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Anything But Clean

June 13, 2008

corey says…Pat was feeling okay this morning, but her eye was black, her wound bled a bit in the night and her knee was throbbing. Liam’s guests arrive tomorrow, so that meant some major cleaning and grocery shopping.

We were on the right track, until our neighbor Mikey and his daughter Katie arrived with their pony and carriage. Mikey was going to take a peek at our front door lock…for some reason it wouldn’t lock from the inside anymore. Mikey determined that we had to call the window and door guy, and that Liam needed to go for a spin with the pony.

Suddenly, Liam was nine years old again and grinning from ear to ear. He hopped in the carriage and held the reigns. This was a moment he had been waiting 25 years for…to ride a pony and carriage down Knockahopple Road.

Mikey let Liam drive the carriage all the way to the end of the road…then Mikey took over for the rest of the ride. Meanwhile, Pat and I stayed behind with Katie. Katie inspected Liam’s computer and admired some of the photos we had been taking. I was sure to point out the several I had taken of her.

Katie explained why she didn’t have school today. It’s voting day and her classroom is used for the big vote on the referendum. She was quite excited on the thought of a big election taking place next to her classroom table. And this was a big referendum. The Lisbon Treaty which has been all over the news. The governments of all the other EU countries have approved it, but Ireland was the only country that required a public vote…the future of this big treaty was in the hands of the Irish people.

The house was torn asunder, but in Ireland neighbors come first…and for Liam, a pony and carriage jaunt would trump just about anything. When he and Mikey returned, Pat and I had a little lunch ready…we didn’t have much food, but we made due. Served with tea, it made a decent meal.

Liam explained that the size of Katie’s pony was perfect and that was the exact size he would want…no bigger. Katie, always a bit bold, said, “I’d say you’d be big for it though.”

Looking at our watches, we needed a cleaning and shopping strategy. We decided to get as much done as possible in two hours and then head to town for groceries. Beds were made, floors cleaned, dishes washed, shelves dusted…a huge number of tasks under control, but the place was still far from ready.

We dashed into town and bought about ten days worth of rations for Liam and his guests. It always looks like soooo much when it’s all put together. We packed every available part of the car. Then it was back up the mountain.

When we returned, Liam’s cousin Mehal was parked in the driveway. He was checking on his mare in a nearby field. He followed us in for whiskey and gin and a great chat. My mind was thinking a bit about the melting foods in the car, but I didn’t want to break from the visit with Mehal. He was in great spirits again today and the conversation was as entertaining as usual.

He told us the story of Katie’s brother James. Most people describe him as an almost opposite of his sister…quiet, gentle, studious. However, one day, he must have gotten quite flustered with is sister, because he was helping Mehal’s wife, Anna Mae with the dishes. Katie meanwhile was distracted by the TV, “Katie, are ye ever gonna get off yer hole and help out?”

Mehal said Anna Mae was shocked to hear that coming out of James’ mouth and that she couldn’t help but laugh at the sound of it.

When Mehal left, I emptied the bags and bags of groceries out of the car. Liam and his mother tag-teamed to get them put away. Then our cleaning efforts went into overdrive. We buffed and shined and disinfected and deodorized and scrubbed and whatever else we could do to get the place in tip-top shape.

Finally at 11pm we stopped…exhausted. The place looked great…of course this also meant that it as time for Pat and I to move out. We were heading to our friend Liza’s cottage a few miles away.

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