Barometer rising

Best barometers of my day-to-day mood:

1. The number of times I snap at our dog, our poor, Sweet Dog, who asks for nothing much beyond some food, the occasional chance to run in circles and the ability to follow me everywhere I go. She is such a love and so easy, really, especially for a dog, and still, STILL, I've snapped at her repeatedly the last few days.

2. The number of times I sneak off to reach into the top right shelf of our pantry, behind the fruit twists and the ancient boxes of graying, grizzled raisins and blindly but deftly snap off a hunk of dark chocolate to stuff in my mouth before anyone sees me.

3. The number of times I find myself pondering blog posts with titles like "The way it is" or "How it goes" or "WTF? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO PICKS UP AROUND HERE?".


(Today's tally so far: 11. Anything over 10 means direct Intervention with a capital-I and it's only 9 am.)


This time of year is hard for me, always. There are so many birthdays (Z, E, CG, my mom, countless friends) and holidays and the days are getting longer so every one's sleep is all messed up ("But Mommy! At nigh-night you always say 'See you when the sun comes up!' and the SUN IS UP!!"). We are heading into hot, sticky summer, when we should be outside all the time but it's too sticky and buggy already and we have to put on sunscreen and bug spray and I refuse to use DEET but there is serious Lyme disease here. I left earthquake danger behind in California but now when I can't sleep I imagine tiny little ticks crawling into my ears to suck my brain dry and leave me with some dread version of chronic Lyme disease that I've heard rumors about and I'm SO SURE I will catch ANY DAY NOW.

And Ellie is into EVERYTHING. I cannot do a single thing when she is awake except for trying to keep her busy with something reasonably safe because to attempt to accomplish anything is to do something poorly while watching her dismantle something else. Plus, now that she's walking everywhere, she's SO quiet. When she was crawling I could at least follow the sound of her little palms slapping the floor. Now it's like she's some kind of tiny elephant with squishy fat pads silencing the sound of her stiff-legged drunken zombie stomp.

Our house is a wreck and I am currently failing to be all Zen about it. I loved Karen Maezen Miller's idea in Momma Zen (an amazing book, if you're interested) about viewing cleaning your home for guests as a sign of respect and welcoming, rather than as an ego-driven imperative. Unfortunately, when the AC guy came over yesterday, all I could see was the house as he must have seen it: floors covered in dog hair, plastic toys and kitchen implements and dirty laundry strewed everywhere, a preschooler hopped up on TV and a toddler with oatmeal in her hair who squawked and repeatedly grabbed at my earlobes looking for my tiny stud earrings that I have taken out because even those tiny ones she WILL NOT LEAVE ALONE.

It is embarrassing to admit I got all in a dither about what the freaking AC GUY thought but the house was in such a state that I apologized to him profusely and then cackled and smiled and apologized some more every time he stepped on a Lego or tripped on a plastic horse. It reminded me of when I was little and I would go to visit our neighbors house, the Catholic family with 18 kids (TRUE STORY) and there would be dirty diapers on the floor and peanut butter sandwiches under the couch cushions and I would marvel at the chaos even as I contributed to it with my tangle of tiny plastic Barbie shoes and My Little Ponies.

Somehow, our house has become that house. And we only have two kids.

I think I need some more dark chocolate.


Hillary said...

The Lad has started rolling all over and trying to scoot. He also is teething, which means drool everywhere. Every time I looked at him this morning, he had cat hair or carpet fuzz or dust stuck to his face, highlighting my poor housekeeping. You're not alone.

Marie Green said...

I don't know about you, but I always feel this way at the change of seasons. I get all "why is everything so harrrrrrdddddddd?" and then I realize "... because the rhythm of life has changed."

Also, I LOVE the "cleaning is a sign of welcome and respect". LOVE. That's essentially exactly how I've always felt about it, but I didn't have the words for it. Those words are a gem, I tell you.

Sarah said...

Oh yes. Nothing makes me feel worse than a messy house, but I'm already sore and tired from Teh Belly, and trying to take it easy and not overwork myself so I don't trigger preterm labor nonsense, so... Sometimes I have to just make myself ignore it, and it drives me nuts. And I don't even have a new toddler to chase after. Every time I think about trying to keep our (small) house tidy and in order with a preschooler, a three year old and a new baby all I can do is laugh aloud or I'd cry.
Also, I think the change of season is aggravating even when it's fun. The mud and grass clippings everywhere and the kids that suddenly NEED baths every day and the clothes in the laundry piles that are so much dirtier than they've been all winter and...
Yeah. Now I want some chocolate.

Michelle said...

