Crap Fairy Tales

Spring cleaning is downright frightening around here despite the superpowers of my alter ego, Crap Fairy. Frankly, I’d rather avoid it, but no matter how I slice it, the deep cleaning must be done.

During cleaning season, Crap Fairy sets aside the regular Modus Operandi of sneaking around secretly in the dead of night to commit grim acts of junk-removal and instead, starts viciously attacking crap in broad daylight. This is a dangerous move, I will admit, and I make sure Crap Fairy works hard not to get caught. Because getting caught mid-crap-theft by a preschooler leads to nothing but a fresh form of Perdition that I’d rather not discuss.

Realizing it couldn’t be put off any longer, last week Crap Fairy donned her wings and summoned up her partner in grime. Mr. Diaz acquired some rubber gloves along with multiple garbage bags and we headed out to conquer the large piles of crud that had built up in hidden places of the house over the winter.

You never can tell what has been hiding in the black hole under large pieces of furniture. It could be nothing. Or it could be noxious gas from a half-eaten jelly donut stuffed into a sweat sock that, once unearthed, lets off a smell that could dropkick a llama. We went in prepared for either. With gloves, goggles, brooms and makeshift hazmat suits, we took our stance and readied for battle.

And so it began.

The crusade against crap.

Protectively, Mr. Diaz gripped the broom and pushed me behind him. He slowly got down on hands and knees to peer into the deadly black chasm known as “beneath the couch.” Methodically he swept several piles into the middle of the floor, where we stood back to gawk at them.

“Death on a wheel,” He cried, “What is all this crap?” He had to take off his gas mask to ask this, or he would have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Whaan-wan-wha-whan-wahnnn-whan.

We had dislodged several dissected Lego people -brutally dismembered by the pudgy hands of a toddler- a broken stapler, a semi-dried apple that bore a remarkable resemblance to a shrunken head and 3 sippy cups ROLLING ON THEIR OWN from chemical gases caused by bacteria-laden fermented juice.

There were multiple discolored plastic balls, an entire petrified waffle that had to be carefully excavated and examined by a team of archaeologists, 4 mismatched batteries, chewed-up popsicle sticks, a manila envelope filled with toilet paper and lettuce, along with half a pound of dirt.

We unearthed a bottle of dried Tabasco sauce, an unopened box of camouflaged bandaids, OJ’s black leather glove and enough hair to weave a Bieber-inspired toupee for Bruce Willis. Not that Bruce would ever want a second-hand wig weaved from crud infested hair. But if he does, I could hook him up.

Several Sunday school name tags stuck to the back of the loveseat silently proclaiming ownership of a stash of stolen goods. There was a busted Wii remote, the crusted guts of a cantaloupe rotting in a dixie cup, 2 paper dollars of Monopoly money, a few half eaten UNO cards, disfigured paper clips, a red poker chip, 4 dice, a roulette wheel and a small black book containing betting records and code names of an illegal toddler gambling ring.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve always thought my children were bright. But clearly it’s less than brilliant to slap your own Sunday school name tag across the black notepad being used to record unlawful betting as an infant bookie.

The entire morning went like this as we delved deep into the belly buttons of the house, sleuthing for prime Crap Fairy plunder and excavating stacks of dusty rubbish.

Crud. Crust. Carburetors. Crepes.

Trash bags were filled and the furniture repositioned. Young children stood locked-out on the back porch foaming and frothing at the mouth, wailing about their hoard of treasures being discovered and discarded. We smiled and waved and kept shoveling.

By the afternoon we moved on to the garage where we ransacked our own space from floor to ceiling the way gang members dismantle a loaded hot-rod. All our junk was hauled out and piled disorderly into the driveway, like a giant Red-nex-ican Garage Fail.

Neighbors pointed and sneered. Dog-walkers snickered. The mailman hid his eyes.

“Look Marty, the Diazes are having a garage sale for all of their trash!” Bertha said loudly to her Chinese crested rat dog as she walked to the mailbox.

Right. If a garage sale was hosted by vandals in hazmat suits.

We worked tirelessly through the day. The junk was sorted and hauled to Crap Fairy Land. Everything was wiped clean and reorganized. The house and garage were once again breathable and fresh. I snapped off my rubber gloves and goggles and looked around at our hard work. Mr. Diaz breathed a sigh of relief, which also happened to be his first deep breath since removing his gas mask.

And that brings us to the end of this story.

This Crap Fairy Tale has a particularly good ending, monetarily speaking, because I opened an Etsy account to sell Bieber-inspired wigs laboriously crocheted from davenport hairballs.

And business is good.

 

This post is also located at: Mom Resource Blog Party

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The day we brought a circus to Ikea

Every two years we load up the van, hit the road and trek an hour away to our closest Ikea store. We do this for two reasons:

Number one, we can only afford to shop there every other year because it’s easy to drop $800 in one shot. Two, it’s not exactly a quick trip to get there, especially with loading and unloading a family of nine. Three, (I lied, there are actually three reasons) every other year “Crap Fairy” runs out of crap to haul out to the dumpster in the dead of night, so we head down to buy more cheap junk. This keeps Crap Fairy in business, and in this economy, I believe I deserve credit from Obama for creating jobs.

But this year we had an entirely different motivation. We needed mattresses.

After the recent bout of flu that hit us, it was the final push to purge the crummy mattresses we owned and replace them with new ones. This wasn’t hard to do, since the mattresses my kids have been using were hand-me-downs and over the years have encountered multiple nighttime accidents, various blood and guts and recently, several gallons of vomit.

We also needed another bunk-bed for the two youngest boys who are moving out of babyhood and into big-boy-beds.

