There is a rule in my home regarding its pristine condition. That rule is that nothing — absolutely nothing — will stay in any form of pristine condition.
Somewhere between all the farm critters, my husband’s constant projects, three kids, and my own general clumsiness, pristine gets lost. I have gathered a small body of evidence to validate my point.
First, let me present to you the black spray paint incident. My husband had been working on some project and left the garage door open. This left us susceptible to disaster. My 5-year old son found a can of black spray paint in the garage. Clearly using his head at the time, he decided to “decorate.” Our white garage and white barn took the brunt of his creative genius. A large piece of borrowed farm equipment and lilac bushes were also negatively affected.
For how messy and chaotic our lives are, we try to keep up outside appearances, at least in theory. The assault of black spray paint basically acts as a billboard for those visiting the farm that our shit is definitely not together.
Second, I present to you a quick look under the couch cushion. The manufacturers of our couch apparently installed a junk and old food magnet, located directly under the cushions. Clearly this is a marketing ploy to try to get unsuspecting customers to spend the extra money on fabric protection plans.
Yes, immediately after taking this picture, I put the cushion back and ignored the mess. Maybe that makes me a party to the crime. Maybe that just shows that I have been conditioned to be used to the mess that is our daily life.
Third, the infamous pee stain. This infraction happened around Christmas time. We had the tree set up and a beautiful tree skirt on display. I went to plug-in the tree one morning and felt a squish under my hand. I lifted up the tree skirt and discovered a putrid, urine soaked pull-up. For a reason far beyond my comprehension, one of my toddlers had stashed the filthy pull-up under our Christmas tree. The smell was horrific. I was obviously pissed (pun intended). I picked up the pull-up and discovered a dark brown stain on our 100-year old wood floor. I scrubbed, I researched, then I cried.
The pee stain will be there until we replace the floors, which will hopefully be never. I console myself with the idea that when my children begin to date, I can proudly show off the pee stain and discuss how absolutely disgusting my kids truly are. It is only fair to warn people before they try to join the family.
Fourth, we have the barn cat mistake. This was our first barn cat. She adopted our family, but had clearly not been an inside cat before. She was a long-haired tabby with beautiful green eyes. When she was meowing at the backdoor, I could not turn her away. It took some serious convincing for my husband, but she became a household staple.
Then it happened.
I came home from the grocery store and heard a strange tearing sound. I went to investigate. There I found barn cat, using our brand-new leather sofa as a scratching post. I panicked. I had to try to fix it. Yeah… the above photo is after I “fixed” it. I went to the local hardware store and bought a latex spray paint. I swear it looks a lot better than it did.
And yes, the barn cat spent her remaining years living in our home. I mean, she was cute. But my expectations for having a classy looking living room swiftly vanished. I tell myself that someday I can buy new furniture, but I am completely convinced it would be futile.
Fifth, I have the mysterious green goop stain. I picked up my son from his 4-k program, threw him in the minivan, and took off for home. It’s Wisconsin and it was winter, so we do not fool around. Once I got him inside I started to peel off his multiple layers. With each layer, I became more and more aware that my son was caked with a thick green goop. I immediately soaked his clothing in the tub with some heavy-duty chemicals. It took forever, but the clothes came clean. I was quite pleased with myself.
But I completely forgot about the possible carnage in my minivan. Due to my lack of green goop transfer experience, it did not cross my mind until much later. By then, the goop was set. I have used every possible concoction to try and rid our lives of the now hardened, and seemingly permanent, goop. Nothing has worked. If anything I have made it much, much worse.
My minivan-of-shame was not even 6-months old when this incident occurred. The green goop solidified (both literally and figuratively) so my vehicle will never be clean.
Lastly, my classy as hell, shabby chic, perfect compliment to my home, dining chairs. I searched for these chairs for months. I was beyond excited when the chairs of my dreams popped up on an online ad. I bought them and it was instant love. Fast forward two months. I am drinking, I am writing, and I am killing it. Then I got too excited. I went to scoot my pompous and over-confidant ass up in my chair and broke the damn armrest. There are very few ways to recover from such an event; I simply asked for more gin.
The armrest is a constant symbol that spending my time looking for things is a big waste of time. At this point, I’m ready to get some Wal-Mart folding chairs and call it eclectic.
With multiple other instances I have not even touched on, I clearly had to change my expectations when it comes to my home’s condition. I never strive for pristine. I now strive to land somewhere between “lived in” and “it would pass a CPS inspection.”