By E. R. Catalano of Zoe vs. the Universe
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Bay Area mother Loretta Turner, 37, was seen to be fuming following a playdate for her daughter at a neighbor’s home. From their arrival, she said, she’d felt ambushed.
“Her house was spotless!” Ms. Turner explained, visibly shaken.
In all their previous dealings, neighbor Tricia Keith, 35, had presented herself as a “regular” mom, always piping up with a “Me too” or even an “Ugh, I know what you mean,” when other moms bemoaned the messy state of their homes.
“That’s parenthood,” Ms. Keith was heard to say with a self-deprecating laugh, as if she was just like everyone else.
But she wasn’t just like everyone else. Ms. Keith cleaned her home.
Thursday afternoon, when Ms. Turner and her daughter had arrived at the Keiths’, Ms. Keith had opened the door wearing an apron, claiming she’d been baking. The evidence was behind her on the gleaming white coffee table, a plate of lemon squares for the children to share.
“And her sofa was white, too. Meaning not just its original color. It was still white.” Ms. Turner trailed off, her gaze fixed on nothing. “There are three [expletive removed] children in that home.”
The neighborhood moms who’d gathered around Ms. Turner exchanged horrified glances, some shaking their heads. One draped an oversize cardigan over the distraught woman’s shoulders and murmured soothing sounds as she continued.
“There was no clutter anywhere. Toys were put away. For God’s sake, you could practically eat off her dining room table! I’ve never felt so betrayed.”
Ms. Turner’s own dining room table, according to various witnesses, is awash with bills, flyers from her children’s school, and grease stains from countless pizza nights mixed with Play-Doh.
One neighbor, wishing to remain anonymous, stated, “Tricia has some nerve on her!”
Meanwhile Ms. Keith’s close friend, Barbara Hotchkiss, doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. She said that she herself wears an apron when she cooks. “It keeps my outfit clean,” she declared with an innocence she couldn’t possibly feel.
The Keith home’s inexcusable cleanliness wasn’t just limited to the main living areas. During the playdate, Ms. Turner had taken several opportunities to investigate, suspecting, also hoping, that Ms. Keith had just hidden the mess in a side room or closet, which is what relatable moms do. Not finding anything but more items in their proper places and a disturbing lack of dust, she continued upstairs, checking all the bathrooms and the bedrooms.
“All three of her children’s beds were made. That’s just uncalled for,” she said.
Further reconnaissance revealed an attic lined with see-through containers filled with decorations organized by holiday. According to several witnesses, Ms. Keith had participated in group eye-rolling sessions directed at the moms who sent their Christmas cards on time. These eye rolls now appear to have been disingenuous.
“The Christmas decorations were on top so they’d be easy to access when it came time. It was disgusting,” Ms. Turner said as her friends led her inside her filthy home for some tea, if they could find any in her overstuffed kitchen cabinets.
When Ms. Keith was reached for comment she said, “My attic? So that’s where she disappeared to.” Then a bird slammed into the window behind her, not realizing it was glass.
Ms. Keith bent to get a garbage bag, dustpan, and an industrial-sized bottle of Windex. “Third time this week,” she said.
About the Author
E. R. Catalano is a writer and mother of one evil mastermind living in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a humor blog at www.zoevstheuniverse.com. She is a contributor to The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets and the forthcoming Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever, and her humorous essays have appeared on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Club Mid, BLUNTmoms, and Mamapedia. You can follow her on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse and on Facebook.