I’m considering a segment called “Adventures in Parenting”. So, for the inaugural test-installment, I give you the long awaited, cooled irradiation story… about my attempt to hire a cleaning service in order to maintain a sane and sanitary home.

The attempt was an epic fail.

It is one of the many conversations… I wish I never had to have with my kids.


“Girls.” I cleared my throat. Not really knowing where to begin. Part of me wanted to laugh hysterically, the other, well, was curled into a fetal position in a dark corner of my brain rocking back and forth and saying Why me?

I paused… and began again.

“I have to tell you something, it’s… going to seem… strange, and upsetting, but, well, you have to know.” I looked from one to the other, watching for any sign of distress, understanding, or comprehension. They looked at me wide-eyed, patiently waiting through whatever-I-had-to-tell-them… so they could get back on their iPhones.

The older one saw my eyebrows crinkle. She recognized the particular facial gesture and meaning: you better acknowledge words… NOW. “Okay… What happened?”

“Well, you know we had the cleaning service come in today, right?”

“Yeah.” The younger one reached across the coffee table for her phone. I squinted my eyes. She stopped, looked up slyly and smiled. Her hand slid slowly back.

“Well, you’re going to hear daddy and I talk over the next few days. And I want you to know… no matter what you hear us say… you both are fine. There is no problem we cannot fix.

“What the heck happened?” The older one’s interest had been piqued.

“Well, here’s the thing…” I cleared my throat again. “The cleaning service worker, the maid… she stole a sweet potato.

The younger one snickered.

The older one drew her chin up and wrinkled her nose. “Whaat?”

They looked at one another and back at me… “That’s it? A sweet potato?”

“Well, that’s just the first thing I noticed… there’s more.”

Both of the girls shot up from the couch and ran into the kitchen. They began opening cabinets, looking through snack and food stashes kept for school lunch.

“My instant coffee packs!” the older one squealed. “This cup was FULL!”

“The applesauce and fruit cups?! And… and… WHAT??? There were two FULL BOXES of granola bars in here!”

The older one ran over to the large cabinet where we store canned and boxed foods. She spun the lazy-Susan rack around to find what I had already found… The maid had removed ALL of the canned goods from the BACK SIDE of the display and moved others forward to make it look like it was full.

The younger one ran to the fridge and threw open the door. “THEY ATE. ALL. OF THE YOGURTS!”

I watched them in their frenzy… the same thoughts, in order, had went through my head upon discovery…

“Did you see the fruit basket?” Of course they hadn’t. It’s been 5 years, and I STILL cannot get them to eat an apple with their breakfast.

“Huh?” They looked over… “Wait-a-minute, didn’t you just go to the store yesterday? That was FULL!”

“Yep…” I glance down at the fruit basket, now with only 4 (out of 12) apples left.

The older one looked like she might cry. “Did they go in my ROOM?”

“No, I made sure the doors were shut. I was downstairs the whole time… and would have heard them open —” Still, they both dashed, almost tripping over one another to get to their rooms.

They returned to the living room a few moments later, a look of relief passed briefly across their faces.

“Still…” The older one began. Nose wrinkling again to show her confusion…

Then the younger one finished the thought foremost in ALL of our minds…

Why the sweet potato?”

“I don’t know. But, know this my dears… First, if I had thought for a second they needed it… I would have emptied every single cabinet and given it to them. BY STEALING? They got seriously short-changed.”

“Second. They took nothing of real monetary value, so I will not be filing a complaint.”

“Third. THEY WILL NEVER SET FOOT IN THIS HOUSE AGAIN.”

“And fourth… at least we know that, for once, those poor souls ate healthy, balanced, organic food.”

We all laughed. Wanted to cry. But laughed despite it all…

I mean, what else is there to do?

THE MAID STOLE A very large, organic, perfectly ripened, SWEET POTATO.

I truly hope she, and her family, enjoyed it.