Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I am thrilled to have the holidays behind me. As it turns out, holidays are a lot of work and I'm kind of a lazy bastard.

Do you remember that boring puzzle game where you slide little squares with numbers on them so that they appear in order? Here's a picture of the game. It feels like I've been playing that game with pieces of my life for the last couple weeks, in both the space and time dimensions.

The space dimension has been the more difficult one. Our house is typically quite messy. My wife prefers the term "cluttered", but it's pretty much filled with crap no matter what semantic veneer you put on it. I submit the following as evidence:

1) We have what could be described as four dining room tables. We have no dining room.

2) Our child weeps at the merest hint of throwing away her old possessions. This, combined with our diagnosis rationalization that she suffers from "fear of loss", makes us reluctant to throw away her old crap. Consequently we have boxes filled with things like her old toothbrushes.

3) We have four computers up and running in the house. Three more are tucked away in nooks and crannies. Various unused keyboards and cables do a poor job of hiding themselves. Hello! I see you, old floppy drive!

You get the idea. So, because I'm a slob, soon after we got a kid, we also acquired the idea of a Crap Room. I mean, the crap ain't gonna hide itself, so you gotta stick it in a Crap Room. Then, you close the door, and voila, 25% less clutter.

Often the guest room, which also doubles as my wife's office, has been the Crap Room. That plans fails, however, when guests arrive. So, a while back we started to use my office, which is the biggest bedroom in the house, as the crap room. That plan then fails when we need to create emergency play-space for visiting children. Our common-area space is limited to a kitchen and a living room, so when kids descend upon the house, either we endure them in the living room, or we make space for them upstairs in my office. So, the crap moves back and forth, as necessary, between the guest room and my office. It's like a really simple version of that sliding puzzle. Just two spaces and one giant pile of crap.

This weekend the unthinkable happened. We had my mother in law staying in the guest room, and my family arriving, with kids in tow. We required both rooms to be free of crap. Now, instead of moving the big pile of crap back and forth, I had to think smaller, and try to move each individual piece of crap into some other magical new place in the house. Looking for places to move things like old computer monitors kind of went like this:

"Oh, there's a bottle cap on my desk. I'll throw that away. Now, if I mush these other things on my desk together, I'll have room for that roll of quarters from my bookshelf. Ok, now if I mush things together on the bookshelf, I'll have room for that stack of CDs from the floor..."

Boom! An hour later, I've got a spot cleared for the monitor. One piece of micro-junk down, 99 to go. It all starts with a bottle cap.

Soon, I ran out of places to hide things. Eventually the garbage cans, recycling bins, closets, and under the beds were full. It was time to start making up places. I found a pile of bows in the living room, and I deftly thrust them into the branches of the Family Holiday tree. Tiny plastic toys? Toilet tank. Bits of crumpled paper? I ate those. I was on a roll.

Somehow, we got it all done. I'm not sure how, and I dare not open the closet doors, lest boxes of camping gear and shards from our glass shard collection rain down on my head. Next time, I'll store those in the toilet tank too.

Note, this blog entry does not end with a perfunctory joke


Anonymous said...

Ok, u know, u really should try throwing out some of that old crap. Sell some of the computer stuff at a flea market. You'll make some money and get rid of it. Just throw out the rest, or find some way to recycle or sell it all.

Mike said...

That makes way too much sense for me to act on it. What kind of blog would this be then?