Inevitable. Predictable. Unreal. Unfortunate. Frustrating. Mind blowing. Those are just a few of the emotions I encountered yesterday. It didn't take long. It was bound to happen, but so fast? Even I couldn't have predicted that one of my offspring could manage this.
With Coach wrapping up his basement renovation project after almost two years of blood, sweat, and tears (admittedly, I generated most of the tears as a result of living without a functioning basement for an extended period of time), we scheduled the carpet installation a few weeks ago. It would arrive on a Thursday. While Coach slaved away to complete a few of the tasks on his 'to-do-before-carpt-arrives' list, I counted the hours. I longed to gather the large cardboard box of toy weapons from my once-walk-in closet and relocate them to the basement. It gave me great joy to stack the generous collection of Lego bins outside my closet in anticipation of arranging them on basement shelves. Housing the Lego toys is the sole purpose of these shelves tucked into a back corner of the basement. Only smart, veteran parents arrange a basement layout to accommodate these awesome, tiny toys that easily end up EVERYWHERE. Of course for months I had stumbled across small, colorful pieces misplaced from bins and strewn across my closet floor. Evidence proving that sneaky hands had discovered the dozens of small stacking bins with snap on lids that organized these classic favorites. Other bins chock full of the kids' play things were stashed in more mainstream locations throughout the house. Now I tingled with excitement knowing that these space invaders would reunite in various corners of the soon to be newly finished basement.
Before I could reclaim my closet, my garage, and all four corners of my supposedly spacious, temporarily-not-so-formal dining room, I opted to assist Coach in prepping the dusty, tool ridden area for the carpet installation. After a bit of time in the bowels of our home, I deduced quickly that even a partial, mid-construction, clean-up task had failed to take place during the 22.5 months of renovations. The layers of dust were deep and relentless. I enlisted the aid of the four youngest children on the eve of the carpet delivery. The hell with firm bed times. The damp dusty rags piled up quickly as they raced up the stairs for additional supplies and I directed them to other stashes of worn out towels. It was a bit like Christmas morning when they uncovered the buried air hockey and foosball tables. With each cleaned up cabinet, shelving unit, and floor space the excitement for the upcoming kid-friendly recreation area grew.
After school the appearance of the new carpet was greeted with shrieks of joy. How easily the space had been converted in a few hours! The kids rolled, laughed, and sprawled on the carpet. I anticipated the joy of regaining my sanity, my closet, and my dining room along with a more available life partner who at times is cursed by a handy-man fixation. Not sure which was worse, almost two years without a basement for six kids to hang out in or such a lengthy overhaul for a husband to be devoted to? There was light at the end of the tunnel, and we all relished the end of this bumpy stage of our life.
That night the three older boys requested permission to watch a movie in the basement stretched out on the new carpet. Although there was no furniture down there yet, they gathered up family room pillows and selected something to watch. Coach and I settled into the family room browsing through channels on the TV. We were excited to be able to watch a grown up show without worrying if inappropriate scenes would pop up while teenagers lingered.
At some point a scuffle broke out in the basement. Shouts including phrases like, 'Clean it up!' sent me racing to the door. Eddie answered my inquiry. He claimed Laddie was dripping a red popsicle on the carpet. I refused to investigate further. I barked something down the stairwell along the lines of, 'That better not be true.' The fact that we didn't own any red popsicles eased my mind a bit as I returned to the peaceful family room.
The next morning I shuffled across the carpet in the basement in order to retrieve a gallon of milk from the spare fridge. Just as I was relishing the fact that I no longer had to wear shoes thru the construction zone to get milk, I saw it. Red. Smeared into the carpet. The sticky smudges appeared on the couchless-coffee table. Less than 24 hours. That is how long it took to soil the new carpet and christen the new kid area with gross stickiness. My blood boiled and I felt my face grow the color of the stain.
Over the summer Mini had rummaged thru an enormous box of ice cream bars in the basement freezer. She hauled up enough treats for her siblings and all of their visiting friends. In the process, she neglected to put one of the boxes back in the freezer. After sitting at room temperature unnoticed for about a day, I stuck the lone strawberry box back in the freezer. Of course Laddie would realize that this box of deformed ice cream bars existed and were fair game now that they had refrozen into oddly shaped edible desserts. Perhaps their new make up made ingesting them challenging. Could that account for the mess created by our 17 year old?
Laddie insisted he hadn't left a trail of ice cream across the floor. Despite witnesses. Seriously? Fortunately when he finally cleaned up 'someone else's mess', the dark pink color disappeared without a trace. Still . . . 24 hours!!!!