A Child Was Here

Is that a Jawa? Sticker? On the bathroom wall? With a whale, a pony, an alligator and a travel-size carry case? And all the toliet paper is gone? Yes.

It is pretty clear, at any given moment, that this is the house of children.  Every day, though, I come across something that makes me say “Evidence!” in a British accent to myself.  Warning—to those of you compulsive cleaners, this may be a trigger.  If so, come on over and pick something up.  No one will stop you.

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Someone was here, and it wasn’t me.
“I’ll just throw my sweatshirt wherever. Never mind what, or who, it lands on.”
“I’m looking for this one book.”
Everyone needs a fort
SOME things tend to order in this house.
“Well, did you look in the bathroom?”
“Mom, don’t touch my collection.”
Dinosaur. Royalty.
Taking our cues from Ramona
And more forts.  I think we might even be hosting a squatter.

Emboldened, Part II: “Clean Up That Shit”

Recent small victories and the insightful questions of my fellow moms-in-arms has got me thinking.  About travel, about summer, about technology, about time, about the future.  My thoughts on Travel came easiest.

What’s next?  This house.  There’s a list around here somewhere called “The 30 Week List”.  It is a list of stuff we wanted to finish before I was 30-weeks pregnant.  With our first child.  Who turned seven last month.

Too many friends moved away this last year.  I watched and helped so many of them pack up and I saw some of the things they did to make their home “saleable”.  Like fixing the creaky floors and the drooping door frames.  Fresh paint and working receptacles.  I looked around my own home and wondered why we don’t do those things and not move? We could live with functioning drawer pulls!  We could use the hairdryer on the living room window plastic without needing an extension cord to the bathroom!  So I vowed that 2015 would be the year to do all those things that have fallen into disrepair, and all those things we never got to on the 30-week list.  The next time the winter Solstice Spectacular rolls around I don’t have to be disappointed that somehow, the bathroom still has mold and flaking paint.

I just sent out inquiries for quotes on fixing things.  Other projects:  Tearing the linoleum from ’54 off the basement stairs and rehabbing the wood underneath, finding/replacing the missing/mismatched drawer pulls in the kitchen, replacing the sliding screen door the kids walked through, hire, what, the fifth electrician to finally restore power to the back wall of the dining room….

Week One:  Thank God For Google Image Searches.  I found the unfindable….four matching pewter tone drawer pulls for the kitchen, plus two extra.  I have been looking for these for nine years, hoping they would magically reappear in that unstocked bin. La!  I should get them in four to six weeks, because I don’t even know who pays $35 for three-day shipping.  I can continue to pry the drawers open from the bottom with my toes, thank you very much.

Week Three:  Drawer-pulls installed.  Several contractors contacted and I am overwhelmingly disappointed in lack of call-backs, general respect, and reasonable time-frames or estimates. So.. I scraped, sanded and repainted the bathroom and the basement by myself.  Started pulling up the linoleum on the basement stairs but had to stop for the buzzing in my hands.  All in all, a big week.


Week Five:  Summer with two children home at all times looms. Plans for The Refinishing are in my calendar but even I know that is just a pipe dream.  Then I heard about The Minimalists and their one-month challenge (Thanks, Kaisa!):  Oho!  I could revive The Purge!  I always feel like we’re drowning in stuff. So, the challenge is to get rid of as many things as the day number, i.e. get rid on one thing on the first, two on the second, three on the third…..Their rules are that it has to be gone by midnight.  I’m a bit more relaxed about that.  If it is out of the house in a bag for drop off, either at Goodwill or to a friend or Habitat for Humanities ReHome store or wherever, that’s good enough for me.  You can make it a competition and see how long you can go.

I’m good through Day Four right now.  Gone are some running shoes culled from my pack, some rude kitchen magnets I’ll never be able to use again anyway now that the kids can read, never-worn winter scarves and a size 3 winter jacket.  It is easy so far.

The thing I’m stuck on right now is the National Geographic magazines.  I have a few from the 1980s, and then almost a complete collection from 1996 on. (Yes, that is almost 300 issues, I know.) They need to go and I’m almost ready.  I have never once referred to them in the time I’ve been collecting them.  I certainly didn’t read the vast majority of the ones since my kids were born.  But here’s the thing.  I just read “Station Eleven” (Emily St. John Mandel) a dystopia set after the collapse of humanity, brought on by a virulent strain of swine flu. My thought is this, “What will I read after The Collapse?!?”  I’ll have almost thirty years of Nat Geo!  Me, getting the smarts, holed up in my basement!!”

 Okay.  But here is what Reason has to say:  “1. If they only way you’re going to read your National Geographic back log is when humanity fails, uh, get rid of them.  Also, 2. My kids are germ-magnets.  They lick things and wipes their noses on their hands.  We’ll never survive.  In fact, we’ll probably be Patient Zero.”

Sigh.  Fine.  Time to haul them to Half-Price Books for $0.37 total.

Yes!  That IS the holographic 1988 issue!
Yes! That IS the holographic 1988 issue!
There’s only, um, 300 I think