The time had come to clear the laboratory in my house; the place that was also known as Samantha's bedroom. Although her apartment is not quite ready for the additional baggage, it was time to enter the abyss and turn what was a disaster area, into a much more manageable, 'bedlam'.
Samantha had suggested that she wanted to 'sort' through her things, earlier in the week, and despite having other items on the agenda for the weekend, I gave her an inordinate amount of encouragement. In fact, the seed she planted at the beginning of the week, became a beanstalk by Friday, and there was no way that we were going to be deviating from the task.
I am constantly reminded that her 'untidy' gene does, indeed, come from me. However, despite there being no cure for the ailment messyitis, one does learn to 'overcome'. When we lived in England, my mother would look at Samantha's bedroom, after I had spent the best part of every Saturday clearing, and cleaning, and smile, then utter those words that made me wonder how she didn't go grey long before she did; 'poetic justice!' Rumour has it that she would always shut my bedroom door before leaving the house, as there had been one time when my parents returned from an outing, that she had to stop my dad calling the police, as he thought we had been ransacked! Although I am sure my room would never have made it through the audition, in a competition with Samantha's, my mother's memories are quite different. She maintains that once a week, she would enter my room, pile everything that was on the floor onto my bed, and tell me to go and tidy up! I do remember that, but I argue that Samantha's bed, despite being double the size of mine, was not big enough to contain all the things that were on her floor!
When we first moved to Texas, I would spend hours clearing and cleaning, including my daughter's room, but then Samantha took to sleeping in until very late morning, and occasionally I would spend most of my time just clearing an entry path, so I took a leaf from my mother's book and simply shut the door. After all, what the eyes don't see.....
However, I digress. The time had come to take the proverbial bull by the horns, and attempt to make some sort of order, from impossible chaos.
Saturday morning started for me at 7am, and having seen Dana off the premises shortly before, I began the weekend routine. Samantha and her faithful hound arrived just as I had finished washing the kitchen floor, which is the penultimate task, and they then waited, both impatiently, for me to finish the ironing. Perhaps I am being slightly harsh when I insist they were both impatient. The dog does not understand patience, as he is a dog; Samantha did enter her room and began dismantling her television. Once my clothes were suitable decreased, and replaced in their dedicated compartments, I joined the band of one, and commenced with, what I could only hope was not, the impossible. I must stress that since I overcame my childhood ailment, I became almost (and I stress 'almost', although other's may consider me to be 'wholly') obsessive in my passion for organisation. I have commented, many times, that I am an organised person trapped in the body of a disorganised one. Moving to Texas caused a conflict, as 'laid back' and 'compulsive' do not mix. However, again, I digress; an ailment of which I am yet to overcome!
The mountainous task began and I entered the room, somewhat symbolically at high noon, armed with large bags to contain the discarded items, of which I was sure there would be many. Not knowing where to start, I proceeded to pick up things from the floor. We had various bags, holdalls and boxes, to store the variety of things that were housed in this room. It was difficult for me to distinguish between rubbish and treasure, and I had to allow Samantha to make the decision. Having cleared one corner of the room, previously, we made this our priority stacking area. Samantha found a long lost cap, which she immediately put on, backwards, and a paper pirate hat, which she placed on my head. I worked, repeating the immortal words of my heroine, the amazing Julie Andrews, in her role as Mary Poppins, 'In every task that must be done, there is an element of fun; you find the fun, and snap, the job's a game'. A game it was not, although we did have fun, with lots of reminiscing. Among the memorabilia, we found some edible goodies that had been lost among the rubble. Tubes of sweets/candy were opened, sampled, and (in some cases) restored, and chocolate sampled where a sell by date was not evident. I came across one of my missing cake tins, (I consider sometimes it is best not to ask!) and a variety of cutlery and crockery which perhaps had (I hope) only been there for a short while. I do not remember taking crockery up to my bedroom when I lived with mum and dad, but I refused to be judgmental!
After clearing most of the surface of one cupboard, I sat down on the top, to see what was behind. Samantha shrieked at me, 'No!' I looked at her with disdain. 'Are you suggesting, that after all the chocolate and sweets I have eaten, I am too heavy to sit on top here?' She replied in the negative, and her answer caused me to stay very still. 'I put some push pins, loose, on the top'. Having experienced a fall a week ago, which left me with a rather large bruise on the part of my body that is between the top of my legs, and lower back, I did not relish the thought of another injury. Sliding off very carefully, I breathed a sigh of relief, and leaned against the piece of furniture, palms down, directly onto the push pins. Samantha attempted to contain her laughter, but failed.
With half the room cleared, she found her filo fax. An object of amusement, as this was a gift given to a girl who has always lived in the computerised age, the reappearance of this, never to be used, article prompted a 'face time' call to Richard. He was suitably amused and asked how she had managed to live without it. I surfaced to say 'hello', and he asked, curiously, 'what is that on your head?' I had forgotten about my recently acquired head garment, but proudly announced that if I was searching for treasure, I may as well look like a pirate! Richard could not chat for long, which was probably just as well, as we had a lot more to do, so we said cheerio, and continued with our mission. Fortunately, we had come across some energy drinks, so together with these, and the excessive sugar intake, we were not tiring physically, although mentally, we wondered why we had started, and doubted that we would finish.
Dana arrived home later than his usual Saturday time, and looked suitably horrified. He did not seem to appreciate the fact that we had, indeed, accomplished a great deal. 'What is that on your head', he asked. 'I'm impersonating Kiera Knightly', I told him, hoping for a reaction, but he was too preoccupied with the visual confusion, and took the dog from under our feet, or to be more precise, under the bed. We emptied many storage boxes, and filled them with other objects, agreeing that collecting 'beanie babies' for investment purposes, was a waste of time, unless the collection of dust could be added to the price! Julius, the Paul Frank monkey was far more prominent.
Eventually, we had cleared all cupboards, chests and dressers, and created a very neat collection of bags and boxes in the corner of the room. The floor was clear, as was almost all the surfaces. Those that were not were at least tidy, and dust free, which was in itself a wonder, as after my refusal to enter the room with any kind of cleaning product, the dust had become so thick, even the mites wore masks. A last all that was left to do was to take the rubbish to the dumpster, and then we could then tackle the second 'must do' task, and go grocery shopping; a double task now that Samantha has her own kitchen. With many bags in hand, we walked to the metal container, and 'dumped' all the unwanted bags. Returning to our condo, I asked Samantha why she considered our new neighbours, although returning our waves, looked at us rather curiously; They had been remodeling and had discarded much into the dumpster. What did they find so strange about us doing the same thing? She said, 'what is that on your head?'
We left the house to go to Walmart at 5.30pm, having spent nearly a third of the waking day on cleaning her bedroom. I could almost hear my mother laughing.
It had been a very long day, although well worth it, as next weekend we plan to attend the interactive part of South by Southwest. I am sure there will be a lot of new things to see at this annual event and possibly enough for ....... another story.