Laying Waste To The Living Room

I work in San Francisco, and I also work East Coast hours. This means I get up not long before the sun does. If I had time, I’m sure I could get a head start on the day at the local breakfast joint with its everyday gang of retirees. Since I already act like an old man, this could only be awesome.

It also means that I leave for work before my wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums. In order to help her out with our daughters, four-year-old Maddo and two-year-old Little Sis, I get a couple of bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios and a container of milk ready for them when they awake and come charging upstairs. I also turn on their version of heroin, the Disney Junior channel, in an attempt to help placate them while my wife goes about her morning.

But, since I do leave before my wife, I always get to miss out on the fun of getting them ready for preschool and daycare. And for this, I am eternally grateful because my kids are hell on wheels in the morning.

It’s often the typical Little Kid Stuff, but when it’s early in the morning, and you are also trying to get yourself put together, it can lead you to put a little more Irish into your coffee than you might normally do on a workday.

Or, you might just skip the coffee entirely and go straight to the Irish. I recommend Bushmill’s. But anyway…

Yesterday was one for the books, based on the instant messages my wife sent me, some of which I have transcribed here:

–OH MY GOD! [pretty standard intro]

–Maddo is driving me crazy [OK, still nothing really out of the ordinary]

–Maddo’s mad because Little Sis poured milk into her cereal when she wanted to do it herself! [Far be it for a four-year-old to appreciate her sister trying to do something nice for her.]

–We need to give them their own milk pourers. [Because if one kid has one, the other MUST have one, too. Or else even more chaos ensues.]

–Little Sis doesn’t like the dress I picked out for her! [Of course she didn’t. She always wants something different.]

–I just threw Maddo’s shoes at the wall! [By this time, I was wondering if drywall and painting work were in my future for the weekend.]

Eventually, my wife had to cut off communication and get everyone out the door. I had gotten a taste of her morning, but nothing really prepared me for what awaited me when I got home.

Since I work East Coast hours, and am in the office by 6:15 a.m. PT, I also leave work pretty early. I get to beat the big crush of commuters on the BART, and, if I time it right and don’t make any pitstops on the way home, I can be in the front door by 3 p.m. PT. My wife picks up the girls on her way home because they are near where she works, and for me to do so would be a 40-mile roundtrip for my gas-guzzling truck, aka The BEAST.

Under the hood, a V-8, 5.7 liter hemi engine. Yes.

Under the hood, a V-8, 5.7 liter hemi engine. Yes.

As such, in theory, I usually get a couple of hours to myself at home before the invasion begins.

But the theory doesn’t always match up with reality.

I take it upon myself to get a few chores done and get the house in order…And there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done. It is pretty much a given that the dishwasher will need to be unloaded, and then reloaded. Chances are good, too, that there’s a load of laundry that needs to be folded and put away, and another one to start. Our utility company loves us.

And there is often a little bit of…something…that the girls have left behind from the morning. Usually, it’s a cereal bowl on the coffee table, or a pillow on the floor. But yesterday…The living room looked like someone had blown up part of a Toys ‘R Us. Take a look for yourself.

Everything in its place, which means everywhere it shouldn't be.

Everything in its place, which means everywhere it shouldn’t be.

The picture, unfortunately, doesn’t do it justice. You have to experience things like chipping off Cheerios that have been milk-glued to the coffee table yourself. And there were enough fingerprints and smears on the TV to give everything I watched that “hurricane feel.”

I did the only thing I could…I started cleaning. And then unloading. And then folding. And then…My free time was gone. The girls came home. And then…

Well, let’s just say that it always amazes me how much area a tiny cup of spilled milk can cover.

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