Unless you, too, once dropped a pot of warm maple syrup onto the kitchen floor you may not accurately estimate the distance and trajectory covered by the airborne syrup.
No need to repeat my experiment to find out for yourself. Be satisfied with the knowledge that it will travel further than you could ever imagine.
And that was how a major, spontaneous spring cleaning began at my house yesterday morning and didn't let up until late afternoon.
I washed the table: top, legs, bottom of the feet, and underside. (Have you ever washed the underside of your table? Neither had I! Glad I checked that off my bucket list.) I washed the chairs, then washed them again. (And again. And again.) I washed my recycling bin (but stopped short of washing the actual recycling), followed by my stove, my refrigerator door, our IPad (yup), the lower cabinets, and the walls on the far side of the kitchen.
The Maple Tsunami of 2017 even took out our housekeeping chore list. Oh, the irony.
And so, with sticky hands and sticky legs and sticky feet (and much less swearing than when that pot hit the floor, thank you very much), I washed all of the things.
Our turquoise island took the most direct hit (it seems to with every kitchen mess), so I washed that for what seemed like an hour, shoving it back and forth across the kitchen floor to clean up the pooling maple beneath it. After spending all that quality time with my island yesterday, I thought back to the day I painted it not long after we moved here. And I marveled at how even a half-day of scrubbing could no longer make it shine.
And so I did what any reasonable person would do with a house still coated in a film of maple syrup: I went to the basement to find some paint.
First white (to prime, since white is a forbidden color in both clothing and decor in our dirty world) then a sunny yellow, because I needed a little more sunshine – and a little less sticky – in my life yesterday. (Never mind that that yellow was dried in the can, white would suffice.)
And somehow, after all that cleaning up, after all the frustration and misdirection in my day, painting the island that we hauled from the first house we ever owned was a comfort to my heart. The island from the house we moved into just after our wedding, the house where Sage was born in front doorway. That house. The one that's more myth and memory now that something we can touch. That island is an everyday ordinary part of our lives, but it still has magic in it.
And in less time than it takes to clean maple off your ceiling fan (off the top of my head), that shabby, scratched, faded, forever-filthy blue was gone and covered (however briefly) with a fresh, coat of pure white.
I suppose it was my way of proving to myself that at least there was one clean surface in the house. "No maple on here!" the white paint proclaims.
For the moment anyway.
And I think that my takeaway from my messy day is this: life throws you curve balls that will make the less disciplined among us swear a blue streak. But once the maple has stopped dripping off your ceiling, there is nothing left to do but grab the mop bucket and get to work.
There's no short-cut to the things that are real. We have to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work ourselves, wether it's in our relationships, our families, our homes, or our hearts. Adulting is hard. And sometimes we don't want to clean up the messes that show up in our lives, both literally and figuratively. But when we do dig in and take care of what needs tending, we take our world to a whole new level, far beyond the one we were comfortably living in before.
Life is work. Life is messy. But life is also sweet.
Let that be a lesson to me.
And just maybe – if you need it – a lesson for you, as well.