Yesterday, we discussed the Matron's special relationship with a pair of very important jeans. She has other psychic black holes as well. Look at the Parental Bed! How tidy! How spare! Someone--and that would be the Matron herself--knows her way around a mop and broom. There's a pleasant firm tuck to those sheets, too.
The Matron cannot tolerate clutter. If there are piles of junk around the house--say globs of backpacks, boots, coats and shoes abandoned by the front door or a living room transformed into a fort city, complete with several large cardboard structures or days of the dreaded Science Project on the dining room table --- well, if these conditions develop (and of course, they do) the Matron's brain cells ignite and then actually abandon ship. This is a bad thing.
The Matron is inflicted with a rare and obviously untreatable condition in which her own brain sucks in the clutter around her and stops working. Focus, clarity, intellectual acumen: gone.
There can be dust bunnies. Dirt is allowed to accumulate. After all, the Matron is not entirely insane. She neither likes nor dislikes cleaning. It is simply a task that must be done. Now that the children are older, they have developed relationships with sponges, 409 and dish soap.
But clutter is another thing entirely. Junk on the floor is evil. The mangle of firetrucks, crayons, dirty socks and half-eaten apple next to the couch will eventually rise up and kill the Matron. See the expanse of space here? All that beautiful wood with nothing on the floor?! That glint you see is Happiness, raw and pure.
Alas, children shed clutter like dog hair. Drop drop drop: batman underpants, gold toe socks, bubble gum wrappers, freezie wrappers, bowls of cheetos, Samantha's Pink Party dress, book book book book, Pikachu card, yellow dump truck, matchbox police car, walkie talkie, spent batteries, unscrewed pen and accompanying contents, Spelling book, final reminder about lost library book, note from teacher, lunch box, best friend's bandanna. This is the mother of all endless lists.
Friends inquire about my day: "What did you do today, Mary?"
Me: "I moved items from where they were dropped to the place they belonged."
The Matron spends 80% of her wild, precious life moving things around her house. Floor to closet. Couch to drawer. Countertop to appropriate shelf. Stairs to coat rack. Repeat.
She often wonders why she is the only one in the entire house who seems to have this skill.
One member of the household causes the Matron particular pain. Remember dear Peanuts' Pigpen? Poor guy stood in a circle of dirt. So does Scarlett. She emits clutter like radiation. Junk flies off her and cavorts around the house.
The Matron and her daughter have engaged in some dark Freudian battles over the bracelets and leggings and bookmarks that travel in Scarlett's wake. You see, the Matron can close a bedroom door and pretend that room does not exist. This is called hoping one's untreatable and rare Clutter Brain Suck doesn't infect children and that the Matron herself is not the complete and all encompassing focus of all future theraputic needs.
The Matron's solution is to gather Scarlett's debris from around the house, put it in a pile and close the door. Look what her talented child can strew about the house in the slim hours before going to bed and leaving for school the next day. She's got game, that girl. This is a fresh pile, newly begun. When the pile gets large enough to tax the family oxygen supply, Scarlett is required to disassemble.
Incurable Clutter Brain Suck finds some relief in Pinot Noir. When this state cannot be induced, the Matron moves stuff. Book, plate, peanut butter. This wild and precious life, bound.