The stuff that ate Manhattan

By Mir
December 29, 2005

Oh, I had plans for this week. Big plans! Important plans!

Said plans were approximately thus:

1) Sleep. Lots.
2) Eat. Lots.
3) Catch up on laundry.
4) Clean up the piles of papers everywhere.
5) Put away the Christmas stuff.
6) Donate outgrown/discarded/embarrasing clothing.
7) Throw away the stuff that needs to be thrown away.
8) Clean out that kitchen cabinet where opening the door always causes an avalanche.
9) Get the kids to clean up the playroom so that I can…
10) … get the old computer set up with the kids’ games.

As usual, reality so seldom lives up to my motivation.

Tomorrow is Friday. Let’s see what sort of progress I’ve made on my tasks, shall we?

1) Sleep. Lots.
I’m pleased to report that I’ve had no difficulty excelling at my first goal. It’s a gift and I don’t want to brag or anything, but in addition to sleeping shamefully late several mornings I’ve had multiple naps.

2) Eat. Lots.
Well, again, my natural strengths do tend to see me through with very little effort. With the kids away for most of the week I haven’t had to bother with any sort of pesky meal planning or creating balanced choices based on those silly food groups and such. This has allowed me to both basically snack all day long without stopping and also have brownies for dinner. With the exception of the pretzel shortage from a few days ago, I have no culinary complaints.

3) Catch up on laundry.
It’s all clean. Yes. Yay me! None of it’s put away, of course. It lives in carefully sorted piles in various locations throughout the house. I think that’s best, you know, so as to share the joy. The air-dried sweaters are in a neat stack on the dining room table (which is never used for anything more than laundry, because those brownie suppers don’t really call for the formal dining surface). The tops which were hung to dry on the laundry rack are waiting on top of the dryer. Two laundry baskets sit on the floor of my bedroom. And the crowning glory: A stack of items waiting to be hung in my closet, precariously balanced on the chest at the end of my bed, and topped with a tangled nest of hangers.

Why is it this way? Why haven’t I found time this week to actually distribute these items to their appropriate closets and bureaus? Why is the sky blue? Explanations exist, but they don’t really matter; they don’t change anything.

4) Clean up the piles of papers everywhere.
I tried. I really did. I would go through a stack, sort it into things to file and things to deal with and things to throw away. The garbage is overflowing with papers I’ve thrown away, actually. And on one notable day–Monday, in fact–I rushed to lick envelopes and locate stamps so that I could toss a few items into the mailbox before the mail lady came. I was in a flurry! I flurried! I got it all out there and triumphantly yanked the flag into an upright position before realizing that Monday was a postal holiday. Whoops.

5) Put away the Christmas stuff.
It’s still Christmas here. Not only that, but the limbo period is the most dangerous. The nativity sets are strewn about and one of the Playmobil wise men is wearing Mary’s hair. Meanwhile, the baby Jesus is slung across a camel and Larry the Cucumber from the Veggie Tales set is balanced on the Playmobil manger. The candle lamps–which are supposed to light up for 8 hours, go off for 16, and repeat, but of course light up spontaneously for random periods of time unless they are freshly reset every evening–are all out of synch, because I can’t be bothered to either coordinate them or put them away. Other than periodically waking up highly annoyed at 3 or 4 in the morning to unplug the ones in my room, I’ve more or less become blind to them.

6) Donate outgrown/discarded/embarrasing clothing.
I did make some progress in this area. Sort of. That is to say, not at all, but I HAVE finally accepted that I am never going to sell any of this crap on eBay, and I should just bag it up and donate it. And I went so far as to bring the box of black garbage bags up to my room. It’s right over there, sitting on top of the towering pile of items either evicted from my closet or weeded out from the children’s wardrobes. It can’t be more than… two or three tons of stuff. If it hadn’t rained all day today (which, by the way, WTF? Rain in December??) I’m sure I would’ve bagged everything up and gotten a great workout tossing everything into the donation dumpsters. Well, no, I probably still wouldn’t’ve, but let’s pretend I would’ve.

7) Throw away the stuff that needs to be thrown away.
It sounds so simple. And it would be. If I had a dumpster. I should’ve asked Santa for a dumpster this year. Then I could just throw everything in there wholesale and be done with it. All of the piles of papers. All of the clothes that I set aside to mend like I was Laura fucking Ingalls but by the time I actually thought about fixing them they were three sizes too small for the kids, anyway. All of the BOXES. Cardboard boxes are breeding in my basement, my garage, and every closet in this house and the madness NEEDS TO STOP.

8) Clean out that kitchen cabinet where opening the door always causes an avalanche.
What kitchen cabinet? What avalanche? I have no idea what you’re referring to. Look over there! Something shiny!

