Monday, March 5, 2012

Ransacked Rooms and other tangents...

My daughters are slobs. SERIOUS slobs. And they aren't even HAPPY when there is cleanliness around them. I know what a lot of you are thinking ("OF COURSE your daughter's are slobs because YOU are a slob," but I will have you know that THIS is MUCH worse. You see, I am scatterbrained at times and get overwhelmed easily. MY room(s) gets (got) messy because I am usually in a hurry and I usually cannot find anything to wear. In my madness to get out the door in a timely manner, I leave the clothes that I THOUGHT I would wear strewn about, causing chaos. Add to that the fact that I do not like to throw things away and that I have so much...stuff...THAT is why my rooms are usually messy. My girls, however, are living in a fire hazard.

Admittedly, I have had rooms in the past that looked like they had been ransacked. In fact, when I was in graduate school, my uncle's sister (my aunt...?) allowed me to live in her home with her (I NEVER showed the appreciation I should have for that, though I tried to pay it forward when I was able to let people stay with me).  One morning while I was in bed establishing exactly WHY I needed to miss class that day and determining that I couldn't, but I COULD skip the shower and wear a hat to school instead (hat trumps shower EVERY time),  I heard a huge crash and the cats scampered up the stairs and into my room. I hopped up and did the old, "What did YOU do?!" thing to the one who did not bury himself, terrified,  in the pile of clothes under my bed. I know you will think that I am crazy (or that you ALREADY think that I am crazy!) for saying this, but that cat looked at me like, "listen lady, that was NOT me or Scaredy under there--THAT was something that should worry you."

Now I need you to know that I am not a "cat whisperer" and I don't have these bonds with animals that some people have. Don't get me wrong, I DO love animals (we did have cats once, but my son is allergic) and you may have read about my quest to get a dog, but I don't TALK to animals and I do not feel that they talk to me.  If I had to choose between my pet and my child, there wouldn't be hesitation and if we needed to spend thousands of dollars to keep our animals comfortable (kitty heart pills, doggy anti-psychotics...?!)--well, I guess it would depend on the situation. I just don't see us flying around the country to see specialists for our animals. I guess it is good that we don't have any!

Okay...I needed you to understand that so that you will believe me when I tell you that the cat was telling me  that something was very wrong downstairs and that I should call someone. I STILL remember looking into that cat's eyes and knowing--so weird! My bedroom was the first (only) door on the right at the top of the stairs. To get to the sitting room (next door to my room), I had to pass the stairs and to get to a telephone, I had to get to the sitting room. THIS is what we did before cell phones! I walked out the door and looked down the first set of stairs. Nothing yet. I tiptoed into the sitting room which was directly across from the stairs. I bet you think I dialed 9-1-1, but you would be wrong! Since I was four, the only number that stood out to me in a crisis was the number for my grandmother's house which became my aunt and uncle's house.

Stay with me, I swear there is a point to all of this! I immediately dialed the number and my uncle answered.
Sidebar: My uncle had NEVER taken a day off before this day, but decided for some reason to stay home that morning. Tell me that we don't have people looking out for us!'s what happened:

Me: "Uncle Tommy--I think someone broke into the house..."
UT: WHAT?! Someone is IN the house?! Why the hell are you calling ME?! CALL 9-1-1!"
Me: "Well, what if I'M wrong?!"
UT: "DO NOT take that chance--hang up--CALL 9--1-1!"
Me: "Okay, I'm--" at this point my intruder is on the landing before the last five steps up to my room. My uncle is frantically yelling something and I get out, "Please don't kill me."
At THIS point, my uncle is going crazy. "CALL 9-1-1--HANG UP THE PHONE! I'M ON MY WAY...CALL 9-1-1!" and I reach for the hang up button while maintaining eye contact with the boy? man? who I am pretty sure is going to kill me. Instead, he turns around and heads back down the stairs.
911 call:
Operator: "911-What is your emergency?"
Me: "Please help me--there is an intruder in my house"
O: Okay, honey, just stay calm. Where are you?
Me: "Upstairs in a room , I think it is a sitting room, but the TV is in here and the phone is in here and--"
O: Okay...slow down, hun--it's going to be okay. Is there a door in the room? If so, can you close it?"
Me: "Oh my goodness--I am SO STUPID, I cannot BELIEVE I didn't shut the DOOR! THAT is the FIRST thing I should have done! I'm sorry, I am SO STUPID--"
O: Sweetie, just shut the door if you didn't yet."
Me: "'s shut."
O: "Okay, now put the sofa in front of it and crouch down behind it."
I did as she instructed, but couldn't establish where I should place my body to avoid the bullet that I was certain he would fire since I was now a witness. Would it go through the door and the sofa and into my skull? Or did he mount the neighbors roof to get a sniper shot at me through the window?
Thinking about all of this made me frantic so I begged, "Please don't leave me!" to my new best friend on the telephone.
O: "I'm not going anywhere, honey. The police are almost there."
Me: "Thank yo so much..." As I was talking I was trying to establish the safest position from the sniper's bullet and in doing so, hung up on my operator. My only friend in the room. Just as I was about to spiral out of control, there was a knock on the door.
"Ma'am? I'm with the can open the door now."
"How do I KNOW you are with the police. Maybe you just want me to THINK that you are with the police so that you can KILL me..."
"I promise you that is not the case, Ma'am. I'm just here to help."
"Isn't that JUST what a person who wanted to kill me would say?"
We are interrupted by the telephone.
"Ma'am--that's the operator--she is going to let you know that it is okay to open up..."

