Tag Archives: messes

The Great Sock Abyss

Some time ago my daughter cleaned her bedroom, and in so doing resurrected an embarrassment of items that she had ostensibly given up for dead. Things that she hadn’t seen in such a long period of time that she forgot about them almost entirely. There was a pair of iPhone earbuds that had been MIA forever, more than a year’s worth of allowance and at least nine Starbucks cups, one of which still contained what could only be described as a fermented atrocity.

Lovely. Just lovely.

Most notably, she unearthed an ungodly number of socks. Tall ones. Short ones. Socks with stripes. Socks with dots. Socks that will never again be suggestive of clean and socks imprinted with teensy-tiny foxes. My personal favorite.

Admittedly, on more than one occasion I felt compelled to rummage around in her hovel, intent upon gathering all the lone socks in order to pair them appropriately—because it makes me insane to know that the socks in question are, for lack of a better term, estranged. Never mind wadded up, inside out and appearing as though they had been shot from a cannon.

How hard could it be? I remember thinking. You just look around, find the right patterns and put them together. It’s not rocket science. Truth be told, I found such an endeavor to be virtually impossible each time I tried—and subsequently failed—to locate matching pairs. It was as if her room had transformed into the Great Sock Abyss—the place where perfectly wonderful socks go to die, or, perhaps more tragically, become separated forevermore.

Like a fool, I had to ask my daughter the obvious question: WHERE DO THEY GO?

“I have no idea where the lost socks go, Mom. No clue.”

At any rate, when she cleaned her room (see paragraph one) I was patently euphoric over the news of her sock discovery, since their mates had been hanging on a rack in the laundry room since the dawn of time, in hopes of being reunited at long last. Imagine my surprise (read: PROFOUND GLEE) when she produced a dozen or more of the missing socks. It was categorically off the charts and almost as joyous an occasion as the time she found her favorite pair of dilapidated sneakers. Sneakers so pathetic, and yet so dear, she more affectionately refers to them as dead—as if the term “dead” were somehow a good thing. Technically speaking (she’s quick to remind me), they’re still functional. Sort of.

That said, in the past I’ve questioned her dead sneakers as well as the bizarre logic that would support a decision to NOT keep socks and their mates together. Who does that? And why on earth does it happen month after month?

“I don’t know, Mom. I guess I take them off and tell myself that I’ll put them together later, and then I don’t. Honestly, it’s just too much work.”

At that, I shook my head in disbelief and perhaps disappointment. Then I began to wonder if I had driven my mom crazy in much the same way. I couldn’t reliably recall my specific behavior as it relates to the pairing of socks, although all signs pointed to having been a neat freak, so they were probably ridiculously ordered. Perfectly aligned in neat and tidy little rows when clean. Turned right side out and paired properly when dirty.

Now that I think about it, it’s entirely possible that I drove my mother to distraction by spending an inordinate chunk of my teenage years organizing my closet and drawers. It’s also likely that my obsession with rearranging my bedroom furniture by myself at all hours made her nearly certifiable on occasion. In fact, I moved my dressers and bed around so often that their spindly legs were on the verge of snapping—something that would make any parent implode.

So maybe I should consider myself fortunate, only having to deal with lone socks for a decade or two. Not the annihilation of furniture. As an added bonus, my daughter’s bedroom gets cleaned. Occasionally.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live, probably looking for missing socks. Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom. Caricature by Simon Ellinas.

Copyright 2018 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, In the Trenches of Parentville, Welcome to My Disordered World

An Island of Misery

My kitchen island is a glorious beast—a massive, 34 square foot, 1,200-pound slab of quartz-y wonderfulness that seats six comfortably and houses a wealth of wares within its spacious cabinetry and drawers. It is all I dreamt of and more as our kitchen was renovated for months on end—the mother of all home improvement projects. But because the gods apparently hate me, its surface has been defiled in the years that have passed since its conception. I’m fairly certain that the man who built it (Tim Rosati) and the man who installed it (Ed Gair) would weep if they knew the awful truth—that it has become a home for wayward schlock that my family refuses to take care of and it’s entirely possible that I will die of disappointment.

On my headstone it will read: HERE LIES A WOMAN WHO APPRECIATED THE INHERENT BEAUTY OF A KITCHEN ISLAND WHOSE SURFACE SPARKLES IN THE SUN—A SPACE COMPLETELY DEVOID OF THE TRAPPINGS OF LIFE—A TESTAMENT TO ALL THAT IS UNSULLIED AND GOOD. LET IT BE KNOWN THAT SHE DIED TRYING TO RESTORE SAID ISLAND TO ITS ORIGINAL GLORY, A NOBLE AND WORTHY CAUSE INDEED.

