The strongest four-letter-word that comes out of my mouth is CRAP.  When the kids hear me say it, they scatter.
There was a lot of scattering going on at my house last Tuesday.
Early afternoon, I got a call that there was a showing from five to six.  Kids get home at around 3:30.  What a fantastic opportunity for the kids to work hard!  Just in case they should be less-than-delighted, I decided to take them somewhere to eat during the showing.  Us moms have to anticipate all possible scenarios.
“But I wanted to do my homework right away!”
I’d never heard that in my life.
“What about piano practicing?”  
That either.
“All you kids really have to do are your rooms and the upstairs bathrooms.  I’ve already cleaned the basement, and I’ll take care of the main floor.  Remember to vacuum!”
Humming, I cleaned, scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, moved breakable items to their rightful “showing” positions.  Kids were too quiet, so I went upstairs to check. 


Things weren’t exactly going as I had envisioned.  Rooms still in disarray, the kids were all watching TV – the TV I had turned on for Caleb – and Caleb only – to watch.  I had to crack the whip.  And then again fifteen minutes later.  And so on, every fifteen minutes or so until we left, the whip cracking and the word CRAP slipping out more frequently as the clock tick-tocked steadily away.

Time had run completely out by the time I discovered that the boys had never vacuumed their room.
“What’s all this CRAP all over your floor?  Cracker crumbs!?  Pencil shavings!?  Pistachio shells!?”
“Mom, you’re overreacting!  That’s not going to make someone not want to buy our house!”
Last thing I did before I left was make sure the bathrooms all had one last spray of air freshener.  Nothing worse than a bathroom that smells like it’s just been used.
On our way to Cafe Rio, heart rate beginning to slow down to normal, I determined that I would re-claim soul ownership of Getting the House Ready for Showings.  It’s simply too stressful to have the kids help.  After a nice dinner, I carefully timed our arrival back home to be ten minutes after six – in case the lookers had run a little late.  
The kids dispersed.  I finally relaxed.  Five minutes later, I heard a knock at the door – it definitely didn’t come from a neighbor kid.  Heart racing once again, I went to answer it.

Double crap. 

The lookers and their realtor were standing on my front porch, smiling. The realtor, cell phone in hand, asked, “Did you just get home?” I wanted to ask him if his phone was broken, or if perhaps he had lost my realtor’s phone number.

Instead, wearing my most cheerful of smiles, I said, “Yep, but I’ll gather the troops and we’ll be out of here as soon as we can!”
Now, to round up the kids.  You know how we all have certain bathroom business that needs to be attended to at least once a day? And that eating at a place like Cafe Rio can precipitate the urgency of such business?  Three of my children were sitting on three different toilets, attending to their bathroom business.
Triple crap.  Literally.
I cajoled, begged, bribed them to hurry UP, already.  Some things are easier to rush than others.  Needless to say, three of my bathrooms definitely smelled like they had just been used.
I was washing my face in my bathroom that night when Kirsten stomped in.
“I have to use your toilet.  Someone clogged the toilet in the hall bathroom and it’s disgusting!”
I froze, water dripping down my arms.  “Was the lid up or down?”
“I’m not sure.  I think down.”
Quadruple crap.  To the nth degree.
I crawled into bed.  

I had definitely had enough crap for one day.