Excuse The Mess, But We Live Here

Today, my kitchen ceiling is yellow. Last week, it wasn’t. Thankfully, it’s only in one spot – just around the lights. The rest of it is white, like any regular kitchen ceiling usually is.

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What happened, and how did it get this way? Well, simply put, crazy stuff happens around this house. In this particular instance, someone was doing something a little abnormal using curry powder, a few cleaning supplies, some water in a big pot, and a pretty large pumpkin, all of which – combined together rambunctiously – resulted in a giant splash, yellow liquid flying WAY up in the air, hitting the overhead drywall, and turning the ceiling this “tea-stained/smoker’s teeth” kind of colour. It’s still that way now despite furious attempts by the offending individual to rub it off with a washcloth while yelling, “This stuff actually DOES stain.” No shit.

When my husband came home, he said the same thing he’s said so many times before: “We can’t keep anything nice in this house.” In fact, he uttered those very same words about a week earlier when a different someone – the BFF of the first someone – was making a giant black marshmallow… from scratch. You can imagine how messy THAT was. I’m still finding gobs of sticky stuff all over the place.

And these are young adults we are talking about here. It wasn’t any different when they were kids though, so why would it change? As parents, it’s our fault – we know. It’s how we raised them – what we allowed them to do, which is almost everything. Encourage imagination, resourcefulness, inventiveness, ingenuity, they said. OK sure, we might complain a little, but secretly, we enjoy the fact that our children are creative risk-takers. Sometimes though, it goes a little too far, and then someone says, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll pay for it.” Damn right, you will.

Thinking back over the past few months, my husband said that same “we can’t keep anything nice in this house” statement when someone else – the brother of the first someone – did a “corn on a drill” experiment, and then a “duct taping a person to a wall” challenge.

He said it yet another time (a few years back) when someone – the sister of that first someone – had a party to celebrate her sixteenth birthday which she advertised on Facebook – because she was young and naive and she thought it would be a good idea. I mean, only about two hundred people showed up to our house in less than an hour. Then the police came – because why wouldn’t they? We live in a very quiet and nice neighbourhood. People smoking weed and throwing up in strangers’ gardens doesn’t usually go over very well around here. After everyone got kicked out – because the police came within an hour (did I mention that?) – the floor needed to be cleaned four times before it was back to normal, but hey, who’s counting?

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have heard about this infamous “sixteenth birthday party”. Yes, I still talk about it to this day because even though it happened over six years ago, I can’t get over it. It was one of those “I must’ve failed as a mother” moments. It scarred me for life. Wow, things can get out of hand fast, especially when Facebook is involved.

My husband uttered those very same words after all of the above someones had finished filming a “killer vampire” movie – and our house was the movie set – but I won’t go into detail there. Fake blood and “swooping” – that’s all I’ll say.

My husband has said it a million other times when certain furry someones 1) put big scratches in our brand new leather trunk within seconds of bringing it into the living room, 2) repeatedly peed on the berber carpet in the basement because I changed the litter in the cat box to something I thought was “healthier” but to which old cats apparently don’t “respond” well, causing them to “forget” their more sanitary cat ways once you fuck them up, 3) put countless scratch marks and rips in the “expensive but now fairly worthless” leather couch and upholstered bed frame that we dared to bring into our familial abode – how dumb were we? 4) shredded every bloody screen in the house because “Abyssinian kittens are like leopards only in smaller bodies” (they are lucky they are SO cute), 5) eaten the corner off every baseboard on the upstairs level because “rescue cats come with baggage” apparently, etc. etc. etc. Ah, thus is the nature of having pets. “I don’t want any more,” my husband asserts daily.

Truth be told, our basement looks like wild dogs have made it their home. The carpet is shredded in a bunch of places. It just smells “off”. The walls – before I painted over them a few months ago – looked like people had been walking on them (with dirty shoes), and/or throwing things at them. Both have taken place; don’t ask me how. The upstairs has a aura of “something about this place just looks really used”, like a 40-year-old hooker who is working hard to fund her cocaine addiction.

