Household messes make memories

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It’s obvious we’ve been neglecting household chores. Boywonder recently pointed out that he was drinking grape juice out of a vase.

Our home has two standards: spotless and ransacked. There is literally no in-between.

Spotless

First let me state for the record that our home will rarely pass the white glove test. When I say spotless I mean swept and shined. Kitchen clean, laundry folded, clutter contained.

If someone wants to be really picky and climb to the highest corner I’m not going to say they wouldn’t find some speck of dust. Or a stinkbug.

Definitely a stinkbug

Those things are EVERYWHERE.

If only I could teach THEM to dust (tiny maid uniforms for stinkbugs — Etsy sellers get on it!).

Over the years we’ve had a certain rhythm. For many years, I arose with Mr. Wonderful at or around 5:30 a.m. He went to work and I cleaned, until 8 a.m.

Yes, really. Every day. Coffee, the morning news, and my trusty bucket of hot soapy water.

I believed fervently in getting up before the kids, having the house tidy, the laundry done and dinner started before breakfast. That freed up the rest of my day and for that I’ve never been sorry. It also meant I had a 9 p.m. bedtime well into middle age.

Like a machine

I’ve never been sorry for that either. I loved running our home like a well oiled — and well organized — machine. Walking into, or waking up to, a clean house is one of life’s little pleasures.

There have been times when I probably — no definitely — terrorized my family in pursuit of my housekeeping standards. We can’t entertain — we have to clean first. We can’t leave before we’ve picked up.

Honestly, that’s crazy. Today, I have lowered my standards considerably. We have always enjoyed being the hangout house.

I find that leaving a trail of snacks and drinks works much like breadcrumbs in leading the children and their friends to our abode.

This last weekend we reached a new high when GirlWonder had her dearest friends — one from Florida — spend two days with us. On day one there were giggles, girls and iced coffee cups EVERYWHERE.

On day two they added a friend, covered GirlWonder’s bedroom floor entirely in futons to create a wall-to-wall flophouse, scattered hair products and makeup all over two bathrooms and made me laugh harder than I thought possible.

Coffee cups

When I walked in, not a single clean coffee cup was clean.

Having been adulting as long as I have, I have amassed quite a collection. I expect the fancy matched set to go first. There are only four of those.

I’m only surprised when the upper level is clear. The mismatched, sentimental, freebie and promotional mugs rarely see the light of day.

They had enjoyed so many cocoas, teas and coffees with more cream than caffeine that they had run us clear out of drinking vessels. They laughed, they took endless photos, they told stories of past, present and future.

They were safe, silly, happy and making a huge mess of my house.

In the midst of this, Boywonder drank from a vase, Mr. Wonderful made a truly impressive statement by stacking toilet paper 10 rolls high on the previously empty dispenser. Be prepared. That’s his motto! It was a masterpiece, really.

A squirrel ate the corner of our welcome mat (I watched him do it) and we all lived, laughed and loved.

Now these are good girls and great kids and each and every one of them would offer to clean up and eventually they did. For two blissful days, however, we lived in comfort and no end of mess while making memories.

One of the girls, laughing, said “I love your house.”

That made my day — and all the messes worthwhile. I love our home, too. I love the people who fill it more.

As it turns out, what I enjoyed just as much as walking into a spotless home — was walking into one littered with friendship, memories and happiness, too.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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