Monday, December 06, 2010

Frank Loyd Wright did not have children.

We live in an open concept bungalow. Very open. It is a late 1960’s
construction that used to have lots of little rooms that the previous owner
blew out to create one big open room. From my Station (the kitchen) I can
see all – what the 8 and unders are playing on the computer, what they are
watching on t.v., what they are eating, what caused the latest “I’m telling
on you!”. I can hear the bleeps of the DS and the blips of the Leapster.
At bedtime, I can even see who is sneaking another book when look-down has
been called. Sounds like a harmonious, idyllic situation, non? Non. It’s
driving me effing crazy. In an open concept home you have no place to call
your own. I had claimed the couch in front of the fire place as mine,
with my books, candles and special blanket my Mom made me spread out just
so. That lasted about a day until I sat on a Webkinz (oh you just know
where that rhinoceros horn went) and found a Polly pocket shoe at the
bottom of my wine* glass.

I can handle pretty much all of the above, particularly when I am self
medicating*. What I cannot handle is when my phone calls are interrupted
with 8 and under Drama (oh yes, I used a capital D). The other day I was
expecting a phone call for an update on a loved one’s operation. The call
came and as soon as I was being updated, Drama broke out. I could barely hear
the person on the phone due to the shrieks of injustice, mutilation and
torture that were going on in the background (see? Drama). I was
mortified. You would think the Angel of Death was visiting our bright
little bungalow. When off the phone, I discovered that the Angel of Death
was merely a pencil eraser crime, the eraser touching the 5 year old via the 8 year old. Most definitely no need for Drama. I was about to show Grace and Edie my
own little Drama. The scary, open a can of whoop ass kind of Drama. It is
not news to them that I want some decorum when I am on the phone or
entertaining. I reached deep into my thespian repertoire of Mom characters and opted for Scary Quiet Lady. I quietly walked over to them, phone still in hand. In my most pointed, quiet voice, I informed them that no computers would be played that night (I’m pretty sure Grace shouted out “I’m melting!” to that one) and that they would be spending the rest of the evening in the basement (to which Edie’s eyes grew even rounder).

Now one would think that medieval torture goes on in our basement. The resistance
movement against the basement is worthy of a chapter in a high school text
book. The girls avoid it at all costs. You would think that there are ghosts
clanging their chains in the closet, large spiders scurrying across the
floor and the Spectre Boredom always on the ready to pounce.

The reality is our basement was re-done with the kids in mind. A nice new berber, bright lighting, a television, comfy couches, a Wii, a play structure and an array of other toys I keep throwing down there akin to a donkey's carrot.

I know, Jo and I should be locked away for the conditions we expect the girls
play in. There’s a freaking play structure in my basement people! A play

So down they went, without a word (you don’t fuck with Scary Quiet Lady).
And lo and behold, they stayed. They played. They watched t.v. When I
told them to come up, they asked for 5 more minutes, please. When they did
come up, I’m pretty sure they were cleaner than when they went down and
with their manners re-charged. When they were in the basement, I sat on my
couch in front of the fireplace, wrapped in my blankie and genuinely enjoyed looking at magazines with pictures of open concept bungalows, in peace and quiet. And I was
re-charged as well, genuinely pleased to see them re-surface. So maybe I don't have a place I can call my own, but at least I can call 1/2 and hour my own. Sometimes.

(ugh, sorry about the layout on this - New Years resolution to clean up damn blog).


Jen (martinis for breakfast) said...

When my kids were very little, I used to fantasize about open-concept living. I used to envy friends that had the kitchen opening out to the family room layout. Now that my kids are 13 and 10 (who have big and noisy friends), I appreciate the fact that my kitchen is in the back of my house with a door as Eminem, X-box and football games just don't go with CBC's Tapestry. And I cannot channel Scary Quiet Lady. The best I can do is Hysterical Crazy Lady (which *does* work sometimes...).

Little Red Hen said...

I do an awesome Scary Twitchy-Eye Lady. She can clear a room in no time.

Laura said...

Scary quiet lady works for me too...sometimes. :)

Nat said...

You know there is only drama when you're on the phone. I swear... parents because 1500 times more necessary the minute the phone rings.