Sunday, April 10, 2011

Birds Do It

Spring brings thoughts of cleaning, fixing, gardening, and making everything fresh and new.

One of the things we've been struggling with is empty next syndrome.

Not that the boys have moved out, but the lack of it.  They haven't inched out a bit and we can actually taste doing something with those rooms they occupy if they did get places of their own.

We picture spacious rooms, depleted of furniture and awaiting our creative studio for me, sewing and spinning room for my wife, or maybe a whole new bathroom with jacuzzi and enough space to actually move around in.

The reality is, most likely, they're going to be here for a few more years and we'll have to continue to stuff our projects under our bed, dragging them out when the spirit that strikes matches our energy level.

I was on line the other day and, as I do from time to time, was checking out ways to redesign our rooms and came across a gallery of photos, showing what rooms of other still-ensconced children looked like.

It was very strange.  There wasn't anything in any of the rooms.  I mean, there were beds and dressers, and desks and lamps, but missing was the accumulation of toddler through teen debris.

You could actually see from one end of the room to the other...and what was that light source?

We haven't been able to get close enough to a window in either room, in years, to try to clean it off, so their rooms always have this dim bar-lit quality, even on the brightest of summer days.

We'll remind the boys, from time to time, that they need to pick up do you find anything in that mess?  The answer..."If I put things away then I won't know where anything is!"

I guess I can take comfort in the fact that they are getting a workout, climbing over the mounds of whatever-that-is-in-there, and like most parents with children who focus more on socializing than cleaning, we tend to keep their doors closed so company won't think unfavorably about them or us.

One time, a cousin with a police background visited and his first reaction was to ask us when the burglary occurred?

Just recently, I got worried when I couldn't find one of the boys.  I knew he was home, but after taking a look in his room and not seeing him, I searched the house high and low.

His car was in the driveway, but he was no where to be found.  My wife looked, too.  We started to get frantic, thinking aliens had sucked him out of the house, when we heard a small, "I'm still in bed."  A pile of clothes had fallen off the side dresser onto him, in bed, and he was barely a lump amongst lumps.

"That's it," I said, "I'm bringing in someone to clean this up!"

It wasn't easy.  I went through six prospective helpers.

Several just didn't have the lifetime to commit to the project.

Two thought haz-mat training was needed and another wanted a list of shots they should have prior to starting.

The last possibility came to me via a friend.  A visiting Sherpa, Kenji, this friend of my friend, was looking for some work while he was visiting and the idea came that he could spend a few days minimizing the stuff in the bedroom.

Kenji stood at the doorway, mouth agape.  "There is so much stuff and I don't know what is what!"

I apprised him that I just wanted everything taken out and put in piles that my son would go through.  Clothes in one piles, papers in another, musical instruments together, glassware, jewelry, shoes, boots, beer bottles, silverware, serving dishes, car parts, movie stubs, chewed gum, old band aids, each in its own category.

"But," Kenji seemed to object, "There is no path to follow.  Even in the Himalayas there is a path."

"No big deal," I said, "Just walk on top of everything until you get to the bed.  From there you can push the stuff off the bed and use that as your first landing site.  Then, you can pull all of the clothes up onto the bed and start with that pile."

"But," Kenji persisted, "How do I get out?  Even in the mountains we have guidelines to which we attach ourselves to find our way out."

"We can do that," I replied.  "Right over there, next to the pile of empty film canisters and store receipts is about sixty feet of hemp that was supposed to be a hundred beaded necklaces.  You can attach that to your body and throw the other end to me.  I'll tie you off to the handrail in the hallway!  Just be careful, the twenty tins of beads spilled a few years back and it's like walking on marbles over there."

"But," Kenji once again hesitated, "I need food and water for such an ordeal."

"Not a prob," I stated with much confidence.  "The kid went into the room with a full size pizza and several boxes of crackers just the other day.  And, the fact that we're missing half of our glasses and place settings for twelve, there's probably enough water, soda and assorted food items to last you a year!"

Kenji went in.

That was a week ago.

I'm hoping for a full report soon.  I hear clatter coming from the space, and piles are appearing inside and outside the room.

There was also an ominous posting on the bedroom door, with a note from Kenji.

He attached this photo, on the left, and wrote, "Birds do it."


  1. Hi Paul, YOu go, my blogging brother!! I love the pictures and the sentiment. It would be really fun to see feedback or input from one of your sons on this topic!

  2. also your blog looks great. Very clean and well organized and nice colors. Very pleasing to the eye. A for the day!

  3. It might be easier if you and Theresa moved out!!!

  4. Hope...thanks for the encouragement. I'll see if I can get one of the boys to read this, but their computers are in those rooms, somewhere!

  5. Wendy...don't think we haven't thought about moving and leaving the piles behind!

  6. Well, look at it this way: some parents have children who never come home, never call. That will NEVER be a problem for you.

  7. Mary: Not exactly the feedback I was looking for!

  8. Really funny, Paul. Now I don't feel so bad when I trudge through John and Caroline's rooms. That picture you posted, however, hit too close to home. Let me know when your sherpa is finished. Tell him I have a decent path cleared. It might coax him to help out.

    Your cousin, Mike...

  9. Mike:

    I was able to reach our sherpa by radio...he's in there somewhere...forget the path, he needs to operate at a high elevation, as he's used to in his homeland, for the proper oxygen levels. He wonders, before he comes to your home, how high are the debris fields in the kid's rooms? It's all about altitude!