For some reason I was born with this weird condition--some would call it a disease--that requires me to have everything perfectly neat. Dirty dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor--it all leaves me with these shivers of anxiety. Must . . . put . . . socks . . . in . . . hamper . . .
So with all of our tarp-covered possessions being lumped in the middle of the living room and kids sleeping on floors and sheet rock dust giving everything a nice powdery finish I'm just a ball of nerves. Or at least I was.
Sad to say I've felt my apathy growing until I just don't care anymore. Gasp. Have you heard about how a mind in pain--maybe through grief or loss--goes into this defensive numbing? Well that must be what I'm experiencing because I've found myself letting all sorts of things go. See for yourself.
1. Dirty Windows. There's a point when your windows are so dirty they don't function properly--they technically cease to be windows--and I think we've reached it. Enough grime on the glass and you can't even see out of them, they might as well be made of whole-wheat toast.
I found this long suspicious-looking smudge across the glass on the living room window and when I questioned the kids I was informed someone had licked the glass. Licked. With their tongue. Apparently I'm raising a pack of feral children. Of course what's worse? Those who LICK the window or those who, after noticing the grossness thereof, don't bother to do anything about it? My conscience tells me I'm no better than they.
2. Disorderly Closets. All of us are sharing one closet (yes ONE closet) because it's the only closet in the house. Things are packed in there so tightly we don't even need hangers, we just jam another piece of clothing in between the others and it all holds just fine with the tension. Oh the tension.
I've kind of stopped caring where I put the clean stuff--if there's any kind of an opening that's where it gets shoved, who cares whose "area" it is, the boundaries are all ambiguous anyway. Of course this means that when you go to look for something to wear it could pretty much be anywhere. I like to think of it as keeping the mystery alive in my marriage. We're missing all sorts of things and I'm pretty sure when this is all over and we have our own closets it's going to be like Christmas.
"Hey! I'd forgot I had these pants!"
"Mom--look at this, I found my t-shirt!"
Yes kids, Santa has come early this year.
3. Mice. This is embarrassing but it appears that amid the chaos we've got mice. Probably technically shrews or voles as that's what we have here in Anchorage but twice now this fall we've been surprised by a guest scurrying into a corner. I'm so not a rodent person.
I can only guess that it's partly because the weather is getting colder and partly because the garage door is open all day long like a little red carpet rolled out in invitation to the vermin and the little fiends are moving indoors for the winter. It probably doesn't help that we've been too busy to properly deal with them but mark my words, Speedy Gonzalez, you have been warned and your days are numbered.
4. Flies. This is even more embarrassing but who else am I going to bare my soul to? It seems we've got more than our fair share of flies. The workmen coming and going leave the doors open and being that we didn't even have windows for a while there the pests were free to come and go like some cheap motel.
They are the most disgusting thing and I'm trying to get rid of them constantly but until I can get Captain Contractor to shut the door behind himself I'm afraid my efforts are useless. I mentioned the flies to him---you know, kind of casual-like.
"Boy I can't seem to get rid of these flies" I said nonchalantly.
"Yea," he said cheerfully "I noticed there seem to be a lot of them. Wonder why?"
Yea. I wonder.
The absolute low point in the whole remodeling process was a couple weeks ago when all the workmen had disappeared for the afternoon leaving us without a front door (we were boarded up) without water, without heat and without half of the house having electricity. I had kids squawking about having to go to the bathroom but as there was no way to flush I was holding them back until we could get water restored.
I finally gave up and told them to use my bathroom upstairs but not to flush. They actually obeyed me (that in itself was a tiny miracle) but after water was restored I'd forgotten about the whole thing until several hours later when I went to collapse in exhaustion in the bedroom. I went into the bathroom and a big fat fly flew out of the mess the kids had left me in the bowl and flew up around my face.
That was it. I broke down right there and cried. But don't worry, I pulled it together and after a while I blew my nose, sang a few verses of "The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow" and felt much better. I figured it couldn't really get any worse at that point.
5. Abandoned Yard Work. On a less grotesque avenue . . . with all the junk heaped in the front yard and on the side of the house it's been the excuse for adopting a "No mowing" policy. Forget meticulously mowing and trimming every Tuesday so that the clippings can be picked up on Wednesday morning by the trash collectors we've let yard work go too. When we start to lose things in the grass then we know that maybe it's time to start thinking about pulling out the mower (now that we can actually use the garage door and thus remove the mower) but we've learned we can let things go until a good month of growth has gone by and we start to lose things in the vegetation. You know, things like shoes . . . shovels . . . bikes . . . children.
"Anyone seen Lillian lately?"
