I joined Hubs in California for a few days at the end of his trip hoping we’d find time to play…

The first day though he was still finishing up his project so I decided to spend it with my film-maker son, Ian.

Ian had just moved back to Sherman Oaks with Jenn; closer to his work.

Great, the move had happened a couple of days before my arrival and I thought,

A day with Ina…a museum or two, a walk, lunch….

But he had other plans that involved a return to his old flat in Garden Grove  to pick up some bits and pieces and to get it ready for the landlady to ‘walk through.’

Oh oh, I should have known better…

I think Denis did, he rode in the car next to me with an ‘are you ready for this?’ look on his upturned face.


I chatted to Jenn about her job at the animal shelter (from whence Denis came) while Ian drove and about an hour and a few minutes later we’d dropped her off and were at the empty apartment, which I’d never been to before.

“Here’s all the cleaning stuff,” Ian said as he opened the hall closet to reveal bottles of ammonia, blocks of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (what?), soft scrub, windex, cloths, towels and rubber gloves.

It was then that it dawned on me the apartment needed cleaning…gulp!

And he and Jenn would like most of their deposit back…double gulp!!

“I think Jenn got the better deal today!”  I remarked to Ian, “despite cleaning dog runs and cages!”

He gave me the move-out checklist and I stopped at, ‘there are latches on the window casements for quick removal and easy cleaning’…

‘In a pig’s eye,‘ I thought.

We cleaned for five hours while Denis napped patiently, drank water noisily, ate treats because he was being such a good boy!

Ian filled holes in the walls, sanded and smoothed them until the apartment was a haze of fine white dust that made us all sneeze.

I tackled the kitchen and bathrooms, skirting boards, floors, carpets  and the patio sweeping all the dust onto the downstairs lot…oops.

We did stop for a brief lunch to take a break from the ammonia fumes, fine white dust and the heat from  the self-cleaning oven…thank God for self-cleaning ovens by the way!!

Refreshed we corralled the aforementioned bits and pieces at the door.

I emptied plant pots at the bottom of the stairs, Ian rinsed them and my attention was caught by these beautiful succulents, flourishing in the dampness of a rare wet month in California.


“Hey, look at the wallpaper on my phone,” Ian said when I showed him my photo and there it was, the exact same picture!  We may live thousands of miles apart but our souls are still connected.

By the time the landlady came to check our progress we’d done some of what was on the checklist but by no means all and the place looked brilliant…to my eyes!

She came in, took a gander and declared,

“OK!  Looks good Ian!”

He smiled with relief and said something about cleaning the windows and finishing up the floors but as soon as she left I shook my head,

“That’s it! She’s happy.  We’re not doing another thing!”

“OK!” he agreed with a smile.

We started carting stuff downstairs and loading the car and that’s when Denis saw a loop-hole and made a dash for it.

He flung himself down the stairs, flew past a surprised Ian and was off into the complex without a backward glance.

He’d been such a good boy cooped up all day and it was time to stretch his legs!

We chased him, we headed him off, we called and we commanded but he must have forgotten his name!

He was having too much fun letting off steam.  Ian finally captured him about ten minutes later and I leashed him and hooked him to the patio door handle, inside, where he stood in the empty living room  suitably mortified.

We finished filling up the car and were left with a vacuum cleaner and a rather large dolly Ian had borrowed from work staring mutely at us from the pavement.

We scratched our heads and decided to try another tack.

Out came everything and we reminisced about loading set pieces into a ridiculously small moving van at the end of striking a Summer Musical.

The dolly still would not fit in the trunk so we had no choice but to put it in the back seat where it took up precious leg room for my return journey.


“That’s Ok,” I said, “I’ll just sit in my favorite yoga pose for an hour or so…”

We picked Jenn up and she and Denis cuddled in the front seat, Ian drove and I dreamt about running around the apartment complex to ease my cramping hips.

We finally arrived home and I unfolded myself from the car without a backward glance.

“I couldn’t have done it without you Mum!” he said at breakfast later in the week.

Perfect timing!

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2019-03-12 15:54:38 Reply

You have always tried to make our caldrons (and my) life clean, happy and full of love and laughs. Thank you!

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