parenting

The Purge

It sounds like a horror movie and to be honest, it feels like one. Does throwing things away expunge the soul of everything holding us down? Does it release the heavy? The “sin” of sloth?

I know two types of people, those that throw everything out, including yearbooks and old math tests from 1994 senior year without ever looking back, and then there are the hoarders. Not one of them seems particularly happy and as much as we all lie to ourselves about it, everyone is either a tosser or a keeper.

I’m a keeper. Probably not in like the relationship sense if we’re basing anything on my poor, unfortunate husband’s defeated eye rolls and sighs, but a keeper in like the “keeping the napkin I was holding the time that Prince (yeah, that Prince) sat next to me at a cafe at Universal City Walk that they’ll find under a rat carcass in the hallway when I’ve been forcibly removed from my home by Human Services or a reality show” sense. My husband is the thrower-out type. I’m surprised he hasn’t tossed me. It’s because he’s a saint.

I do not want to be a hoarder. I don’t. I see Pinterest, I am aware of the “freedom from clutter”, the Scandinavian Chic, the lie that is the Shipping Crate home. It doesn’t work for me because Pinterest hasn’t told me where to put my Prince napkin and my homework from that Italian class I took in college 20 years ago. Because what if I remember how to read in Italian, Pinterest? What good would that be if I’ve thrown away all those verb conjugations? I’d be sitting on my faux fur, white rug, backdropped by my exposed brick living room wall with nothing to read.  I also have children which means that carpet wouldn’t stay white for long. In my living room, there are currently three bins overflowing with Rock Em Sock Em Robots, torn comic books, every Lego magazine that has ever been mailed to us, a broken, plastic dreidel, trains, cars, baby toys (no babies here), broken army men, a blue and white Dodgers’ wig (it’s cursed, that’s a different post), A Tim Salmon bobblehead, and a karate belt (we’re not in karate). There’s art projects and homework papers and little notes that say “i LOvE YOU mOM”. I can’t throw that away. And yet somehow I was able to condense a huge bin of every piece of schoolwork my 4th grader ever brought home into an easy to manage folder yesterday. And if I think about all his handprints and backwards letters and spelling tests that are in the trash can now, I’ll cry. So I have to pretend that they don’t exist anymore and that’s a lot of stress. How do the Pinterest people relax and just live??

Tossers?? How do you live?? Have you no souls?

On the opposite end, I’m tired of moving no less than seven shopping bags of old fabric scraps and half-finished sewing projects every time I need to use my desk and I’m pretty sure that less stuff would give the cat hair less area to cling to. Who knows though, it tumbles down the hallway regardless.

I promised the husband that I would clean out these toy bins before the kids get home from school. I have done nothing but toggle back and forth from tumblr and this post while yelling at the cat to stop scratching the couch since 8 am.

But I’m on a quest. To de-stuff my life. It won’t be Pinterest pretty (unless someone knows of a Pinterest board that can help). Just note that I have been attempting The Purge since at LEAST 2013 blogspot days which doesn’t bode too well for me.   I think what I really need is a Roomba.

How powerful is a Roomba? Like if it found a dead rat, hypothetically, could it remove it before the reality show people bring my mom into this?

The Elf on the Shelf

I’m re-gifting this post like a holiday basket of meats and crackers. Grab a beverage and enjoy this Christmas tale as old as time. Or two years. Whatever.

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Christmas time means that houses around the nation are flooded with all these naughty little elf faces doing all these naughty little elf things while reporting back to Santa on whether you washed your hands after you peed or not. The elf knows. He was watching you while he left mint poops in the toilet. And now we all know because your mom posted a picture of it on Facebook.

Now if you know anything about me, you know that setting up tableaux of espionage and wicked tomfoolery to mimic something I saw on Pinterest and then posting it on Instagram for status elevation is right up in my wheelhouse, and yet there is something about those cherry-cheeked little rats and their clandestine operations that sets my alarms to “Nope”.

