April 10, 2007

Easter Grass on Planet Earth

The things I have to deal with.

Every single last time I walk through our "bookroom" (it's a small nook with a bookcase and a coat closet) the coat closet door is open. Every single time. It is part of my daily job, a steadfast function that I provide to the world, to keep that door closed. Lest one of my children step into it and fall into the land of C.S. Lewis? No. Lest a visitor enters my home and is shocked to find my coat closet in disarray? Eh, not really. Lest, lest, lest, lest NOTHING! I just want it to be closed when not in use! Call me crazy.

The same could be said about the pantry door near the back door. No one closes it. They wander to it, following their stomach grumbles, gaze into it, take something out if they're lucky and stumble mindlessly away leaving it wide open. This actually does create a tiny problem, because that door blocks the back door and anyone entering it. But that's not all. Sometimes in the pantry a child will leave an open box of something, like cereal right there on the floor. Said child might walk by, reach in and grab a handful of Frosted Mini-Wheats or Fruit-Loops, put the box down on the floor (this is probably a rather short child) and stumble away chomping on their fistful.

Which brings me to my floors. Which I'm going to leave undescribed at this time because that would fall under the subject of "Poor Housekeeping" and that is not within the scope of this essay.

I also have to continually manage things like belts and tucked in shirts on Sundays. One blessed day of the week I ask my children to put on belts and tuck in their shirts. And for only a few hours, three tops. But each week they enter the kitchen, ready for breakfast with shirts askew, pants falling down...and often complaining that "these pants don't really fit." To tell you the truth, I wasn't the greatest student, quite average. But sometimes I think my flashes of genius should be filmed, because at these times, these Sunday mornings when pants don't fit and shirts don't stay tucked, I come up with a surefire solution every single time. It's like I'm inspired. I say something like, "Where is your belt?" And the sheer enlightenment that falls upon the faces surrounding me is something akin to Ben and his kite or Newton and the apple. Then the little faces disappear upstairs for a while and once out of three or four times they will return with an actual belt through most of the loops of their pants. And then I tuck in their shirt.

Two out of three of my children wore belts to church on Easter Sunday. For all the time and mind power I put into managing this stuff you'd think I'd have a higher success rate. But minutia doesn't seem to end in a household and so the odds are tough and highly variable. There are indescribable splatters (and by that I mean, splatters that don't seem to have an obvious, logical source and splatters that have such an obvious source that it's unbelievable that the "source" didn't clean them up immediately), oh, hand prints on mirrors that people with hands that small cannot reach without ladders, people who undo things that they have absolutely no idea why they're undoing them...just to get two tableclothes on my two tables before Easter was quite a trial. I put one on, centered it, walked into the other room, asked a child to take his pile of assorted items off the table that I'd just cleared five minutes before, spread the second tablecloth, turned to get the centerpiece and decorative items, turned back, asked the same child to remove his pile of assorted items from the tablecloth, put down the centerpiece and decorative items, walked into the kitchen with a sense of satisfaction only to find the tablecloth therein mysteriously askew, glanced down at dirty footprints showing the direction where one small person might have exited the room, centered that cloth again, got the dustpan......You see? Do you understand why I believe I'm going crazy? There are even times - now I'm really sharing my vulnerabilities - that I consider the possibility that a former owner of this house (who is now dead and perhaps bored)may - I'M JUST SAYING MAYBE - may be opening the coat closet door as a joke on the house's present owner.


Which brings me to Easter grass. This morning Stan walked into the living room as he was leaving for work and mumbled something. From the tone and volume of his voice I could tell he was bending over and picking up something. "I hate to say it, but this Easter grass is really driving me crazy." He came into the kitchen with a few pieces of grass between his fingers and dropped them into the trashcan. I, in all of my enlightened progressed wisdom, looked at him lovingly with a tad of pity and said, "Honey. You live on this great big Earth, [and I stretched my arms as wide as I could to depict the magnitude of my words and his life of boundless possibilities] and here you are," I continued, "worrying about a bit of Easter grass." And then I sent him off with a kiss and reassurance that I'd make all the Easter grass go away before he returned from work.

It isn't easy, but somehow I manage to do it all.

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