Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cleaning Day. A day in the life... by Joey Spinelli

It’s Friday.  The day of the week I avoid like a Christian Conservative at an Arizona Gay Pride parade.  While I have no problem cleaning my home during the other weekdays, Friday is the day I dread because it’s the day I tackle my son’s room.    Every week, it’s the same process.  First, I get everyone in the house off to school and off to work.  I need to be completely alone for this.   Then, I make sure all the curtains in the house are closed so the neighbors don’t see my crying.  Next, I always leave a note for someone in case I am never heard from again.  This way they know where to look for my body.  After that, I find my ugliest, oldest sweat pants and tee shirt, the kind that I wouldn’t even wear to a laundromat at 3am on a Tuesday night.  This work can get dirty and it’s best to be prepared. Now that I’m ready, the time has come to get started. I approach the door to my kid’s room, kick it open, and dive in.

Wow, it’s a mess.  The only clean thing in his room is the hamper, which has zero pieces of clothing in it.  The clothes are instead scattered all over the floor and on top of things.  I start by picking those up first.  A pair of jeans goes in the hamper, and then a shirt follows.  1 sock and oh, wait, there is a shirt stuck to it with a lollypop.  Lovely.  And what is with the hangers on the floor?  Is it really that hard to put hangers back on the bar after you take your clothes off them? Ok. The clothes and the hangers are all picked up. That wasn’t so bad.  Next, it’s the Imaginex toys.  These are little action figures that come in many sets.  They are all poseable, have cool boats and planes and even a Batmobile for Batman.  Ok, ill put these aside till later for err….further evaluation.  As I start picking up more and more stuff, I grab the nearby light saber to cut through the sea of stuffed animals in my path. There is a hanging basket tree for those stuffed animals so I start picking them up one by one and putting them away.  Back you go Super Grover.  Climb on up Alvin, Theodor and Simon.  All stuffed animals, that means you too Beaker.  Why do we have soo many stuffed animals?  Oh right, because I keep buying them.  He doesn’t really like them, but I do.  Yikes, there is a fly buzzing around me so I quick grab my Modern Parenting magazine from my utility belt and smack that fly out of the air.  I Finally get to do something productive with that useless rag of psychology and advise. I hate that magazine. The kids in that magazine always respond so well to parenting tricks.  Not mine! 

Ok, on to the next thing.  There are papers lying all around the room.  I drag my secret garbage can into the room.  You know, the one I keep outside in the shed that holds all my kids garbage that I can’t let him see me throw away because he wants to keep that stuff forever.  Its all-important papers too like the paper placemat with the spaghetti word scramble from the local Italian restaurant.  There’s the Dum Dum wrappers from every lollypop he ever had.  And of course who can get through being 7yrs old without all those colored drawing from Smalland at IKEA.  Trash, trash, trash.  He won’t even realize that they are gone.  Ok, paper pickup is going well.  Now I’m on to his desk area where he does his homework.  I start to clear off all the junk from his homework area like 30 erasers from the dollar aisle at Target, 2 cheesy roll up wrappers from Taco bell and 3 pencil boxes.  Oh look, I just found my tape dispenser that I have been missing all week.  And there are my post it notes.  In fact, half of my home office is in here.  Why are kids so interested in my home office supplies? They are tools, they aren’t toys!  Ok, IPAD is picked up off the floor and put back on its cradle and charging.  Ill just pick up the earth globe from under the bed and put that back on the desk.  The desk is looking good. I gotta keep moving.  As you know when cleaning a kid’s room, your goal is to put stuff back where it belongs and get to the part where you can see the floor.  Once you see the floor, vacuuming is not far behind and that signifies that you are near the end.  Well I wasn’t far from seeing the floor.  I was feeling good.  I was making progress.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  All of a sudden, I scream.  My foot is in pain and I let out that four-letter word that no parent ever wants to hear themselves say. “LEGO!!!!!!!!”  Why are those little square blocks sooooo painful? Ugh! At times like this I blame my partner, T.  This is all his fault.  If he just worked an extra job or two, I could have domestic help and then I wouldn’t be in this mess.  Now my foot aches from stepping on a strategically placed Lego land mine and I still cant even see the rug yet.  As I start removing the many “empty” plastic bins from the floor that are meant to hold everything in this room, I can see that there are thousands of Legos and other block kits of every size and color scattered everywhere, all existing in some sort of “Bohemian community.”  This would never work in Arizona.  Anyway, that’s my next goal.  I have to put each piece of these building block kits back in their empty bins.  That takes 2hours alone because I cant just put them all in one bin.  I have to sort them all by type and size and color just so they can be dumped out again.  I can’t help it, I need things organized.  The floor is now cleared, the clothes are put away, the bed is…well there is no reason to make a 7yr olds bed.  But the floor is ready for vacuuming.  As I grab my vacuum and triumphantly go back and forth seven times in each row (That’s how many times you have to go over a piece of dirt before it’s all picked up) I basque in knowing that I am close to the end.  I have 30 minutes before I have to go get my boy from school and that’s just enough time to dust, get rid of the garbage pail, put away the vacuum, and open the shades back up.  Whew.  What a day. 

I go get my boy from school, take him to his after school learning program, then to swim team practice and finally we start homework at 6pm.  While we are working on 2nd grade division and square roots, his daddy T gets home.  He walks in the door, says “Who loves ya?” like he always does and gives us all a kiss. Finally, some reinforcements, my day is about to get better.  Thank goodness.  T puts his keys down, goes to the bathroom real quick, opens the fridge to see what snacks are available and then says, “Babe, the dishes are still in the sink from this morning?  What did you do all day?  Ugh.  This is all T’s fault.!

"Who am I? That’s simple. I am a gay parent that’s treated like a second class citizen and I am done taking it. 
Every day I am in the battlefields, in my kid’s school, PTA meetings, swim team, birthday parties with
other parents and I am forcing people to meet me.

Every day I stand right next to them and even if it’s just in my mind, I say “ Look at me will you! I am a gay man, right in front of you. 
I have a partner of 8 years and a 6r old boy. 
My kid is in your kid’s class and will be for the next 11 years. 
I am not going away so now would be as good a time as any to accept me and everything that comes with me."
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