When you can’t find the door.
There’s a room in our house that I can’t find. In certain moments of sheer desperation I wander the halls knocking aimlessly at the wall pretending I’d know what it would sound like if I found one, I thought I had once, next to the airing cupboard, then realised that actually it was the other side of the wardrobe in our bedroom.
We didn’t used to have a secret room, at one point it was just a drawer where a sneaky hair grip would hide, then a cupboard which housed books and paperwork, then turned briefly into a wardrobe where a slipper and my favourite DKNY sunglasses languished before, since having children, transforming into a full blown room.
I used to be such a neat person, OCD and obsessive about everything having it’s place. Except the bits that didn’t fit, then they all went in a Bag-for-Life under the bed, at the back, so you couldn’t see it if you walked into the bedroom. Everything had it’s place, and I’d have time to ensure that they were put in it. I remember one day at work, somebody laughing at me when they caught me ensuring my box files that sat on my desk were all lined up satisfyingly straight. We didn’t “do” clutter.
Then the room came.
I’m not sure when it happened, I have a feeling around the time The Beast started crawling. That’s when stuff started to REALLY go missing. I’m on not talking about my sunglasses, which I still miss every summer, especially as their loss is often thrown back in my face whenever I tentatively mention a pair of Chanel ones I adore.
Now the room must be positively bursting at the seams, whenever I hear a creak on the landing I expect a door to burst open and shower me in 4,56,982 half pairs of socks, a Spider-Man boot, three school jumpers, a Hot Wheels Buzz Lightyear car, 3 nursery bills and a DVD of Speed 2.
Perhaps it’s not even a room anymore? Perhaps it’s a little outbuilding? A granny flat? Which contains an elbow pad, buggy board, party invitation, and £30 worth of M&S vouchers which Sky sent us on a referral. My swimming towel, the fork that has a little giraffe on that matches the knife and spoon that would be perfect for The Chunky Monkey, my red sandals, Mr Aimee’s swimming shorts, a Spider-Man baseball cap, a sports bra, the TV remote control which belongs to the TV we’ve just taken to the tip, the box which contains the kettle receipt, which means we can’t exchange it even though it’s faulty and less than a year old. The bag Mr Aimee used to use for all his business trips, a pair of football boots which I know are now the right size and were put in a “safe place” until this time came. Individual gloves, for all of us, a guilitine, my pink calculator, the back door key, the corkscrew, pieces missing from FIVE individual puzzles, a school jumper, a summer shirt, a newly bought packet of swim nappies, our holiday phone WHICH ALWAYS WENT BACK INTO THE SUITCASE READY FOR THE NEXT HOLIDAY, and 3 of the balls from the Hungry Hippos game. The neck support from a newborn Maxi-Cosi car seat, a pair of Ben 10 boxer shorts, that are “lucky”, multiple iPod and iPad chargers, along with batteries, and emergency light bulbs.
Every now and then the room will throw me a bone, on the floor of my study I’ll find a party invitation (2 weeks out of date), and at the bottom of the ironing basket that dress that I looked in every nook and cranny for, only to determine that it must have gone to the charity shop and *cough* had to replace. The whisk attachment for the blender that I replaced only a month ago appears underneath the toy kitchen in The Chunky Monkey’s room, and the swimming certificate which was on the side of the fridge can be found under The Beast’s pillow when I strip his bed. Three half eaten bags of mini cheddars, a packet of raisins, and a Chubba Chups lolly can be found in the pocket of my winter coat (discovered on Saturday morning when I had to wear it to football practice).
But you know what, it never throws me that pair of sunglasses.
As the children get older, and their clutter bigger, will we need to add an extension to house the room we can’t access, will it house multiple football boots? Tennis rackets? Car keys? Homework? Or is that when the dog start to eat homework? Does the room send out magical and mystical creatures to dispense of things, does it also take away communication skills and thinking before you speak?
I’ve heard that the room disappears…I have proof, the mother, and the mother-in-law, they never lose anything, there’s always something you need that they have. They never run out of thread when it’s time to sew on a swimming badge, and they always have a matching pair of slippers, socks without holes in.
I bet they’ve never used a baby wipe to clean a school poloshirt because the one you’ve put in the wash has miraculously disappeared.
Does it happen when all the children leave home? Maybe you get sent a password when you strip the wallpaper and turn their bedrooms into a gym?
Perhaps when you move house it appears, just as you think you’ve put the final load onto the van, with a creak and a groan the bricks part and it presents itself to you, along with piles of stuff that now need sorting, and wrapping with bubble wrap?
Has anyone actually seen their room? Tell me if you have!