The Coat Closet “Situation”

Clean-Out-Closet

Ugh, I hate winter.

I’m one of those people who apparently suffer from that seasonal disorder where lack of sunshine makes you pissy. The long (mostly) frigid days and cabin fever are starting to get to me; my emotional state varies from “Are you still alive?” lethargy to “DAMN GIRL, settle down!”

Which is probably why the Coat Closet Situation has become a thing; I know I’m being extra about it, yet I can’t stop.

So, yeah, there is a situation. With a coat closet. I mean, at this point it’s really more of an obsession. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

As you probably remember, I have these two children, aged 10 and 6. They are fantastic children for the most part, I really do sort of like them. They are smart, well behaved, and generally aces as far as kids go. There is just one main complaint I have with these overall wonderful human beings and I’m not sure exactly how to say this politely….

Well, they are total pigs.

PIGS.

Messy, messy little shits. No regard whatsoever for the cleanliness of our home.

Seriously, if I were to compare my children to Peanuts characters, they would both be Pigpen.

They can’t brush their teeth without covering the entire bathroom in toothpaste- I mean, what the hell? It’s all over the mirror, the sink, the floor. What in the hell are they doing in there with those toothbrushes? I have seen them brush their teeth; it’s not all that note-worthy. It’s just two toothbrushes running across two sets of teeth, no apparent natural disaster involved. I don’t know how it all goes horribly wrong, but if my kids have recently brushed their teeth you will be able to tell by the sheer stickiness of the entire bathroom.

Neither one can drink anything without spilling it. The more brightly colored the liquid, the higher the probability that a spill will occur. When taking proximity to something that will be ruined into consideration, those stats jump even further.

Their playroom, which neither of them spend much time in now that they are getting older, always looks like a freakin’ bomb hit it- how?? THEY HARDLY EVER GO IN THERE. But if either of them sets one foot in that room, the entire thing collapses into disaster. It’s the damnedest magic trick I’ve ever laid eyes on; the messy hand is truly quicker than the eye. I can never see how it’s done.

Lily, the 10 year old, is currently into the most annoying hobby ever invented: homemade slime. The YouTube assholes who started this trend need to die. For real. Constant making of goopy, sticky, shaving cream smelling slime. As you can probably imagine, this is not a “clean” activity. It involves glue, food coloring, starch, and any other messy shit you can think of.

Ian, the 6 year old, can do nothing without a harem of stuffed animals involved. Those fluffy nightmares are everywhere, all the time, and there is a lot of them. I think that you think by “a lot” I mean, like, 10 of them. You would be wrong. The dude has approximately 60 stuffed animals at any given time, and at least half need to be present, and displayed everywhere like a zoo, for him to be able to do anything- like to simply play a video game, for example. His “friends” are every where you look, despite my best efforts for this to not be the case. I think the little bastards come alive and move themselves, it’s the only explanation.

Am I painting a picture here? Mess and destruction tend to follow in their wake; you get it. And most all of the above I can deal with- no one sees the playroom so it can look any way they please (within reason). I’ve resigned myself to daily bathroom cleaning- it is what it is, we do a lot of gross stuff in there. But I do ask just one thing of these two filthy little monsters:

Please, for the love of my damned sanity, keep the main floor of the house clean.

That’s it, that’s all I ask. Your bedroom can be as cluttered as you want, but don’t make a damned mess in the living room.

You see, the main floor of the house is where I live. The kids have a playroom and bedrooms that are all their own; my husband has his “man cave” and I let him do whatever the hell he wants with it. And I have the main floor living room, dining room, and kitchen where I spend most of my time. It’s the floor of the house that people can see when they visit, and I insist that it stay clean and uncluttered. It’s decorated how I want it to be, it’s my space, and I don’t want kid filth tainting any of it. This means don’t treat the damned living room like your bedroom; I don’t want clothes, pillows, stuffed animals, and just general crap lying all over the place. Is this unreasonable?

Yes. Apparently, it is. And that’s how the “situation” became a “situation”….

Despite bitching, cajoling, whining, pleading, and huffing about all of this daily, my family still has not gotten the memo. And the biggest offender are the myriad of coats, jackets, shoes, hats, and gloves that sully the neat appearance of the home I work so hard to keep clean.

Now, the main floor is home to this neat little thingy called a “coat closet”. Maybe you have even heard of these? It’s just a little closet where you can put shoes, coats, hats, jackets, bags, I mean, really just whatever the hell you want to, there aren’t any rules. Me, being a person who wants the house to be clean (because I clean it everyday and still it is not clean, ever) has decided that, ya know, we should put our crap in this closet, to keep it orderly around this joint.

I would be alone in this thinking.

It appears that the only person physically capable of figuring out how to “work” the coat closet, or has any motive to do so, is me. To everyone else in my household, this contraption takes Herculean effort, and really is to be avoided at all costs.

I suppose I can see my family’s point- why would you put your jacket in the closet when the couch is a more readily accessible place? Kitchen counters make total sense for dirty socks and shoes, right- it’s not like they need to be clean for our food or anything. What else are the dining room chairs for if not for all 18 jackets that my daughter owns? It’s not like anyone will actually want to sit there at some point, that’s crazy. Or, better yet, there is the staircase banister! It saves you from taking 4 whole extra steps to that loathsome coat closet (I’ve counted!), having to turn a doorknob (you know how tricky those doorknobs can be!) use a hanger (I mean, who has the time for hangers?) and shut the door again (oh, the humanity!).

