I search for words that when stitched together, as in an eye-catching tapestry, express something with texture and richness, and I hope, beauty. Fingers are crossed for a glimpse of a sparkling thread, or an unexpected color, that draws a reader in. Sometimes I fail miserably. But on a good day, as with the surprise of a wonderful candid photo, I capture a spirit, and a heartbeat. Then I watch a story come alive.
Multi-tasking. Invented in the 20th century. Perfected in the next.
Go with me here. Use your imagination.
Second story windows need washing. Extension ladder, bucket, squeegee. Man of the house goes up. I stay below with cell phone in case 9-1-1 required. Next thing you know, outside of the windows clean. Hubs gets marriage preservation points.
Inside of the windows. Not too bad. Do ‘em a few times a year (don’t know why since we don’t do the outside). Windex and paper towels. Done.
One small issue.
Casement windows. Some call ‘em “butterfly” windows because the window cranks out, like a wing. Screens are inside when the windows are closed.
Screens are dirtier than the windows. Rains washes windows (kinda) but screens are protected from weather because windows are closed when it rains. From all the time the windows are open -- spider webs, bugs that stick to spider webs, little pieces of leaves, and pollen.
Nasty. All stuck to the outside of window screens on second story windows.
First I think, I can take the screens out from inside the room, walk them to the garage, lean them up against the car, and hose them off in the driveway. Sounds like a plan.
Or, rather than drag plant and insect debris through my house to the garage, I can put them in the shower stall, in the bathroom, that’s in the bedroom with the windows where said screens reside.
I’ll shower. De-grime screens. Clean the stall. Rinse everything. Dry the screens and re-install, keeping all mess confined to limited square footage. Multi-tasking machine.
Clever. Efficient. Sheer genius.
When was the multi-tasking beast unleashed anyway? When phones lost their cords? I remember talking to a reservations agent on the phone. I hiccupped and said, excuse me. She said, “No worries. I hear toilets flush all the time. And, other things.”
When I was a widowed mom, my kiddo liked me to stay close.
“Mom, watch TV with me?”
Not big on The Simpsons. Or X-Files. But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.
He’d be lyin’ there, on the carpet, watching his shows and I’d be in a chair behind. Little table in on my lap. Magazines and mail to sort. Bills to pay. And nail polish. Get the chores done then paint my fingers.
All while watching Mulder and Scully investigate aliens.
“Wasn’t that good, Mom?”
Cell phone’s part of the multi-messiness of multi-tasking.
Yammer and drive. Not even in equal parts. Evidently too boring to just operate a vehicle. Gotta do something else, too. Save up all the blather and do it in the car.
When authorities said Don’t Drink and Drive, some folks heard, Don’t Think and Drive. Got it all mixed up.
Knew the hands-free thing was a ruse. It’s not about hands. It’s about brains. The muli-tasking monster jamming the radio frequency needed to engage gray matter.
Still, hands-free not a bad idea. Because folks would have a hand for turn signals. Which have become obsolete. You know, since evolution hasn’t caught up yet providing a third hand.
Too late. Can’t be undone. Still have to put on make-up, adjust iPod, drink coffee, read Kindle, program GPS. No hands left for signals. Except for the hand signal, if you know what I mean. What multi-tasking has wrought, let no man override.
So there I am with the perfect set-up in the shower.
Four screens standing up against the tile.
One bottle of liquid Palmolive to clean them.
One bottle shampoo and conditioner.
Sponge and scrubbing bubbles for the shower stall.
Towels for the screens, towels for me.
One huge multi-tasking three-ring circus and I’m the ring leader. The Mistress of Multi-Tasking. Find my photo on Wiki.
You think it was easy? Tryin’ not to slip while dish detergent streams across the tile stall floor, and I’m sprayin’ suds off the screens, and bugs, and leaves (spiders running for cover)?
Lemme tell you, shaving my legs with all that equipment goin’ every which way? Can you do that? I’m flexible, but jeez, Louise—really?
Cat’s standing outside watching the entire scene. Probably already thinks I’m nuts for stepping into a glass cage and watering myself daily but this time he’s fascinated. Not enough to want to be another item on the checklist. But he’s not moving either.
Wanna bath, kitty?
Finally. Hair washed and conditioned. Legs shaved. Screens rinsed. Shower cleaned. Me dried. Screens dried. Shower dried. One last rinse of the floor with the hand held nozzle so no one slips as a result of my cleaning genius.
Towel wrapped around me. Towel wrapped around my hair. Don’t waste a minute. Reinstall the screens. Admire my idea. My skill. My out and out cleverness.
Enjoying those wonderfully washed windows. And screens. Sun streaming. Gleaming. Sparkling. View unobstructed by remnants of winter weather.
Let there be no doubt. I have mastered multi-tasking. Taken it to an entirely new level.
Now I can dress and dry my hair. And tell all of the new miracle screen cleaning system.
Strange. Hair kind of sticky. Drying oddly. Hard to pull the brush through. Doesn’t quite feel right.
But then again that’s what happens when you’re a multi-tasking maniac. And you don’t rinse your hair and remove the conditioner...