I am officially the envy of the neighborhood. Finally after six years I get to be the talk of the town. As a woman all you want is a moment to shine, just one time in your life. A moment of glory when all of the other women want to be you.
What happened you ask? Did I get a Rolex? A swimming pool? A tummy tuck? Did my husband become the president of a Fortune 500 company? Was my eight year old accepted into Yale? No. I got something even better than any of those things. That is right. I got new carpet.
Maybe you can’t appreciate why new carpet is so fantastic. When you are a mother with small children you learn to live with the fact that your house is slowly falling down around you. Children have a way of turning all of your nice stuff into crap. Before you realize it, all of your things are stained, torn or outdated and carpet is no exception.
It was a tough decision whether to replace the old stuff or leave well enough alone. I mean I am not stupid. The second that you bring something shiny and new into the house is the exact moment that your kids start trying to destroy it. We decided that it simply had to be done. If I gave you a list of things that had been done to that carpet, you would certainly agree that we made the right decision.
The carpet truck was parked outside my house for two whole days. I saw the carpet envy from each passersby. Maybe all those people are afraid to pull the trigger on their own carpet situation because they don’t believe that their kids will respect new carpet. I understand that. I worried about the same thing. That is why I made a list of new carpet rules for my kids:
1. YOU do not have new carpet, Mom and Dad has new carpet. If you buy new carpet one day then you can make the new carpet rules. (Just keep in mind that I gave birth to you and by then I will be really old.)
2. Absolutely no shoes allowed. Ever. If you walk on new carpet with shoes, somewhere in the world, a unicorn dies.
3. No food or beverages on carpeted surfaces under any circumstances. This includes but is not limited to: meals in bed if you’re sick, Mother’s Day surprise breakfast in bed (See? I follow the rules too), contraband candy, cookies for Santa (we all know that Santa is a bit of a mess).
4. You are only allowed to sit on a section of carpet for a maximum of ten minutes. After this, we ask that you reposition yourself to another area in an effort to maintain even wear. Don’t try to play me. I will be timing you.
5. Vomit, slobber, blood, boogers and diarrhea are strictly prohibited. If you feel as though you are going to experience any of these, please let me know five minutes prior so we can relocate you to a more appropriate surface. Like outside. Where the water hose is located.
6. No crayons, markers, glue, paint, Sharpies, Play Doh, glitter or any other weapons of carpet mass destruction are allowed. If you feel the need to express yourself, then sing a song.
7. None of your friends are allowed inside the house. The only children allowed on my carpet are those whom I am required by law to provide shelter. I may be willing to make an exception if someone is willing to attend carpet boot camp and sign a copy of these rules. We shall see.
Okay, let me stop right here. Even I can see the ludicrousness (That is so a word. I looked it up) here. I can enact every restriction known to man, cover the floor with saran wrap and lock all kids outside and they are still going to find a way to ruin my new carpet. That is just part of having kids. I made a decision 9 years ago to put off having nice things for at least the next 20 years.
Don’t think I didn’t notice when I looked at the new carpet just how horrible it made everything else in the house look. The paint, curtains and furniture all look ten times worse than before. I instantly started making a list of things that I would buy for the house. One day.
The way I see it when you have a home with children you are basically putting out fires. We changed the carpet because it was absolute necessity. Eventually something else will be moved to the front burner. This is the way it works.
When I was single, I used to buy bath towels because I thought they were pretty. I married ten years ago this month and we still use the towels that we received as wedding presents. I have not bought a towel in ten years. They are all threadbare and thin but until the unravelling becomes so bad that my foot actually goes through the towel as I a try to dry my leg, we will keep using what works. Funny how life changes after kids.
I know all the ladies are envious of my new carpet. They tell me as much when they see me. But deep down they all know it is only a matter of time before my kids spill a bottle of nail polish or a large magic marker leaks all over that carpet. Then I will do what every mother would. I will go buy a new rug to cover the stain and we will keep moving forward. It is all about survival.
For now, I will happily sit on my new carpet with my fly swatter. I will swat away any kid that looks like he or she has any bright ideas going on in their little head.