The mess, the whole mess, and nothing but the mess

I am many things, but naturally neat and tidy I am not. My habitat quickly matches the chaos of my constantly addled mind. Papers, pens, shoes, discarded children’s socks, toys, and my sunglasses seem to creep like ivy and move around of their own volition until my house looks like a windstorm swept through it. Keeping the main thoroughfares free of tripping hazards, and the actual cooking surfaces free of fire hazards, is generally enough of a steep uphill battle for me. With selective tunnel vision, the disorder of my house almost doesn’t bother me. Almost.

Like the burst of motivation from a New Year’s resolution fad dieter, I occasionally become tyrannically devoted to cleaning. I whip the house into shape, and if your beloved objects end up in the bin or donated, well it’s your fault for not taking better care of them in the first place. Then, like the fad dieter, I return to my bad habits and my mess grows ever fatter. Sometimes, like the poor resolutioner might do at the gym, I overdo it in my zeal for cleanliness and order. Instead of sore muscles keeping me from exercising again, I develop a relentless apathy towards the growing mess.

About six weeks ago Luke had a birthday party at home. Ahead of the party I cleaned the house so well that my husband accused me of hiring a cleaning service on the sly. It was a terrible mistake though, because I have not lifted a finger since.* If you’re wondering what a house looks like after six weeks without intervention, the answer is NOT GOOD.

Our walking paths are not clear of tripping hazards. In fact, this gigantic bear has been lying in the center of the living room for weeks, directly in the pathways between my desk and the kitchen, and the couch and the kitchen.

In the way

My husband is a good and patient man. If one of us cared more, our house would be tidier, but alas, neither of us care more than we don’t feel like fixing it. He has tactfully refrained from mentioning the state of our home.

At the same time our house waves the white flag to entropy, we have experienced a minor miracle. The Dollar Store helium balloons we bought six weeks ago are still aloft. They had enough helium for maybe six days, but to last six weeks? I’m tempted to bust out the menorah. Now stringless, they litter our ceilings and we are forced to wait for the helium to slowly leak from the surprisingly impermeable balloons.


The balloons have been there so long I no longer really see them. They’re just part of the house like the lights and fans. Yesterday, however, Tim brilliantly summed up the current state of our house: “I’m so happy that we figured out a way to also have trash on our ceilings.”

So, there you have it, folks. I’m the mom who makes you feel better about your messy house. The things I do for you.

*Confession: I have cleaned toilets and sinks.

Domestic Bliss and Wrappers

As I discard the wad of lint containing an embarrassing number of mini Cadbury Cream Egg foil wrappers that I accidentally left in a pocket, I have a moment of silent gratitude that I am the only person who would ever clear out our dryer lint trap. My mini Cream Egg secret is safe. As the only person who does many household things, I can keep many secrets.

My children don’t use the garbage can. This is very useful because I can eat their candy and throw the wrappers out without worrying about being caught. Likewise, I don’t have to bury thrown-out child-made masterpieces in the recycling bin as it’s a place they’d never look. When they have garbage, they just drop it on the floor where they stand. So my secrets are safe in the trash can.

I can hide birthday and Christmas gifts in plain sight. The plainer the sight the better in fact. I live with people who can’t find the ketchup while looking in the fridge, even after I say, “It’s on the left side of the second shelf in the door with the other condiments – where it always is absolutely always every single time without exception like last time and the time before that.”

Really though, I have a great family. Each person does a lot to help around the house. My kids wash the bathroom floor! Well, they wet the bathroom floor, and sometimes soap it. And they often then leave towels and underwear on it, certainly in an effort to dry it. What swell kids! They clean my couch daily. Clean it of those pesky couch cushions that is. Possibly misguided efforts, but they’re young and it’s the thought that counts. I have a couch cushion strewn floor to prove that they’re always thinking of ways to help out.

My husband is exceptionally helpful. I hear horror stories about other husbands but I can’t complain. I don’t even have to ask for him to clean most of the dishes after dinner. He also empties the dishwasher unbidden, and puts most of the stuff away. He considerately leaves his laundry right near the laundry basket so all I need to do is pop it in! Always a gentleman, he thoughtfully leaves the butter and jam out on the counter for me, in case I want toast at some point during the day.

The truth is that if the family was more domestically involved, I would have a harder time hiding my stashes of good things. I have small presents secreted away that I sometimes remember, caches of candy, and even an emergency bottle of wine. So, as I don’t bother burying my candy wrapper filled dryer lint in the garbage, I’m reminded of how very lucky I am.


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I Just Want to be Alone

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‘Twas Three Days After Christmas


‘Twas three days after Christmas, when all through the house

not a creature was resting, not even a mouse.

The stockings were strewn on the floor with no care,

spilling their goods- Saint Nicholas had been there.


The children were hopped up and jumping on beds,
while sugar from sugar-plums went to their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and dad in his cap,
had headaches and dreamed of a long winter’s nap.


Down in the living room there arose such a clatter,
I stood from my chair to see what was the matter.
Into the room I slowly did wander,
only to trip on the crap thrown asunder.


The floor all covered with presents and trash,

all the things I’d bought and wrapped- all that cash!

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

but some miniature Legos my bare feet did fear.


What a mess that took over the house so quick,

I blamed in that moment that prick St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles my minions they came,

as they whistled and shouted, I called them by name!


“Now Luke! Now Sally! Now husband! Now Santa!

Clean up this disaster, don’t tell me you can’t!

From the floor to the ceiling, even the walls,

Put it away, put away, put away all!”


As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So through the room the pine needles they flew,

from my dead tree full of needles and tinsel too.


On this side the toys on that side the books,

all those presents discarded with barely a look.

As I cradled my head, and was turning around,

on the couch I spied laundry spilling to the ground.


What the fuck will I do with all of this shit?

Put it away? Or just burn all of it?

I can’t drag the tree out of here by myself.

So I’ll just eat a chocolate from up on that shelf.


And why not? Chocolate is fine for breakfast,

says this mom who’s expanding right out of her pants.

These kids have been home for infinity days,

as I’ve wandered around in a food coma haze.


To the stores I must go to make my exchanges,

for sizes, colors, and miscellaneous changes.

My work will not cease, it will never end,

thank goodness for chocolate sent by a friend.


If you think your house is bad on this day,

just take a look at mine and hear when I say,

“You’re doing just fine. The mess does not matter.

I am the mom who will make you feel better.”


This is the view, left and right, from my desk,

the rest of the house is the same, so don’t ask.

Go finish that cake and those cookies. Don’t fear.

You’ll get back in your jeans, first thing next year.


Christmas messChristmas Mess