Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Caution: Hazardous Waste Site

"Excuse the mess, but we live here."  Roseanne Barr

Warning: One or more of the photos and/or layouts in this post may be disturbing to some readers. Please exercise caution and discretion. The author will not be responsible for any unforeseen consequences to those who choose to proceed.

Okay, just kidding. Nothing is going to happen. If I survived, so will you.

My boys - note I said boys, not girls - have been gone for about two weeks. A year ago, when the next emptied for the first time, I was ready and raring to hit their rooms and remove the detritus that had been accumulating for 18 years.  The older son was tidier and his room was easier to tackle, but his brother's room? The room I affectionately called a toxic waste dump? That was another matter altogether.  It was not as if I hadn't seen it before. After all, living with three members of the male species does not lend itself to tidiness.

As you can see, many portions of my house have been in, shall we say, disarray for a very, very, very long time.  For eons.  For eternity.  Open drawers, overflowing recycling, Legos everywhere, and nasty stuff on the bathroom sink that I do not even want to think about.  For some reason, they were not so amused when I photographed it and laid it out for the world to see.  I still wonder what the photo processing people thought.

At any rate, the older son's room stayed pretty clean and tidy all summer.  I have yet to be disturbed enough when I go in there (one accesses the attic through his closet) to make me clean it out. Every so often, however, I would go into the other bedroom, the one occupied by my younger son, just to see if the mess was real, hoping, perhaps, by some miracle from above, that a Rumpelstiltskin sort of character had spun the mess into gold. No such luck. Usually, the stench forced me back, but I persevered if only to open the window and air out the smell of whatever it was before the purge began.

It really wasn't so bad really, not compared to the this point last year, but it was bad enough.

For a change, the floor was actually visible and there were only a few water bottles lingering here and there. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. The time had come. The day was here. I alerted my friends on Facebook in case something happened. They would know where to look - if they dared - should I disappear.

I went in - armed with a trash can and yellow gloves,  After all, you really never know what you might find in a room previously occupied by a teenage boy. 

Hmmm.  Not SO bad.  Trash. Clothes. Water bottles. Shoes (did he forget these?). Hangers. Empty plastic bags. One bedspread. One quilt. His top sheet? A bag of Spongebob pasta he brought back from Italy (in July of 2014) for a friend he saw almost every day this summer. A very strange triangular piece of wood with checkerboard painted on it. (That turned out to be a door stop that belongs to his fraternity.) One shelf no longer hanging on the wall. Oh, wait, make that two shelves no longer handing on the wall. 

I picked up. I tided up. I washed. I rehung the shelves. When all was said and done, it was a thing of beauty.

I let my Facebook friends know that I had survived. Some asked me to come do their kids' rooms. Some remarked on the transformation. After all the accolades, I had to make a confession.
Please be aware that this apparent cleanliness is a facade.  I tidied by tossing junk in the trash and clothes - clean, dirty and unknown - in the hamper. I vacuumed. I washed the sheets (but not the clothes) and made the bed.  I did not remove the inch of dust or so that exists on the horizontal surfaces.  I did not take down and wash the curtain.  I did not look behind the bed. 
As you can see, we made a horrible mistake about ten years ago when we thought it would be a great idea to have a Captain's bed. This I know for sure: NEVER BUY A CAPTAIN'S BED. While cleaning and making the bed, I did not look behind this bed (that shall not be moved) into the darkness (that cannot be penetrated) where things fall and disappear (forever).  

There are some things in the world I will not do and some places I will not go. Behind this bed is one of those places. 

God knows what might be lurking back there.  I simply do not want to know. That will be a problem for my heirs and other surviving relatives, tasked with the job of cleaning up after I am gone. 

Better them than me.