Regarding other areas of our home – let’s take our “dining room” as an example – it probably should be renamed the “band storage area” because that’s exactly what it is. When we first moved in, I painted it a dark shade of purple and I put funky lights in there and a low-lying stainless steel coffee table, and I called it the “lounge”. I had images of people chilling and drinking tea and eating small cakes and talking about philosophy or politics or something fun in there. No one does that obviously, because there is nothing to sit on but a few amps and a guitar stand or two, which aren’t so comfortable.

There is stuff everywhere, to be honest, from piles of “props” like the “large tin foil armoured suit“, to the “duct tape superhero costume“, to a myriad of curtains of various thicknesses and colours (because you never know when you might need to tack one to the wall for “effect”), to very long – like twelve feet long – tree branches (I don’t even know how or when that got here), to broken baseball bats (yes, that IS possible to do), to chains (real ones AND fake ones), to piles and piles of red plastic beer cups, like hundreds and hundreds of them (though I’ve gotten rid of most by strategically putting them in the recycle box about fifty at a time over the last three months, because I don’t want the garbage men or the neighbours to think that all we do is party), to you name it, we probably have it.

Our home – although it has the POTENTIAL to be nice, because it’s new and stylishly built – would never make it into Architectural Digest magazine, I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong. That is NOT my goal, though I might like to have company over once in a while without having to tell people “not to worry” about certain areas, or to just “step over” things.

Just quickly, from my spot at the kitchen table – if I take a look around – I can see a motorcycle helmet in the middle of the kitchen floor (why? who knows), and a baby romper with zippers sewn into the back. Just so you know, we don’t have a baby, and no babies come here on a regular basis. If they did, why the heck would they want zippers in the back of their clothes when there is a perfectly sufficient fastening system in the front anyway?

How do I justify living like this? We can’t have it both ways, I say to myself. We can’t have a beautiful “always clean and put together” home, while at the same time, doing all the things we want to do – like filming videos, having band practice, dancing, cutting and sewing and drawing and painting. We have to have a place to do these things, and that place is here. For artists and scientists alike, when an idea strikes, it strikes.

On a deeper level, I refuse to contribute to the obsession and unrealistic expectations that our society has when it comes to appearances – from how we look, to how we live.  It’s such a deeply disturbing and confidence-killing trend, in my opinion – something that I definitely want to help change. So yeah, there’s that.

Our only other option is to build another house (I will call this a “compound” for lack of a better word) where we can all live (because we tend to do a lot of things together) that has both a dance and recording studio, a stage and performing area, a gym/workout/meditation space, and a DIY kitchen (because if you’ve seen the videos that I’ve linked throughout this post, you’d know why) – all made separate from our regular house, where we might have people over for dinner or where the FEDEX delivery person might drop off a package and upon entering the front foyer won’t think to him/herself, “What the hell kind of crazy joint is this?” Luckily, we are working on that.

I also read somewhere that many very successful people wear the same clothes every day. Why? Because it’s not a priority. Same here. There’s only so much time, and instead of spending hours cleaning and tidying and shopping and staging in order to “keep a nice house”, we’d rather be doing other things. Appearances and portraying an unrealistic way of living is pretty low on our list. We want to make a difference. We want to contribute positively to society, and to inject fun and enjoyment into other people’s lives. I’m almost sure however that Jackson (our rescue cat) purposely tries to destroy the baseboards upstairs just to drive my husband nuts. The two of them are not the closest. Hey, you can’t choose the people (or animals) with whom you connect, right? But that’s the topic for another blog.

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Author: Amanda Fox

I have three slightly neurotic grown children, three very active and extremely cute cats, and one crazy busy husband. I've been married for more than twenty-five years. I love fitness, fashion, dancing, interior design and architecture, music, and movies.