and condensing it all into one corner of crap. Where it can gather more cobwebs, horse hair and dust bunnies.

Well, Crap Mountain is gone. I have no idea what Martin did with it — I assume it’s been relocated to the loft — but frankly I don’t care. The barn is junk free. And the wall are so clean, they look white-washed.

Bottom line, I don’t know what inspired Martin’s cleaning frenzy and I don’t want to know. It was an awesome surprise. And anytime he hears that disaster we call an attic beckoning him, I say: don’t fight the urge…follow your instinct and clean, man, clean!