I am not a neat freak. I am not even organized in the slightest. And truth be told, most days operate like a living “I-Spy” game here, with most objects weighing under 10 pounds located four-feet off the ground because of my two-year old. One of the best pieces of advice my Mom gave me was to stop stressing over every particle of dust. There was a point in my life where everything in my house had to be perfect before I’d even open the door to pizza delivery people.
“If people come to look at your house and judge you by what your house looks like instead of spending quality time with you, why have those people in your life?” she asked once when we were getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve party, and I was upset my house went from “pristine” to “post two-year-old-daughter tornado” in a matter of minutes right before people started to arrive. “The people who truly care about you would rather see a little clutter and you spending time with your children than a house that makes people afraid to walk or sit down or feel comfortable. A home should be a home, not a museum. Now pass me the pirogue platter.”
In my previous house, I had a gorgeous art studio where I worked out of (it even had its own bathroom so I didn’t need to run through the house and disturb the children as they were playing video games – thus reminding them they wanted a snack. Always, “Something homemade, please”. And I would have to put my project aside until the next time all 5 children were occupied…AT THE SAME TIME.) It had huge picture windows (from which I could see up into my neighbor’s attic widow. I can’t even begin to tell you to amount of time I would see the light in that attic come on at odd hours of the night – VERY SPOOKY).
There was BUILT-IN shelving everywhere. I work with several art mediums and as anyone who is into art can relate, “STUFF” accumulates rapidly. So the shelving was priceless, as was my overstuffed couch that everyone fought over to sit in and curl up and hang with me as I worked.
And then, the guinea pigs happened.
My request for my birthday was a little blast from the past – guinea pigs. (Yes, “pigs”, I always feel awful for caged animals that are alone.) So…we paraded into the pet store and adopted two adorable little creatures – Creamsicle and Fudgsical, both girls – “because their temperaments complement each other,” we were told. Naturally, their new home was in my studio. Creamy and Fudgy were adorable, Creamy was an orange and white color, and Fudgy was, well, brown. And they LOVED each other. So much so, that one evening, I heard a scream coming from my studio as I cooked dinner. In the studio, I found Daughter #2 standing next to the guinea pigs cages, just pointing, “How did those baby mice get in there?”
Sure enough….Creamsicle and Fudgsical were now the proud parents of FOUR adorable babies. And we were beginning to become overrun by the creatures. My studio began to smell like hay and the entire experience quickly grew old. I’m happy to say that we found excellent homes for them all.
“Mommy? When we move to Myrtle Beach, can we get guinea pigs again?”
“I think getting them pets is an excellent idea,” Randi said when we Skyped later – (she is ALWAYS on the kids’ side).
“They can play with Cliff!” Honestly, pets are the last thing on my mind.
“Kids need pets of their own,” she waved me off as she angled her webcam down at her feet, “and by the way, thank you so much for the slippers!” The pink fluffy things were absolutely suited to her and she was showing them off like they were a pair of her Jimmy Choo’s. It occurred to me I should have gotten her something with faces on them.
“I need a studio in the house,” I told her.
She assured me that she had already taken that into consideration right from the get-go, along with the enormous kitchen I am demanding and the fireplace she thinks I don’t need.
“And,” she giggled right before she said good-bye, “I will make sure there’s plenty of space for pets.”