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A clean Homecoming

Getting away is always nice. A new environment gives you a new perspective on life, and being absent makes you appreciate home. Which is why, when I do come home, I want to find things the way I left them, as if life stood still for the term I was away. I don’t think it is too much to ask to have everyone frozen in hyperspace in my absence, just so I don’t miss anything important, do you?


Unfortunately, my family just won’t comply, and every time I go away, I return to find out they dared continue living without me. Not only do they live without me, but they survive quite well, thank you. Bums me out.


When I came home from ten days in Boston, I was greeted by a very alluring young woman, not the geeky 9 year old I know and love. Mark took Neva to get a haircut in my absence. They chopped off 6 inches and had it all layered and styled. She looks totally glamorous. The braids are gone, and now she has this breck-girl doo. The fact that I have been trying to get Neva to cut her hair for months and months is besides the point. Why was it so easy for him to make a suggestion and her to jump at it, when I’ve begged and begged and only been refused? I get rolled eyes when I suggest a new hairstyle, not an enthuasiastic hug. The power of a man’s compliment to a woman regarding her looks (no matter how old she is) is daunting.


I guess the glamorous hair was just the hor derve, because they then went and had her ears pierced too. Of course, I had her ears pierced when she was six, so it is a given that I would approve the act, but back then, Neva wasn’t much interested. Since she never wore earrings, the holes grew back. Now, she is the one who wants pierced ears so this time, she is ready, going out of her way to clean them three times a day. That’s great, but still seeing her with dazzling diamonds in her ears was a bit of a shock. My daughter grew up about ten years in ten days. Hey – maybe I am the one who was frozen in hyperspace.  


Then, there was the shock of my husband’s grooming to contend with. He went and cut off his beard and had his hair cut really short. I like him scruffy – this dapper guy just isn’t my casual, rough and tumble spouse. Kissing him at the airport was like kissing a smooth apple, rather than a fuzzy peach. Hated that. He must have noticed my disappointment, because he was quick to explain that all the sawdust he is creating as he fine-sands the logs in the house is driving him crazy. It gets in his ears and every crevice, making him itch in the summer heat. He says his boggers are like blocks of wood (sorry – that’s gross, but I’m just repeating his commentary). So, what can I say to that? “I don’t care, keep the beard because my personal preference is more important than your comfort and well-being?” Ummm…. I think not.


I just said, “It’s nice to see a new look for a change. . . you big apple-face.” . . . Ha. Naw, I didn’t add the apple face part – that would be mean. But I avoided kissing him much, and I noticed he started growing it back this morning. Ha. Men are like Pavlov’s dogs and I confess I’m manipulative when it comes to important things like maintenance of the George Clooney unshaven look.  Gotta watch these things, or the next thing ya know, he will be wearing suits and I’ll have to leave him for some guy with true style (like the fellows at the diner that wear a torn sweatshirt and baseball cap as they wolf down their bacon-cheeseburgers.)


The first thing we did when we got home was drive to the house so I could witness the evolution (change) that occurred there too. The graders came and finished off our driveway and they pulled out about a thousand trees between the house and the creek to provide a fantastic view. It is amazing. But I stood there feeling badly that I missed it. I like to watch the small increments of change taking place each day – not be broadsided by drastic improvement in one fell swoop. The house is growing more impressive each day. I can’t imagine living there – unless I was the live-in maid or something. Ha. As much as it is out of my comfort zone – I’m thinking I will adapt and feel right at home faster than I expect.


April seemed taller, almost as tall as her mother, Dixie. And she let me pet her and take her for a lead immediately. Terrific. The horses were well fed, the bunnies healthy, the dogs had been bathed. Wow.  Denver had cleaned the cabin, Mark had put clean sheets on our bed – all was in order. It made me feel a bit disposable. Glum.


Then – I went downstairs to throw some laundry in. An AVALENCH of laundry awaited me. Every towel in the house (from bathing those dogs) was in a sour, heaped mess on the floor. Every single pair of jeans, shorts, underwear, and what have you of Mark’s was there covered in sawdust and mud. Neva complained that she had been sleeping naked for two nights because she hadn’t a single nightie clean – she already wore the others several times over. The sheets that Mark so graciously took off the bed were lumped there for me to clean (which made the fresh bed a bit less impressive, all things considered). There were dishtowels, washcloths, clothing, and all kinds of fabric stuff awaiting my attention like a mountain of soiled evidence that life went on without me – but in a messy way.


I stood there, shocked at the heaps of stuff that no one bothered to clean. I said, “What, it never occurred to any of you to put a load of wash in, even once?”

Denver rolled her eyes and said, “Like I didn’t have enough to do while you were gone, doing dishes and making sure Neva got a bath and feeding the horses when dad was busy? Being the mom sucks. I’m really glad you’re home.”  




I’m glad to be home too. For two days I’ve been celebrating . . . with tide and bleach! By the time Mark’s beard grows back, I might even be caught up.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

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