No sense arguing with Drill Instructor Berry

As of July 19, spring cleaning is finally done. I know it’s summer, but I think it would be insensitive of me to stereotype a particular season as a time to do the burdensome task of cleaning the house from top-to-bottom. Why should winter, summer or fall be discriminated against? I refuse to adhere to man-made rules that say we should clean in the spring. I am a rebel. We clean for obvious reasons – two teenage daughters. My girls wouldn’t know what to do with a hamper if I had one, think a laundry basket is to be used upside down as a chair, stage or TV tray and believe ironing out wrinkles is not letting fabric be who it really wants to be. Having teens is only one reason why we do our cleaning at times when others are relaxing by the pool. The “real” reason why we do a thorough cleaning in July and not in March – my mom and dad are coming for a visit.

While I will do thorough cleanings from time-to-time, usually by myself because I clean better than anyone else in the house, when my parents are coming my wife takes charge. She instantly becomes a mix of the drill sergeant on Full Metal Jacket, Martha Stewart and Mr. Clean. I keep expecting her to say, “I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be Sir. Do you maggots understand that?”

I’ve been married to Gunnery Sergeant Martha Stewart-Berry for nearly 20 years and this maggot has learned that sometimes it is better to keep his mouth shut and do what he’s told. The older of the two younger maggots is starting to understand doing what you’re told and not arguing makes life easier for everyone. The youngest maggot still thinks she’s the Gunnery Sergeant and not the lowly basic trainee. More than once my wife and the youngest maggot have used our living room as a battlefield. These skirmishes will sometimes last a few days, but victory is inevitable. My wife is undefeated in battle.

Our oldest maggot doesn’t argue with as much anymore. I don’t know if it’s because she maturing or if she’s finally realized she is a horrible back talker and trash talker. This summer she was playing soccer and the matchup got a little physical and heated. The girl from the other team shot a comment towards her and her response, “Right back at ya.” Wow! That had to hurt – not. Better yet is when she uses the same trash talk they use. Them – “Get out of the way, you cow!” Her response – “You’re a cow!” I’m almost embarrassed by her horrible trash talk. There is a glimmer of hope. She had one decent comeback. She made the girl on the other team mad and the girl “went off” on her. My daughter looked at her and said, “You’ll never get a prom date with that ugly attitude.”

The house, at least the downstairs portion, was in satisfactory shape by the end of the day. Unfortunately, it was back to being in unsatisfactory shape the next day.

Even with our busy lives, we have been making a concerted effort to try and keep up with housekeeping so my mom and dad will feel comfortable during their stay with us. Gunnery Sergeant Martha Stewart-Berry will most likely return in November or early December for more spring cleaning when my parents come home for the holidays.

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