After three minutes of my crying and apologizing (yes--I apologized for EVERYTHING then--I'm getting a little better--or WORSE!), the police escorted me out of the house and the first thing I saw was my uncle leap out of his car (that was still in drive...he went back!) with a baseball bat. Have I mentioned how much I love my uncle? The good news? I got to spend the day with my uncle and his brother. The bad news? Well, first of all (and the point to this trip down memory lane), while we were waiting on the lawn and giving statements, the police came out and said, "Oh my goodness--you were right! The place is ransacked--only he only seemed to get that front room..."

The other "news" could be good AND bad I suppose. We went to Friday's for lunch and while the brothers took turns making fun of me for being that messy girl in the front room, I was laughing so hard that I started to choke. REALLY choke. My uncle quickly did the Heimlich and I shot a fry across the bar. My uncle was always my hero, but on this particular day, he earned his cape!

Back to my girls. We really want our children to get in the habit of cleaning up after themselves, but when they "ransack" their rooms, it gets so out of control that we end up doing it for them. Last week, we decided not to help anymore. They sat in their room (except for meals) ALL WEEKEND and FINALLY Sunday night they were done. Only on Monday morning I noticed the PILES of clothes stuffed into the corner of the closet that was covered in blankets. ALL week I reminded them that if they did just a little bit, they wouldn't have to waste another weekend and all week they told me that they did not care. Sure enough, Saturday came and went and Sunday came and went. Their room is worse than it has EVER been and my girls spent TWO DAYS in it. I actually MISS them.

I took Brayden out to lunch and shopping with birthday gift cards on Saturday and it seemed to hit them, but minutes later they were fine and continued to waste time We told them that if they finished, perhaps we could use our Chuck E. Cheese gift cards and they REALLY wanted to go there, but weren't willing to work for it. We give in EVERY time, so I don't think that we can continue to do it for them, but I feel like I am missing out on too many fun days with my kids. What do YOU do about room cleaning at your house?


  1. Things seem to stack up around our house as well. I have a rule: No friends over until the room is clean. That works wonders! Our girls are social butterflies.

  2. Well, first of all, you choked on a fry while being made fun of for being a slob in your aunt's home and calling in a false burglary. This is beyond a funny story. It is outrageously funny.

    Second, my kids are also slobs. I use the same threats, the same consequences, the same bribes, they are still naturally slobs. The only thing that works for me consistently (and I mean to get them to clean up, not to not be slobs) is to withhold any privileges of fun..and sometimes meals with the fam like last night, until they do their part. This being said, they still create a fire hazard at least every other day, but they don't get to make a new one until the old one has been cleaned up.

    1. I swear there was a time in my life when things would happen that seemed like fiction. This story was on the tail end of a list of stories where people would look at me and say, "Come on...that didn't REALLY happen..." but that was (and IS!) my life! Now I look at myself in the mirror and think about my days and the things my children do and say and think, "Come on...that didn't REALLY happen..."!

      I'm sorry that you go through the same cleaning issues with your children, but I feel better knowing that others endure the same pain, especially when the person is as put together as you are! This way I can tell myself that it is definitely THEM and not ME! I know I need to be more consistent with EVERYTHING, but once they outnumbered me I waved my white flag! The meal thing intrigues me...I may have to try that! One question--do your children take things like...toy kitchens and (what I can only assume) toss them across the room?

