Sometimes You Realize That Dried Hot Dogs And Tape Wads Have Had Their Moment To Shine, And That The Moments Are Now Over. And Then You Have To Be Brave Enough To Just THROW THEM AWAY!

I can’t even remember Friday any more.

It was all a blur of gutting my seven-year-old nephew’s closets (because he has two of them in his room), and then that rapidly turned into LET’S GO ON AHEAD AND GUT THE ENTIRE BEDROOM, CLEAN OUT THE BOOKCASES, GO THROUGH THE BAGS OF HAND-ME-DOWN CLOTHES AND MOVE THE ONES THAT FIT IN, and FIND AN ONLINE APPLICATION FOR HOARDERS, ANONYMOUS SO THAT WE CAN GET HIM SOME HELP.

Because, yes.  Cousin K is a hoarder of all things art-related.  His closets and desk drawers and bookcase were filled to capacity with frayed pipe cleaners, and tape wads, and thousands of paper snowflakes, and paperclips taped together in the shape of pyramids.  Sister and I took his hoarding to the cleaners on Friday, which means we single-handedly kept Hefty garbage bags in business for an entire day.  And we did it all while he was at school, because hell hath no fury like a child who has had to watch his tape wads be thrown into the trashcan by his aunt.

I was just relieved to know that the boy is not alone.  Apparently hoarding runs in the family, because Sister helped me gut the boy’s closet during the first week of February, and we found all manner of WHAT IS THIS? and WHAT ON EARTH? and WHY ARE THERE FOURTEEN STICKS IN HERE? and I THINK THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN A HOT DOG AT ONE TIME, BUT NOW IT HAS HARDENED INTO A ROCK WITH TOOTHPICKS HANGING OUT OF IT.  And all I have to say to that is, SERIOUSLY?  My boy kept a chunk of hot dog that resembled a porcupine having acupuncture, what with all the toothpicks that had been used?  Mama was so proud.

Anyway.

I came home exhausted on Friday, but there was that beautiful feeling of accomplishment deep in my soul, when you can look at a room and say, “I helped make it this way.”  Because little K’s bedroom on Friday afternoon was a thing to behold.  When K came home from school, we pretty much told him that he wasn’t even allowed to sneeze in his bedroom, because Sister and I wanted to enjoy ALL THAT CLEAN for at least a day, before he hauled the tape out again.

Bless his heart.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to teaching Thing 2 to slide.  Oh, he’s been a swinger from the get-go, and there is no such thing as TOO MUCH SWINGING in that baby’s mind.  Hubs’ parents brought Thing 2 a great big slide on Saturday morning, so Hubs and I got right down to the business of being tenured professors who teach SLIDING 101.  Thing 2’s first couple of trips down the slide were similar to what would happen if I had to go parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane.  There was some LET ME CLING TO THE EDGES OF THIS CONTRAPTION WITH WHITE KNUCKLES AND PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T PUSH ME DOWN.  There may have been a couple of tears and an I’M GONNA PUKE.

By the fourth trip down the slide, Thing 2 realized that this wasn’t a torture device his parents were using to get him to confess to shoving a stuffed animal into the dishwasher last week, without his mother knowing it.  (The panda?  He’s fine.  He’s also very clean.  He was a bit hungry for some eucalyptus, and he came through the HEAVY WASH cycle like a champ.)

Now Thing 2 believes that there is simply no such thing as TOO MUCH SLIDING.  Hubs’ biceps and my back were begging for Advil and cortisone injections before Thing 2 gave it up.

I also made a pizza casserole on  Saturday night that my boys devoured.  It was a new recipe, involving every manner of YOU SHOULD BE A PROFESSIONAL CHEF TO MAKE THIS, but I persevered through the list of instructions like any Proverbs 31 woman would have done.

“She selects wool and flax, and works with eager hands.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She browns the hamburger and the sausage; she adds the pepperoni and the noodles.  She stirs it all with love and bakes at 350.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband, also, and he praises her.”

I did add more cheese than the recipe called for, because I can’t remember a single time that anyone ever stood up at the table and declared, “This casserole really just has TOO MUCH of the cheese.”

Thing 2 had three entire servings of dinner; the boy announced that it was one of the best meals of his life.

This morning, after dropping the boy off at school, Thing 2 and I met my friend Lisa and Sister at the local rec center at the crack of 8:15, so that our little people could run and jump and slide in the playland.

(And who am I kidding?  When you live with Thing 2, 8:15 isn’t the crack of anything.  In fact, 8:15 is almost mid-day for us, because our baby apparently has some RANCH HAND genes.  He does enjoy the early mornings and the sunrises.)

Thing 2, Gavin and little Cousin H played and played and PA-LAYED!  It was Thing 2’s very first time in a playland, and we’ll write it up as a WINNING WAY TO SPEND OUR MORNING.  He was plum tickled to be turned loose, and, because he has no fear of anything except his first four trips down a slide, he charged right in with a pack of four-year-olds who were there when we arrived.

There’s that cute Cousin H…

…as well as Gavin — Mr. Handsome, himself.

Most of the snapshots that I took this morning all involve THE BACKS OF THE KIDS, because they weren’t going to take time to say, “Cheese,” for the camera at all.  There was too much playing to be done!

Thing 2 was flat-out THRILLED to discover slides in the playland.  He was so happy that he’d learned to slide on Saturday, so that he could show off his newly-developed skills at the rec center 728 times today.

I laughed at this picture when I downloaded it off of my camera, because the reflection of the overhead lights on the plastic bubble make it look like Sister ate a glow stick.  I should be nice and not post this one on the blog, but LOOK AT THING 2’s GRIN!  Plus, Sister stole my Chicago 17 cassette tape in 1988 and broke the plastic case; we all get what’s coming to us eventually.

The beauty of a morning spent in the playland is that it WEARS THE BABIES OUT.  And worn out babies tend to TAKE ENORMOUS NAPS.

You can bet a pizza casserole and six tape wads that Thing 2 and I will be meeting Sister and Lisa at the playland again.  Maybe tomorrow.  And the next day.  And all the other days, too, because Mama really does enjoy it when Thing 2 crashes in his crib.

I hope all y’all’s Monday was as fun-filled as ours was.

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