MY HOUSE IS NOT MESSY.........
IT'S AN ARTIST EXPRESSION.
I was going to write about house cleaning, but every bored housewife throughout the generations has written on that subject, so how mundane is that? The reality is is that I have four kids so my home is never going to be a showcase for Lifestyles of the Middle-Class and Average. I prefer to think of my home as in a constant transitional phase. One moment it can be spotless. The next, it resembles something like a leftover from a frat party - minus the alcohol containers. In my view, our mess is a creation in it's own making by my own built-in crew of unrefined, yet purposeful designers.
My being motivated to tackle this ever-evolving mess is sometimes like pushing a one ton boulder, up a hill, in a blinding snowstorm while vultures are pecking at what's left of my brain. Motivating the kids is even worse. I'm thinking that getting a daily root canal is a welcoming change than coercing my kids to clean anything. The twins are now 11, and their style of cleaning the dishes together resembles midgets wrestling each other while culinary props and discarded food flies to and fro between table and sink. The trash can is nothing more to them than an repulsive kitchen embellishment; therefore my kitchen begins to resemble graffiti art with our dinner leftovers used as the medium. What takes me 20 minutes to do, is now going into two schizophrenic hours with them.
Nadia's Moroccan/Grunge themed room has taken a look like that of a Jackson Pollock abstract painting. It's like that art toy we had as kids where the 4 x 6 paper rotates really, really fast while one squirts drops of paint onto it and your left with a picture of splattered paint lines. Yep, that's Nadia's room; except with clothes and a lot of other unrecognizable paraphernalia! Her room is a montage of old schoolwork, unfinished art projects, and a ever-growing stuff animal and pillow collection that's like climbing over Mt. Everest to get to her bed. The other day, I found that she actually does have carpet in her room and it's flecked with bead laden safety pins. In her brim-filled drawers lies the world's largest collection of candy wrappers I have seen since this side of ALL the Halloween candy last year. In fact, I AM recognizing candy that she got from last Halloween. When I confront her about where she got it all, she replies "I DON'T know". Last time I checked, I did NOT give birth to anyone in this family named "I don't know".
My personal favorite is observing the laundry slowly pile up like some sort of monumental sculpture that even Michelangelo would be envious of. I like to marvel in its fluid curves and refined droops, and wonder when the right flow of air circulation will finally knock that sucker right over so I'll have to eventually deal with it. Monday's are laundry day, and why I choose the first black day of the week to tackle laundry is beyond me. Maybe it's a substitute for flogging; domestic goddess style. But the punishment starts as soon as I see my babies ride off on that school bus at 7:45 every Monday morning. It is organized by darks first, colors then whites. It is followed by a harried flurry of folding with my three year old. She's a big helper in this department even if all she manages is a fold, fold, wad, wad of the laundry.
I'm not sure what my husband is attempting to create in the kitchen, but it involves leaving every single cabinet door completely open after searching for only one item. I wear bumps on my head these days like bad jewelry because I have smacked my head into the corner of those kitchen cabinets being wide-assed open, one too many times now. The kids seem to like this skill of his; they too are following in his footsteps. And I have to play a game of hide and seek after he empties the dishwasher. Somehow he thinks that sheet pans are colored coordinated with my mixing bowls. Or that my cutting knives belong in the spice cabinet. I've often wondered if 60 hours of mind-numbing training from Food Network would fix his issues in the kitchen.
And let's talk about the bird cage. These are my husbands love birds, so naturally he feeds, waters, and once in a blue moon, cleans the cage. I already watch over four children, cook, referee, entertain, occasionally be a teacher, clean up after the hamster and the cat, and breath sometimes; so I already have a lot on my plate. All he has to do is clean the freaking cage once a week! But he has positioned this thing right behind my computer chair now so I HAVE to notice the "garden" that is forming on the bottom of the cage where the dropped food is collecting. Or that cascading kaleidoscope of moths that have surprisingly hatched and are circling around my head while smacking the bloody things to their death all over my keyboard, which I am picking out as I type this! Not to mention the moths on the walls that I will have to hunt the ladder down for in order to scour their squashed grey matter which now resembles a Rorschach Inkblot Test!
"Kurt, will you please get rid of these disgusting birds if you're not going to clean the cage each week!" I beg.
"Why don't you put them on Craigslist if you don't like them," he answers. (They suddenly become mine?)
MY reply is, "Does this mean I can throw your clothes away since I don't really like washing them?" Of course, he totally ignores my response.
Now getting Nadia and Toni to clean their bathroom takes nothing short than an act of God to do. Especially after they've closely inspected the area. See, Nia has decide to use the bathroom mirror as sort of canvas for her toothpaste drawings of late. She is creative, but nothing we can hang in the Guggenheim Museum yet. Oh, and those clever little balls of wet toilet paper that she has meticulously placed on those itty bitty tiles on the floor are like scraping concrete when you finally realize that they are there. We think she's a Picasso in the making. Nadia thinks she's an out-of-control train wreck!
"Moooommmmmmm! What is this!" Nadia screeches from across the house. Even the People's Republic of China can hear the child scream.
"What!" I yell back
"WHAT is this?", she screams back
I walk to the bathroom to see what Nadia is in hysterics over this time. Upon arrival, Nadia points dramatically at the floor between the cabinet and the toilet. There sits a pile of.... what is that? After closer examination, and a few sniff tests, I realize that Nia must have gotten hold of some scented body lotion. She has mixed it with cinnamon (that explains why it disappeared so fast this week). Combined the two with what looks like red glitter (but the jury is still out on this one), and plopped a good three inch pile on the floor. It is now the consistency of soft glue and totally grossing Nadia and Toni out. Of course Julian is now over my shoulder and wildly animating how it's a big pile of poop and ribbing the girls on how they have to clean it up. This teasing complete infuriates Nadia to the point where she stomps off and absolutely refuses to have anything to do with cleaning the bathroom today. Toni follows suit, and Nia stands at the door in her ballet tu-tu, dancing in circles singing "glitter poop, glitter poop, glitter, glitter, glitter poop!" Julian smiles at me and walks away as if to signal his job is done.
Now Julian is a bit different. For a boy, he is surprisingly organized, keeps his room clean, and his drawers are a semi-neat array of properly folded clothes. This side of him actually showed after gawking over an old Elvis movie when he was 3 years old. Every since then, his room and his clothes must be presentable at all times. He even irons! I have NO idea what Elvis has to do with this, but it works for me. I frequently feel the need to use him as an example for the girls; but I've read that this is a child development no-no. He is also a budding artist and his own unique flair is beginning to show up in his everyday life. I am full of praises and glowing admiration for his discipline. He is almost successful in bridging his daily chores with his imaginative side; with the exception of dishwashing.
When you visit, do not expect everything in it's place, or glossy fingerprint-free walls. My kids apply their ever-increasing palate on just about anything that has a surface. They are not yet professional house cleaners either. Their training in this department will still take many years; and may not be completed until their 30 and have kids of their own. Though my home is a bit dusty, a little rough around the edges, and my antique shelf is in a constant disarray from tiny fingers of curiosity. In my opinion, it is not messy - it's just an artistic expression.