At any rate, I have wasted precious time imploring my family to stop using my beautiful island as a dumping ground and I’ve made myself crazy attempting to return their stuff to its rightful place in the universe—like the cussed garage, or a dresser drawer, or a closet for Pete’s sake. Almost instantaneously, the wretched piles return, only larger and more offensive to my sensibilities. To illustrate, this is a partial listing of the items I found there today:

Party favors, props and programs from various musicals, phone chargers, checkbooks, out-of-date ticket stubs, gift cards, a dog leash and treats, someone’s watch (that may or may not keep accurate time), a hodgepodge of jewelry, a handful of cough drops, a half-eaten Rice Krispie treat, thank you notes (yet to be written), six jumbo paper clips, someone’s library card, a prescription drug box, PILES UPON PILES of mail in a sorry state of disarray, newspapers, the trappings of school, an honor roll clipping, tiny wads of unclaimed money, sweaters and sweatshirts, a discarded purse, marching band paraphernalia, field trip permission slips, as many as five coats hanging on the backs of chairs and eight pairs of shoes lying in a huddled mass at the foot of said chairs, a winter scarf, Bubble wrap and Judy Bernly’s bobby pins.

By all accounts, what I’ve described is tragic and I can’t begin to express how disheartened it makes me. It isn’t as if we haven’t had discussions as a family about the problem. Loud discussions, as I recall. Each time I argue my case, the logic I offer fails to inspire the parties in question to take lasting action. More specifically, to not only remove stuff from the island, but to KEEP IT FROM FINDING ITS WAY BACK. It’s almost as if my husband and kids are marking territory. Like dogs. Although I suspect that dogs know better.

To make matters worse, it appears as though the scourge is spreading—much like the plague. That said, the disordered mass has moved beyond the boundaries of the aforementioned island and currently affects a sizeable portion of a countertop and much of our dining room table. Sadly, the former has become a staging area for jewelry repair, featuring an embarrassment of ridiculously small tools, and the latter now functions as a place to pile things that have no business being piled there. Naturally, my husband argues they are things he is “working on.” If the past is any indication, he’ll be “working on” that stuff till doomsday. Maybe longer.

In order to deal with such a demoralizing set of circumstances, I suppose I’ll just have to ignore the surface and know that deep within beats the heart of my beloved island. Or I could ask for the unthinkable—that it be cleaned for Mother’s Day.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Planet Mom: It’s where I live, probably standing in my kitchen, lamenting the sorry state of my island. Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom. Caricature by Simon Ellinas.

Copyright 2018 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Family Affair, In the Trenches of Parentville, Rantings & Ravings, Welcome to My Disordered World

Captain Underpants

As I type, I’m envisioning the disjointed discussion likely taking place in my brood’s fifth-grade classroom right about now, spawned, of course, by the events surrounding Saturday’s cleaning fest at our home. Like most frenzied attempts to rid my world of filth, this one involved airborne food, uninspired decor and a shameless violation of child labor laws. I’m guessing the conversation unfolded thusly:

Thing One: “My Mom made us dust the whole living room this weekend WITH A PAIR OF MY DAD’S UNDERWEAR and it was entirely horrible.”

Teacher: (rendered speechless, except for the chortles she probably choked back in an effort to appear genuinely empathetic and professional in the midst of unadulterated hilarity)

Thing One: “Yeah, she was running the vacuum like ALL DAY, which she almost NEVER does, because we had to move the couch…because there was a big mustard stain on the carpet she was trying to hide (with said couch) and because my sister and I were standing around doing nothing except eating the old M&Ms we found under the couch, Mom made us pick up Dad’s underwear and dust (likely scarring the aforementioned youth for life).”

Teacher: “Oh. Dusting. With your Dad’s underwear. I see.”

Thing Two: “I spilled the mustard last week. And my beef barbecue sandwich on Saturday morning, when I jumped into Mom’s favorite chair. She went ballistic, like she always does. So we ended up helping her clean, only we didn’t do it right because she found little pieces of my sandwich underneath the cushion and on the carpet EVEN AFTER we scrubbed. Well, actually THE DOG found little pieces of my sandwich and I knew it wasn’t going to be a very good day. So she handed us Dad’s underwear and told us to dust. I thought I was going to hurl.”

