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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Clean, Shiny Floors

As you can imagine, keeping the home of six boys (we were all within eight years of age), was a big job for our mom. Of course, we were a huge help, all our little hands so eager to pitch in and do our share (tongue-in-cheek). We were too busy dirtying things up.

However, there were some things that piqued my interest enough to make me willing to pitch in every once in a while. That something wasn't always the 18 inch wooden ruler that Mom used when she needed to fully capture our attention and cooperation.

And speaking of that wooden ruler. It was my nemesis. How I dreaded the sound of the junk drawer opening just around the time I knew I was doing something I shouldn't be. Mom didn't need to have us wait for Dad to get home, she was fully capable of keeping order in our house.

It was a magic ruler too. I recall sneaking it out a time or two and burying it in the nearby woods. If you stood it on end and then pushed down with your foot, the thing would slide right into the earth. But, a day or so later, it would show back up again, in the junk drawer, just about the time Mom needed to measure our resolve to be brats. Some sort of horrible reincarnation.

Mom's way to get us involved with household custodial duties generally involved motors attached to mechanical devices. What a wonderful attention getter.

First there was the vacuum cleaner, and not just any vacuum, it was an Electrolux. One of those torpedo shaped jobbies. It seems to me that the earliest one I remember didn't even have wheels, just slides that glided over the floor but my memory may be confusing that with something else.

Sitting on it horsey style felt like you were riding a rocket with the thrust blasting out the rear end and all. I was fascinated by the warm air coming out, putting my hands in front of it, trying to block it, letting it blow in my face. The simple things that can capture a kid's attention.

I don't remember if I actually ever sucked anything up with the hose but I am sure being amused by the machine kept me from making other messes that Mom would have to clean up.

Another tool I recall was Mom's floor polisher. Two brushes with various pads that could be used for scrubbing and polishing the hardwood and tile floors. Again, I don't actually remember using it in the way it was intended (did you read my earlier blog,

Down the Up Stairs , where I mentioned that kids are not limited to using things for their intended purpose?) For me, the fun was getting dinky toys (little metal cars if you are not familiar) to be drawn in between the rotating pads and being flung out the other side, seeing what you could hit with them or how far they would go. I probably did use this tool when I was a bit older, to clean up a mess I made before Mom got home.

Using brooms and cloths and scrub brushes wasn't fun but I think if someone attached a motor to them, more kids would get engaged in house cleaning...sure they would.

So, this weeks challenge is to share what you remember about helping out around the house, what made it fun.

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