Friday, October 9, 2015

Burned Mice and Other Casualties of Cleaning Up

In these, the waning days of warmth and light, it seems appropriate that the Blackwell clan should also be approaching the end of an era too. Sometime in the next month, our time as a three-person unit will cease.

Of course, this end is marked by a joyous beginning but between now and then there's a lot to do. And while my thoughts are very much fixed upon that new little boy we're set to welcome into the world, worry about the present is never far away.

In particular, we've got a home to get prepared and, while we've readied some things, there is much left to do.

Let's start with the fun stuff — the baby's room.

We painted it and moved the crib from Master Blackwell's room; the change table is now in there too. Once I've elevated the crib bed, so it's easier to lift and set the baby down, my work in the room will be done. From there, it'll be Mrs. Blackwell's to organize and arrange as she sees fit which, given this stage of her pregnancy, is about all the heavy lifting she should be doing.
Ever step on one with your bare foot? 

Now, on to the revolving cast of disasters that comprises the rest of our home.

Last weekend Mrs. Blackwell and I devoted a chunk of a precious afternoon to cleaning up our main floor. We got most all of it done and the place looked decent. Then, sometime on Monday afternoon, a bomb exploded and left the place looking like the toy section at Target just puked all over the floor.

There were books everywhere. And not just Dr. Seuss either — somehow a 2,000 page compendium on anthropology was left in the middle of the floor. There were Hot Wheels left and right. Puzzle pieces. A tickle-me Elmo. A plastic tricycle that plays "Life is a Highway," "I Like to Move It," and a song by Smashmouth that I hate so much I can't even write the title.

There was a Spiderman ball and a cantaloupe-sized super-bounce ball. Somehow, inexplicably, a spatula and a whisk from the kitchen, were there too. And, because no mess is complete without food, there was a half-eaten, cinnamon graham cracker lying atop a tambourine.

To ensure that this war zone was sufficiently perilous, wooden alphabet blocks were sprinkled around like little mines, just waiting to introduce themselves to the bare, unsuspecting arches of my feet. (If you've ever had the pleasure of planting a bare, weight-bearing foot directly onto a wooden, alphabet block you too know the meaning of exquisite pain.)

For two people who abhor clutter to the degree we do, Mrs. Blackwell and I (with no small measure of help from the boy) can produce it almost on command.

That said, we don't mess around with the kitchen; it's a tidy space. Mrs. Blackwell can't stand bacteria and, while I don't much mind it, I can't stand dishes piling up. I roomed with three other guys in college and the scars of that filth are with me to this day.

So, the kitchen is not terrible.

Nope, for terrible just mosey out to my front lawn where you'll quickly see why local rabbits, birds and chipmunks think I'm doing a bang up job of lawn maintenance.

Turns out, animals love long grass. And, if that particular piece of fauna wasn't their bag, perhaps they'd like that gigantic weed growing in what's supposed to be my flower garden. Until this year, I didn't know weeds could look like lettuce while some others just look like honest-to-God trees.

Moving to my backyard, I've got a family of mice that think my barbecue is a Hilton. And, while I've ripped it apart and cleaned it out twice now, they keep coming back. I've played nice, so go ahead and let your mind run wild with what I'm doing now to vacate the premises.

I've also got the equivalent of a cord of rotting wood piled out back. It used to be a playground set; now it's just a spot for raccoons to learn the unique pain that comes by piercing one's paw with a rusty nail.

But, since it's getting colder, perhaps I'll want to warm up. Thankfully, I've got a garage offering no shortage of disasters either in progress or waiting to happen.
Pictured: the only two mice allowed in the house and the only
two in the vicinity not facing a propane-fueled pyre. 

My garage is, essentially, a monument to half-assed fixes and arbitrary, moment-to-moment decisions that have culminated in a mishmash of indistinguishable randomness. It takes some time for the eyes to compute and comprehend exactly what they're looking at.

Some people have grand plans and organization that see them winterize their power tools and put things in color-coded, plastic containers.

The closest I come to that is the soggy, hot-pink shoe box that I keep my garden trowels in. (And like every other container in my garage, there are several finishing nails rolling around the bottom.)

I also have a set of golf clubs that hangs from the garage ceiling at a position and height that is just perfect for hitting my head on nearly every time I get my son out of the car.

Yes, it's all quite dangerous but, like they say: "The threat of imminent physical harm is the spice of life."

Perhaps it's not as bad as I've recounted here. I mean when you've got a three-year old running around, the lens through which you view the world skews heavily in a more discriminating and critical direction. The shallowest of puddles becomes a drowning pool. The shortest of steps, a steep cliff and the dullest of objects, a Samurai sword.

That's my view of the world right now, with just one boy to worry about. Soon there will be two and shortly thereafter, more blocks on the family room floor and more utensils to return to the kitchen.

That said, I can't imagine having it any other way.

No comments: