Friday, November 7, 2008

Better Homes and Other Desert Islands - Chapter One

Good morning!

(And for most of you, it probably is morning, as in 2 a.m., since you satisfy your blog cravings after the kids are in the dryer and the laundry's been put to bed. If that sentence made sense to you, you should probably call it a day.)

I have to admit I haven't really got the hang of blogging beyond this stream-of-consciousness thing I do every couple of days. I forget what everyone calls their blogs, and still haven't figured out how to teach my computer to remember the names for me. I'm old enough to belong to the generation that reads newspapers and magazines - in paper form, no less - through bifocals. (While churning butter and cross-stitching samplers for the outhouse walls.)

And until recently, I subscribed to a number of popular magazines that promise to turn their readers into Martha Stewart minus the parole officer. In my real life, the one that has been on backorder since the 70's, I not only read those magazines, I'm a contributing editor. And my beautiful, perfect home is used for their special Christmas issue, every year. The article usually starts with something like, "While no one is as gifted a homemaker/decorator /glue-gunner as DeNae, there is still room at the loser table for readers like you..." I try to be humble, offering inspirational quotes like, "My home is all about making my family comfortable and serene. Every room you enter should feel like a mother's kiss with marshmallows on top."

And why wouldn't it? My real house looks like a celestial marriage between IKEA and Pottery Barn, with decorative bits and pieces picked up on my travels to exotic locales like Fiji and Orlando. Dust never settles; it simply doesn't get the chance. And my white carpets actually get whiter the more we walk on them with our bleached, in-the-house socks (shoes resting comfortably in color-coordinated IKEA bins in the Pottery Barn wardrobe at the front door). No clutter, no dirt, no flesh-eating bacteria growing in the kids' bathroom. I'm telling you, angels swing by when they need a reminder of what heaven really looks like.

However, sadly, I'm still living the loaner life they gave me at the shop, and the closest I come to seeing angels is when I take a tumble down the stairs after tripping over my daughter's entire bedroom, which oddly has been relocated to the staircase in the event she needs something in a hurry and doesn't want to look for it where it actually belongs. ("Quick, everybody, where's my 7th grade yearbook?? Oh, here it is, under mom's broken ankle. Whew!! Good thing I didn't leave that in my room!!")

Yes, my temporary house more closely resembles a bitter divorce between the Nevada Test Site and 'Chuck-E-Cheese', and no one wants custody of the offspring. We don't have many throw pillows, for example, although there have been plenty of throw-up pillows over the years. (Seriously, just burn the bed and be done with it. Remove the kid, leave the pajamas.) If a half-finished bottle of Gatorade, fused to the counter because no one even SEES it any more, qualifies as a 'decorative art piece', then we've got those in spades. Mine is that rare breed of house where silk flowers actually wilt, where no picture hangs straight because the wall itself is crooked.

And that white carpet I mentioned? When people come into the house, I encourage them to keep their shoes on; no sock deserves that fate.

(In case you're wondering what kind of idiot puts white carpeting into a house where four teenagers, thirty piano students and their parents, another thirty children's choir members (parents optional), and a golden retriever who sheds so much she teaches graduate level shedding classes to other dogs traipse in and out week after dusty Las Vegas week, the answer is...MY KIND of idiot. Now you know.)

What does the phrase "occasional table" mean, exactly? To my family, it means 'occasionally a table for cutting through tennis balls, occasionally a table for storing Kleenexes soaked in nail polish remover, occasionally a table for practicing your signature over and over with magic marker for when you marry Elvin the Vampire from the absurdly popular Sometime After Five But Before, Say, Eight Thirty-ish series'. ("What?? I put down a paper towel first!")

Anyway, my point is this: Maintaining a house where one's family very inconsiderately insists on actually living isn't nearly as blissful an experience as Martha and her orange jump-suited colleagues would have one believe. From feather dusters (pfft! as if!!) to little robotic room vacuumers (which, sadly, don't suck up Leggos very well), those magazines offer precious little useful advice on keeping your living room from being declared an industrial land fill.

So, while I wait for my real life to turn up, I'll offer you the benefit of my vast storehouse of experience and expertise in all things domestic.

And the first thing you need to know is this: Mother's kisses with marshmallows on top eventually require scissors and a really big hat.


Amber said...

Oh my gosh I literally LOL'd when you took a tumble down the stairs. So dang funny!! Still LOL-ing!

brudcrew said...

I wish I could say your descriiptions make my house seem clean but alas the landfill is ever present here too! As for keeping track of blogs, try Google Reader: (copy and paste)

Hel said...

It's not often I giggle out loud when I am reading blog, but you did it! I can't wait to hear more about your loan life.

Arliss said...

I loved your laundry advise, but totally reject your use of paint tinner!
I'll be waiting for more safethy tips!