Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Love is where you find it...

I’m a slob. I’m not proud of the fact, but there it is. I have attempted to deal with it. I keep my body clean, and my clothes (especially my work clothes) generally respectable. But I fall short when it comes to keeping my area neat and tidy. I fear that I’ll pass this on to my kids, so I roar at them to keep their rooms clean. This morning, as a matter of fact, was a bustle of remedying our shortcomings.

Last week, my wife Chris was out of town for 8 days at a sculpture symposium. During that time, my mother stepped up to watch my daughters when I could not. I had forbidden my mother from doing any household cleanup, feeling highly grateful that she was giving up most of her week to ride herd on an eight year-old and a highly energetic 4 year-old. She even went to the extent of even getting them ready for school, taking them to school, and often putting them down to bed while I went to work at night and grad school in the evenings. One night, I made pasta and marinara sauce. Some, er, splatter-age did occur.

When Chris returned, I had gotten some laundry done quickly, but little else. I then pitched into the next week of school, work, and checking into my injured father in the hospital. I didn’t clean up my mess much, and, to be honest, wasn’t home much. When I got home yesterday afternoon (Friday) to enjoy my weekend off, I realized that I hadn’t set foot in my house since Tuesday evening before work. I went into the kitchen and set down on the island the sack with the six-pack of this weekend’s foray into British beers: Old Speckled Hen. I hurried to get some marinade on the steaks that I was taking to my pal Scott’s.

Then I saw it. In an old cast iron skillet on the stovetop was the inevitable remnant of the bacon that I suppose I’d failed to clean up after frying. About 1/8th inch of tallow remained congealed in the bottom, into which my 8 year-old daughter had inscribed a message for her absent daddy: “I Love You Daddy. Love, Allie.” Strange how that stopped me dead, and my heart melted for a bit while I cleared the lump. What a bizarre medium to send this little declaration of affection. So, feeling a little silly, I grabbed my camera, and transmogrified lipids into zeros and ones. Then I went on to a nice dinner with family and friends.

Looking at the photo this morning, I saw how horrid my stovetop looked. No amount of photo editing can redact the obvious splatters that I left on the stove. The very subject of the photo is evidence of my sad failure to do what needed doing. Before I’d even saved the photo to my hard drive, I cleaned up the stovetop with harsh chemicals and strong strokes of brush and paper towels. It gleams as it should, now, and the old skillet is now a sure, deep, jet black as it rests in the drawer under the oven.

Chris had a tough week of getting back into the swing of work and having her husband gone for most of it. I know that she loves me a lot and resents me but little. But I have no doubt that she took one look at that stove and that skillet, smirked, and said to herself, “I’ll just let my husband handle that himself. I’m sure he’d want to clean up his own messes.” And she'd be right.


At Sunday, October 15, 2006 11:43:00 AM, Blogger HollyB said...

Maybe it's b/c I'm her Gram, maybe it's b/c I know Southern living will never come to do a photo shoot at our house{unless it's a story on what NOT to do} but I didn't notice anything in that photo but the message left by an adoring Dtr for her Daddy. Even after I read what you had described, I made a consciouos decision NOT to scroll back up to look for what you described. And I won't.
This may not be the forum for it, but I'm going to publicly praise you anyway. Matt, you are an excellent Daddy. I hope that someday Roy will be as much of a hands on Daddy to his chirren as you are to your girls.
Given all that you have on your "plate" and have had as long as I've known you, housekeeping is just about in the right place on the priority list.
I doubt that anybody, laying on their deathbed, wishes that they'd spent more time cleaning their house.
Do I need to say more?

At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 9:53:00 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Sculpture Symposium? Aw man, I'm there for you bro, call night or day. You guys can work this out.
Just kidding. And, you know, Hey- Old board with a rusty nail in it. You wouldn't have one would you?

At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Heh. As a matter of fact, I HAD one, but a member of my family borrowed it, because his had somehow gone missing. Can't keep house without Board With Nail! :)

At Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nice tale of impromptu affection from your offspring. But I was intrigued by your beer, sir.

Ah, the fabulous Old Speckled Hen. First ran into it at a tiny pub in an area of southern England called "the Isle of Grain", doing some work at a power plant there.

Wonderful flavor, with an aroma and aftertaste that I can only describe as "old parchment", like the smell of antique books (this is meant as a good thing, by the way).

Now available even here in the States in the 14.2 oz. "gizmo can". Pour, enjoy the sight as the large bubbles rise and the small bubbles fall, cascading along the side of the glass. Then gulp, and enjoy.

At Thursday, October 19, 2006 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I saw the gizmo cans yesterday while picking up some DogsHead IPA, at Tamara's suggestion. I had only drunk Speckled Hen as poured from the bottles. Apprently, they're a competitor with New Castle Brown Ale, but they taste highly different, in my opinion. And, though New Castle was an early love of mine, it's a hit-or-miss thing as to whether the clear bottles made it across the pond without the ale being bruised. Every once in a while, you're going to get a sour one, unfortunately. I've not yet had a sour Old Speckled Hen. To be sure, the bottles are clear, but the beer is maltier, and seems to hold up better. [shrug]
At any rate, it's a fine thing to pour into a pint glass, and savour one's bitters over a nice read at the end of the day. Maybe someday, I'll get to find out what that's like (enjoying the end of the day at the end of the day.).


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