I should be folding laundry. I should be folding laundry so that I have somewhere to put the clothes that are currently spinning away in the dryer, so that I can put the clothes that are wet and clean in the dryer, so that I can get one more pile of dirty clothes off of my floor into the washer when that is all done. All of my hampers are full of clean clothes. I have 5 hampers. They each hold about 2 loads apiece. That is 10 loads of clean clothes that need to be folded. I have no idea what my family is wearing today because it seems that all of our clothes are in laundry limbo. After I do that, I should clean the bathroom. There are 3 different shades of kid's toothpaste on the counter in there and the bath toys are escaping from the tub and spreading out into the hall. When that is done, I should empty the dishwasher so that I can empty the sink and run it again so that we will have dishes to cook and eat dinner on later tonight. Then I should pick up all of the toys and put them in their proper place, weeding out the broken ones, the ones missing pieces, and the annoying ones that I want to get rid of and box them up to take to go to Goodwill. And I should pick up all of the random trash that my kids have strewn all over the place -- the Poptart wrappers, the Capri-Sun pouches, and the 763 pieces of paper that they have made a mark on and throw it all away. Then I should empty the trash. After all of that is done, I should dust, sweep, vacuum, and mop. If I did all of that, I might be able to find the oldest girl's glasses which she swears that she put on the counter on Friday afternoon where they promptly disappeared and haven't been seen since. Or maybe I'll find youngest girl's backpack. But I look at all of those things that I SHOULD be doing and I think "I should go check Facebook and write a blog" so here I am. My house is a mess. I think if I concentrate hard enough on the computer screen I can ignore it. So far so good.
I don't like to clean. I LOVE for things to BE clean, but it is the actual act of getting them that way that drives me to get another cup of coffee and type away at my keyboard while I have one of my 2 kid-free mornings a week. The task ahead of me is so daunting at this point that I don't know where to start. I need to clean out stuff and get rid of about 1/3 of what is cluttering up my house and ultimately my life, but there is this nagging feeling that I might need it someday or that one of the kids could use it or there is sentimental value attached to it.
I visited a friend's house yesterday to drop something off and I walked into the living room and immediately had "house envy." Their walls were all painted in deep, rich colors, there wasn't a pile of dirty clothes in the corner, there weren't 3 hampers by their couch waiting to be folded, and there weren't any toys anywhere. My house looks like a crack tenement in comparison. Then I remembered -- they don't have kids. There are no 3 foot tall graffiti artists living in their house. No one climbs their door frames, or the narrow walls in their hallways with dirty hands and feet. No one starts food fights at their dinner table that leaves them finding dried rice in the corners for weeks after. No one carries red or purple Kool-Aid into their living room and drips sugary dye laden drops all the way from the kitchen (and what is up with that? What genius at the Kool-Aid company decided that making a drink mix for kids that stains everything it touches permanently was a good idea? Did they hire him away from the Sharpie people??) No one in their house can go through an entire reem of paper in 12 minutes flat by writing the letter "L" on each sheet, therefore rendering it useless for anything else. No one makes forts out of their couch cushions or plays "don't touch the floor" by walking all over their furniture. No one in their house licks the TV, there is no peanut butter on their ceiling, and their couch has never been "base" in a game of indoor tag.
Yep. I looked around that pristine room that looked like it was taken right out of a "Good Housekeeping" magazine and I thought to myself, my kids could turn this place into a dump in about 5 minutes. They had a glass topped coffee table -- I wondered which one of my kids would be most likely to break it. On top of that was this large metal bowl with these decorative balls in it. One look at that and I saw projectiles capable of breaking just about anything from TV screens to noses. And the bowl? Yeah, I'd turn my head for 20 seconds and that sucker would be in the bathroom, filled with water and on its way back out to their suede couch. They had a shag-like rug spread under the coffee table that although pretty in that setting caused me to have visions over how much I'd have to cut away if my kids ever went near it with a lollipop. Their couch looked like it had just come off the showroom floor -- no names, smiley faces, or misshapen hearts had been scratched into it. The whole room was perfect.
But not for me. Sure, when I walked in I was a little jealous -- and I still say that the rich burgundy and coffee colored paint on the walls could hide a multitude of sins, but the rest of it? I need functionality in my home fashion. (I can't believe that I typed "home fashion" with a straight face) Just about everything I own was bought used off of Craigslist, was given to me, or came flat in a box for me to assemble from somewhere like from Target. This is my "disposable furniture." Someday, after I have convinced my kids that couches are not cleverly disguised trampolines, I will purchase REAL furniture. The kind that has to be delivered from a furniture store. The kind where "no stains, rips, or tears" is a given because it is NEW. Right now, whenever I need to purchase something I have to think like a pre-schooler: "Can I jump on it? Can I jump from it? Can I fall off of it? Can I take it apart? Does it have sharp corners? Will it show dirt? Is it easy to clean? Will it make a good fort? Can I make a tent or a train from it? Could I use it as a weapon?" But someday, I will be able to purchase things like an adult: "Is it pretty? Do I like it? Does it match the other stuff I have? Is it comfortable?"
So after ignoring the laundry, the dishes, the dust, and the dirt and writing this blog instead, I have discovered the problem with me cleaning. I am thinking like a pre-schooler. I can hear my 3 year old in my head saying "I don't wanna clean up!" and today, I concur. I don't wanna clean up either. And you can't make me.