Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

The Big Purge

Spring is just around the corner. Well, technically Spring is here but until we get several weeks of consistent 60-70 degree temperatures in our little bit of the world I don’t much buy into the season. The weather can be quite cruel and unusual here in the Midwest.  Usually by the time I am ready to accept that Spring is finally here to stay, it’s summer time. ~and then, oy vey! But really it’s not the heat. It’s the humidity!  

I digress…anyway, thoughts of warmer weather and opportunities to throw open the windows and stock up on Claritin also bring to mind that it is time to CLEAN OUT! This year we are really going to PURGE! Really. I am not messing around this year. The stuff has got. to. go… You see, our home is only approximately 1100 square feet that must fit a family of five and we tend to be pack-rats to boot. (It is only for our basement that we have made it this long!) I live in fear that A&E’s Hoarders or the Style Network’s show Clean House  folks may come to call any moment. (Not that I watch these shows, I’ve just heard). 

But, relatively speaking, I am feeling paralyzed by our “stuff”. We are running out of closet and attic space to tidy away our open living space (of which there is too little to begin with) and the clutter has just gotten to be too much for me! It is time! Closets, toy boxes, garage and attic, shed, outdoor toy box all need to be cleaned OUT! Like yesterday. And here is where the cycle begins you see, because isn’t yesterday really two days ago’s tomorrow? And hell, why do today what you can always put off until tomorrow…

“How hard can this task be?” my husband asks. He is asking this quite often these days, I might add. He can’t take it either. 

“Umm, sweetie? You do live in this house, right? Have you met our children? You do remember ME, yes?”

This is an official project. A major undertaking. One that needs to be thought out and planned. Precision organization is key to successful execution of the Rabinowitz Big Spring Purge.  I cannot begin a project of this magnitude on a whim! All this takes planning, not to mention the mental and emotional preparation.

I’m sorry, what? Procrastination? Never! Of course not! There is no procrastination here!

Oh, yeah, and we need to get the kids out of the house for a few days so we can actually get something done and get rid of stuff! So, really, I blame the kids.

No, really, I do. Here is why.

Reason #1:They won’t let me throw anything away or donate anything. EVERYTHING they have is priceless and sentimental and it is their FAVORITE toy, book, shirt, shoes (3 sizes too small), gum wrapper, rock, stick, rubber band, scrap of bubble wrap that they cannot live without. And, no, it is not the same thing that I have a giant plastic storage container filled with maternity clothes (even though the “baby” is 4 years old, and I am 42 and we decided that 3 is enough), and at least 3 more containers with  special mementos from high school and college and…. That’s different, entirely.

Reason #2: Because of Reason #1, the clean-out fairy comes. She must come stealthily in the night or when the kids are at school or out of the house. Due to the required timing and nature  of her difficult, time-consuming work she is threatening to form a union for better working conditions and higher pay. She is not fun to deal with. In case there was any doubt on your part , I’m the clean-out fairy~ but if you know where I can get  on with a better union contract sign me up!) Anyway, this clean-up fairy (still me) does come with some tricks…and some neuroses, OCD, ADD…but again, I digress. 

I have what I like to call “magic contractor bags”. This special magic was passed down to me by my mother-in-law. I LOVE her, by the way! She first taught me that what you don’t see is magically not there at all. (who knew?) Her “magic sheets” are amazing! Since I do not yet possess her skills, I need the much stronger bags versus the sheets. Soooooo….now I have to jump through flaming hoops to just get crap out! Which leads to Reason # 3 of why I blame the kids.

 Note to the husband: don’t get any ideas because my 300 imps and bottles of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents are immune to such magic as are the boxes with my grandmother’s good china and my great-grandmother’s wicker furniture from somewhere around the mid 1900’s! 

Reason#3: The whining and crying and meltdowns! Of course our middle kid on the Spectrum is the worst with this. Inevitably whatever toy, book, stick rock, I have spared from the trash or donation, he will not ever play with again. Whatever choices I have made to scoop into those magic contractor bags, those he notices have gone missing.  Not always right away. It can take days, weeks, years even. But mark my word he will eventually notice and he will need that item NOW because it is his MOST favorite and he cannot sleep, pee, poop, eat, get in the car or live without it!!!

Recent case in point: Our screaming/crying fit out of nowhere at bedtime a few months ago was “Where’s my snake toy!?!?!”

ME:  “What snake toy, honey?”

Henry: MY SNAKE TOY! Its brown with stripes and long! Where is it? I HAVE to find it!”

Henry proceeds to meltdown mode. It’s not pretty.

ME thinking: “#%&$!!! Oh, the snake toy that you constantly swing around and hit things and people with? That snake toy? Or do you mean that snake toy that you wrap around things until they are so twisted and knotted that it ruins whatever the snake got twisted up in? No? Not that one? Oh, I see, the snake toy that you have not played with, thought about, even remotely mentioned in over 8 months because it got taken away because of the actions just stated!”

Yes, this would be the toy snake that I donated to some charity several months ago because that thing was nothin’ but trouble! And apparently getting rid of it still hasn’t helped because it is still giving me trouble!!!!

Why put myself  through ALL that?!?!  *sigh* But it must be done, so if you’ll excuse me while I plan this afternoon’s portion of “the big purge” by heading to the garage, climbing over two bikes, some old carpet remnants, a partially re-finished hope chest,  the container full of maternity clothes,  5 large boxes filled with who knows what, and the bumper of my van to look for the contractor bags. And that should be enough for today, don’t you think?


Comments on: "The Big Purge" (4)

  1. Hi Karen,
    What a great writer you are! I really enjoyed reading about the very thing that is going on at our home too. I have great respect for you as you proceed with your plans. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I think that it was no random act that I came upon your blog. Thanks universe, I get it! Good luck!!!

    • Thank you so much, Adrienne! I will look forward to “seeing” you here again, I hope! Certainly, our “big purge” will be ongoing….I’ve gotten no further where I was at the end of this post… :-S Good luck with your spring cleaning as well!

  2. Dear Mrs. Rabinowitz,

    As the source of your anxiety I feel it is my civic and professional duty to put your mind a peace. You’re a great mom with- super kids/a clean house/great ideas/a ton of love for your sweet boy. I hope to have brought you a “good thing” and help you guys out just a little. I feel like Oprah but rather than a trip to Australia I bring college students into families homes. If all else fails you can make her look for the elusive Beavecoon twice a week!!!

    Your Fairy TouchPoint Worker

    • Oh, you ARE a fairy TouchPoint Worker! You are so wonderful!!! Thank you so much! We will gladly turn back into pumpkins at 12:00 to have *M* with us two mornings a week! You both are GEMS!!! 😀

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