The House of Calamity and Chaos

This is the phrase that popped into my head today. Can you picture it on a nice little plaque above our door? People would chuckle and assume it’s a joke — until 5 min. into their visit, when they’d flee the premises in terror.

I frequently wonder if there are families out there who go about their days in relative calm and peace. Sure, maybe someone spills their milk or misplaces their favorite shirt now and then, but basically their daily routine is free from injury, strife, flooded basements, and raccoons. Just to use some “hypothetical” examples I plucked out of the air. (Riiiight.)

As if the carpet conundrum wasn’t enough for one week, we’ve encountered still more homeowner headaches. First, we had a torrential rainstorm that caused water to leak into our newly waterproofed basement. No, “leak” is the wrong word. That implies a slow trickle. When actually, I was stemming the tide inside with buckets and bath towels while C. got soaked attempting to divert the stream outside. Meanwhile, the kids were splashing in the puddles on the floor.

When I finally collapsed into bed, exhausted, I heard an all-too-familiar scratching and scuffling in the attic above me. Raccoons. Did I tell you we had an entire family of raccoons evicted from our attic last year? No? Well, then, it’s because I tried to block out that traumatic episode. (Either that, or I simply forgot to mention it since Every! Frigging! Week! brings some traumatic episode or another around here.)

The whole thing was a giant ordeal involving ladders, cages, interrupted naptimes, and confrontations with well-meaning but misguided animal-loving neighbors. (Look: I love animals as much as anyone, but NOT when they probably have rabies and are peeing through my son’s ceiling!!) The raccoon guy assured us when he was done that the furry varmints would never get back in.

Except they did. So the guy came back out with his ladders and cages and nap-interrupting. His exact words when he left: “I closed off every possible opening six ways from Sunday. If they bust through dat, I’d pack up and move.” Super. And guess what? I heard the raccoon again last night.

No time to worry about that, though, because the waterproofing guys came over today. It’s almost futile to have any contractor come over when my husband’s not home. Because when it’s just me and the kids? It goes like this:

– Contractor tries to show me something about the sump pump while the kids play nearby with a loud electronic toy. I take away the toy so I can hear the guy, and the baby throws himself on the floor and has a tantrum.

– Contractor takes me outside to show me something about the window wells. The kids run out the door behind me with no shoes on. I go back in, get them shoes, try to resume conversation with contractor. Toddler goes sprinting down the street while preschooler climbs on top of a parked car. Someone falls down and skins their knee. Contractor is alternately laughing, annoyed, and pitying me.

In between all this chaos, all I heard was: everything’s wrong, everything needs to be fixed, and good luck if you try to do it yourself. I jokingly said, “So basically, you’re telling us to move.” He didn’t laugh…or contradict me.

I’m afraid to go to bed tonight. Not because of the raccoon, but because I’m afraid of what tomorrow will bring. Just another day at the House of Calamity and Chaos…


Samantha Gluck said…

I love the name of this post! it speaks to all that a new mom feels. As a devoted mother of 4 (youngest is 7), I say, "Hang in there!" Don't succumb to outside pressures. Take a deep breath and let go of that unrealistic desire to put all in order. It won't happen for a long time. However, the amazing joy and happiness you experience from your little (and then bigger and bigger) child eclipses all the Martha Stewart and organization nazi advice anywhere!

Sarah said…

I feel your pain this week! Had a painter come to do some things around the house (including the nursery ceiling which had a mysterious brown dot on it.) He said we most likely have a roof leak. Our townhouse was built in 2003. We have had our association's roofer come out at least three times to repair leaks previously. Sigh. I called the association's roofer and was told we no longer have a contract with them. Sigh. I leave frantic voicemail for our new property management company whose voicemail message is, "I will call you back at my earliest convenience." My frantic voicemail says, "I'm 9 months pregnant and the ceiling in my nursery is leaking so if you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be great." Who builds stuff correctly anymore these days?! Good luck.

Mom2Miles said…

Oh no, Sarah!! At 9 mos. pregnant, there's a certain sense of urgency you'd think they'd respond to! Good luck. 🙂

Kathleen@so much to say said…

I'm so sorry.

Tara said…

Great post! Made me laugh. It is true that some days are more challenging than the others…Hang in there http://www.babybathbelly.com

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

Flooding sucks! I'm so sorry!!

I TOTALLY feel your pain on the raccoon issue! We've had to hire a critter catcher too. But the raccoons KEEP COMING BACK! Damn things. I totally agree with you – they may look cute and whatever, but they are cram-packed with icky diseases (and so are their feces! eeeww!!).

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