When my oldest child, or Wally as I like to refer to him on the web because it subconsciously plants the “Amy’s like Donna Reed and totally has her life together!” seed in all your minds, well when Wally was around 2 years old, everyone kept asking me when I was going to hop on the Elf Express and invite one of these smiley spies into my home for the month of December. Intrigued, I did the natural thing and hit up my local Pinterest to check what these little rascals were about. Oh my eyes how they twinkled at all the glittery laughs and innocent fun!

“I’ll do it!”, I exclaimed to no one with a wink and one of those jaunty cross-body punches the kids do.

All that drunken Pinterest spirit fizzled, though when I saw that the toy store was selling those things for like $40 a pop. Forty dollars. For a stuffed elf. Plus those elves are kind of creepy looking, anyway. I don’t need that thing going all Chucky on me and slicing my Achilles tendon as I step out of bed one morning. It is not worth $40 to invite a demon into my home when I’m fairly certain I can do that for free with some red paint and carefully placed candles. Plus I don’t think that real demons can even hold knives so, cheaper AND safer.

Needless to say, the elf remained on the store shelf and I lived vicariously through my Facebook friends and their ever-increasing elf scenery that showed up on my tiny iPhone screen.

Still, the need to over-do everything nags at me to this very day and every year I wonder if I should either break down and buy an elf, pose some dinosaurs in festive ways, or just give in full stop and dress as the elf myself. The only problem with this plan is that I would have no photography assistance. My husband not only can’t manage to take a clear photo, but he also stays far away from my grand schemes and nonsense, so he’s out. Then there’s Wally who only takes selfies or really close up, arty shots of action figures doing strange things.

 

Source: my son

 

Source: my son

That just leaves The Beav and he’s 6. He’ll just take my phone, walk away and start playing Bubble Witch with it.

Also, the manipulation of this elf stunt is a whole different matter in that Wally, while incredibly imaginative, is also very scientifically biased; if he can’t see, touch, hear, or smell it, it doesn’t exist. For example, Wally informs me one Easter that “haha, the kids at school think the Easter Bunny is real, Mom! When it’s clearly just a man in a suit that comes into our house. Hahah fools,” and two years after that it was “Fairies don’t exist! Mom, please. It’s a man in a pink dress that comes in my room in the middle of the night and takes my tooth and leaves me money. Hahahah tooth fairies. Please.”. Because apparently a man in various costumes breaking into the house in the middle of the night, isn’t the weird part. I wonder if he thinks they’re all the same guy. So no matter how elaborate my lies about the elf menagerie become, he’s still going to know they’re not really spying on him and his brother and reporting back to Santa, and I don’t really need my kid being THAT kid that spoils it for the rest of the Christmas celebrating believers at the elementary school.

He would appreciate a James Bond themed elf set-up…. hmm…still no.

The more I think about these elves, the more I feel like sad, lonely business man, Michael Douglas who has just signed his life away by cashing in a gift certificate that my drifter brother, played by Sean Penn, gave me for a birthday gift, but I don’t know that anything is weird, yet, until the creepy clown, (elf), that I almost run over in my fancy, rich people driveway, (toy store), and decide to bring into the living room with me for some reason, (Pinterest and Facebook likes), starts to talk through the tv and vandalize my house while Jefferson Airplane blasts in the background as depicted in David Fincher’s 1997 film, The Game, that nobody wants to talk about with me anymore because, “Amy, that movie is like 20 years old. We’ve seen it. It’s good, but let it go!”. I hate everyone that I know.

Quite obviously, my desire to The Game everything is still in tact and I’m creeped out by inanimate things smiling at me. Put your smug face away, Elf, and tell me what you think you know. And don’t kill me please. Or tattle on me to Santa. Just, you know what? I’m just going to watch you ratting out all the other families this year on Facebook from the comfy position of not wearing pants and slouching on my couch.

 

Happy Holidays!