Critical mess. Am I applying this overused play on words to my house? Myself? The world at large?
Yes. Yes. And, I’m too busy at the moment to notice the world at large.
My house is always kind of a wreck. I hate that it is, but mess seems to win no matter how much time I spend cleaning up. One memorable weekend not long ago I listened to fifteen episodes of This American Life over two days *just* spent cleaning the boys’ room. It was amazing when I finished. Now it looks worse than ever.
Every room here looks like someone turned it upside down and shook it. In fact, one of my favorite inventions that I never got around to creating — though I DO have the websites where I could order the materials to make it all bookmarked, so maybe I will — is a little snowglobe living room. The couch and bookshelf (tiny doll furniture) would be secure at the bottom and when you turned it upside down and gave it a shake, tiny newspapers, socks, shoes, gum wrappers, pencils, stuffed animals, teeny cut up pieces of yarn, abandoned homework, books, backpacks, belts, hats, hair clips, sunflower and pistachio shells, pillows, dvd cases, video tapes, remote controls, loose CDs, junk mail, broken crayons, and legos would gently float down like so much snow, covering the living room.
There would be a whole series, of course. I would release a new room each year. A bathroom with minuscule bars of soap and itty bitty Q-tips. Empty toilet paper rolls and bottles of shampoo that slowly leaked onto the floor. Wouldn’t it be kind of therapeutic to shake up a room and watch all the stuff suspended in water? Maybe I could glue a tiny version of myself to the bottom. I’d be standing with my feet set wide apart, my hair in flames.
Anyway. The mess. It’s bad. It’s all the result of doing too much at once. Instead of taking the time to put the clean laundry away (because something else must be done right at that moment) I’ll leave a stack of it on a dresser or near a dresser or on the dryer for "later." For when I have time to put it up. And then I don’t make the time and I add to the pile or make a new one next to it and then when the kids ask for socks I direct them to the pile, which they paw through and knock over and then I don’t know what’s clean and what’s not and it starts spreading like some kind of creepy slime even though it’s just clean, folded laundry.
The same thing happens with papers. And books. And anything else that is stackable. Right now on the floor near the bed I can see the final Harry Potter book under a stack that is made up of a pair of my pajama bottoms, four of my tee shirts, one of Sophie’s drawings that I want to keep, a playmobile unicorn, a pair of tights, and a laptop bag. On the table near the bed is an improbable tower of mail, kids’ clothes, computer and iPod cords, an empty prescription bottle, a box of checks, a book, something flat in bubble wrap, a little ziplock bag of girls’ earrings, Lex’s PRESCHOOL graduation hat (he is in 5th grade — it hasn’t been there that long; he just recently found it on the amazingly neat shelf in his closet and it ended up here), and a phone charger.
It’s all stuff I’ve stuck there because I was feeling too busy to put it up properly. The thing is, I HATE living this way. I do make an effort, but I may as well be using a square of toilet paper for an umbrella during a downpour.
I realize that this is all of my own making. I REALLY should have brought my kids up to be used to helping out around here. In my defense, I wasn’t very good at helping them form healthy habits as I always had a baby on my hip or at my breast and mostly let them do what made them happy so I could rest and have a break now and then.
Which, um, came back to actually bite my ass clean off.
So now we’ve reached critical mess. Walking in the front door raises my blood pressure by several thousand points. No one can find any clean socks. Everyone is tired of hearing me gripe. I have visions of my own starkly clean and minimalist apartment where NO ONE is allowed to visit me. Ever. I’ll just video conference forever and ever, amen.
The weekend is coming. Saturday I am going to start the Master Cleanse (which I’m hoping will help with my autoimmune disease because I’m tired of taking four pills three times a day and still being sick) and between trips to the loo I will be making trips to the garbage and the goodwill drop off. I’m hoping to clear things out enough that I can maybe hire someone to come and help me keep on top of things. Because not only do I not blog, I don’t do other vital things like pay bills on time, pluck my eyebrows, read blogs and books and magazines, knit, cook, watch movies and chill out now and then.
I can’t do it all. I will be miserable if I keep trying to. I want to walk in the door and feel glad to be here.