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so insane about all of this if it were just one coat for each person; maybe then the “situation” would not have to be a thing at all. But Kansas winters are psychotic, you never know what kind of outdoor attire will be appropriate from day to day. One day it’s 2 degrees; the next day it’s 60 degrees- you must have several different options available. Sometimes, it takes three different coats to get you through one weird ass weather day. I alone have at least 3 different levels of warmth in my current rotation, ranging from my huge North Face knock-off (because screw you North Face and your inflated prices- I’m only gonna pay so much money to look like a puffy marshmallow, mm-kay?) to light windbreaker types because Kansas. Add in three more family members, all in this same multi-jacket plight, and you can see that this all adds up to a shit ton of coats to be flung about the house. And with only one of us manning the hanging of the coats, it’s become something of an irritation.

I decided to take this little problem to the council that is my sisters and I, affectionately known as the “Monkey Bitches Gossip Hour” (it’s a long story….) which is really just our daily video chat. Upon hearing of my plight, one of my wise older sisters suggested that perhaps I should just stop hanging the coats; that, hell, I should just start flinging my own coat down in the middle of the dining room floor to cut out the middle man altogether, and then wait and see if anyone else is eventually bothered. I couldn’t possibly not hang my own coat- for some reason all of them are white, because I obviously hate having clean looking coats, so I can’t let them get even dirtier looking than they already are (what’s up, make-up stained collars!). But I decided, ok, fine, I’m not hanging anyone else’s coats. Experiment time!

First day of the coat experiment, I find that the kids are highly bothered by the coats on the dining room chairs; they made them “uncomfortable” whilst they were feasting on their mac and cheese. Did this make them decide to finally hang the coats in the closet? Ha ha, aren’t you silly! They just shoved them off the chairs and onto the floor. Problem solved! Although it gave me a bit of a nervous eye twitch, I left the coats where they lay. Husband wanders by some time later- “Ugh, why are these coats on the floor?” – and he hangs the coats on the stairway banister, because, ya know, fuck that coat closet.

The next day, the weather is warmer out, and the children opt for lighter jackets than the day before- hence, they don’t wear the banister coats so they stay where they are for the day. Husband comes home for lunch, adds his jacket to the heap on the banister, and it stays there as he opts for no jacket the rest of the day. Fair enough.

Kids come home from school, add the next jackets from the day to the banister as well. At this point, there is an awful lot of crap hanging from that one little stairway banister, but I refuse to touch it (will power, baby!) Here come the kids from up the street for a play date and, as it’s obvious “where the coats go” around here, they also toss a couple of more jackets onto pile.

I’m now at the point where I’m psychotically staring at this giant pile, feeling like Jack Nicholson in The Shining (All coats and no hanging makes Sam a stab-y bitch!). BUT, as all my yelling and whining about the usage of the coat closet has gotten me nowhere, the experiment must continue. I leave them, despite the fact that the coats are now truly mocking me.

It’s probably not even 5 minutes later that I hear a sickening thud; the sound of human bone making contact with hardwood flooring. Then a loud wail- ugh, someone is hurt! I run up the stairs to find my daughter, sobbing on the floor, holding her elbow, lying on a pile of coats. Turns out, someone had knocked the huge stack of coats off of the banister in passing (because of course they did- it was getting unavoidable) and along came Lily, only to fall on the Slip and Slide-esque mixture of fabric and slippery hard floors.

I started to laugh.

Hard.

I couldn’t stop. It was that hysterical laughing that only the truly mental among us can even muster up. The tears and snot running down your face kind of laughing. I had to actually sit on the floor, next to my glaring daughter, holding my stomach and guffawing.

Lily was not pleased with my reaction.

She looks at me in horror- how dare I laugh at her while she is injured??? (She wasn’t, by the way- just a bruised elbow, luckily). She starts screaming at me what a mean mother I am, and why am I laughing? I’m laughing too hard to defend myself properly so all I managed to get out was this:

“This (snort, snort) is why (snort, snort) I tell you (uncontrollable guffawing) to hang up your coats in the coat closet!”

She rears up off the floor and screams, “STOP TALKING TO ME ABOUT HANGING UP COATS! All you ever care about is hanging up coats! You are the meanest mother EVER!” She stomps to her room with a door slam, her bewildered friends standing at the top of the stairs, staring down at a grown woman laughing in fetal position on the floor, on top of a pile of jackets.

(Side note: I’d like to also take this time to mention that later that same evening, my son tripped over his own shoes that he left negligently lying on the living room floor, and also took a spill. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if there were some place these items could go to avoid tragedy…..?)

So.

I’m happy to report that this whole fiasco has resulted in my kids seeing the error of their ways, and now every coat, jacket, hat, and shoe is properly put away every day.

Raise your hand if you actually believed the statement above….. ha ha ha, SUCKERS!

Of course that has not happened! The experiment got me nothing but a side stitch from laughing so hard, and a daughter that stayed angry with me for the better part of the evening. I still have to nag daily at them to pick up their crap; they are still children after all. But now when I’m bitching at them, I have ammo, and that’s as good as a victory; now when I tell my kid to put her damned jacket away I always add “Remember the elbow…..” in my most ominous tone. It earns me an eye roll, but the coat gets put away. I’ll take it.

I pointed out to my husband that it appears that hanging coats on things seems to be my family’s jam, and perhaps it would be a good idea to hang some hooks on the wall near the front door. That would simplify the whole situation, and possibly save my sanity. It was quickly vetoed. His reasoning?

“Because we have a perfectly good coat closet right by the door!”

I managed not to punch him.

 

Frostily Yours,

Sam

xoxo

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