Everything we own ends up on the floor

Posted by GT on October 5th, 2008 — Posted in Newspaper columns, Personal favorites

Originally published in March 2005, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo.

Things drop at our house.

Open a cabinet, a plastic 32-ounce Taco Bell cup tumbles out, deflects off the counter and skitters around the kitchen floor.

Pull out a dresser drawer, a T-shirt unfurls and flops onto the carpet.

Reach for the Ibuprofen in our cabinet, the Tums bottle that strikes my brow worsens my headache.

Canned peas dive like lemmings. Neckties slither off hangers. Frozen chicken breasts thump the linoleum. Model kit boxes. Play Dough. Paintbrushes. Screwdrivers. Tennis balls. Videotapes. Books. CDs. Pencils. They all topple defiantly from their perches.

Is our place sitting at an angle? Are mice or gremlins at work?

Sometimes I fear I’ve grown so fat I’m creating my own gravitational field, one strong enough to pull items toward me until Earth’s slightly greater mass takes hold of them.

If no one’s around to see me do it, I blame faceless entities and say words I shouldn’t. As often as not, the item that dropped gets kicked, stomped or otherwise mistreated by my feet. For a few seconds, I’m convinced the object has consciousness and wants to aggravate me, so I take my revenge in a way I never could with a person.

In other words, I behave like a child. No, wait, that’s not true, because when such things happen to my 4-year-old, she says “Whoa” or “Oopsie,” picks up the item and moves on. It’s more accurate to say I behave like a jerk.

A part of me would love to call my little girls the source of chaos in our home, but they’re not. In fact, they’re pretty predictable. They’re just not doing things exactly the way I want them to.

The baby books tell me infants will start sleeping through the night after a few months, and so every night for the last year I’ve gone to bed certain that our toddler will “sleep like a baby.” There’s gotta be some reason for the cliché, right? Except every night, our baby girl wakes up at least twice and demands attention.

Every night she does this, and every night I go to bed presuming she won’t.

Our 4-year-old is an aspiring artist. She works with paints, construction paper, glitter, coins, ribbon … no one can guess where her artistic vision will guide her next, but it’s a sure thing it will take her somewhere, and it will involve scissors and glue.

Every day she asks for the tools she needs to create her works, and every day the rejected bits of her efforts scatter on the kitchen table, her desk and other surfaces. She picks up what she can, but it spreads almost as fast as the hair our dog sheds around the house.

The blunt fact is, I am the source of chaos in our home. Being totally unwilling to deal with the predictable uproar that comes with having two small children, I’ve thrown basic organization right out the window.

If I’m the one to empty the dishwasher or straighten up a room, instead of placing things where they belong, I shove them all over creation. My only rule is to make sure plastic ends up on top of glass.

Laundry? Sure, I’m willing to do it. I’m even willing to fold it. But precarious piles atop the dressers are as close as I’ll get to putting it back into the drawers where it belongs.

Obviously, then, I shouldn’t be surprised when these things head south at the first opportunity, and if I’m going to kick anything, it ought to be me.

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