Do you know that moment when you finish washing the kitchen floor and you turn back to survey the pristine shininess? You know the one. A chorus of angels sing. A light shines down from heaven. You heave a sigh, thinking Thank God it's over because there's nothing else I hate more than washing the kitchen floor.
Every now and then, I hear about a new type of garment fabric that's allegedly impervious to dirt and sweat, which only requires washing after every 100th wear. Instead of welcoming the thought of this miracle shirt, I always think: I'd get sick to death of wearing the same shirt ten days in a row, never mind a hundred. This product was totally invented by a man.
Then I think: Why can't they make a kitchen floor that only needs to be washed every 100th day?
Suffice it to say, the washing of the kitchen floor is an event in the Snark household. Mrs. Snark actually owns an expensive floor washing machine but the apparatus does not fit in the three-inch gap the cabinets and the tile, so it is an absolute waste of time.
Mrs. Snark builds drama in the days before the great event. She makes announcements. "I have to wash the floor on my hands and knees. I'm going to wind up with sore knees and a bad back. Then, I shall die before my time. Cremate me and spread my ashes on the beach where we married."
In an attempt to avoid raising Miss Bear as a single father, Mr. Snark arrived home clutching a bouquet of wild flowers in one hand (because he's a smart man) and an old fashioned mop with a floppy head and a stick handle in the other.
Miss Bear promptly turned the mop into a weapon.
The mop proved to be serviceable, although unwieldy.
When Mrs. Snark washed the tile and then gathered the Snark men together into one place. "I have just finished washing the kitchen floor with this old-fashioned mop! The first man or boy to mess up the kitchen floor is moving into the backyard to live in the dog house!"
The Middle Son likes to live life on the edge: "What's gonna happen if I get a crumb on the floor? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
Mr. Snark walks past, shaking his head. "Boy, you're ten types of stupid. Don't taunt your mother."
Yet, despite the most dire warnings, dinner arrives and all caution is tossed to the wind. The Snark men eat as if they were a coalition of Cookie Monsters. "NOM NOM NOM!" Crumbs fly like sparks off a grinding wheel. Volcanic eruptions of sauce splatter the ceiling.
Worse is the deliberate sabotage against Mrs. Snark's tireless labor. In the dead of night, children gather for ritualized celebrations, tossing cereal and peanuts about as if they were confetti. Cats spread kibble far and wide. Mr. Snark gleefully dribbles red wine on the tile.
By the next day, the kitchen looks like the center of a food disaster zone. Defeated and in heavy spirits, Mrs. Snark heaves a heavy sigh and sloughs back to her keyboard.
Someday perhaps, the trauma will fade. Armed with the mop her husband has provided, she will once again marshal her forces, going forth to battle stickiness and crumbs.