So with all those reasons, Crap Fairy wrote a list of future crap she wanted to toss out and we headed south.

We unloaded the family and spent 20 minutes schlepping children on and off the public toilets and scrubbing everyone’s hands to death with soapy water. Then we lined everyone up at the starting gates. Arriving a bit early, we were roped into a small space among several European bedroom displays, along with 36 other people who were waiting for the store to officially open. We stood with our three shopping carts full of miniature humans, plus one stroller, while 72 eyeballs sneakily stared at us. Everyone stood quietly. Which was perfect, because our 12 year old daughter (who happened to be manning the stroller) took those quiet moments to loudly say things like “Oooh, that bedroom is soooo prettyyyyy! And clean! Oh, wow! Ohhhh! Look over there at that room, mom. It’s sooooo clean,” because apparently she’s never seen a clean, well designed room of any sort in all twelve years of her life.

She was nearly giddy- “Dad, LOOK at that bedroom! Wouldn’t you like a bedroom just like that? Imagine if you had NO KIDS! If you had NO KIDS you and mom would actually have a reaaaally nice house. Just imagine, Mom, you could relax in a beautiful bedroom and all your stuff would be super nice and organized. You and dad would be totally alone!  Nobody would ever bother you!” – which was followed by a few choking-coughs and quiet guffaws from fellow sardines packed in next to us.

Because who doesn’t love hearing the oldest daughter of seven asking her bedraggled parents to imagine life with no kids.

Finally the Angel of Mercy came and opened the small yellow chain that held back the Ikea cattle/shoppers and let us onto the store path.

Our first stop was MATTRESSES, where each child became permeated with desire to try out every single bed in sight. But I forbade them to leave their respective carts or strollers and they sat there hollering out pre-school curse words over the injustice.

Mr. Diaz wasn’t entirely convinced about the comfort of the thin Ikea bunk-bed mattresses, so he took it upon himself to remove mattresses from the display beds, throw them on the middle of the floor and force each of the older children to lay on them. Which wasn’t Red-nex-ican at all. Nah. It was entirely classy, and nobody stared at us while pointing and snickering. And if you can believe that, I have a Red-nex-ican bridge to sell you.

Eventually we strolled our loud, mobile carnival over to the Ikea cafeteria where we gave the overworked college student behind the prison buffet glass quite a shock when we announced we’d be needing 7 FREE Swedish-meatball-meals, plus two regular ones. Kids eat free on Tuesdays, which almost makes up for the $800 we spend on knick-knacks and gasoline, and we are certainly going to take advantage of those 2,450 FREE calories.

A lady with just one baby tried not to gawk as we seated our family around a jumbo cafeteria table. I caught her sneak-staring at us, and I’m fairly certain she pretended to text with her phone while actually taking photos of us. Right off I noticed she was well put-together; with make-up done nicely, a cute outfit, stylish hair cut and ONE sweet baby who was dressed immaculately. I’ve been there. Back when I only had one child to manage. Back when I only had one child to manage and the very thought of having more than one cherub was enough to make me sweat blood. I’m sure we were more than mildly amusing, and I figure all the attention is just preparing us for our future reality TV show. I would have offered to sign an autograph but I was too busy wiping small faces and trying to convince several young boys that free meatballs aren’t billiard balls and that forks aren’t pool cues.

Fifty-six minutes and half a mile later, it was on to the warehouse portion of the store where you collect all the larger items you wish to purchase. We stacked up six mattresses, a disassembled metal bunk-bed frame and various other things onto a flat dolly cart that nobody seemed able to manage. This is the exact same cart that the petite seven year old insisted she could push on her own, with zero interference. “It’s not workinggggg,” she whined loudly down the aisle, “I can’t control the wheeeeeeels. The front keeps spinning. NO, GO AWAY! DON’T HELP ME! I CAN DO IT MYSELF!” I caught the astonished looks of passerbys as we maneuvered our (now very loud) family of nine  -complete with 5 overloaded contraptions on wheels- through the remainder of the store, in and out of the check-out desk and off toward the loading zone.

Of course, as luck would have it, we strolled past a “last chance” food stand where Ikea expertly markets ice cream cones to weary parents and screaming pre-schoolers. This cruel marketing ploy meant we had to buy 8 soft serve ice-cream cones just to get out of the store. One man stopped mid-lick of his cone and stared at us as we passed through the exit doors. I’d like to think it was because we are just so sweet and good looking. But my better sense tells me that it was because one kid was flop-tantruming over the side of the cart while wailing at the top of his lungs. He did the wailing flop because Mr. Diaz, realizing the 4 year old could never finish an entire ice cream cone before entering the van, bent over and devoured half of it in one fell swoop. Apparently, said 4 year old was scarred for life and now has a reason to see a therapist as an adult.

After skillfully packing all the new purchases and 9 people into our giant party wagon, we were off toward home while youngsters drowsily slipped into sugar comas; vanilla ice-cream drool drying on their chins like slug trails.

All said and done, we made it home with 6 bed mattresses, a bunk bed, 2 pop-out circus tents, a clock, 2 “road” play mats, several rolls of craft paper, batteries, dish rags, a large candle lantern, 3 wicker baskets, colored drinking straws, fluorescent plastic silverware, a green spatula and several chocolate milk stains.

I didn’t end up signing any autographs. (Unless, of course, you include the receipt I signed for an amount that could rival the commerce of a small nation.) And since I realize I’m not likely to get a reality TV show, I’d better just stick to keeping Crap Fairy employed, which is easier now that the kids are sleeping peacefully in brand new beds.

Crap fairy is on the move.

 

*This post has been featured on For Every Mom