When the husband is away…

My husband, heretofore known as Sweetie, has been out of town for the past few days. He used to travel for work quite a bit, but since kid number five came along he’s found ways to be home more often. It’s a blessing and a curse. Being alone is a lot more work. I’m outnumbered five to one. If you include animals, I’m outnumbered 14 to 1. And I don’t sleep well alone. On the plus side, though, I also get to cook food I like and watch TV shows I like and stay in PJ’s all day and stop cleaning if I like and do a project I like. This time I planned to work on some dog training, build a new TV stand for the family room to go above the just-ordered dog crates, and watch Gone Girl.

This time, those parts – the parts that I find enjoyable – ruined the whole week. The first night I fully intended to get caught up on some housework after the kids went to bed. Instead, I stayed up till 2 am playing Sims. Yes, I’m a grown woman who plays Sims. If I can’t redecorate my own home every five days, then my Sims home will do.


Before: The trip-hazzard-nighmare-of-death.

So the next day, I shuffled around like a zombie. Not only was I behind on housework, but I was too tired to work on it or my project.  In my super-tired stupor, I tripped on some junk in the garage, pulling the extension cord that plugs into my husband’s portable heater, which knocked the heater on the floor, and broke the internal components that make it safe, which caused it to heat up too much and perpetually trigger the safety shut-off device. Crap. If you give a mom a night alone she’s going to want to clean the house…. Living with me is like watching reruns of I Love Lucy. This is about the millionth and a half time I’ve tripped on this extension cord; so I scratched TV Stand off the project list and added cool mud room thingamaling like on Pinterest


You know the ones: Mudrooms from a magazine where neither clutter nor grease nor mud reside, which are more beautiful than the main part of the house and where no real children, dogs, or husbands live.

Like This

Mudrooms like this…swoon *image from Zillow*

So I did what I normally do in such situations: I contemplated the situation ( I stared at it for a while) and came up with a plan. That old shelf, almost identical to the Ikea Ivar shelf (only made sometime in the 70’s by Sweetie’s grandpa), that’s really too rickety to use would make a great bench and Sweetie earmarked it for the dump anyway.  I tore all the junk off the north wall of the garage and piled it in the center where Sweetie normally parks and I sketched out what I wanted and cut all my wood to size – until I ran out of wood. Oops.

Then my day happened. Tim, who is three, has decided he doesn’t have time to use the potty, but Mom has time to do extra laundry and mop the floor 18,000 times a day. So there was that. Then there was homework and dishes and volunteering at the school and Alice, the oldest, needing to be picked up from work (day one) and missing the bus (day two), and all the millions of things I normally do every day. By the time dinner was done, I was falling asleep in my food. Then it was baths and bedtime and everything that follows. No project.

I decided to go to bed early and wake up early to get the house caught up so that I could spend the day working on the garage project. I told the teens to go to bed on time because I was going to bed early. I thought, You know, some TV would help knock me out. It normally does when the house is too quiet and I’m too alone. So I stayed up till midnight screaming at the logical fallacies watching Gone Girl. Hey, at least I got one thing on my checklist done.

Then I slept in. As a result, the Alice was late for the bus and I’m pretty sure Kate and Rae didn’t brush their hair. I’m the best mom ever by the way. It was at this point that I realized – It’s Friday. Sweetie will be home tonight, it’s a short day at school, the garage is full of my project, and the house looks like a tornado full of dishes and camping gear blew through. Oh. And I need to go to the store for bread and a present for Kate’s friend’s birthday party.

Number one on the list? Get the garage floor clear. Have you ever procrastinated on something, then finished it with minutes to go? That. With power tools. Not my smartest choice.


This was my work plan in progress

And this is what I had time to complete.


Hello to not dying on cords and junk! And hello new heater. This is, or will be, our “pet center.” The dog and cat food are in those gray bins. I could probably fit the litter under the bench too, but I know my kids won’t change the litter if they have to fish it out. If I didn’t have pets, it would be a great place for soccer balls and roller skates. In the future, when we’re ready to

move, I hope this area will be a good selling point. Phase one: complete.

My husband’s reaction? Why did I girlify the garage? Um. A. Because I’m tired of almost killing myself on dog food bags and random tools and junk and B. Because I want to move with a capital NOW and this looks better than the rickety shelf.

Notes to the wise:

  1. Don’t do a project in the man-cave without prior permission from the man, especially if the man is out of town or you might upset the man for girlifying it. Though it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the task and make sure you have all the wood you need first.
  3. Don’t start a project – however badly needed – that you can’t finish when you already have 30 started projects.
  4. Early to bed and early to rise makes a lady happy and wealthy and wise.

Have a better day than I did y’all.


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