Teacher: “Mustard. Beef barbecue. Underwear. Urge to hurl. Uh huh. But the underwear was just a dust cloth, right? One she’s washed a gazillion times?”

Thing One: “That’s what she told us, but I don’t believe it. She was probably SO mad about the carpet and the chair that she wanted to punish us by grossing us out. Well it worked. When I grow up and get my own house, I’m never going to make my kids dust with anyone’s underwear. That’s just plain wrong.”

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (amusing teachers everywhere). Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.

Copyright 2012 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, I Pretty Much Suck at Parenting

Fool That I Am

Remind me to never again hire an incompetent babysitter. Ever. It’s hardly worth the aggravation I suffered as a result of inviting said twit into my home to care for my children. Granted, my husband and I enjoyed an enchanting evening together, which is a rarity in and of itself, and the delightful buzz derived from the three (or was it four?) glasses of something-or-other I quaffed was utterly decadent. However, those savory nuggets of goodness were but a distant memory once we crossed our threshold and laid eyes upon the mother of all messes.

The devastation we witnessed there was unconscionable. Rest assured, our charges were alive and well—and thankfully, hadn’t torched the place or climbed onto the rooftop to pet a squirrel. Just the same, I was baffled as to how our happy home had been transformed from the tolerable state of disarray in which we left it to the state of total annihilation in which we found it—just two hours later. It was inconceivable.

Dora the Explorer underwear, sweat socks and remnants of cheesy pizza littered the coffee table. Discarded clothing and half a roll of Scotch tape hung from the sofa like Spanish moss. Puzzles (Lord knows how many!) had been dumped and abandoned in front of the television set—which was blaring a lovely little blurb about Girls Gone Wild at roughly 120 decibels. A slew of videos and DVDs lay behind the couch like forgotten Frisbees and scads upon scads of marbles (which I failed to remember we even owned) were strewn about the place like chicken feed. I’m still finding the wretched things. Grok!

Needless to say, the floor itself was barely visible. Throw pillows, toys and a bevy of books lay like carnage throughout the house—as did unfettered markers and crayons and those pebble-ish clumps of Pay-Doh I’ve grown to know and loathe. And there were scissors (SHE GAVE THEM SCISSORS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!) along with bazillions of confetti-like bits of paper scattered the world over.

At least I found no one’s ponytail amidst the rubble. There is a god.

Had I been sober, I might have recognized in an instant the telltale signs of ruin. Oddly enough, I do remember noting (yet pooh-poohing) the waist-high piece of string that led from my treadmill, where it had been crudely tethered, through the den, across the kitchen and into the vastness of the living room where presumably, it was tied to yet another stationary object—the babysitter, perhaps (i.e. the shiftless lump on the couch)?

It wasn’t just any old string either. Apparently those wily imps of mine had pilfered every blooming piece of lacing string, craft string and ribbon they could get their mitts on, purposefully knotting them together to form an anaconda-sized tightrope (read: a fiendish device for ensnaring unsuspecting creatures, great and small). They then must have wound the ends around key pieces of furniture in each of the aforementioned rooms, careful to keep it taut and thoroughly entwined every step of the way. It was masterful, I must admit. But WHERE ON EARTH was the babysitter during the eternity that it must have required for a couple of twerps (who can’t even tie their own shoes!) to construct something so profoundly complex and sinfully marvelous!? And why OH WHY hadn’t she put a stop to their foolishness by ordering them to put away the first behemoth-sized batch toys before piling into the NEXT behemoth-sized batch of toys!!? That’s just plain stupid. That’s what it is. Stupid.

So was the string thing.

What if instead they had decided to smear the cat with Vaseline, and then felt the compelling desire to festoon him with the vat of confetti they had created?! What if they had yanked every purple Popsicle out of the freezer and set it on the counter for the purpose of conducting some warped little melting experiment?! What if they had filled the tub with Gatorade or lime-flavored Jell-O?! I shudder to think. The string thing was bizarre enough.

But how could I (BLITHERING IDIOT THAT I AM) stroll past such a monstrosity without shrieking in protest and abject horror (at least within the confines of my own mind), knowing full well that something was terribly, terribly wrong with this picture!? Moms just know. At least they’re supposed to.

Then again, I’m supposed to have a handle on the incompetence thing as it relates to babysitters and whatnot.

So much for that.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (wondering whether I dare to hire another babysitter–ever).

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Home for Wayward Toys, The Natives are Decidedly Restless