Monday, May 30, 2005
The Secret
"How do you get your kitchen floor to look like that?" I asked, munching on a cookie.

Girlfriends are the best. They commiserate with you over bad boyfriend choices and believe that good cuisine is the key to emotional recovery.

Torie was putting dishes away and looked over her shoulder at me. "What do you mean?"

"Just look at it. " I stared at the spotless shiny floor. "It's freakin' amazing. This linoleum's got to be over 10 years old, and it looks better than the new stuff in my place! How do you DO that?"

My best friend grinned. "Trade secret."

"Aww, come on. You know I'm no good at this stuff."

Torie is a domestic diva, and my source for information on anything home-related, from roasting a turkey to getting grass stains off jeans. She's just gifted that way.

She laughed. "Okay. But you have to promise not to tell the kids." She put away the last dish and closed the cupboard door. "Right now they will do ANYTHING not to have to deal with the kitchen, so I have them doing everything else--cleaning the living room, bathroom, catbox, taking out the trash--all the stuff I hate. If they find out about this I'm dead meat."

"I promise."I told her. "Witch's honor."

The next thing I knew she was yanking my sneakers off my feet and carrying them over to the counter. Reaching under the sink, she pulled out a package of Scotch Brite scrubbies and an industrial stapler.

"Now wait a minute," I protested. "I just bought those sneakers!"

Expertly she stapled scrubbies to the bottoms of my New Balance sneakers then did the same to her own.

"Here," she said handing over my sneaks. "Put these on. I'll be right back."

Slipping my sneakers back on, I ran my fingers thoughtfully over their new scrubbie soles. I heard the stereo start up, and a few minutes later Joan Jett was singing about how she loved rock and roll. Sweet.

Torie danced through the kitchen door and over to the sink. Grabbing a gallon jug of bleach, she poured a large puddle in the middle of the floor then added a small bucket of water.

"Come on," she grinned at me, holding out her hand.

I hesitated. "This isn't going to be like that time you tried to teach me how to roller skate and kept pushing me into the wall is it?"

"I did NOT push you into the wall silly. You were just so nervous you kept trying to hug it. " She took my hand. "Now do what I do. Slide your feet back and forth through the bleach like you 're skating."

I obediently slid my feet back and forth. I really can skate--just not with wheels.

"Good. Now slide even bigger--like this."

I followed her lead, stretching as far as I could. I was starting to get into it.

"Now DANCE!" Torie let go of my hand and did a little slide dance across the floor.

I did three quick scrubby slides and then one long glide into the wall.

"Again with the wall thing?" she yelled over the music.

"I MEANT to do that!"

"Right," she laughed and did a row of twisty side-steps.

The stereo cranked up a notch as the Stones came on with "Satisfaction," and we skated and slid and rocked our way all over the kitchen floor.

Twenty minutes later we collapsed, breathless and laughing, in the dining room.

We looked at each other and grinned.

"Is that really all there is to it?" I asked

"Pretty much. After it dries I'll mop it down with Pine Sol to make it smell nice, but that's pretty much it."

I looked at her doubtfully. "Is it smart to mix chemicals like that?"

I once had a vey bad experience with bleach, a bottle of Mr. Clean, and a gas stove. It was weeks before the cats would come near the kitchen again.

"If you let it dry first, it's ok."

The front door opened and Torie's son Matt came running in the room. He gave his mom a kiss and grabbed a cookie. "What are you guys doing?"

"I was just helping your mom scrub the kitchen floor. You missed all the fun. "

"I bet." Matt looked relieved.

"Which reminds me young man," Tori added. "The cat box needs to be changed and the garbage taken out. "

"I'll do it later tonight." The teen prepared to make his escape.

"Nope, you're going to do it now," his mom said firmly.

"Look at it this way Matt," I said brightly. "At least you didn't have to scrub the kitchen floor."

"Yeah," he admitted. "that's true. It beats spending an hour with a scrub brush and a bucket of bleach."

Matt went off to change the catbox, while across the table the two scrubbie goddesses gave each other a high five.
Memories and musings shared by Juno
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I'm a 40-something writer, artist, and Jill-of-All-Trades. For me, magic is looking at the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary. My writing tends to take me to unexpected places--not so surprising when I think about it. I had an unusual growing up and have always chosen the offbeat over the "safe". I prefer interesting people over beautiful ones, and I am fascinated by people's stories. What I love most about life is its glorious imperfections and fantastic plot twists.

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