Look, I’m a busy mom in a TV commercial for household products, and I don’t have a lot of time to waste when I’m making bacon and eggs every morning for three rambunctious children, who never touch my food and take only a coerced sip of orange juice before dashing off to the honking school bus, as well as for a husband in a business-casual suit who gives me a perfunctory departing peck as I shake my head with a knowing smile and my hands on my hips—those lovable scamps, blithely unaware, while they’re out having adventures in the world, of how much work goes into maintaining this house that I’m trapped within all day!
So, after I’m left alone and have pushed four pounds of unappreciated bacon and eggs down the garbage disposal, I’ve got about seven hours until my kids come home, which means that, as a busy mom, I don’t have a lot of time to waste if I want to get drunk as I housekeep before presentably sobering up.
First I mop the kitchen while downing a shot of vodka mixed with some of the O.J. that no one drank. This faux-mop makes it a snap: it picks up dirt, grime, and—uh, yeah!—mud that the kids track in. My resentment at them for not taking off their filthy shoes, and for forcing me to sacrifice my thriving career in advertising, is dulled by the vodka, which I store under the kitchen sink next to all the cleaning products, such as my fantastic all-purpose kitchen spray that cuts through the stickiest food stains, since Bill has never once looked in there, not even to fix it when the drain wasn’t working, because he’s useless with any home improvement. Absolutely useless.
Where was I? Oh, the faux-mopping. By the time I’m done with the floor, I’ve thrown back another screwdriver. My kitchen is a gleaming, reflective titanium white, and it’s like a solarium in there with the seventeen bay windows, so I have to wear sunglasses or risk blinding myself. To be honest, with the labor-saving devices available in the twenty-first century, the rest of the housework should take two hours, tops, but I like to pour a few more cocktails and draw it out, peeling off one item of clothing per drink. As a busy mom, I don’t have a lot of time to waste, because by noon, my carpenter neighbor, Jonas, has come over for a quickie.
Jonas is everything Bill isn’t: rugged, quietly confident, and, when we’ve run out, generous with his supply of butter-soft two-ply scented toilet paper that’s safe for your septic system. He typically catches me when I’m down to my sensible lingerie, my clothes strewn across the floor—a light-pink cardigan and light-blue collared shirt and loose-fitting oatmeal-colored pants—as I scrub the mildew in the shower with this bathroom cleaner that removes ninety-nine percent of bacteria with an invigorating citrus scent. Sometimes, after a twenty-minute cleaning session, I just stand there and inhale with my eyes closed and a beatific smile as I pretend I’m in an orange grove in Tuscany or Valencia or, really, anywhere but inside my suburban New Jersey bathroom as I breathe in toxic bleach fumes.
But then there’s Jonas. He sneaks into the bathroom and carries me away to make love on the bed where my husband and I sleep frigidly apart. It would make more sense to do laundry after we have sex, except I prefer to lie down with him on sheets surrounded by the alpine-mountain scent of my fabric softener, which is great for children because it’s hypoallergenic. And then I like the idea of Jonas’s wood-and-turpentine aroma, and the raspberry-sorbet lubricant we use, lingering there for a few days, which Bill thinks is from the evergreen-forest air freshener I buy that’s perfect for deodorizing every room in the house—even the car!
Afterward, I’ll get my straight, chin-length blond hair back in order and microwave Jonas and myself a few of the chicken-and-vegetable pockets the kids love—they’re nutritious, as well, packed with protein and vitamins, and just what you crave after soccer practice, a tough math test, or an animalistic, four-minute bout of extramarital intercourse. Once he’s gone, I’ll take out my binder filled with recipes. Because no one else has so much as ever picked up a frying pan, I don’t have to worry about anyone discovering that, tucked away between healthful dinners that take under thirty minutes to prepare, are my poems about death. I don’t have a lot of time to waste until they get home and wonder what Mom is scribbling about in her little cookbook—more specifically, Thanatos, my insatiable death drive—so I try to bang out at least a few quatrains, maybe a sonnet. I once got in a whole sestina before Timmy came in crying about a skinned knee or something.
I forgot to mention, we also have a golden retriever. I don’t know his name.
By four o’clock, it’s time for after-school snacks, usually PB-and-J sandwiches, from organic brands I can trust as a mom, and I’ll spoon out a dollop of peanut butter for myself with a crushed-up Vicodin. It’s the best way to get through the rest of the night as I cook dinner and help with homework and watch Bill watching sports by himself while I make my mental to-do list for the next day: buying more disposable faux-mop mitts and vodka and microwavable meals and Anne Sexton books and bacon and eggs and refilling my Vicodin prescription from a doctor with lax ethical standards.
I’m a busy mom and I don’t have a lot of time to waste, because my coupon is expiring tomorrow for raspberry-sorbet lubricant.