Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DON'T Tell My Mom

My mom is, among many other things, a survivor of The Great Depression. My dad used to say, often, that he never saw anyone who could stretch limited resources like my mom’s mom. They were a minster’s family in a rural community and saw, first hand, much suffering.

It made an impression on my mom. Waste not! Never! From my earliest memories, for me, it meant hand-me-down clothes from my older sister. (When I was done with them, well, they were also done so younger sister got new clothes. Also, Lil’ Sis and Baby Brother were born during the Gravy Years: Other Sister and I were born during the Biscuits and Gravy Years.)

It meant cleaning your plate; turning off the lights when you didn’t need them; using all of the toothpaste up; washing with that bar of soap until it disappeared.

Not complaining here: all good things.

However, as a newly minted adult and wife, I would occasionally assert myself when Mom and Dad came for a visit. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mom tense up as I emptied uneaten foot into the garbage disposal. She would sometimes make suggestion about what I could do with it besides throw it away.

Then, there were clothes. I remember that once my little girl’s gorgeous-but-not-expensive voile dress came apart at the waist. It had begun to unravel. I quickly assessed that the fix was not worth it. But Mom happened to be there, swooped in, and fixed it, good as new.

I HAVE grown up a bit and no longer wish to bait the mama. But, I will never be as wise and as frugal as is she. Some things are just beyond saving. Toss it out. Get another.

Alas: last week we were faced with a rather expensive mess. Our darling dog, having just received several injections, proceeded to eat some of her reddish dog food and then jump on our couch…..loyal readers know about the sleeping couch…and upchuck the contents of her stomach. In three different places, including between the cording.

Look, I’m a mom. Puke does not deter me. But RED on our WHITE (blue stripped) favorite couch?

At times like this, messes beyond reason, the hub stands back. “What are you going to do?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I’ll wipe it up and see how bad it really is.”

Bad. Really bad. Really, really bad.

I drove over to our local ACE Hardware Store (which is, single-handedly, giving the big boxes a run for their money) and talked to my helpful hardware man. As we strolled to the cleaning supplies, he winced and said, “Red, huh? That’ll be tough.”

I headed home with some upholstery cleaner, read the directions, and got to work.

Vacuum first.


Try on a small spot.

Nah. If it fades, well, that’s better than red.

Squeeze a little foam and then scrub with brush.


Wipe up excess.


Let it dry. Maybe it fades as it dries?

Uh, nope. Still red. Really red.

Again, with the hub, “What are you going to do?”

“I’ll keep at it after this dries completely.”

Long, thoughtful pause.

“Maybe it’s time for a new couch,” he said.

Magic words for me.

Would we just toss this one out? Would we even be able to find a replacement? Certainly not just like this one, as it holds history, along with red doggy juices.

But after an hour of scrubbing and pretending that it really was getting better, I was warming to Plan B.

THIS is why you can’t tell my mom. No matter where her world travels are taking her today, she’d jump on the next plane and get here, supplies in hand, and she’d work on this couch until it was perfect or the fabric dissolved.

(As she is a follower of this blog, well,…..)

Not to worry, Mama. Plan A1/2 began to materialise.

Quite a few years ago, our cottage suffered from a kerosene heater malfunction. Every single thing inside was coated with black oily goo. Everything, including this couch. A local restorer has worked some magic and cleaned it up. Black and oily is as difficult as red and pukey, I reasoned.

So, I drove over to his business. Yes, he had remembered me and all the black mess. Yes, he would send someone over.

Early the next day, ServiceMaster pulled up and Josh jumped out. I shook his hand and escorted him to ground zero.

Hmmm,” he said. “Ok, I’ll see what I can do.”

Magic, it appears. Within a hour, the entire couch was cleaned and freshened and sanitized.

We have our couch back, ready for our next guest.

Mom? Is that you?

1 comment:

  1. As good Wheaton grads you likely know that ServiceMaster was started by some Wheaton College classmates. They chose the name purposefully: "Service for the Master."

    Some of those early leaders are now in heaven. I imagine them sitting at the feet of our Savior watching the cleaning of the red-splotched couch.

    "See! See!" one of them looks up at Jesus with an enthusiastic smile.

    "Well done, good and faithful steward," He replies. "I'm glad your people could help Mike and Lynne. Memories are important. Even those lodged in a well-loved couch."