Household Twilight Zone

by Mary Fagan - Date: 2007-01-19 - Word Count: 563 Share This!

You've heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack? Housekeepers all over the planet encounter similar challenges and are expected to deftly overcome them so that the kids can catch the bus, breadwinners can get to work and the household remains in ship-shape.

Since unlocking the mysteries of the household usually falls on the female of the species, they know these daily encounters can land them ... in the Household Twilight Zone.

It starts in the bathroom. Who could have imagined that the endless supply of hair cropping up on the floor could be shed from the same heads that wake up in tangled and hard to comb and style messes? This proliferation of castaway strands boggles the mind and frustrates men with male pattern baldness, yet no one helps with hair removal.

Enter the kitchen, where the remains of snacks and drinks on the floor causes such a stickiness that it can pull a shoe two inches off the ground but, incredibly, no one cares. This slapping sound has conditioned the dog to salivate and come running, a Pavlovian spot remover.

Off in the distance, the children scream. The item they need for school cannot be located. Only the stairway, cluttered with the week's worth of items that never found their way to their rightful place, holds any hope. Either that or it's where they had it last.

Against our better judgment, we follow a trail of dropped items directly to a strange and unexplainable sight. What appears to be an ordinary bed is piled so high with clothing, there is no need for a blanket. And against the wall, only the clutter of personal care items on top of the dresser holds any hnit of its intended purpose in the room.

With no connection whatsoever to this scene is the laundry room with its expansive collection of catchall items. As the occupants come and go, here is where they deposit books, coats, shoes, mail, newspapers, groceries, and the item they'll need for school tomorrow morning. The discerning eye finds, under a deep pile of sundries, actual clothing items waiting for a spin. It's no mystery who will be entering the cleaning zone.

The time - almost any day, after school. The place - the family room. Just who are these young people? Before them lies an expanse of floor, a minefield of broken and cracked DVD cases. Strangely enough, these people can't connect the dots as to why they are broken even though they can run a Pacman through a rows of dots in record time on what they refer to as a "vintage" system that they keep in a cobwebbed box in the basement that appears immediately after the room's been vacuumed.

And in the basement, a testimony to the lost. Empty cages now filled with painting supplies and Easter baskets offer the only clues to the existence of the pets the kids promised to care for. (They did ask to consult with Sylvia Brown about the gerbil they never found. Not so for the gecko who was proof positive that living things need food and water.)

As the day draws to a close, consider this. Is it any wonder that parents get tired? But unlike the gerbil or the gecko, they face the future with confidence, having escaped the darker places and ready to encounter another day ... in the household Twilight Zone.

Related Tags: children, kitchen, family, parent, bedroom, household

Mary Fagan has an M.S. in Education and is the mother of three children. When not inspecting their rooms and checking for clean clothing, she offers lighthearted parenting humor at

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