Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Dad Cleaning Experience

Be thankful that you are not the Jawa today. If you were, you would presently be recovering from a Dad Cleaning Experience, which, as my sisters and I can attest to, is no way to spend a Saturday morning.

A Dad Cleaning Experience is as blinding as it is unexpected. It comes without warning, and can result in a child finding all of his personal items laid out in the atrium tile. Sometimes, when the dad behind the Dad Cleaning Experience is feeling cheeky, the child may find his breakfast dishes sitting in the sink, each with a small label bearing the child's name.

Fortunately, the Jawa's own dad spent his own childhood on the receiving end of these ingenious methods, so his suffering is limited to a few hours of comprehensive cleaning, with accompanying stream-of-consciousness Dad harangue.

Today's Dad Cleaning Experience was no surprise. We had been charged with the orders, "Start cleaning the bedroom," in the morning, so we were in the correct mindset before beginning. However, for all the Jawa knew, "cleaning the bedroom" could have involved moving a few Legos around, tossing stuff into the closet, and then dancing around to whatever music we had playing.

Not this time.

Unlike a Mom Cleaning Experience, which in my own memories comes almost daily and somewhat haphazardly, and often might result in a real nice clearing of the air, the Dad Cleaning Experience is regimented, almost military in its thudding efficiency though erratic in its frequency. "We'll start with the Legos," I boomed to my child today, who wanted only to watch more Pokemon on Cartoon Network, "and move on from there."

And unlike my own Dad Cleaning Experiences, perhaps because of my long history with the genre, I made at least a perfunctory attempt to be positive and supportive during the cleaning process. Which, at first, seemed to pay off. We slammed his Gorillaz CD into the player and started to work.

The Jawa threw himself into cleaning, disassembling Legos, even contorting his body to vacuum under his bed. It's satisfying vacuuming under the bed, as it is vacuumed once a quarter and so offers up several giant economy-sized dustballs for the vacuumer. I was a little sad to be on the sidelines, but quickly remembered how much less flexible my body is now that I have passed 40 and am carrying the equivalent of a small child strapped to my stomach with packing tape in extra weight.

We started with Legos, moved onto the desk, then to his bookshelf. I was, as my own father would have said, "ruthless." With Sandra Bullock out of the house, we spent an hour or so throwing toys past their "best if played with by" date into "donation" and "trash" bags, tossing any toy current but homeless onto the bed.

Sadly, the cleanup also involved removing Sparky's old stuff and placing it in the corner in anticipation of the next hamster. I noticed at one point that Sparky's waste had outlived her, which struck me as profoundly sad, but also impressive, as it put her on a level where she had something in common with a nuclear powerplant.

Eventually, with three trash bags and two "donation" bags full, we tackled our biggest potential foe: the closet.

Here's what the Jawa keeps in his closet: two Halloween costumes, Star Wars toys, a poster about Ostriches that he made in first grade, a carboard Godzilla that he made whose head looks like Pac Man, each and every page of schoolwork completed since Kindergarten, some Mt. St. Helens ash, a piece of Boron, painting supplies, several hundred cheap plastic items that came with Happy Meals, weird little figures that could be bugs, but are actually Geonnosians (sp?) from the second "Star Wars" movie, some fossils that his grandfather brought back from Montana, sixteen super balls of various sizes, plastic motorcycles and cars, long-forgotten Game Boy games, seven cubic feet of dust and a plastic sword. And some clothes.

By now I had slipped into the Dad Cleaning Experience equivalent of a runner's high. If Sandra Bullock had not returned in time to establish some boundaries, I would have thrown the entire lot of stuff out. The Jawa, sensing this, began referring to every scrap of paper as "special." "I spent so much time on that!" he'd cry, as I tried to furtively stuff a watercolor fish into the trash bag.

Bullock, sensing that I had gone over the edge and was a Sharpie short of labelling each item then throwing them in the sink or in the middle of the atrium, stepped in. She'd see me slinking by with some enormous plastic toy and say, "You'd better ask him first."

It took us the better part of the morning and a couple of hours past lunch to finish the job. By then, the Jawa had lost all interest in anything other than blaming us for damage incurred by his Legos. "Of course," I pointed out at one point, "it probably would be better to not put the Lego hospital directly under your desk chair."

