How to tidy your house with Zen kids

8 September, 2020

This is the first of a new series Im writing on organising your home. Today we’re dealing with, Clutter. (wow)

Clutter is the love child of your emotional imbalance combined with your lack of self respect.  It’s the physical representation of something you’re doing very wrong in your head and can’t hide it.  Yes, your head, laid out for everyone to see.

It’s true.  I made it up.  (But we both know it’s true….)

When my darling children were young, at the end of a busy day they lay in their beds, having begged for another story, shared some made up problems taken from pop songs, made me hunt a favourite teddy they hadn’t seen for two years, begged for a snack or a drink, had a tummy ache and generally made me hang around a couple of resentful hours, I’d watch them sleeping. Anglic wax models of their previous hyperbolic selves.  At this point, I’d look at their faces and wish they could be like this all day.  Not anything weird, just a bit quieter and peacefully beautiful, like Zen children.  I’d trip through the chaos of the house, that I was now supposed to clear up. Often, I’d stand at the back door, looking up at the night sky, the mess piled high behind me and pray, that aliens would come and abduct me.  

Back to Zen Children….

I’ll write a book about “Zen Children” one day.   It will detail lies about raising my children without plastic, so they connected with the natural world.  I will put pictures in it, of favourite toys I’ve made with them from shells and other shit you find on the beach. 

My son’s favourite homemade toy; his whale “Blubba”

My zen husband with have a beard and there will be photos of the driftwood climbing frame he has loving crafted from wood, found in a secret cove that the Whales lead him to (on his 5am daily swim).  He hauled with those heavy branches back to our run-down, but loving caravan-home, on a beach in Mauii.  He surfs a driftwood surfboard and preaches to the materialistic surfer dudes about the goodness of life.  They love him and admire him and while they can’t give up their contracts with trendy surfer brands – they really wish to be like him, and have a sexy renounced zen wife (that’s me if you weren’t sure) and have beautiful Zen children who happily dress in (organic) rags.  My husband’s surfer-dude friend, Jeff comes over to sit at our weathered kitchen table and escape his demanding girlfriends, who are models and all crazy beautiful (in that order).  He eats from our hand-whittled bowls and drink the soup I make on an old Aga. 

Eventually, the surfers leave town for bigger surf and even bigger money;  and my husband leaves me, for one of Jeff’s crazy beautiful girlfriends, she becomes his new wife.  They are “influencers” and share videos of her with whittled bowls and organic soup online.  My heart breaks.  To support the children I have to move to the city and become a nurse, tending to the sick, working long shifts in spongey, white clogs.  Often, I stay on past my shift end, to hold the hand of a patient dying alone, because her selfish surfer-dude children could only manage a quick good-bye by video link. Then I rush across New York and find my children angrily waiting, alone in the school yard, for me.  I hug them too tightly, crying and they say, “It’s ok mommy”. We walk home across New York, playing imaginative games, sometimes we walk under a billboard advertising their Father and his wife, on a beach in Mauii.  We don’t see it, we’re too busy chatting, my middle child is not boring us with his fascinating whale facts.

By the time we get home, to the poor side of town it’s nearly dark and I carry my youngest child, now asleep, up the dark stairs to our tiny apartment.   I always say “hello” to the elderly woman who lives downstairs, she thinks I’m a saint.  Once in a while, their father will come to pick them up and the children will rush into his arms, while his icy new wife judges me.

