We are in our new house. The house isn’t new, it was built in 1951, sort of. The original part of the house was built in 1951, and it is probably 800 square feet. It’s amazing how small mid century houses are. It would be difficult to maneuver a queen sized bed into the original bedrooms.
Then there was a big addition put on in the 1970s or 80s which doubled the size of the house. So we have this weird mishmash style of house, one part distinctly 50s, the other distinctly 70s.
THEN, the previous owner was a contractor. He bought the house last December and gutted it down to the studs. They renovated everything. The roof, the siding, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the floors…everything.
And when they fixed it up, they went with a very modern style. The sinks, the cabinets, the tiles, the lighting…everything is modern. And not really retro modern, like something from the 50s or 70s. It’s more Euro-Ikea 2014 contractor-grade modern. The kind of modern that will likely go out of style in less than two years. In five years, someone may walk through our house, look at our kitchen, and say “Oh yeah, definitely 2014.”
Because when we looked at houses, we did that ourselves. We spent a couple months looking at houses, some newish, and marveling at how dated kitchens looked already. Those mid-2000s diagonal tiles? Remember those? Those are going to be better than radio carbon dating to judge the age of a kitchen.
So we have a half 1950s house, half 1970s house, with crazy 2014 shiny disco tiles in our kitchen. It’s a little weird.
But what I love about this house, and the reason why we bought it, is that it’s “new.” We won’t have to worry about the roof or the siding for a long, long time. All the appliances are brand new and shiny and high tech and chirpy. They are way nicer than anything we would have gotten for ourselves.
We looked at other houses that were quirky and older, but needed some work. And I would have been up for that. I’ll fix things up. I can do all those little projects. WHO AM I KIDDING WE HAVE TWIN BOYS NOTHING WOULD EVER GET DONE AND THE HOUSE WOULD COLLAPSE ON TOP OF US.
So. The idea of “new” was appealing.
We’ve been in the new house for a week, and we are getting settled. We are still unpacking and organizing. Since we have those two 1950s era bedrooms, we’ve made one into an office, and one into a playroom for the boys. Not that they use it. They want to be in whatever room WE are in, toys be damned.
I was doing dishes and the boys were quietly playing. One drawback to our kitchen, besides the disco tiles, (I’m not kidding), is that the sink faces away from the room. So if I’m doing dishes, I can’t keep my eye on the boys.
But they were playing quietly. Which does happen sometimes. Loyal was right outside the kitchen, and Casc was playing in the play room. I was able to look over my shoulder once in a while and see that Loyal was being good.
I don’t know about you, but I hated doing dishes as a kid. Awful boring, drudgery. Now I sort of like it. It’s one task, with known parameters, and an eventual stopping point. And when I’m done, the kitchen looks nice.
Perhaps I took too long to do the dishes. After some time had passed, I looked over my shoulder again. Both boys were still quietly playing, except Casc had now joined his brother sitting outside the kitchen. This reassured me, because now I could see them both. And they were being remarkably content.
I should have known. I should have known.
Something broke my blissed out zen concentration on the dishes. Perhaps it was a chill down my back. A faint hint of dread. Perhaps it was a realization little boys aren’t quiet for THAT long without something being terribly, terribly wrong.
I finally turned and really looked at what they were doing. The floor glistened. I took a few steps towards them.
A jar of Vaseline.
Everywhere. Everywhere. Everywhere.
Loyal reached up to me. I couldn’t see his hands, only goopy white globs of petroleum. It was all over his shirt, his pants, his feet, his hair.
I was in the kitchen, surrounded by various cloths to wipe things with. Yet I was frozen. My little boy stood up and put his hands out. I couldn’t respond fast enough. Those goopy hands. The floor. The cabinets. A chopping block. A baby gate. He squished the vaseline through his fingers and on every surface he could find.
I don’t know why I did this, being in the kitchen and having access to paper towels, sponges, kitchen cloths, etc, but I took off the goddamned sweater I was wearing and wiped his hands with that. I peeled off his greasy clothes, and he screeched in delight. He ran around in his diaper. I wiped the floor with my sweater. When the majority of the goop was cleaned up, THEN I started using paper towels.
Casc was relatively clean through all this, though he was the one to liberate the vaseline from the changing table. I scrubbed them both down. They were remarkably moisturized, as was the floor and the kitchen as well.
Total, classic, n00b parent move. If they are too quiet, for too long, SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS HAPPENING.
They were both licking the window.