Monday, November 27, 2006

The Importance of News Anchors

The morning news proclaimed today Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of retailers' Black Friday. In my house, however, today is Black Monday because Robin Meade, of CNN Headline News, still isn't back from vacation.

Several months ago, Kevin and I got in the habit of watching this "CNN light" station because you get a smattering of news, weather, entertainment, financial crap, and so on, which is perfect for mornings when you don't have time for in-depth news coverage. It took a few weeks to pierce my pre-caffeine fog, but I realized eventually that Robin Meade was doing more to get Kevin out of bed in the mornings than I was. I suffered a brief flash of jealousy, until I realized his adoration of Robin is more akin to a school boy's crush on his teacher. He comments on what she wears and says she's "SO sweet"; he even gets a happy little grin on his face when she says "Morning, sunshine." I swear he thinks she's talking directly to him. He adores Robin, but there's not a drop of sexual attraction in his lurve of her. Actually, I teased him about that once, and he was horrified I'd even suggest he could harbor such crass feelings for Roooooooooobin.

To be honest, Robin makes my mornings pleasant, too. She's as cute as a bug, without the nauseating perkiness of a Kelly Ripa or Katie Couric (before she got all evening-news deadly serious). She's easily amused, which I like because I am, too, and her chortle is slightly goofy and very genuine. I found myself looking forward to her return this morning after being on vacation all last week, but alas, her substitute was still there today. Please come back, Robin! Come on. How much vacation does a news anchor need?


Kevin had to work Saturday night, so I coaxed Daniel into helping me clean up the downstairs a little. I vacuumed and dusted while he took out trash, loaded the dishwasher, and changed some light bulbs. I was vacuuming the entryway when I noticed how disgusting my cat-hair-covered stairs looked. My cats like to hang out on the top stairs where they can keep tabs on the action but stay out of reach of the dogs. Unfortunately, gray and black hair shows up quite clearly on beige carpet.

As you can see in the picture (taken last Christmas--you didn't think I had my Christmas decorations up already? please), the steps on the spiral staircase are too narrow to balance a vacuum cleaner on. So the only way to clean them is to pop them out of the step frames and toss them down to the entryway floor, starting at the top and working my way down (which I learned after trying the reverse direction the first time and finding myself stuck upstairs), spread them out on the floor, vacuum them with the brush attachment, and then put them back in from the bottom up. I have to warn everyone first to get whatever they need from upstairs. Daniel still has trouble with this concept, and a few months ago, realized after I'd started vacuuming that he needed to change clothes for work. He had to walk upstairs by balancing on the metal step frames because I'm a mean mom and refused to put the steps back and then take them out again.

The steps are now as clean as I can get them, considering that hideous beige carpet is probably 15 years old. Ugh. I want to rip up the carpet in the entryway and install a wood floor, but I'm stumped as to what to do with the steps. They're just plywood with carpet wrapped around them, so I can't simply remove the carpet. I suppose I could have new steps from nice wood cut to fit, but I imagine that would be expensive. I thought about painting the plywood, but I'm afraid it would look tacky, and besides, the plywood steps aren't quite thick enough. When you walk on them, the sharp metal edge of the step frames would cut into your feet, if you were wearing soft-soled shoes or going barefoot, as I'm wont to do. The carpet adds some thickness and pads the steps a little. Any ideas?

You know, every time I clean, I'm overwhelmed by how much I want to fix or change in this house. However, money, time, and energy: I need gobs of all three, and I have none of them. The only solution I can come up with is to stop cleaning so I don't notice, but that's not going to happen, so I guess I'm stuck with feeling overwhelmed. It would be easier to bear if Robin were back to brighten my mornings, though.