If you’re square-footage-impaired like we are, and insufficiently ruthless about finding new homes for old toys, the next thing you know ten years have got behind you and the kids commandeer your garage.
On top of your carefully curated disorganization, now there’s greasy kid stuff everywhere. And it will stay that way all summer and into the fall unless drastic dramatic deterrent steps are taken to reclaim your last redoubt of man space. You need to find one of these.
No, not necessarily the actual spider, although if you do manage to snap a shot of one that’s great – but if not, do an image search for “garage” and “spider” and you should find a shot of some immense Shelob-looking thing scuttling across what looks an awful lot like your garage floor, walls or ceiling. Maybe this one matches your garage floor.
Here, some theatrics are called for. Get the picture uploaded to your phone, and then when the kids return from school or soccer practice or whatever, hit them with your best “There’s a HUGE spider in the garage, and I think it lives there now.”
Then you spring the picture on them. You may have to keep driving home the point that you’re pretty sure that the enormo-arachnid has made its home in some inaccessible corner of the garage, and that it’ll pounce if the kids linger too long in the garage.
If it works on them you’ve got your garage back – and if it doesn’t, it’s a decent April Fool’s prank. Let me know how it goes.
Indeed there are the days when a laid-off dad has too much time on his hands even after the hours of cover-letter editing, resume-tweaking, opportunity-poring, and reading of cautionary tales on how everything you’re doing to look for a job is wrong and what today’s now and with-it hiring managers are looking for are these other things over here which will be the wrong things by this time next week. And so he cleans.
This isn’t one of those days. Or one of those weeks.
That’s because this week Noodle, Beast and She all have a week off from school – and then some because of this past winter’s complete lack of snow days. So because the kids and their friends and the three cats have been in and out of the house tracking March Mudness all over the place, I’ve come down with a thorough case of the Ah-Screw-Its, and I’ve passed it on to She, who might have some space there under that blanket on the couch where she’s watching one of the Hunger Games movies.
Or so I thought, because She read this over my shoulder and now it’s time to reacquaint myself with my old pal Mr. Hoover and his friends Sponge and Swiffer.
Over there is Lilly. She’s 17, or just about 84 in human years.
And she’s doing well as such things go for cats of her age, but there are a number of age-related issues – one of them being that she loses track of her surroundings.
Which means that from time to time she loses track of where the litter boxes are (we have 3 cats, thus the plural) and does her business on anything that feels somewhat litter-like underfoot.
And she has a thyroid condition, common in older cats, that means that from time to time what she eats makes a return appearance.
The adults in the house are okay with this.
(EWW GROSS CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CALL CPS WORST PARENTS EVER EWW GROSS NASTY EWW)
Here’s why: for years we’ve been trying every tactic under the sun to get Noodle and Beast to hang up their jackets and stash their shoes away when they’re done with them, to no avail.
It turns out that waking up in the morning to discover their jacket on the floor has been decorated with reverse-peristalsis product, or the deposit from the southern end of a northbound Lilly-cat, is a far more effective organizational reminder than any parenting experts’ strategy or nagging.
And on the now-rare occasions when an item of clothing is left on the floor, the children are told, in our best cat impersonations, “Oh, thank you ever so much, children – that is a wonderful jacket for me to puke on. Let me hork something up for you right now.”
A blur of tidying-up activity follows. Works every time