It’s easy to introduce mass chaos into your home, if you know how.Step One: Ignore various design flaws in your home for at least eight years. Thanks to the Law of Entropy, ignoring these issues is sure to complicate things immensely down the road.Step Two: Imagine you might be able to do the repairs yourself. Actually attempt a few of them yourself, but leave them half-finished. For years. This is sure to turn a simple situation into an enormous mess.Step Three: Finally give in and hire professionals, but drop the ball on several things that they asked you to complete before they arrive. Not only is this rude and embarrassing, it also instantly adds stress to an already stressful situation.Step Four: The final step, and this is extremely important — invite a house guest from another country to stay with you for two weeks. Her stay should be scheduled to overlap with a large chunk of the work. This will ensure that you’ll be experiencing maximum chaos.Here are just a few evidences that you have successfully entered into temporary chaos:
- Your kids exercise poor judgment in new and painful ways. Examples include slamming a window on one’s hand, falling and skinning a knee, breaking glassware, stubbing toes, and acting grumpy most of the day.
- After approximately four hundred twenty trips up and down the stairs, the entire contents of your bedrooms and closets are now piled in your living room, family room, and dining room. The resulting labyrinth aggravates and complicates tasks such as, oh, walking and sitting.
- You’re thrust into the role of a general contractor, hiring plumbers, electricians, tile installers, carpet-layers, painters and handymen to try to work in concert to resolve eight years of neglect. You’re fielding phone calls all day long, trying to schedule things in the right order. Comments from each team indicate you’re throwing off everybody’s schedule by at least three days. Feel bad.
- Every conversation you and your spouse enter into revolves around such tiresome subjects as ceramic tiles, pedestal sinks, and paint swatches.
- You have no time to interact with blog visitors in the comments because of the steady stream of questions and urgent requests coming from all directions in “real” life.
How to embrace (and occasionally counteract) the chaos:
- Hang clothes on the line. This productive activity also serves as a few moments of quiet and calm in the flurry of drywall dust and paint fumes.
- Declutter! Take this opportunity to sort through all those closet drawers and under-bed boxes. When they’re sitting in front of the couch, it’s convenient to dig through and make aggressive decisions. After all, every item that leaves the house is one more item you don’t have to carry back upstairs to the closets.
- Bake chocolate chip cookies. While this adds to the chaos (it’s hard not to question one’s judgment when cleaning up piles of flour in the middle of everything else), it also makes everybody smile.
Thank you for your patience as you faithfully comment and await my reply…only to be met with silence.Imagine me dotted with paint and dust, moving boxes and clothes, pausing from that to bake a batch of cookies to pass out to the gracious, patient, hard-working teams who are enduring chaos brought on by our neglect.As soon as I log off, I’ve got to make room in the garage for materials.Enjoy a few moments of calm in a hammock for me, would you?(Follow-up: If you’re so inclined, you can read a follow-up post that I composed after a comment to this one humbled me.)