I understand what first impressions are, but what exactly are “the best of intentions?” Is that supposed to make a bad thing sound good or a good thing sound bad?
My oldest daughter was coming home from college for the weekend. Her fiancé and his parents were also coming to spend the weekend with us. We were excited about getting to know his family better before the summer wedding.
Of course, major cleaning took place the week prior to the visit. On the day of our guests’ arrival, I’m sweeping up the latest brood of dust bunnies, (how do those things appear overnight?), when I notice something else that was not there the night before.
On the glass of a curio cabinet is a hazy film. The dry, odd-looking film begins at eye-level and trickles downward.
I retrieve a wet cloth and cleaning spray. Scrubbing what appears to be dried milk, I am wondering how it got so high on the cabinet. There is nothing on the floor. Wait a minute. Is that a smear across my newly mopped floor?
My eight-year-old son appears in the dining room. I interrogate about the smear on the cabinet and the floor.
“Dad was going to tell you but he thought he could just clean it up since you were upstairs cleaning last night.”
As the story unfolded, it became apparent that Zachary made his sister a chocolate-chip cookie dough milkshake the night before. He was so excited to present her with his creation that his heels tried to pass his toes in route, which resulted in a collision with the floor.
“Dad, tried to wipe the milkshake off the floor.”
All the floor cleaner had been used in the week’s prior cleaning so I decided to bypass my burning desire to ask what he had used to “clean” the floor.
“What about this milkshake on the glass?” I asked.
“Oh, that. Well, we didn’t see that last night. I didn’t see it until this morning.”
“It’s three o’clock. When were you going to say, ‘Hey, Mom—There’s milkshake on the glass’? You know people will be here in just a few hours, right?”
“I meant to tell you. I forgot,” and he bounded off to play.
I finish cleaning the glass and walk to the kitchen to dispose of the mess. It occurred to me that if they missed the big smear on the cabinet last night, they might have missed some milkshake splash on the wall and baseboard. I return to the dining room to inspect.
My other daughter walks in and starts laughing. She compared my facial expression to that of Eddie Murphy’s in the movie, Daddy Daycare.
Remember the scene when he sticks his head into the bathroom to check on the toddler learning to use the potty? He begins looking at the floor and his face contorts with horror as he looks up the wall and to the ceiling. Well, that was me. I traced a trail of chocolate-chip milkshake from the baseboard, up the wall, and onto the CEILING! How in the world...?
I start scrubbing. I pull a chair over to the wall. I climb up to wipe the milkshake from the top of the wall. That’s when I noticed bits of chocolate-chip cookie-dough milkshake splattered and dried on top of the curio cabinet. Shaking my head in dismay, I begin to move china teacups to one side and start the scrubbing process all over again.
The baseboard, wall and curio came out sparkling clean. The ceiling with its bumpy white spray was another matter.
“Let’s get a knife and just cut out those pieces,” Zach offered.
“Zach.” My sense of humor had vacated the house hours ago.
“How about we throw a bowling ball up there to knock off the pieces of cookie-dough?” he asked with eyes gleaming in anticipation.
“Zach.” This time my tone of voice sent him scurrying off to safety.
My husband arrived home from work and the story grew more interesting. It seems Zachary left out the part of how half the milkshake ended up in his hair as he fell.
My sweet husband had the best of intentions. He tried to clean up this enormous fiasco without my help. He knew I had been cleaning all day and didn’t want to bother me with one more mess. He is a wise man and probably foresaw a frazzled woman snapping. His natural instinct as a protector kicked in and he did the best he could.
After I expressed my gratitude and thankfulness that Zachary did not crash dangerously into the glass cabinet, I reminded everyone that guests were coming.
“No one will look at the ceiling. No one will even notice it,” my husband said with a promise he’d paint it later.
The kids agreed. “No one will see it. Don’t worry about it.”
They were probably right. Who looks at the ceiling, anyway?
Later, the guests arrived and all was going very well. As they all sat down for a meal, I was in the kitchen getting my plate of food. I hurried back into the dining room so we could begin eating.
There they were…all of them…gazing at the ceiling.
My family was pointing out the brown, speckled spots on the ceiling and retelling the whole story!
I’m sure they had the best of intentions. So much for first impressions!
However, our first impression did break the ice and made us all laugh. We wanted everything to be nice for the arrival of our guests. We had the best of intentions for everything to be perfect.
But, we are real. Stuff happens—sometimes it affects us, sometimes it affects everything else in our lives, including the ceiling.