One day at work, a Doctor asks me out. The children are excited for me and I wear my best dress, it’s a bit crinkled, I’ve had it for years.  The elderly woman who lives downstairs, babysits and I go out on The Date, he likes me – I like him.  As he becomes a part of my life I am so happy and we go for dinner and do boring things like that, in the name of romance.  However, the elderly woman downstairs notices the Whale-fact-child becomes quiet and stops talking about Whales.  She eyes my Doctor boyfriend with suspicion and raises her concerns.  I shout at her and tell her she’s wrong and it’s none of her business, but really, it’s because I am hurting so bad inside.  I sit with my Whale-fact child, as I stroke his head he confides in me; he is torn because he wants me to be happy.  I promise him that we will never see the Doctor again.  I scream at the Doctor on the phone and tell him I will have him kicked out of the hospital for this.  On Monday, I go to work but my electronic swipe doesn’t work, I am confused.  I get into the hospital and feel that people are whispering about me, one of the Admin staff frostily asks me to come to a meeting.  In the meeting my Doctor is there, smugly patronising me, I am hauled up in front of a disciplinary panel and fired – for his lies.  I am broken and can’t pay the rent.  We have to leave New York, I am no longer a nurse, we hug the old lady goodbye and she blesses me, giving me a whale’s tooth pendant and tells me the whales will take care of me. I laugh, there are no freakin whales in our lives anymore.  

I missed my patients and the spongy footware.
“No matter that they take from me, they can’t takeaway my dignity”. W.H Ousten

We move to a poor town on the coast.  The boys are older and work in a local boat yard.  I am a waitress in a run down diner, over looking the sea.  My kids drop in to see me before they surf and I insist on they eat.  They go out on homemade driftwood surfboards, just like their father, years ago.  Happily they surf alongside the kids with shiny boards and big trucks.  I serve coffee to all the overweight lorry-drivers who try to get a date with me, I am done with men and friend-zone them all, (even the one with the really fancy truck, who is a bit aggressive and entitled).  One day, one of the owners of the Dude Surfboard Company comes in.  He stops to talk to my sons about their homemade surfboards and kindly compliments them, before sitting with his cool Dudes and their crazy beautiful girlfriends, discussing their international competition schedule.  My kids leave for their evening classes, I can’t afford for them to go to college.  Serving the coffee, I accidentally spill it and one of the surfer girlfriend’s makes a joke at my expense.  Flustered, I apologise and wipe it up. The owner of the Dude company looks up and tells me not to worry, his brow ceases with confusion and he asks if he knows me.  I assure him he doesn’t.  Later he comes to the counter to pay.  He asks if I’ve ever lived on Maui and about my son’s unusual surfboards; eventually we realise it’s not the first time I’ve served him coffee or soup, it’s Jeff, from years ago. Laughing we remember the good times we shared back then.  I wipe my brow and remove my pink server’s hat and let my hair down.  We walk along the beach to his surfboard, it’s weathered and well used.  He paddles me out to sea, I sit on the front dangling my legs in the water, hoping a shark won’t bite and we watch the sunset together, I try not to slide off the front as it dips with my weight – now I reget all finishing all the leftovers in the diner each night, and those family size bags crisps and the foot long Toberlerones that were onsale at Costco.  Sudddenly, a whale leaps over us and nearly capsizes us.  We grab onto each other and laugh with shock and surpise.  We are together. 

Some time later, my lovely boys hold a ceremony in the ocean, “mom” they said to me, “we dont need this old shit anymore, we’re going throw them in the ocean because we’ve got pro boards now”. They float peacefully on their gleaming new Dude surfboards, with their gleaming new friends around them. They throw things at the old boards, I assume it’s flowers, I can’t qutie see from Jeff’s yacht. But they’re probably remembering the lani we love, in the old days in Hawaii. They set their driftwood boards free and gifted them back to the sea. Those boys, such big hearts, they have always been so generous and organic like that, . The waves are wonderful that day, as if the ocean replied thanking them for the gifts. Later they join us, excited to go to deep water and try to find Whales with Jeff. They load their spear guns and I touch the necklace, that old, nosey lady gave me back in the Bronx. She’d known, all those years ago we would always be have affinity the whales.

Jeff – he was amazing at catching them


The End.

The moral of this story is, if you want to keep your house tidy, you have three options.

  1. Be incredibly left brain and organised.  It’s possible that this articles has not been all that helpful for the left-brainer.

2.  Pay someone to constantly tidy up, gets a bit pricey.

3.  Have wax kids and get abducted by aliens.

I really hope this article has helped you organise your home.  If you’ve found it useful, please click subscribe to my YouTube channel which doesn’t exist.  They’ll be more fascinating material on managing your home, coming out when I get around to it.

Surf on dudes. 

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