Category Archives: This Old House

Make Like a Tree and Leave

“Don’t you love fall foliage?” A friend of mine asked as we watched brilliant leaves of red, orange and gold waft down from the trees. “It’s such a beautiful time of year.”

I rolled my eyes. I had no patience for the leaf lovers, the autumn enthusiasts, the fall foliage fanatics. I had bigger fish to fry.

I was a woman with a house to clean.

Of course there was a time when I loved the change of seasons as much as anyone else. But now that I am a mother and a homemaker, I realize that the different seasons just mean different messes in the house. In the spring, the dog drags mud through the house. In the winter we have piles of slush. In the summer, everyone tracks in water from the pool. And now that fall is upon us, I can look forward to the melodic sound of leaves crunching under my feet in the family room.

I suppose I should be more understanding of this particular seasonal annoyance considering that it is a scientific anomaly. I have discovered that my house is uniquely situated in the center of the universe so that every time the back door opens, a giant wind tunnel is created which sucks all the leaves in from the deck and spits them into my house. It is such a rare occurrence in this part of the world, that scientists have actually named it the Beckerman Freak Foliage Phenomenon.

While we are pleased to have contributed to mankind’s understanding of the forces of nature, it is mostly just a big pain in the neck. If I don’t catch the leaves and sweep them up right away when they blow into the house, they get trampled and broken into millions of crunchy little leaf pieces that get into the rug and eventually all over the house until I crawl under the covers at night and find myself on a bed of shredded leaf. While this might be fun if you’re a hibernating bear, personally, I prefer my sheets to be cottony soft and decidedly leaf-free. 

Clearly, this would not be an issue if the door remained closed. However, my family seems to be somewhat door-challenged. They have no problem getting the door open: It’s the door closing they have trouble with. And when the door is left open and that wind tunnel thing happens, we get leaf piles in the house big enough to jump in. It can get so bad, I actually consider getting a rake and a leaf blower for inside the house to get it under control.

Finally one day, I hit my leaf breaking point.

“WHO LEFT THE DOOR OPEN???” I bellowed. The dog came running.

“No, not you.  You don’t have opposable thumbs.  You get a pass,”

Next my husband arrived.  I pointed to the fresh pile of leaves that had blown in from outside.

“Hey, why are there so many leaves in here?” he wondered.

I sighed. “Remember I said when you leave the door open, the leaves blow in?” He nodded blankly.

“Well, voila!” I exclaimed sweeping my arm around the room.

“Oh sorry,” he said while I went to grab the broom and vacuum cleaner. Ten minutes later I found the door open and a fresh pile of crunchy leaves in the family room.

“Congratulations,” I said to the guilty party, who was not, in fact the dog. “You get to clean up the leaves.” I handed him a broom and left the room. Moments later a voice rang out from the kitchen.

“Hey honey!”

I returned to the scene of the crime to find my husband, the broom, the dog, and three times as many leaves on the floor.

“What happened?” I asked incredulously.

“I went to sweep the leaves out, and when I opened the door, a big gust of wind blew all the leaves back in, plus a bunch more.”

I shook my head in disbelief. Then I took the broom and stuck it in the corner.

My husband stood perplexed. “What are you going to do?” he asked.

“Leave.”

©2017, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Cleanliness is Next to Impossibleness, Husbands and other Aliens, This Old House

Sofa… So Good.

“The sofa has left the building,” my husband said to me over the phone.

Monty on the couchI jumped up and down. My husband had decided to upgrade his leather office couch, and the reject was coming home to go in our playroom. Until now, the playroom had plenty of room to play, but no place to sit. When they were tired of standing, the kids had sat on beanbag chairs, the floor, and occasionally, in desperation, the dog. We were ALL very excited about this seating upgrade. Especially the dog.

With the help of several burly co-workers, my husband got the sofa into our SUV and drove it home. But once home, it took him, me, both kids, and the dog just to get it out of the car and into the house. OK, the dog didn’t really help. He was just there for moral support.

Still, it was clear that there was no way the four of us were going to be able to get the sofa across the house, down the stairs, and into the basement playroom.

“Can’t we tryyyy?” I begged. I like to set an example for the kids that immediate gratification is something to strive for.

“No way,” said my husband. “It’s too heavy. Someone will get hurt.”

“Hmph,” I pouted. My husband shook his head. The kids shrugged and walked away. Only the dog backed me up.

“When the guys come to finish painting the fence tomorrow, I’ll ask them to move it,” said my husband firmly. “Can you wait 12 hours?”

“Fine,” I sighed, as I plunked down in the leather sofa dumped sideways across my breakfast room floor. “Cuz I’m just loving this six foot sofa in the kitchen, you know?”

The next day I waited anxiously for the workmen to arrive. By noon, it was clear they weren’t coming. By 3pm, I had an alternate plan.

“Come on guys, were going to move the sofa,” I said cheerily to my kids when they got up.

“Mom, we couldn’t move it WITH dad,” protested my son. “How do you think we’re gonna do it without him?”

“Like this,” I said, lifting up one end of the sofa and raising it to the ceiling so that the sofa stood up on the other end. Then I went around to the other side and lowered the ceiling end of the sofa down the other side to the floor. I stood back and grinned. “Ta-da!!”

The kids eyed me skeptically, but then they joined in helping me roll the sofa one end over the other across the house. The dog, of course, followed and offered moral support.

My plan worked perfectly until we got the to the top of the basement stairs. While I had overcome the weight issue, there was one problem I just had not foreseen.

“It doesn’t fit!’ declared my son.

I examined the width of the sofa and then the width of the basement stairs. One was significantly narrower than the other, but not in the way I would have hoped.

I thrust out my lower lip. If I could push an eight pound baby out of my body… twice… I could get a stupid sofa down a narrow flight of stairs.

“We’re going in!” I announced as I barked at the dog to move
and I pushed the sofa on its end to the top of the stairs.

“It’s not gonna fit!” yelled the kids.

“We’re gonna MAKE IT fit!” I yelled back.

I sent the kids down the stairs and shoved the top of the sofa. It slid down the wall and came to a rest just above the stairs.

“ANGLE IT!” I yelled to my son. The two of us turned the wedged sofa slightly on its side. It slid down a little further, and then got stuck midway down the staircase on a ledge on the side of the wall.

I studied the stuck sofa for a few minutes, and then, With the dog at my feet and the wind in my hair, I flew in the air and landed on top of the sofa, knocking it past the ledge and onto the stairs, where I rode it down to the basement floor.

The kids stood back in amazement.

I got up and grinned. “And THAT’S how you get a sofa into the basement!”

“Nice!” exclaimed my daughter.

“One thing,” said my son.

“What’s that?” I asked.

He looked around. “Where’s the dog?”

©2014, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

bookbutton-04“Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs”  makes a great beach read! To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE

To become a fan of Lost in Suburbia on Facebook, Visit me here
To follow me on Twitter, visit me here

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Filed under This Old House, Who Are These Children and Why are they Calling Me Mommy