A Box of Soap
B
y DON VOWELL

The Christmas experience is a little like the “Groundhog Day” movie.  Or, I imagine it is – I haven’t actually seen the movie.   Each year we are freshly surprised at how time compresses in the approach of Christmas Day.  In this year that we vowed to get everything done ahead of time, we still have some stuff to do.

We are ahead of the game at least in one category.  We have had our first small-scale calamity.  Last night, after stringing the lights on our tree, I saw it as my duty to vacuum up the debris/needles dropped in the process.  Visibility is poor under the tree so it shouldn’t seem surprising that I managed to suck the pull-cord for the drapes into the vacuum cleaner.  When I burrowed under the tree to free the cord, I may have bumped the end table.  A full glass of grape juice was spilled onto the carpet, otherwise sort of an ivory color.

At first I was a little disgruntled, but after seeing how much entertainment it provided wife and son, it seemed kind of worth it.  Schuyler had brought a freshly baked chocolate cake with a layer of marshmallow in the middle.  A little like a 13 inchHostess Cupcake with a serious upgrade in ingredients – complete with spiral squiggle on top.  You can’t snap at a visitor that thoughtful.

Besides giving Nancy and Schuyler the pure and simple joy of laughing at the misfortune of others, the grape juice spill had other positives.  I am gaining skill at getting stains out of ivory-colored carpet.

Daughter Hannah has an even lighter carpet in her room, with no flecks of color or texture to hide anything.  Whilst applying black fingernail polish last year, (why black?), she juggled the little bottle and dropped it.  The attempt to catch it bobbled the bottle enough to Jackson Pollock a fairly large space in front of the desk – nice spatters with some heavier black blotches.   I was resigned to replacing it while she was away, so that she wouldn’t feel crummy during the installation.

Do you ever have those young men who make you nervous try to sell you miracle enzyme cleaners at your door?  Put a pint of water in your spray bottle, add six drops of miracle cleaner and no stain can defeat you.  Ordinarily you just cave in and buy a bottle so that you don’t have to let them do the felt tip pen demonstration on one of your white towels.

I hope this kid comes back.  There is no sign of grape juice on the carpet.  Not even a lavender tint.  The stuff also took gummy black marks off the roof of my car where the kayak rack sits.  As part of a rotation with fingernail polish remover and Windex, it even cleaned up the black-specked carpet.

I think Hannah will be relieved and also impressed with the carpet restoration effort.  She has been in the Dominican Republic teaching science since July and will be here on the 20th.  That is the good part about “Groundhog Day” repetition.  Every year Christmas Day is made right and complete because we are reunited.   With any luck, I’ll do something idiotic and slightly damaging so we can all have fun.  It works best when unplanned.

Don Vowell lives in Keizer.