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I suck at housekeeping. No, I’m not exaggerating–the dust bunnies in this house frighten the cats–and normally I don’t get too obsessive about these things as the dust and the mammals have come to a sort of standoff. We don’t disturb them and they don’t disturb us. Every now and then I get cranky and terrorize the place with the vaccum, but these moments are relatively infrequent.

Today, however, the balance is being disturbed. At this very moment, five children are rampaging around the house playing hide and seek, which has made a couple of things alarmingly apparent: 1. This house is not very large. 2. These children have become shockingly big. One of them is taller than my shoulder and the others are not far behind. When this game was proposed, it seemed like a lovely notion that even at 7 and 9 kids still enjoy playing simple, fun, interactive of games with no equipement necessary other than a little creativity and imagination. The game began outside, but moved inside due to lack of hiding places in my also not very large backyard, which was fine, theoretically, until the sounds of crashing and the follow up call, “I’m okay!” became a bit too frequent for comfort. Now there’s a second grader in my laundry basket, a fourth grader in my “coat” closet, and a nine year old stretched out under my dining room table, and I’m feeling like perhaps this was a poor idea. I don’t even want to think about what’s under my dining room table, let alone have my face to whatever has found a final resting place on that carpet.

Now I know this sounds really gross. Perhaps it is. But rarely does the house get stirred in ways that disrupt the careful balance we strike here, with the sleepy little corners resting undisturbed while the high traffic areas get cursory management so as not to become completely unpresentable. Kids don’t care one bit about this unspoken truce with household detritus, however. A closet, messy or clean, is still just a place to hide (and I am slightly impressed that the “coat” closet could actually absorb a whole body) and the space under a table will always look like a fort and nothing more than a fort, no matter whether or not we eat there now and then. I tried to understand this, I really did, but ultimately it was just too much. The breaking point finally came when the corner where I have my landslide of books and papers and whatnot was disturbed, an area which does not have actual boundaries but is nevertheless mine. With a panicked NOOO! I rescued my computer as I ejected a child from her hiding space behind my chair and that was that. As much as I want to love it, enough is enough.

Fortunately, the kids don’t care. They’re making model magic pizzas (I will not think about how much model magic will get ground into the carpet) and I’ve resorted to blogging in an attempt to erase the song they were playing during snacktime and are STILL SINGING from my brain. (It’s not working.) Oh well, perhaps it goes along with today’s housekeeping theme quite well. If not, it’s still good elementary school potty humor. Listen if you dare. (You have been warned.)

WAIT! After you push that play button anyway and start cursing at me (I did warn you) distract yourself by going over to read my new story at Necessary Fiction. Enjoy!