"ONLY I CAN PULL OUT THE CHAIR," he bellowed. Since we had a run-in last night involving bed time and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (a cd-rom game) that ended in tears (his), I gave him some slack. After all, I do remember what a few hours of the Dad Cleaning Experience can do to a young psyche. It's not pretty. I'm sure 4 out of 5 child psychologists do not recommend it as a parenting method. But it sure leaves rooms clean.

Now the child is content, battling foes as Mario on his Game Cube. He survived this round of cleaning, and his room is the better for it.

We even made room for the new fish tank, which I've heard will go next to his CDs, a few feet from the new hamster cage.


Anonymous anotherlefty said...

Wow, didn't know cleaning left quite such a traumatic imprint.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Bud and/or Marsi said...

i dont remember any dad cleaning experiences. only ones i got from being a sh*%$#*head. and i knew i deserved those.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous the hammer said...

Gee, can you come to our house next? I'll give you full access, especially if you teach Wine Guy your Dad cleaning techniques.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[p]If the mixture in the container turns excessively [url=]cheap ugg boots online[/url] dirty, throw away this mixture and make another batch of cleaner by diluting the leather cleaner with water . 隆掳UGG隆卤 means boot in Australia [url=]ugg boots uk[/url] where they have been popular uggs outlet for years . The Ugg slippers and scuffs are perfect to be worn [url=]ugg boots clearance[/url] around the house . The down side of shopping [url=]ugg australia outlet[/url] online with great convenience and home comfort is that you will get fake UGGs by chance . W a i s t s h o r t c o a t o r w h a t e v e r d e s e r v e [url=]cheap ugg boots uk[/url] a w i d e C o a t , i n t e g r a l e f f e c t a l s o c a n g i v e a p e r s o n b r a n d - n e w f a s h i o n a b l e f e e l i n g , l o v e l y . You need to check out the feedback section of the site to know whether [url=]cheap ugg boots sale[/url] the site provides genuine boots or fake boots . Be on the constant look [url=]ugg australia sale[/url] out for online and offline sales and promos.[/p]

5:51 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

vhollister, marc jacobs, moncler, bottes ugg, pandora jewelry, wedding dresses, moncler outlet, moncler, thomas sabo, ugg pas cher, sac louis vuitton pas cher, doudoune canada goose, pandora charms, replica watches, pandora charms, moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, ugg boots uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose uk, swarovski, moncler, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, coach outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler

7:57 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

nike air max, vans shoes, lancel, valentino shoes, ray ban, chi flat iron, bottega veneta, new balance, gucci, hollister, mac cosmetics, herve leger, timberland boots, soccer jerseys, instyler, nike air max, louboutin, abercrombie and fitch, baseball bats, karen millen, mcm handbags, asics running shoes, beats by dre, nfl jerseys, juicy couture outlet, toms shoes, juicy couture outlet, wedding dresses, hollister, ghd, ralph lauren, babyliss, north face outlet, supra shoes, birkin bag, celine handbags, oakley, montre pas cher, insanity workout, converse, reebok shoes, ferragamo shoes, p90x workout, vans, mont blanc, soccer shoes, nike roshe, jimmy choo shoes, north face outlet, converse outlet

8:00 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

oakley pas cher, burberry outlet online, true religion jeans, true religion jeans, nike air max, hogan, ugg boots, ray ban uk, coach purses, true religion outlet, converse pas cher, michael kors, nike air max, michael kors, nike roshe, new balance pas cher, nike air max, north face, timberland, nike free run uk, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, vanessa bruno, lululemon, michael kors outlet, longchamp, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, burberry, hermes, north face, sac guess, michael kors, hollister, mulberry, air force, nike trainers, vans pas cher, nike huarache, tn pas cher, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, abercrombie and fitch, ralph lauren uk, lacoste pas cher, true religion jeans, nike blazer, hollister, hollister pas cher

8:03 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

gucci outlet, prada handbags, nike outlet, air max, kate spade handbags, louboutin, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp pas cher, air jordan pas cher, prada outlet, michael kors, jordan shoes, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, nike roshe run, polo ralph lauren outlet, replica handbags, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, tiffany and co, nike free, uggs on sale, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, louis vuitton, nike free, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, coach outlet, sac longchamp, louboutin outlet, tiffany jewelry, louboutin shoes, replica watches, longchamp, tory burch outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, coach outlet, replica watches, kate spade outlet, burberry, ray ban sunglasses

8:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home