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 (mom...dad...roommates...)--"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! SO...here'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.
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: "Right...it'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 police...you 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?
Interview With Jeff Kreisler of PeopleScience
2 months ago