Our day today has just been ordinary, which is a good thing, I guess.
Yesterday, maybe things weren’t so ordinary. The boy didn’t have school, so I took advantage of his “free day” and quickly signed him up for a day-long science camp, where the kids would be learning about electricity and building solar-powered robots. This, naturally, is right up the boy’s alley, as he’s his daddy’s son, and his daddy has always been crazy about electricity.
In fact, when I asked the boy what the most memorable thing was that he learned during his science camp, he responded by saying, “Such-and-such a voltage will stop the human heart.” He gave me the exact voltage, but now it escapes me, because I have this tendency to never really speak in voltage units very often. Hence, a 9-volt battery is about the extent of what I can remember.
Anyway, during the boy’s commentary on voltage causing the human heart to cease it’s regular pattern of beating, Hubs leaned over and whispered, “I’m pretty sure I’ve exceeded that amount of voltage before, and I have the steak knife to prove it.”
This thought led me down the rabbit trail of actually remembering the day that Hubs nearly killed himself while playing with electricity. Hubs, you see, loves (with a passion) electricity. He adores electricity. He big-puffy-heart-loves it. He loves wires. He loves voltage. Once, while I was washing dishes, Hubs was tinkering around in our fuse box. (Is that what it’s called? A fuse box? The little metal panel on a wall somewhere in your house, with all the big switches, where you can flip one and suddenly your oven no longer works?) Anyway, Hubs called to me, “Hey! Will you bring me a steak knife, please?” And I did. Because, honestly, I had no idea what he was planning to do with it. As soon as his intentions actually registered in my gray matter, I quickly yelled out, “Hey! I’m not sure you should be sticking the tip of a steak knife into that box like that! Isn’t that dangerous?” And Hubs chuckled and said, “It’s only dangerous if I touch two wires at one time, and I’m actually quite good at this.” Oh, his humbleness is nonexistent.
In the end, I returned to washing the dishes, by hand, because that was the days before we had this miraculous invention known as the LG Oh-How-I-Love-You Dishwasher. Within seconds, there was an enormous popping sound, a brilliant flash of light, a bit of a scream from Hubs (but he insists that it was a manly gasp, and not really a scream at all), and then all of our lights went out.
Oh. And the steak knife? Hubs blew a hole in it. It looked like it had been shot through with a very tiny bullet. He keeps it in the kitchen, to commemorate the day he actually touched two wires at the same time and lived to tell about it.
So yes. That was yesterday. The boy studied electricity, and he built a solar-powered robot, and he took his daddy with him, as a class helper. Apparently, it was Hubs’ job to help even out the adult-to-child ratio, when it came time to assemble the robots, which may or may not have been rated at an age limit far, far above what the boy and his buddies were capable of assembling.
And while all of that was going on — while the boy and Hubs were off inserting little screws here and there and connecting wires to itty-bitty battery packs — I was at home cleaning.
And while I was at home cleaning, I had a bit of an emotional meltdown, as I realized that the dust bunnies beneath the boy’s bed had grown to be similar in size to a dead cat. Or rather, a couple of dead cats. Or more like an entire litter of dead cats. People, it’s because the last time I vacuumed in the boy’s bedroom was in another year. As in, my Eureka hasn’t seen the boy’s floor in twenty-ten.
Why? Why do I allow his room to exist like this?
It’s because of a little invention I like to call the Stupid Lego Piece. Legos are the boy’s love language, and he never fails to have a minimum of nine hundred and eight of them spread out on his bedroom floor, which completely eliminates the vacuum cleaner’s ability to tackle the dust bunnies that are growing to proportions similar in size to dead cats, because the boy will flip if one of his beloved plastic Legos finds its way into the vacuum cleaner.
And then, when I realized the extent and size and volume and weight of the dust bunnies beneath the boy’s bed, I actually paused to take inventory of my surroundings.
There were Pop Tart wrappers in the bookcase. There was a Croc shoe in the bookcase. The floor looked like a Lego landfill. The desk was covered with books and papers. The table was covered with more Legos, a pair of socks, crushed Goldfish crackers, a banana peel, and piano books. Half of the clothes in the closet were on the floor. Half of the dresser drawers were wide open, with stuff dangling out of them. CDs littered the floor beside the bed.
