Home alone in the Thunderdome

I’ve been home alone for four days now, going on five, and despite my circumstances, it’s been a lot less Macaulay Culkin and a lot more Mrs. Doubtfire…except without the dressing up as a woman and speaking in falsetto.

OK, maybe it’s been a little more Clean House than anything else.
In the first two days, I took a trunkful of donations to Goodwill, dropped half a dozen nearly overflowing trash sacks down the chute and carried out an equal number of loads of recycling. I still have two bags of clothes to deliver to friends for their kids, and I haven’t even gone through our hall closets yet.
The happy surprise under all of this is that our house was actually pretty well organized under the veneer of clutter. Of course, since that veneer was more a coat of armor than a delicate facade, it didn’t matter that we were organized, since we could never get to that level. It was nice to get down to that point and be able to stop.
Of course, it helps that my standards have changed in the last, oh, I don’t know, five years. Before having kids, I liked by CDs–remember those?–lined up alphabetically by artist, my books grouped by genre and alphabetically sorted by author and my clothes in neat stacks. Now I’m happy just to know that there are no books on the floor. Mostly. And that they’re all on a shelf. Mostly. As for CDs–what are those?–I’m just glad that my kids let me play with my iPhone. Sometimes. And that they let me play my music on it. Sometimes.
As for my clothes, they’re in fairly neat stacks…in the front hall closet. About a year ago, I gave up on keeping them in what I used to refer to as Mama and Papa’s room, which is now the Room Formerly Known as Mama and Papa’s Room–or, as I like to call it, Prince. Or Princess, really, since it’s been taken over by Jewel.
I can’t fault her, though, since she truly has no room of her own in our two-bedroom place. 3B has squatter’s rights on his room and until recently their schedules were so different that it wasn’t possible to contemplate moving Jewel into his room. Now that we could, everyone’s so established in their routine, Mama and I don’t want to go to through the Herculean effort required to move everyone.
However, Jewel’s schedule doesn’t coincide with mine–she sleeps far more than I do, which meant that I had to ninja in and out of our room every time I wanted a sock. Seriously, she’s such a light sleeper that when a butterfly flaps its wings in China it wakes her up. This, of course, would wake up Mama. The resulting hullabaloo would often wake 3B and suddenly our house would go from the sterile silence of 2001: A Space Odyssey to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
So I conceded defeat at the hands of a then drooling, giggling opponent and moved out of our room. Mama has recently done the same, and the upside has been that in shuffling items about, we’ve also been cleaning out unnecessary items. And for Jewel the upside is that she now has three dressers all to herself.
And if you don’t think she has the clothes to fill them, then you’ve never had a baby girl.
People send 3B one camo shirt and think he’s set for the year, but believe that Jewel needs more outfits than the Malibu Barbie set that comes with Heidi Klum and Imelda Marcos dolls. People, let me explain: 3B is Tim Gunn, Jewel is Ty Pennington. She will build the closet to hold all of his clothes.
Maybe when she’s done with that, she can figure out how we can add a bedroom…seven stories off the ground.


Papa Bradstein will ride 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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