January 2, 2014

WILLIAMS: Friends can be work


---- — All I asked my friend, Brenda, to do was hang new blinds in the two kitchen windows. That’s all. Because I’m too short to reach even standing on the step ladder. I’d actually forgotten what a Super A-type personality Brenda has. I remembered when she walked into the kitchen carrying her tub of spray bottles and rags and sponges and toothbrushes.

“Well,” she said, “here I am. Let’s get started.”

“Do you need all those cleaning supplies just to hang blinds?’ I asked innocently.

She looked at me with horror. “You’re surely not planning to hang new blinds without also washing the windows and the cupboards and the curtains and the teapots on the shelves beside the windows and the floor below the windows? You want everything to look sparkly when we’re done, don’t you?”

I think my voice was a little faint when I answered, “Uh, yeah, I guess so.”

Not only is Brenda thorough but she moves at the speed of light, scrubbing away at the crevices in the cupboards with her toothbrush. Up and down off the ladder. Up and down off her hands and knees. It’s exhausting to watch her.

It turned out we could only hang one blind because I’d inadvertently bought two long ones, instead of a long and a short.

She finished up for the day and ordered me to go to Walmart and replace the wrong blind.

“And get white this time. You don’t want that tan one.”

“I don’t?”

“No, you won’t like it. Trust me, you want white.”

There was probably nothing I dreaded more a few days before Christmas than going to the “returns” counter at Walmart but as much work as Brenda had put into make my kitchen sparkle, it seemed the least I could do, so I stood in line, then trudged through the store to find my (white) replacement blind.

Brenda uses this special cleaning stuff called Homeology. I think she gets it from Scentsy. A bottle costs as much as an equal amount of frankincense or myrrh. She left it with me until she returns to finish the cleaning job, (it doesn’t seem to me there is much left to clean but she appears to believe there is.) She warned me that I’d better not let anything happen to her Homeology. I swear if the house was on fire, I’d save the animals but right after that, I’d go back for Brenda’s bottle of cleaner.

Our friend, LeAnn, called from Iowa. I told her I’d asked Brenda to come hang the blinds.

“Oh, honey,” she said sympathetically, “I bet you’re exhausted.”

We’ve all been friends forever. She knew Brenda would never be satisfied simply to hang blinds and let it go at that.

“She made me wash each leaf of the flower arrangement individually; she made me scrub around the handles of the teapots. Furthermore, she left her bottle of Homeology here and the responsibility is weighing heavily on me. I keep going in the kitchen to check that it’s OK.”

“Look at it this way, Vic,” LeAnn said philosophically. “She would never trust you with her Homeology if she didn’t love you.”

It’s a different kind of Christmas gift but special, nonetheless.