My kids have messy rooms. I am not the kind of mom who wants my children’s inner slob to be in any way inhibited, so messy they stay. Not tidying up saves us all time and effort that can be better expended on watching TV.
That is not to say that the floors of their rooms are never visible to any living creatures taller than a rodent. Not at all. Every couple of years we go a little crazy and hire someone to clean up. Yes, we outsource, but we keep the job here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Our house is not sent overseas to be overhauled by any kids in a sweatshop. True, sometimes I have neglected to turn on the AC for the cleaner, so the job may have seemed as if it was done in a sweatshop. But that was purely accidental.
My daughter has lots of toys; my son has lots of baseball cards. So the nature of their messes are qualitatively different. To enter my daughter’s room, the visitor must use his or her best en pointe ballet steps (otherwise known as the “tippy toe” walk) to safely wade through the minefield of Barbies, outgrown Crocs, stuffed animals, and a growing rock collection. For those who choose to venture into my son’s room, autographed Hall of Fame baseballs, mismatched soccer socks, and sharpened pencils grace the 1920s hardwood floor.
So I should have been on my guard when I opened the door of my son’s room in order to “get things off the floor” so the cleaning person could mop. Or vacuum. Not exactly sure how one cleans hardwood floors unless it involves baby wipes and blowing dust bunnies into the closet.
I slowly pushed open the door and, much like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, the next few moments were spent in a curious, dissociative state. My right foot hooked onto the drawstring of my son's David Ortiz backpack, which was hanging on to the doorknob for dear life. My foot brought down not only the Big Papi sack, but the three other backpacks precariously balanced on the very same knob. While my right foot was trying to get its bearings, my left foot slid on a discarded Josh Hamilton jersey, my normally very stiff and unlimber limbs splaying like a gymnast. My knees crashed to the floor in unison, with a resounding thump. My forehead came down on top of my son's batting helmet, zipped into his baseball gear bag, which was sprawled across the floor. There was very little blood, so this household injury paled in comparison to the finger-in-the-Cuisinart maiming last winter. But, while the slashed finger throbbed and gushed, I have to say this display of grace actually hurt.
I called out to my family, all of whom were home, to get some assistance righting my body and taking inventory of my limbs and digits. Nothing. I hadn't recalled the Realtor telling us our home is sound-proof, so I called again, just a wee bit louder. Not a peep. Granted, it was a Monday evening and ESPN Sportscenter may have been on, so the inability for my kin to attend to two stimuli at once was understandable. I tried one more time, this time shrieking an SOS cry that probably could have been heard in our neighbor's possibly also soundproof home.
That did the trick. My family sauntered over to find out what all the commotion was. As they looked down at me, sprawled on the floor, attempting to cradle my knees and head at the same time (no easy feat), it was up to me to offer an explanation. "I tripped on the backpack," I said, my head throbbing, "can you please get me some ice?"
Everyone disappeared, presumably making a beeline for the freezer. Several minutes (it seemed) later--a commercial break??--my husband comes back with one ice pack. "You look OK," he proclaimed, handing me the ice pack.
"I think I need another ice pack," I explained, pointing to the welt growing on my forehead, as well as the swelling in my knees. My husband nodded and apparently directed our son to get me another ice pack. Time passed. Joints swelled. I was still alone on the floor. I called for my son, whose appearance at the scene of the accident had been suspiciously brief.
"Are you going to the Emergency Room?" he called from another room, if I were to guess, I would say the room with the Wii. I assured him I was not. "Am I in trouble because it was my backpack?" he called from the other room. I hadn't considered that angle. "No, but you might be if you don't bring me another ice pack."