Monday, 13 February 2012

Tidy up day

Isn't this how visitors impact your house?

Trash. Everywhere.

I don't know about you, but no clearing up is done while there are visitors. None at all. Only an emergency sweep of one forearm across half the sofa, sweeping away kid trash. The esteemed guest can then park their backside for five minutes and drain a cup of coffee, before being marched out the house to express eternal wonder at the tourist facilities. In our case, a Hong Kong street vendor squatting by a pile of Chinese cabbage. Whatever. Visitors = I stare at our three-week routine of dump stuff and run. Dump more stuff, and run. Dump and run. Dump and run.

But now the visitor has gone!

I start the day with vigor and enthusiasm. Today! Things will be done!

I survey the landscape of this Grit household. Folded mountains of pamphlets, leaflets and newspapers appearing inexplicably overnight, lakes of plastic food-wrap swirling by the front door, never draining to the ocean of the recycling bin, and forests of clothing which have grown in heaps, I note mainly at foot of stairs and mostly composted from Squirrel's gear.

I declare proudly, it is tidy up day!

Shark tuts, Squirrel puts her hands over her ears, and Tiger is downright rude. I am just glad she doesn't yet know the four-letter word.

I am undaunted.

I say to Shark, Tiger and Squirrel, pick up your precious stuff. Now. The typhoon of the vacuum cleaner is due imminently.

You can guess the kid response. Clutch hair, gasp, scream, bear expression of terror, adopt body contortions of torture victims straight off a violation of human rights card. I ignore them all. I am used to it.

Children, it may come to pass that my enthusiasm will end in an earthquake of fury at a blocked vacuum hose within about 15 minutes. And yes, when I reach exhaustion, one black eye thanks to a broom pole and one collapsed lung courtesy of Cif fumes, I may grab hold of anything left over, including the kitchen cat if we had one, and shovel it into plastic sacks to dump it by the bins, BUT.

I must go through with it.

En route I simply note Law of Kids + Tidying up: it is easier for any kid to spend three hours in emotional suffering, beating themselves senseless and rending their clothing, than it is to spend three seconds picking up a half-finished unicorn moulded from bottle-tops.

It is time. I merely go to find the vacuum cleaner in a stately, majestic sort of way. Like a sailing ship in full wind across the Pacific/front room floor, stepping over writhing kids, sure of my course, and steady as I go.

Only I can't find the vacuum cleaner.

Where is it? It is not in the office. It is not in the toilet (now disused thanks to the landlord cutting off the water supply). It is not behind the curtain.

The vacuum cleaner isn't anywhere!

Which leads to the following conversation with the beloved, which I hope you do not have in your household on tidy up day.

Grit: Have you seen the vacuum cleaner?
Dig: What?
Grit: Have you seen the vacuum cleaner?
Dig: What?
[repeat this for about five minutes]
Dig: The one with the brushes?
Grit: What?
Dig: Has it got brushes?
Grit: We've only got one vacuum cleaner. Does it have brushes?
Dig: I don't know.
Grit: I want the vacuum cleaner.
Dig: Where is it?

Reader, I shall draw tidy up day to a conclusion now.

If you have reached this point and found it a profound disappointment, be reassured. So did I.

And if you find the vacuum cleaner, please let me know where the f***ing thing is.

2 comments:

sharon said...

Did Travelling Aunty run off with it? My only other suggestion is that the kids have re-cycled it for you ;-)

Nora said...

You and Dig should do stand up comedy. That bit about the vacuum cleaner was great. It brought a big grin to my face, though I'm sorry it's gone missing. Have the kids buried it in the garden? Just a thought since they hate cleaning so much.