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©January 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg


The Making of a Haven





It was something that I had been dreading over the last couple of months, but it had to be dealt with sometime—and soon!  As January is a time for new beginnings, new leaves, and clean sweeps my time was running out.  With only a few days left I made my decision.  It was time to tackle Erin's room.


As a ten year-old with more stuff than any one kid should have and the entire upper floor to herself, Erin's a pig.  Actually she's no more mess than any other lazy kid her age.  I've avoided it since the weather had turned cold.  No amount of pleading, cajoling, or even screaming would make her do it herself.  It had gotten to the point I don't even think she could have made a dent in it without professional (parental) help.  So, last Sunday the decision was made that come this weekend, my time would be devoted to cleaning her room—with her help of course. (Right!!!)


There is no sty as bad as that of a young, spoiled, lazy child.  Everything is strewn to and fro with zero walking space.  Amid the dust and debris are tiny Polly Pocket® figures, Barbies®, Pokemon® paraphernalia, clothes, and a myriad of other small things.  This didn't even address her trash of candy wrappers, hidden glasses of long-curdled milk (Urp!), and just general living.  It looked like Toys R Us® after a bomb exploded and then the fast food dumpster next door was thrown on top of it all.  My first instinct is to trash any and all things moveable save the furniture.  It could be less costly to replace than to save. 


Friday evening came.  I left work and picked up my little darling.  Our first stop was at the trusty K*Mart for storage boxes for what I would opt to save.  Then we were off to the grocery store for our weekly visit.  Once home and unloaded, the clock stated it was already late.  Time to relax and ready for the morrow.


Saturday did arrive.  I was blindsided by it and still not ready.  After coffee and filled with dread, I mounted the stairs to view the carnage.  Oh, if horrors could speak, this wouldn't talk, it would scream. 


I then went back to my roots taught to my at my mother's knee.  If the job seems insurmountable, break it down into tolerable portions.  I didn't want to believe there were even tolerable portions within my vision.  It was just too much.  I felt old and tired and certainly not up to the challenge.  Then I pushed forward.


First stop on the list was the mountain of video tapes to be rewound and housed back into their cases.  Many video stores don't have the sum that resides in our home.  At the very least we have bordering on 300 videos, all but about 20 are rated "G."  The rest "PG."  I don't think one of them was re-wound or was in their case.  Just looking at that was enough to make you cry—especially if you wanted to find the case. 


I wasted about two hours trying to rewind tapes before opting just to locate cases and store them away.  I think more than half of them are okay, any others will have to be rewound before playing again.  You wanna ask me if I care at this point?   Don't!


If the major part of the mess were VCR tapes then I wouldn't bat an eye.  The tapes were only a delaying tactic.  The rest of the mess wasn't just depressing, it was horrific—the kind that your mind doesn't allow you to take in all at once.  It's just too much and the overload might just send you running screaming from the house while tearing your hair out. 


With nearly 500 square feet at her disposal, I wanted all of it gone.  I just would be easier than sifting through it all.  Still, they don't make dumpsters this size.  I could have filled 30-yard dumpster in nothing flat had I my druthers.  Still the trash man will cringe.  I've now many bags (all double-bagged for his safety) at the ready for the next pickup.  I'll be sure to leave a gift curbside for his efforts.


There were the clothes flung hither and yon, teensy bits of tiny toys, big toys, and toys she couldn't live without.  I sifted and I culled.  I trashed a bit although via the entreaties of my daughter kept me from throwing all of it out.  Within a few hours, I denied her any access upstairs.  I was "in-mode" and "on."  Nothing would stop me outside of the heart attack that worried me as I moved overloaded furnishing.  I tossed junk into double-bags, I scrubbed, I dusted, and I vacuumed.  I had saved a nice surprise for last—the new bedding.


After rearranging her room to make it feel more like a living space rather than a college free-for-all.  I swept away the last of the clutter and made up her bed.


Erin had been sitting on the bottom step for the last two hours of my efforts while listening to my moans, groans, and stifled cursing. 


Finally it was done. 


Facing the rest of the house that also needing such a thorough cleaning didn't faze me a bit.  I scrubbed down the bathrooms, gave a once-over to the kitchen, dusted and vacuumed.  I hid my eyes to the rest.  It can wait.


Dinner called and I didn't answer.  It if came out of a can or could be microwaved—I wished daughter and hubby well with it.  I sat gasping in a chair just hoping for the energy to hit the showers where I hoped to melt and crawl off to bed and not to be bothered until the next day.


The next day would herald laundry of the momentous kind.  But, then, tomorrow is another day—at least Scarlett says so and I'd bank her words any day.


For any parent facing a kid's room to clean, just know it's worth it.  The kids, big and small have a blast afterwards.  Ninendo-64 must rule—Don and Erin play all the time.  I haven't the energy.  I'll smile and collapse later.  I still haven't recovered.






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