9) Get the kids to clean up the playroom so that I can…
Yeah, um, while the kids were here on Wednesday I made them help me clean the playroom for several hours. Monkey and I each only cried once, and Chickadee snuck off and was later discovered hiding in her room reading a book. Two hours of ranting and raving and digging and sorting resulted in greatly increased floor space and need for family therapy. When progress was evident and it was getting towards dinner time I declared it a moderate success and let them off the hook. Monkey’s missing Gameboy is still AWOL and tonight I discovered that a room can, in fact, look fairly clean and still be a cesspit of small pieces carefully shoved to the periphery.

How did I discover this, you ask?

10) … get the old computer set up with the kids’ games.
The old computer has been sitting on the floor in the family room for… umm… a couple of months. I told the kids it would be THEIRS as soon as they cleaned up the playroom. They–overjoyed at the prospect, because I am a big fat hog when it comes to MY computer–did a dance of joy, and promptly went back to trashing the house. When I forced them to clean this week, I decided it was “clean enough” to reorganize and get their machine set up.

Once I started moving around their table and desks and bins I discovered, of course, that there was still several cubic yards of detritus strewn about. I pushed everything I didn’t want to deal with into a pile in the middle of the room. (I am now considering just bagging up and throwing away that pile.) I put the table over by the electrical outlet. I discovered the carpet made the table wobbly, and spent half an hour improvising suitable shims.

I then fashioned a monitor stand that was both functional and… ummm… patriotic… out of USPS priority mailing boxes and packing tape. Please don’t turn me in, because I’m pretty sure that part was a misdemeanor.

Alright! Table set. Monitor situated! Time to plug things in! I crawled around on the floor plugging things in here and there and sliding the CPU back and forth in a small space, bringing it forward to where I wanted it no less than three times before I realized I had ANOTHER cord that I needed to slide it back so as to connect, first. I also managed two rather impressive Stooges-like injuries–one wherein I was trying to release a cord and managed to smack myself with the heavy connector end both in the face and in the elbow, and one where I dropped the entire table on my hand! Because gravity is a new concept to me, apparently!

On the first boot the monitor didn’t work. I fiddled with some cords and rechecked everything and uttered a Tasmanian incantation of screen blinkiness and then it worked. Once I had it up and running, I spent an hour cleaning up the hard drive, and another twenty minutes rounding up all of the kids’ software, including the special piano keyboard set I gave Chickadee last year for her birthday that she’s never even used. It took over an hour to get the stupid computer to acknowledge that the keyboard was connected, and 5 minutes for me to ascertain that this software will NOT allow her to learn to play the piano, but in all likelihood WILL cause me to wish I didn’t have eardrums. So.

BUT AT LAST, I stepped back from the newly outfitted child-sized computer table–okay, perhaps I hobbled a bit, as I’d been sitting in the tiny chair with my knees wedged akimbo beneath the table lip–and felt a wave of triumph as I realized that indeed, I had ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING.

Then I tripped on the pile of crap in the middle of the playroom, decided to leave it until tomorrow, went into the kitchen for a glass of water and was assaulted by a sliding pile of papers on the counter, then came upstairs to cry into my laundry.

Tomorrow I am stuffing my car full of whatever I can grab and driving it somewhere and dropping it off. Specifics are unimportant. It’s my last child-free day to accomplish anything, and if I don’t clear out some of this stuff I am going to have to donate the children, instead. Which… well, nevermind. That would be wrong. More wrong than my flagrant misuse of government postal materials. Probably.


  1. jess

    You’ve made a terrible mistake. You’ve been in my house and done my laundry!

  2. Nothing But Bonfires

    Hey, as long as you’re not tearing the tags off mattresses, I think you’re okay with the Fuzz.

  3. EverydaySuperGoddess

    Quick! Bag up that pile in the middle of the floor and GET RID OF IT before the children return!

    Trust me. They will NEVER NOTICE!


  4. Aimee

    heh. You’re not Laura !@#$%^& Ingalls and neither am I. I didn’t have to sproink myself reading this morning, since my boss isn’t here yet. But this post was definitely sproink-worthy.

  5. Mike

    If you thought warty genitalia would bring you some intriguing google searches, imagine the fine folk who are going to hone in on you after “Laura fucking Ingalls.” :D

    Otherwise, Merry Christmas Afterglow…

  6. LatteMan

    After the PR nightmare FedEx went through by trying to harass the guy that built his furniture out of FedEx boxes, I think you are safe.

  7. Heather

    I think you stole that list right off my fridge. LOL!

  8. kym

    Isn’t flagrant misuse of postal materials a felony in the southern states?

  9. Dawn

    No, you stole that list off MY fridge… and I didn’t make as much headway as you… but I did manage to eat an impressive amount of chocolate. Does that count?

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