  3. well i don't have any kids of my own yet, but when we had something big to do my mom would set a reward (like going to Chuck E. Cheese, i suppose. i remember allot of library trips but she always stood by it. it i didn't do the chore/whatever, then 1 didn't get the reward. which i suppose is easier of you only have one child, but harder if one kid did their chore and one didn't.

    by 4th grade i got a little allowance, just three dollars a week at first, but $20 by the end of high school if i did my chores for the week. it used to just be keeping my room mostly clean, and putting my dirty laundry in one pile by the washer, and loading and unloading the dishwasher and other little things.

    and a big tip to keeping a room clean? it's nearly imposible if everything doesn't have a proper place to go. so spending a weekend really, really and organizing their rooms WITH the girls so that both you and they know that everything has a proper place will help greatly with keeping things in their place. and if that means them sorting clothes and toys in the oddest ways imaginable, so be it

    1. Thank you for your insight! We actually have been doing the reward thing and they don't seem to care, so we decided to reward their brother in the hopes that they would learn from that. Nope. Maybe an allowance would work in the near future, but now they really have no interest in earning anything! In fact, the little one keeps saying things like, "Yeah...but Wyryan and I can't go to do fun fings because we don't cwyean up oweower wryoon, ryight Momma?!" while giggling. As for the everything has a place thing, I KNOW! Because of the slob I once was (and really still am!) I HAVE to have a place for everything if there is hope for non-chaotic survival. I started trying that approach when we lived in Virginia. Every few months I would go crazy because I would step on a Lego (the WORST. Pain. EVER.) in the kitchen and find that the Legos were so spread out that no one could even USE them! then I would sit down and make bins and drawers for EVERYTHING. I would take an entire DAY to organize, label, and purge in the play room. In less than a week, it would be destroyed. I did this no fewer than ten times in Virginia. I did it five times in the play room of our first house in Montana (we were only there for seven months) and four times in the second house. I have only done the play room once here and have helped Brayden in his room a few times. I have organized and purged in Ryan and Addison's room AT LEAST seven times and they always destroy it within a week. I tend to do it so many times and then just quit. Like washing my floor for instance...Of course, they have taken their room from bad to worse and I honestly don't see HOW they are going to clean it without help. Brayden offered to help them (BEFORE it got this bad) and they sat and played while he cleaned. I offered to help and they were destroying the work I did WHILE I was THERE! Needless to say, I stopped helping!

      Are you saying that I should have THEM come up with a system? Like maybe ask them where they want to put stuff so that it is easy for them to remember where things go? That sounds like a good idea--especially since SOMETHING needs to be done! I'll keep you posted!

  4. My mom was strict strict strict about keeping our rooms clean when my sister and I were kids and I'm a total neat-freak because of it. Everything has a place!

    1. That is so funny because MY MOM was very strict, too and I ended up going in the other direction...! :o)

  5. I will always be a messy person. I guess it's just all in priorities. I'd rather not spend the time cleaning as opposed to doing somethign else.

    then again, cleaning has to be done.. it's a no win :/

    1. I agree with you--there is no winning! I tend to put cleaning off because I HATE it AND because I would rather play (or work on this computer!), but my girls are getting a bit ridiculous. their dollhouses are pushed over with clothes on top (and INSIDE) of them--my one daughter shoved clothes between her mattress and her bed. They (of course) throw all of their clothes in the laundry when they clean (the last time, my eldest brought down a FOLDED pile I had just sent up with her for me to wash AGAIN!) and it is a nightmare! They DO come by it naturally!

  6. messiness is a sign of creativity~ glass half full!

    1. HA! I am SO VERY CREATIVE! Thank you, Melissa--you always make me feel better!

  7. Hi Nika

    Just wanted to say I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award, head on over to my blog to check it out:

    1. YAY! Thank you so much--I LOVE winning things! ;o) I will check it out now--you are AWESOME!

  8. I'm glad you are ok but I couldn't help LMAO at this story.

    1. I am SO GLAD that you laughed! I felt like this story dragged on a bit (probably because I have TOLD it a million times in the last...fifteen?! years) and I was sure that I would lose everyone! I'm glad you stuck with it and got a laugh out of it! ;O)


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