My kids are at grandma’s house for the weekend. This rarely happens for us so I wanted to make the most of my time. Now most normal people would schedule something fun, or relaxing, or take a little getaway trip.
But I am not normal — I am a day care provider. So I clean my basement.
Do you see why I chose this? How would you feel walking around your house all day knowing that this was seething just below you?
I had a quick breakfast (it’s so weird not making it for two other people) and then got straight down to business. I put on hospital scrubs, hoping to protect the skin on my legs from the carnage.
I moved the big pile first, a landslide caused by Older and Younger trying to reach something on a high shelf. I actually had a vision of cleaning up after a hurricane. This is what it’s like — you pick up the first layer and find even more (completely unrelated) stuff underneath.
I also sorted the box of five hundred stray pieces I’ve found under my couches into each of their proper homes. I’ve been collecting those since Christmas, which was the last time I was down here for something other than doing laundry.
After an hour of digging through the rubble I was bathed in sweat. It’s been in the 90s and humid all week. And I discovered that while hospital scrubs look awesome on cute actors, in real life they hold in a lot of heat. I came upstairs for eggs (protein means strength!!), more coffee and a giant water bottle to keep me alive down there. And I switched to shorts.
I got through the major piles and into the second layer to find toys that had I’d been unable to use for ages. Fresh toys!! I’d been thinking I was really running low because we were all getting bored of the same old stuff, when the problem was I just couldn’t reach them.
I also found this amazing web — you gotta admire the architecture — but was terrified at the idea of meeting whoever created it.
Unfortunately I did, later, when I innocently picked up one of those geodesic toy balls. She unfolded herself from within it: a giant black spider who I just slowly backed away from. After I collected myself I realized that I could have crushed her, but I knew she was strong enough to come back and bite me in my sleep even if I had finished her off.
The most unexplainable disarray was — of course — caused by the boys. I don’t particularly like to let them go downstairs, it’s not a safe or clean place to play. But my sister and I loved playing in the basement when we were kids. Of course our home was built in the current century and the basement was finished. I wish I had the same for my boys, especially when their home is overrun by other kids. So occasionally I’ll just let them hide down there for a while and I do that mom thing where we just put all the dangerous stuff out of our minds (I think they call it “denial”).
Of course, it’s me, the cleaning crew, who pays the price for this.
You may have noticed the random crutch in the picture above (we have two pairs because Dave and I are accident-prone). A box of old Power Rangers strewn on the floor. The coveted and much-loved Hunter, Crimson Thunder Ranger, flat on his face under a box (my heart breaks). Pieces of Older’s drum set scattered all over the room – and not intact. A cymbal here, the seat (in pieces) under the stairs, and the tripod drum holders all over the place, as if they’d been carrying these gory weapons into battle. And the pieces lay where they fell.
Still, with everything I faced today, all the horrors real and imagined, nothing can compare to the scene I found in the back of the basement, behind the water heater:
Poor dead baby. Do my boys hate day care that much, that they have to take out their aggression on innocent doll-babies? Or wait a minute – maybe she’s an Amazon warrior baby and she’s defending her turf from the male invaders.
Maybe there’s a really good reason I’m a day care provider.