Weekend: Project Home

It was a lovely, warm weekend here in the Midwest, so naturally Donald-Smith-Gillentine Inc. spent it indoors.

We had one of those lovely rare weekends where we had no obligations, but the far-less-rare status of no money. We spent all the funmoney this month on our Valentine's Day dinner (1808 Chophouse, and man, that was gooooood). So we tackled two long-delayed projects: my office and the Boy's room.

Now, he's a teenage boy. I don't expect pin-straight neatness. The only young male I ever knew who could keep a room tidy was my friend Stephen, and we've all agreed he's a mutant. At one point in Boy's youth, I turned to a fellow choir member in frustration for advice. His children are brilliant, personable, super-achievers, poster children for the new millennium.

ME: Tom, it's all agreed you raised the perfect kids.
TOM: ... okay?
ME: You did this! Successfully! So please, share the secret: How did you get them to clean their rooms?
TOM: We didn't.
ME: What?
TOM: We just sort of closed those doors and pretended those rooms didn't exist.

This strangely made me feel better. But not much. Yikes. How can a kid who absolutely must have the movie/TV show started before he can begin eating his snack and will not brush his teeth until he has gotten dressed because these things must be done in order live in such chaos! Momproblems.

But I cannot throw stones. My office looks like the police definition of "there appears to have been a struggle." I work every day in my home office for the newspaper. And every night I run my businesses and write my books there. Paper breeds on every flat surface. Two years ago I clear-cut it back down, but it's like the papers are gremlins and someone threw water around. (Come to think of it, I can't guarantee the office is gremlin-free. I heard some strange sounds the other night.)

In the meantime, Boy has managed to destroy his bed. And his dresser. Don't ask me how this is possible. It's an ordinary twin bed, and we recently discovered the springs are poking through the bottom of the mattress into the box spring. And ripping through all the bedding on the way. There are holes right through the center of the mattress, and while I know it's the springs that have sprung, it looks for all the world like he took a sword and drove it right through the middle of the bed like Arthur returning Excalibur home.

(He swears he didn't stab his bed with a sword. I believe him. Because I sold the sword three years ago.)

To add to the fun, the bed frame is all bent out of shape. He's also too tall for it - his feet hang off the end. His dresser decided to pile on the fun by almost literally falling apart. I paid $20 for it at a yard sale, so I guess I got my money's worth. Jim examined it closely and declared it totally irreparable. And that was before we found that the door to his armoire has half-ripped off of its hinge, destroying the particleboard keeping it in place.

Demolition Boy's desk and bookshelf have survived intact. Somehow. Probably because they get the least use... STARE. I'm used to the high level of destruction Boy manages to cause simply by the sheer friction of his constant motion - ask me sometime about how a seven-year-old child manages to destroy not one but TWO glass light fixtures several feet over his head using only foam.

To be fair, the dresser was not in the best of shape when we bought it and the bed would need to be replaced even if it hadn't been shredded because it's not HIS fault he is now six-foot-two and 200 pounds. Still, we're looking at the replacement of a mattress, box spring, bed frame, dresser, bedside table (long story), comforter, sheets, mattress pad, plus a shoe organizer and possibly some room-darkening drapes plus the armoire if we can't fix that door. I swear, we used to just throw his shoes into a square bin. Because they were tiny.

In the meantime, I have spent untold hours and gone through almost a box and a half of hanging folders and still have not uncovered the surface of my desk. It occurs to me that this so-called paperless society we've been waiting for is still a long time coming. I've got a book launch happening this week, so I really wanted to get through the mess before my off-duty focus turns to that. Whoops.

Finally, we called it quits a couple of hours before the menfolk had to go to work Sunday night, and we escaped into the now-chilly sunshine to do some photography. Boy got a really nice Nikon Coolpix from my folks for Christmas, and he took some startlingly good shots at the Garden while I did some casual portraits of Jim for *mmmmf* shhhh it's a secret. *whistles*

In all, surprisingly not the worst weekend we've ever had, considering we spent most of it working. In part because I got to hide up in the office and avoid breathing oh my god the dust if I were there I think I'd be coughing until Easter. In part because I actually feel like we accomplished a few things, even though I'm rather discouraged at how long it's going to take to reorganize the office. The desk, the filing, the office supply shelf, the shipping center, the photography desk, the library... everything needs to be pretty much torn down and put back together.

I'm considering a flamethrower. I doubt the landlords would approve.

However, I did spend the entire weekend with my menfolk. That's always good. Progress was made. The floor in Boy's room is visible. We got some nifty photos. The only bad thing about the weekend: it's too short.