And Mama had a bit of an emotional meltdown, and she decided that the boy would be grounded until further notice, if the room wasn’t cleaned to my standards.
This morning, as I was sitting at Starbucks with my friend, Amy, she informed me (after having listened to my sad little tale about crying while I was cleaning house yesterday) that it must’ve been something in the water, because our mutual friend, R, had a meltdown yesterday, too, while she was cleaning house.
I asked Amy, “And what did R do?”
And Amy replied, “She made me go with her to the local gas station, and she bought a peach-flavored cigar, and she stood outside and smoked it.”
And this, people, made me laugh until my sides hurt and I was gasping for breath, because R (bless her darling heart) is just not the type to inhale the deathly smoke of a peach cigar. Imagine R’s surprise, when I confronted her at Bible study this morning and said, “Do you have any cigars left that I could use?” And we giggled and giggled, and R said, “You know, it was plum crazy, but wow! I felt so much better, and suddenly it didn’t matter that I couldn’t find the cord to my mp3 player because the bedroom was so messy!”
Although I can’t say that I’d actually smoke a peach cigar, because I’m not sure I could tackle it without gasping, choking, wheezing and fainting, I was just relieved to hear that I wasn’t alone in the stress that is best known as “The Kid’s Bedroom.”
Tonight, the boy met me at the Suburban after school, begging for his little friend, G, to come over and play. I told him, “You know, having G over would be fantastic, but ohmylands! Your bedroom is just too messy for company, because we wouldn’t want company to know that we are living like hoarding piglets right now.”
The boy, being utterly disappointed, did a little wheeling and dealing with G, and it was decided that if his bedroom glistened with a holy sparkle of cleanness by 4:30 this afternoon, he could indeed have company come over to play. And if 4:30 passed the boy by with the bedroom still looking like the city landfill, then all playdates would be canceled, from now until the boy turns thirty-four.
Clearly, G can motivate a boy into action better than his own mama can, because he came home and literally ripped into his room. He found the shoe in the bookcase, and said to me, “Mom! Guess what? You know how I was missing my black Croc last week? Well, I found the one I was missing in my bookcase! Isn’t that crazy?”
Plum crazy, Son.
And do you know what else the boy found? A microphone for his keyboard, which has been under his bed since velociraptors walked this earth. He was so excited about this new discovery, and he plugged the thing into his keyboard, and then, in a booming voice that was somewhat louder than the voice of the Lord when He asked Noah to build him an ark, the boy hollered out, “What do you want me to clean next, Mom?” His voice echoed throughout the house. His voice bounced off the walls and the ceiling. The neighbors, twelve doors down, could have heard his question. And then, the boy began using the microphone as an intercom, and I was paged with it fairly regularly this afternoon.
“Hey, Mom? Can you bring me a glass of water?”
“Hey, Mom? Which song would you like me to play on the keyboard?”
“Hey, Mom? Guess what? I found a rotting grape stem in my garbage can, and it is gross!”
Even while I was in the basement, switching loads of laundry, I could hear the boy, plain as day, as he echoed his voice throughout our home. Finding the microphone for the keyboard has completely eliminated the need for the boy to actually leave his room to come ask me a question. With the microphone, the boy could even open his bedroom window and ask me questions while I am at the neighbor’s house.
It is with great pride that I tell you that the boy worked his fingers to little nubs (when he wasn’t shouting at me over a microphone), and eventually his bedroom sparkled, and the time was three minutes shy of being 4:30. He had done an archaeological dig, and he had restored his room to its previous grandeur, and he had surprised me completely by accomplishing it all in 90 minutes. The kid actually broke a sweat, he worked so hard.
Truly, after my little cigarless meltdown yesterday, I realized that I am actually thankful for messy rooms, because messy bedrooms mean that your little guy is still at home. And that he’s still making messes. And I can still walk in there and cuddle him tight any time I want to.
Thank you, God, for my little boy’s messy bedroom, and for choosing Hubs and me to be his parents. Please don’t let me take his messy room for granted any longer, and thanking you for letting me see the praise in the midst of that messy room.
As the boy was getting ready for bed tonight, he told me, “Mom, I completely forgot to tell you, but G said that my bedroom passed her inspection.”
Apparently the boy feels that G’s level of standards is actually much higher than mine, and if G passes your room off as clean, then seriously, Dude…it’s clean.