"Last time I saw her she was heading out to play in the yard."
6. Dirty Laundry. Normally I'm a fanatic for not leaving your dirty clothes on the floor--flogging is too good for the offenders on a normal day--but lately? Hey, it's all good, right?
It's like I can hear myself with this Jamaican accent saying "No worries mon!" and walking right on by those dirty socks in the middle of the floor.
I'm not sure if the house situation has spawned more than our fair share dirty clothes but I can't seem to get a handle on the laundry. Not ever. There is always a pile on the laundry room floor and even worse I'm starting to forget when I actually do a load.
Last week I'd thrown a load into the washer then got busy painting the house and working on landscaping in the front yard and it wasn't until a day and a half later that I came back to find the wet stuff ripening in the washer.
All I can say is thank goodness for scented dryer sheets.
7. Cooking. We've rather reverted to those paleolithic hunter-gatherer tendencies, deteriorating into instinctual behaviors in an effort to survive. Normally I keep the cookie jar stocked with tasty fresh cookies but now? You're lucky to find some stale saltines. So much for a nice sit-down meal, I kind of let everyone forage for his or herself and in return they forget to put the remnants of whatever sustenance they've scrounged away. Maybe that could explain some of the flies . . .
I had Grace harvest all of the rhubarb out of the garden last weekend and I haven't had any place to put it so it's set, right there in a pile on the counter waiting for me to do something--anything--I've even tried to palm it off on neighbors but they're not having any.
If we don't get this remodel over soon I'm afraid the natives are going to consider cannibalism as an option. The goldfish are starting to look mighty tasty . . .
8. Flooring. Mopping? Nope. Vacuuming? Not likely. There was a time in my life when I vacuumed two and three times a day (no lie, but don't worry I've had therapy and am feeling much better thank you for asking). You see our contractor came in and put down all this sticky backed plastic on the floor so workmen wouldn't tramp dirt all over the place and while I can see the benefit of it you can't vacuum the stuff because the vacuum suction pulls it off the floor and up into the vacuum.
Not a good thing--sounds like you caught a cat in the tube when that happens.
Besides, we're replacing all the carpet anyway so I'm kind of doing that "que sera sera" thing and shrugging in my apathy. I even let the kids wear their shoes in the house--I never thought my life would come to that.
9. Discipline. The kids know I'm feeling weak (I think it's the shoe-wearing policy that tipped them off) and they're exploiting it horribly. I have a hard time telling Lillian to collect her hangers for the laundry when there's no place to put them once she's done so. Why have the kids vacuum their rooms when there aren't any rooms to vacuum? We don't even have beds for them to make when they're sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
So chores and routine have left us and we can't even get the kids to go to bed on time when they're all stuck sleeping in the one room on the floor. Shoot I can't even get three workmen to show up on time to hang sheet rock so why on this green earth would I think I could effectively discipline four children in doing their chores?
No seriously, this was the week to get our dry wall in place and they were supposed to come on Monday. No show. Apparently there was a bigger job that took precedence to our misery so we were rescheduled for Tuesday. No show again. Rumors circulated that a mysterious hospital visit was supposedly the culprit then we got a call that evening that they'd be there first thing at 8am on Wednesday. Eight o'clock, eight thirty, nine, it was about ten when they finally moseyed on over only to look at things but they quickly left, saying they needed to make a trip for more supplies.
An hour later they returned to work for . . . oh I don't know forty-five minutes? As best I could tell those forty-five minutes consisted of hauling up the 20 pieces of sheet rock from the garage--plus some equipment. Oh and they plugged the equipment in--can't forget that.
Anyway, then they disappeared again as if they'd been vaporized. I sat around, waiting to see if they'd show because I had errands to run and didn't want them to come back and find the house locked up. I waited for two hours until I was so irritated I was worried that if they did show up I'd use language that would shock the children. I left with a curse on them, their children and their dogs and when I finally got home at 3:30 no one had been here the whole time.
They eventually came back at 4-ish with the remnants of Taco Bell in their hands (apparently there was SOME LINE at the drive in) and no apologies. If I can't get these guys to get their work done--considering what we're paying them to accomplish said work--then how on earth could I get my kids to do their chores? My authority is completely gone. Vanished like our workmen.
10. Blogging . . . . not much else I can say here.
Whew! Finally we got us a winner from last weekend's giveaway. Linda from Salem, Oregon has won herself a choice of t-shirts from Trendy Tadpole and a book and plush set from Cuddly Books. Congratulations!
Sponsored by Dimples and Dandelions--for the Serena and Lily Bedding Collection for Children.
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