Friday, February 3, 2012

Rebel, Rebel, Your Place is a Mess

The Legos in the living room, taking over the
adjacent home office... AAAAHHHH!!!
If you’ve been reading any of my posts, you know that I am stumped by a lot of things... plagued with questions, overwhelmed by life... Some of the questions are truly hard, like how to live a faithful life despite my lack of faith... or how to raise my child.

One ever-present quandry that I face is how to conquer that mess that is my house. Every nook and cranny of our house is a mess, but for the sake of argument, I’ll begin by addressing just one of our many problems: Legos. Actually toys in general.

Bill is a Lego addict, and to be honest, I love them too! I love putting together those complex kits... you should see our Hogwarts castle! On the downside, Legos are everywhere. They have taken over the living room, spilled into the adjacent home office, and can be found scattered throughout the house, on bookshelves, tucked into houseplants, invading the soapdish... 

My futile attempt to organize
the Legos...
The problem with these little freaks is that you can put them away all you like, but they will inevitably jump right back out, forming items that look like nothing to you, but the enraged seven-year-old that lives with you will loudly protest that it is “very special!” A robot, maybe? Or a building of some kind? I have actually attempted to impose order on the Legos, but it is a lost cause, I fear. The little drawer thing I bought to contain them stands perpetually open and spilling over.

But it’s not just the toys... Our home overflows with books and music and papers and clothes and nothing terribly valuable... just... crap. I keep thinking of New York’s famous Collyer brothers, a duo of hoarders that lived in a Harlem brownstone in the first part of the 1900s. One of the brothers was actually crushed to death under their collection of over 140 tons of crap*... The other brother, blind and paralyzed, starved to death because he had been waiting for the crushed one to bring him food.

It’s a fascinating story, but it doesn’t scare me. Because I would not say that we are hoarders. I mean, I would GLADLY part with much of what is here. What’s mine, anyway. Much of it belongs to the boys. 

The Collyer brothers' house -
Look how close the rubbish
is to the chandelier!
It’s just that the task of sorting through it all will require the kind of time that I just don’t have, what with all the graphic designing, and mom-ing and wifing and cooking and all... Also, just thinking about it makes me want to climb in the bed for a long winter’s nap! I actually have an trade situation with a professional organizer. In exchange for my graphic design services, she comes over every so often and helps me make piles, rearrange... reduce, reuse, recycle, as it were. It’s fantastic, but 1. there’s not enough graphic design in the world that can purchase the amount of organizing services I need, and 2. about one hour after she leaves, the out-of-control seven-year-old has things in chaos once again. 

I grew up in a home where neatness was highly prized... Okay, my mom was a freak about it. Of my two brothers and two sisters, some have inherited the neat gene, and some have not. I’m sure that there is some deep psychological root to my messes... But I would also like to assert the following: I have very little time. I’m old. I’m tired. The ratio of my fatigue to the amount that a messy house bothers me is just too great. Yes, I think it can be as simple as that. The only thing that DOES bother me is that it bothers my husband. And that makes it more of a problem. Then my failure to keep my house in order becomes all the more painful.

So that’s all I wanted to say, really. I’ve got no spiritual insights or profound things to say about it. Just... I’m a mess. I guess admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming? 

"Hi, my name is Julie, and I’m a mess. I am powerless over my mess - my life has become unmanageable. But I do believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity..."

*including but  not limited to: baby carriages, a doll carriage, rusted bicycles, old food, potato peelers, a collection of guns, glass chandeliers, bowling balls, camera equipment, the folding top of a horse-drawn carriage, a sawhorse, three dressmaking dummies, painted portraits, pinup girl photos, plaster busts, Mrs. Collyer’s hope chests, rusty bed springs, the kerosene stove, a child’s chair (the brothers were lifelong bachelors and childless), more than 25,000 books (including thousands about medicine and engineering and more than 2,500 on law), human organs pickled in jars, eight live cats, the chassis of the old Model T with which Langley had been tinkering, tapestries, hundreds of yards of unused silks and fabric, clocks, 14 pianos (both grand and upright), a clavichord, two organs, banjos, violins, bugles, accordions, a gramophone and records, and countless bundles of newspapers and magazines, some of them decades old.

1 comment:

  1. It's okay let your kids be kids while they are young. As the saying goes "We can only be kids once", so so be it!