Sunday, February 05, 2006

Keeping an Even Keel

I waited. I waited until after Thanksgiving. I waited until after xmas. I kept myself in Deep Denial and Supreme Avoidance. I would find Other Things to do. And then, it hit Critical Mass: I knew then that it was time to clean the kids’ room. I could no longer endure the spinning of my brain at the sight of toysclotheslightsabersBarbieshorses scattered hither and yon (not that there’s much ‘hither and yon’ in any room of this rental). My Inner Bohemian Artist retreated to my liver until the feeling would pass and then I’d just . . . close . . . the . . . door. There, safe for another week. But every night I entered to read Harry Potter and tuck in I’d need a map to navigate to each child’s bed. I soon took to hollering an all-inclusive Nighty-night from the door and then shut it beating a hasty retreat to the safety of my knitting chair. It was time to face facts and deal with the situation. And, really, I was the only woman for the job. So I told my Inner Bohemian Artist go on vacation somewhere for a few days, because it wasn’t going to be pretty around here. This time, I was going to include the children on this Clean-fest, this Trash-o-rama, this Reordering of the Universe. It was time they learned about cleaning up their own rooms . . . Dammit.

We had to start in shifts. The boys were content to play Super Smash Brothers while Bennie and I went through every piece of Barbie paraphernalia we could find. We dressed the mismatched and obscenely denuded Barbies (honestly, some girls are just brutal). We matched up all the outfits. We hung the special evening dresses in the rotating closet (requires two C batteries), matched up all the shoes, gathered all the purses and figured out which Barbies would be best for play dates and which were to remain untouched by unruly, insensitive hands (this narrowed the 30- 40 Barbie choices down to about 6 ~ the others were packed away in a closed box, up high in the closet. My sanity might be packed up there as well at this point). All four of the Barbie horses were also packed in a box to remain untouched until we move, as well as the Pet Center and the Kitchen. This took up most of our cleaning time.

Because my knowledge of Star Wars paraphernalia is limited I had to rely on Tom and Ian’s expertise in the field. They were the second shift of the clean-up. There was much grumbling from Tom the Elder about Ian the Elusive’s stamina regarding clean-up. Ian would go down to the basement to deliver a large Star Wars ship as instructed by Tom only to be gone for an inordinately long time before retrieving the next reconstructed ship. My voice, on several occasions, had to act as the posse to round him up and set him back on task. Otherwise, Tom would have been happy to pummel him into quivering pulp with a reconstructed light saber. We decided the best course of action at this point (now that the Barbies were safely tucked away) would be to get everything out from under the beds into a large pile in the middle of the floor.

It is an anomaly, really, that so much stuff could fit under a bed. If any of my children needed to . . . I don’t know . . . hide a body, they probably could have easily stowed it under the bed. I doubt we would have noticed. We found books-socks-toyguns-shoes-Yugiocards-Pokemoncards-artprojects-moreofIan’sunderwearinprogress-unidentifiablesubstances. Thankfully, no bodies (someone would have a lot of explaining to do). We sat and sorted through everything, giving it a heave-ho or a home. For the longest time (since before Thanksgiving, if you recall) there had been a suspension on vacuuming this particular room due to Star Wars weaponry left on the carpet from re-enacting The Clone Wars or the exciting battle between Anakin and Obiwan on Mustofar (Ian seems to be drawn to these volcanic settings). I warned them that the Vacuuming Moratorium was being lifted and that they’d better do a thorough sweep of the area. I would take no prisoners.

It took 5 hours. I was committed, thorough and unshowered, but the work got done. After vacuuming, even under the beds, the kids’ room looked like a room again ~ a Temple dedicated to Children's Rest and Relaxation. I almost wanted to sleep in it. I had tossed all kinds of paper products without even inspecting them; I didn’t care if it was precious art work or Social Studies notes or Valentine’s cards from 2 years ago ~ it all went. Three bags full (wish it was wool). My children rose to the challenge (except maybe Ian) and stuck with it until we were done. (Well, actually, I wasn’t going to make lunch until the room was cleaned. Why use money for bribery when food can be just as effective?) After all that clearing out, the boys went on sleepovers . . . It’s another way to keep the room cleaner longer. Let them sleep somewhere else.

I’m happy to report that the brain-spinning has ceased and I’m inclined to keep the door open.

Now, my head is clear to discuss fibery things. My Inner Bohemian Artist sent a post card: she’ll return Monday after the dust has settled.

As mentioned a few posts ago, I was giving some Aran knitting a whirl based on a book my grandmother gave me. I’d been working this swatch of the Filey, Mr. G. Overy pattern according to the written instructions for the requisite 20 rows only to find it looked nothing like the black-and-white picture in the book. As I was knitting, I’d had a nagging suspicion something wasn’t right. I checked the chart to see where things had gone awry and the glaringly obvious occurred ~ the written instructions were in no discernable way correct. The chart resembled an old IBM punch-card with little eensy-weensy rectangles (okay, I’ve just dated myself) and would make my eyes cross each time I went to read the next row. After struggling with blurred vision and missed rows, I tossed in the needles and set to re-writing the directions according to the chart. I haven’t started on knitting it just yet. My brain needs a few days’ rest before knitting up the new instructions; but I’m fairly certain it’ll match the photo when I get going on it. Instead, I returned to lace knitting the moebius. It’s about 10” wide ~ I’ve got another 5” inches to go before it’s done. I do wish I could post pictures of everything. There’s no greater loss to a blogger than a digital camera. Bear with me. I'll just have to rely on what's left of my wit until something wonderful occurs.

Thought for the Day: Don’t eat yellow snow. Give it an especially wide berth in summer, as that occurrence is highly unnatural and therefore suspect.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Get your licks in while the children can still be threatened. I can't even go into Evan's room without suffering from an extended fit of sneezing, and you do NOT want to know what his carpet resembles.

I certainly enjoyed the commentary. Man that's a lot of Barbie drek!

Knit one, hurl three.