Monday, October 5, 2009

I Lost the Babies, But in Other Ways I Am Organized

Willow and Sydney had a playdate this morning because I wanted to get some work done. Specifically, I wanted to grade papers all morning, not read books and play board games about dinosaurs and see if the laminator will laminate leaves and playfight with sticks in the front yard and maybe watch a segment of Mythbusters--these are my favorite things to do of a morning, true, but grading papers? Must be done.

So we invited an adorable little schoolmate over to play with the girls, and there was much running up and down stairs and in and out of the house, etc.--your typical playdate. At one point in the morning, however, Sydney came in and asked for a snack, and so I thought I'd find Willow and the little friend and see if they wanted a toasted cheese quesadilla, too (the little friend claimed, however, that she isn't allowed to eat snacks at other people's houses, but that's a later story). I didn't see the girls upstairs, so I ran down to the basement playroom. No girls. I figured I must have missed them somewhere upstairs, so I ran back up and looked in all the rooms, calling their names. No girls. Now I figured I must have missed them downstairs after all, so I ran back downstairs, and looked in the bathroom off of the playroom and the closet under the stairs, calling their names.

No girls.

So now I think that they must be hiding, so I run back upstairs and look really well in all the nooks and crannies in all the rooms, calling their names sternly and announcing trouble to come if hiding places are not revealed.

No girls.

And now I start to panic. I think of all the places in which a mischievous hiding little girl or two could come to grief--did one girl lock another in a Rubbermaid bin made empty due to our recent organization, and then panic, herself, and hide? Could they have climbed into the broken dryer and then passed out? Emptied the chest freezer of food, hidden that food, climbed inside the freezer, and shut the door on themselves? Drunk a full bottle of hydrogen peroxide and crawled underneath the kitchen sink to die? I run back downstairs, like an IDIOT, and check the dryer, and the freezer, and the nook where the furnace lives, and the space around the chimney.


And now I think, I HAVE WASTED TOO MUCH TIME. Whatever has happened, I have wasted lots of precious minutes running back and forth, while these children are in danger or dead. So I run back upstairs, heading straight to the cell phone so that I can call 1) 911 2) Matt 3) the little schoolmate's mother.

And as I pass the hall closet, which I have looked in at least four times in the past few minutes, I hear "gigglegigglegiggle." And from beneath the winter coats and behind the stroller and sturdy boots crawl Willow and her little friend, just giggling as hard as they can giggle.

And that's how I had my first heart attack.

In other news, the expansive organizational project of the girls' bedroom and our study/studio, the two messiest rooms in the house on account of they are constantly inhabited by three of the four messiest people in our family, is finished. I didn't finish grading papers this weekend, but I did finish putting all my favorite things, and all of the girls' favorite things, into clear plastic bins with sturdy lids. And then I labeled those bins. And, um, color-coded them. Because if you're going to do something, you might as well overdo it.

Here's part of the closet in the study:
You can see the bag in which I keep my teaching materials for my cloth diapering classes; the bin containing acrylic, oil, and tempera paints; the bin containing bulk colored pencils, the big jug of Mod Podge; the smaller box of plaster of Paris; four rolls of contact paper; the bin containing the one-inch pinback button machine and all its parts; the bin with all our hole punches; and the edges of small bins that contain seashells and artist trading cards. Oh, and at the very top, my brand-new and best-beloved Cricut, which I'll rhapsodize about some other time soon.

Here's another view of that same closet, if you can believe it:
You can see the big bin of bulk crayons, with our various pads of artist's papers stacked on top of it; bins of popsicle sticks, wooden cut-outs, and river rocks; the box of activated charcoal that, combined with the river rocks, goes into our terrariums; a bigger bin with all our paintbrushes; a small bin of pom-poms (and perhaps googly eyes); and bins of scrapbook embellishments and blank puzzles.
You probably can't see the labels on these bins, but every bin is labelled. And every bin has, below the label, one of three things on it--YES, NO, or WITH PERMISSION, and is underlined with either a green, red, or yellow marker. One of the main things I wanted to accomplish, as well as actually having a place to put all my crap, is to help the girls understand what materials they have access to. I take their roles as collaborators in our shared art and as artists in their own right very seriously, and I wanted to reassure them of what supplies they're permitted to use unsupervised, what they must be supervised to use, and what is off-limits. Basically, only the vintage beads, the jewelry findings, the soldering supplies, and the scrapbook embellishments are forbidden. The most important distinction in my mind is the WITH PERMISSION from the YES, or, for Sydney, the yellow underline from the green underline.
Bigger shelves elsewhere in the study hold bigger stuff:
Here are bins of blank papers, vintage papers, purchased scrapbook papers, scratched/warped vinyl record albums for crafting, and bulk markers. On top of one of the bins is a huge book of wallpaper samples--this is lots of fun for flipping through.

Even my desk received its fair share of attention, desperately needed, with a couple of nice, big paper bins labelled--

Although I'm not sure why I marked them NO--you'd think I'd welcome the help of anyone who wanted to do my paperwork drudgery for me...


5 orange potatoes said...

Whoa! Impressive organizational skills!!! It looks great.

Those little stinker girls hiding so well from you. Would have scared me to death too; any new gray hairs from this game? Fauna and her best friend always to this to me too when they are outside....I'm always afraid the neighborhood coyotes have run off with them. Ahh, children, gotta love 'em!


Anonymous said...

Good gravy...will we have to start calling you Martha? I was just reduced to a puddle of insecure depression after viewing the virtual tour of Martha's studio yesterday...and then you brag about your cool space today.

Your heart attack story is hilarious! I'm only laughing, of course, because you survived the experience. ;)

cake said...

god, that looks great. i bet it feels really good too. must be in the air, because i have been sorting and organizing all week too.

you tell the "girls hiding" story very well. your readers feel the panic. probably because most of us have been there, at least at some level, for a few moments.