Saturday, May 9, 2015

Deferring Housework; or why it took five days for me to vacuum birdseed in the middle of my living room

Terza spilled birdseed all over the living room floor on a recent Sunday afternoon. I swept it up as best as I could (of course I'm visually impaired so, you know, my best in the sweeping-up-birdseed department isn't great). We were half out the door when she spilled it. I knew there was birdseed scattered on the rug, but I didn't have time to deal with unearthing the vacuum and plugging it in and sucking up all the birdseed in order to restore the filthy carpet to just normal levels of filth. 

"I'll do it later," I decided.

We didn't get back home until late that evening. We rushed to feed the kids and ourselves dinner. We clean up the rice Terza spilled, and the milk that Seconda spilled and a half dozen other minor messes I can't even recall because they are so routine I'm no longer even aware of dealing with them; I just go on auto-clean mode. 

David put Terza to bed, at which point I remembered the birdseed. I managed to pull the vacuum out of my bedroom and wheel it into the living room before I was called away by another child to take care of another crisis. Later that night, after the kids had gone to sleep, I saw the vacuum and remembered the birdseed again, but there was no way in hell I was going to risk waking the kids by running the vacuum. Did I say that emphatically enough? No. Fucking. Way. I'd rather sleep on the spilled birdseed than risk waking the kids. I'd rather eat it. So, I left the vacuum out, figuring I'd do it the next day. 

Days passed. Work, school trips, allergist appointments, emergency tooth extraction appointments, work, meetings, sibling smackdowns, work, fevers, overdue bills, overdue library books, first holy sacraments, preschool show and tell, work, domestic civil wars, strep tests. Every night, once the kids had gone to sleep, and I'd done the dishes (or nagged David to), emptied the lunch boxes, prepped for the next day, returned pressing emails, and showered, I'd walk into the living room and see the vacuum still there. Waiting for its chance to shine. 

"Well, I"m not going to run the vacuum now," I thought,"not when my sanity hinges on all three kids staying asleep for a few hours."

So for five days, the vacuum remained in the living room and the birdseed got more and more embedded in the rug. On Friday, the kids and I got home at 5:30, leaving a few hours before bedtime, no homework, no pressing emails to return. 

"It's go-time," I said to the vacuum. 

I plugged that baby in and I sucked that birdseed up, feeling buoyant with a dizzying sense of achievement.

"I did it!!!" I thought. "I've met my goal! And, most importantly, I CAN CROSS THIS SHIT OFF FMY TO-DO LIST!!!!"

It's a sad state of affairs when it takes you five days to vacuum up birdseed -- and even then, you're amazed that you actually did it. Even then, it feels like a minor miracle that you were able to squeezz that five minute activity into your schedule. 

Let's hope no one ever spills a gallon of milk on the floor. We might still be wading in it two weeks later.