So I did not do much housework while the family was out of the house over the last week. However, I felt I could do a few hours, especially when I had no power for close to 24 hours and my computer was out of juice. I decided to tackle the basement playroom. This was quite an undertaking.
At some point in the course of 3 children and their friends playing with a complex variety of objects, you reach a state of almost complete entropy. There is almost no relationship between any two toys you might find next to each other. A UNO card next to a puzzle piece next to a party favor from Bounce U next to a Lego next to a small, infernal part of a Playmobil set. And that would actually be OK as a mix, because I know what all those things are and where they go. More complicated is when I cannot actually identify the small plastic piece in question. While I do have a box for “random plastic toys” I have some nagging sense that a plastic piece might be part of a set. Which has its own place.
The good news is I did get my 10,000 steps, basically from walking around the playroom putting things in bins. And I was able to vacuum! Of course, the whole place promptly lost its pristine nature as soon as my children walked back in the door. That’s why it’s good that it’s the basement. In NYC, all this mess was always underfoot. In my suburban house, I can close the door to the basement and refuse to go down there. I don't really want to spend my life battling it.
Do you have a play area in your home? Do you require things be put away with any regularity? Which toy pieces have the biggest tendency to wind up in bizarre places?
In other news: Mary Mazzio's new documentary, Underwater Dreams, will screen in limited release in New York and Los Angeles starting on July 11. Long time readers will recognize her as the former Olympic rower turned film maker that I've interviewed several times about creative careers. This film — which covers how an engineering team composed of children of undocumented Mexican immigrants started winning robotics competitions — looks at all kinds of hot button issues, but manages to be fun, too.