The leaves haven’t come out yet, and it’s possible that we could get more snow, but still, it’s April. I’m packing away the mittens and hats and gloves. If it gets cold, I’ll just stick my hands in my pockets. We’re having the family here for Easter dinner this weekend — that’s 22 people cramming into our living room — which means it’s time to do a little spring cleaning.
Well, actually, make that a whole lot of spring cleaning. Anyone who lives by the academic calendar can imagine what our living room looks like this time of year. My two oldest kids, who are home most weekends, are grad students who barely have time to shower, so cleaning the house is not a priority for them. Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl (his girlfriend) are both undergrads, and the loveseat where they work is piled with books and papers and crumpled hoodies. The end of the couch where With-a-Why does his homework looks like the nest of some kind of rodent who hoards chess pieces, art supplies, and sheet music.
I’m just as guilty as the rest of the family. On the days when I work at home — grading papers, doing class prep, writing, sending emails — I tend to move about the house with my laptop, leaving a trail of tea mugs behind me. My husband isn’t an academic, but April is a busy time in the financial world, which means that the red chair where he sits with his laptop is covered with fallen post-it notes and empty bottles of gatorade.
So yeah. Add a layer of cat hair (the damned creatures shed like crazy this time of year), piles of nasty-smelling Ultimate Frisbee jerseys and cleats, and disorganized piles of sheet music everywhere. That’s pretty much the scene at my house.
Finding out that we're hosting the Easter holiday has forced me to begin my end-of-the-semester cleaning binge a bit early. Well, to be honest, I haven't really done much cleaning yet, but I did give the family my “You all have to pitch and help” speech.
“We ARE helping,” Shaggy Hair Boy said, defensively, when I was done with my spiel. He and Smiley Girl had just gone through all the upstairs bookshelves and pulled out dozens of old textbooks, which were stacked in untidy piles on the floor.
“How is it helping to drag all those books down into the living room?” I asked.
“We’re going to sell them,” said Smiley Girl. She was entering the titles into some data base on the computer.
“See?” said Shaggy Hair Boy, “We make money, and we get crap out of the house.”
Boy in Black, who had ignored my whole speech, looked up from his laptop. “That works,” he said. Many of the textbooks were his – and my daughter’s – but they’d been paid for by scholarship money, so I guess that means they are fair game for a younger sibling looking to finance a summer trip to the Southwest with his girlfriend.
So far, that’s the extent of our cleaning. We’ve packed away the winter clothing, I've given a stern speech, and we’ve gotten rid of a whole bunch of textbooks. I hope when the rest of the family arrives for Easter dinner, they are suitably impressed.