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Home » 9to5to9

The mysteries of science, domestic engineering division

Submitted by on Friday, 21 November 2008 No Comment
It took passive-aggressive tricks and a team of Dutch researchers, but I'm cautiously optimistic we have conquered the chaos that's swirled around this house since kids started moving in.

Disclaimer: I've never been the spiffiest housekeeper in the world because, well, it's boring. I know people who claim they love cleaning, but I don't believe them. And I'm certainly not one of them.

Over the years, as my "comfortable for a single gal and all her crap" home stretched to house three male beings as well, it's gone completely to the devil.

The past two years have been particularly bad, as Boots' burgeoning boyhood has demanded more stuff and spawned more messes. The crapalanche was way past chaos. According to chaos theory, there's some underlying order to disarray. The only order here was my attempt to issue ones that were ignored.

I'd try tackling it myself only to see it regenerate in less than 24 hours. I'd try ranting at the three monkeys, but they'd do amazing impressions of Speak, Hear and See No Evil the second I'd start preaching.

So I quit.

Oh, I kept doing the stuff that bugged me: Overflowing dishes in the sink to which everyone else was oblivious, piles of laundry unnoticed until someone ran out of socks.

But I abandoned anything that didn't make me crazy. Or wasn't closely tied to my personal survival.

Suddenly the three monkeys found their tongues, ears and eyes.

"Hey Mom, where's my backpack?"

Elaborate, casual shrug. "Dunno. Where did you put it?" I chuckled at my neat reversal of the "dunno" game.

"Mommy, need my shoes!"

"Did you put them by the door, where they're supposed to be?"

"Can't we pick some of this train track out of the middle of the floor?"

Another wide-eyed shrug. "One mommy, two hands," Big Guy interjected, using my polite version of "get off my back" the guys often hear. You better believe he got extra cookies at dessert that night.

Come on guys, we're going to do this, the chief chimp said, grimly determined.

What followed was a textbook illustration of the upside of inertia: An object finally in motion remains a whirling dervish once an inferno ignites the fanny.

The house has remained largely spic and span for more than three weeks, which is two weeks and six days longer than I thought it would. I couldn't figure out why until I ran across a study tonight by Dutch researchers.

Based on a series of six experiments, the researchers concluded that once disorder takes hold in a neighborhood, it's likely to spread. Just as the first Thomas train left in the living room is likely to see Sir Topham Hatt's whole railway chug along behind it.

Based on nearly a month of clutter-free living, I'm optimistic that we've turned the two-year disorder tide.

Hmm ... Didn't I start blogging roughly two years ago? Cause and effect?

Ack. Enough science for tonight. I'll only say that I'm completely sympathetic to an online friend the other day who was looking for a bumper sticker that read "if my house is clean, my computer must be down."

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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