I really do want a neat home but it is just not possible and I've accepted it. Our house is neat about once a week when we have a chance to do a good clean. We had a repair guy in a couple weeks ago and I looked around after he left and thought "Oh crap." Then I got over it. It is a matter of survival for me.

B said...

1. Is it possible for blog friends to "sync up?" Because I have days like EXACTLY like that and am in fact having them CURRENTLY and they seem to occur at the same time each month... just saying.

2. "Now it's like she's some kind of tiny elephant with squishy fat pads silencing the sound of her stiff-legged drunken zombie stomp." made me laugh out loud, so thanks for that.

Party of 5 said...

I have gotten rid of toys my kids loved just because they caused too much of a mess. I clean out the toy closet and donate stuff when they are at school if I am sick of looking at its pieces all over the floor. That's my solution. What's funny is the kids have never asked about those toys or where they are. They have so few toys now and instead play with pillows and tupperware and stuff that takes seconds to clean up when the AC guy comes over. The joy few toys! Now the backyard? That's a different story...

Anonymous said...

Wow! I recall a messy house and not feeling at ALL bad because children are only little once: a messy house is FOREVER. and .... WHO CARES? Your maintenance guy has probably seen worse - if you asked him, he'd laugh and tell you HOW MUCH WORSE!
Give yourself a break, kick back, and BY ALL MEANS,
(just had a great visit with your rockin' folks in NJ)
Love, Aunt Bobbie (or Bobie, as Zoe says!!! and I like better!!!)

GratefulTwinMom said...

Love this post. The barometer metaphor is priceless. I always know that extra food--chocolate especially-- is an indicator of something.

My kids are 7 and I still refuse to buy furniture to replace the crappy hand-me-down sofas we have because the kids and pets keep F-ing everything up. Wow!

Good Enough Mom said...

What? 18 kids? You HAVE GOT to be kidding!!! There's no way on Earth that your house looks like it has 18 kids...it just feels that way when you're overwhelmed. Good thing you have the chocolate stash for moments like these...

And I agree with Grateful Twin Mom...my kids demolish everything, especially when they pretend to be some fix-it guy or another...in fact, they recently ripped the back off of one of our kitchen chairs...that was a high-chocolate-intake day for me!

Cortney said...

Is there something in the air? Maybe it is the change of seasons (although where I live it's just more of the same rain)

Jeez, I've been so overwhelmed lately by messes, a non-stop coughing preschooler, a baby who does.not.sleep... I'm cranky too.

Swistle said...

We had some guy inspecting the new bathroom yesterday and I thought he'd only be looking at the new bathroom and didn't realize he'd also need to look at the fuse box, and I had to KICK PILES OUT OF THE WAY for him to get to it. I FORCED myself not to apologize but I still made a stupid apologetic "joke." Sigh.

miyoko said...

Here i sit, WAITING FOR THE AC GUY. and because they are so busy, my time window is, no joke, 8-5.
P's nose has started to run, (woohooo!) and i just vacuumed the entire main floor, which in about 2 hours, will be reversed to what it was pre-vacuum.

and yes, dont' get me started about lyme disease. especially since i pull up to my house yesterday and find a family of 3 deer EATING OUR PLANTS IN OUR FRONT YARD. This is the second time we've had deer in our yard, P gets all excited that "rudolph's friends are visiting" but i too hate DEET and will have a loooong talk with my ped. about the truths of lyme disease. There are days where i too, ponder the "which is worse" of forest fires/earthquakes and lyme disease.

KG said...


Does it help to tell yourself that the ideal of a spotless and tidy house is a tool of the patriarchy, meant to keep women down? So f*** it, grab your bar of chocolate, add a glass of wine, put your feet up and revel in the chaos, knowing you are doing your part for feminism by not giving in?


I have this friend who shared this quote with me: "Perfect is the enemy of good." Have you heard it? I think she is wicked smart. What do you think?

(this from the woman who had a hysterical breakdown last week, due in part to dust bunnies in the hall.)

miyoko said...

BTW, the AC guy never showed up. They were considerate enough to call, but called Husband's cell phone, which he didn't pick up the voice mail for until 6PM. Thus an entire day indoors for no reason whatsoever. But... silver lining, P is sick took an accidental nap from 11-2! So i managed to scrub the bathroom, and mop the kitchen floor. (which P of course dumped tortilla chip crumbs all over)

grammalouie said...

Re: KG's comments, how about this thought: Maybe we should say "perfect is the enemy of good enough".Good enough really is good enough. Perhaps we should erase "perfect" from our vocabulary! No one dies wishing they had cleaned the house more often or more thoroughly.
But still.....I do know that chaos around one can lead to chaos in one's mind.

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