I have cleaned a lot of messes in my time. I am the oldest of 15 kids and have been mothering my own five kids for 8 1/2 years so have crossed paths with some not-too-bad and some just plain awful disasters.
Like when I lived in New York and was cleaning the tracks for the sliding door to the back yard. Full of dirt and grime and dog hair. Or when I realized I really needed to scrub out our kitchen trashcan because it was just gross. I actually called my mom after both of those adventures and thanked her for being the mom and handling those jobs my whole life.
I can handle vomit like a pro. Stomach flu on family vacations as a teenager, or when a sibling was up puking, I am a light sleeper and my mom was always pregnant, so as I got older, I just handled it. No biggie. So, the handful of times we have ever dealt with throw up in my little family, even when pregnant, it hasn’t been a real chore for me.
Then there was the times when Faith and Felicity got in to my black Sharpies all the time and would color themselves and the walls. I’ll never forget my cousin, Sara, asking me “How do they keep getting the Sharpies?!” and honestly not knowing the answer. They somehow found them all over. I would think they found my hiding spot, but when I would go to deposit the one they had, there were all the others they’d found over the weeks before. Some evil Sharpie fairy probably left them hidden under their pillows or in their toy box. I hated cleaning those “messes”.
Over the years in motherhood, I have discovered the great brilliance in waiting for things like pasta and noodles spilled on the floor to dry out before attempting to sweep or vacuum it up. Ain’t nobody always got time to get down on their hands and knees to use a rag to clean those messes. My OCD can’t always handle the wait, but I love the ease when I do. When I go to bridal showers, it’s usually one of the things I share as a tip for the bride-to-be.
Something similarly related to the above is oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Especially for my kids. It’s the only thing I feed them that satisfies them until lunch time. Even more so than eggs. But I loathe cleaning it up. Coach’s Oats are the best for eating but worst for clean up! Waiting for it to dry out calls for a butter knife to scrape off the surfaces it’s stuck to. But, using a rag just kind of pushes it all around and never really cleans the mess. Yuck. It has officially been, in my opinion, the worst mess to clean up.
Until two days ago.
Two days ago, Sunday, I came face to face with the ultimate worst mess to clean. I met my match and I still cringe as I think about the 2 hours I spent, after the one hour George and Phillip spent, cleaning styrofoam.
I have all of our moving boxes and supplies in our back room. The boys go back there and build forts with some of the assembled boxes. I can deal with that. But, on Sunday, they decided that their fort(s) needed some snow.
They took the 4 pieces of styrofoam that were twelve by ten and crumbled them into billions of little pieces. It was ev.er.y.where. So, to tackle the mess I told them to pick up all the chunks, toys, books, and put their boxes back in the moving pile so we could vacuum. Well, they discovered how fun it was to turn those chunks in to MORE snow and that it could “blizzard” if they fanned their boxes over it. It some how got even more everywhere-er.
I kicked them out and tackled the 54684167489465498454964567498734973512351035441641204 pieces of styrofoam alone.
Now, I should mention that I have cleaned up styrofoam in situations where I could sweep it and it was a walk in the park compared to this nightmare that was cleaning styrofoam on carpet.
My Dyson sucked up ten pieces as it blew 50 more away. Something with them being so light and something about static is all I could figure is why it was such a long exercise.
So, 2 hours and 6 vacuum tank dumps to the trash can, I called it good enough.
I cringe as I look around and still see 964567498734973512351035441641204 pieces that have emerged from somewhere. Probably the evil Sharpie fairy’s cousin, the evil styrofoam fairy, comes by and sprinkles some little pieces. It is officially the worst mess to clean EVER because it takes hours of your life away to clean the bulk of it and then it reproduces faster than rabbits and is still seen everywhere you were sure to have cleaned it up. It is the worst mess ever because it really never goes away.
*I took pictures of the original snow storm, but my phone is old and forgot to store them. So here are some images of those 964567498734973512351035441641204 still haunting me…
P.S. If you have a handy trick to get rid of these bad boys, I’d love to hear it! And, if you can top a styrofoam storm on carpet, I would love to hear it, too!