Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Windowsill

It’s been a while since I wrote but things have been a little bit on the busy side.  We welcomed Isabel Giulia into our family in July and although she is the most perfect baby in the history of babies (of which I will write another time) life is somewhat hectic with 4 kids.  Just keeping insanity and clutter at bay is a full time job.

It is because of this that I feel quite accomplished at the end of the day when I look around and see that the floor is mostly clear (especially if I squint a little bit), the kitchen is clean, dishwasher is going and all the kids are asleep.  Several times in the past few months I have had to fight that nagging feeling that I am forgetting something because I feel like I finally have it together (sort of).  Since that’s never happened before I am sure everything could come tumbling down around me at any moment.  It hasn’t happened yet and although I risk bringing on a collapse just by talking about it publically I will do so anyway.

I have battled all summer with the dreaded fruit flies and have almost driven myself mad trying to find their source and how to exterminate them.  I’ve poured bleach down the drains, I’ve gone almost obsessive over keeping clean surfaces and food put away.  I’ve swatted at them as they fly past my face and I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten one or two of them.  I do remember inhaling one once.  James recently decided to introduce a new member to the family in his attempt at helping with the situation.  He arrived home with a venus fly trap.  I had wanted one of those electrified fly swatter things so that I could zap the horrible little creatures but I guess he didn’t like the look I got in my eye when I dreamed of this. So now I have another eight (at last count) mouths to feed. 

Unfortunately I don’t have a great track record when it comes to nurturing plant life.  Actually if it were left up to me we’d all be looking for alternate sources of oxygen.  I sunk to even greater depths over this summer.  It was thought that I couldn’t get any lower after I killed the bonsai tree (age unknown) that Kaitlyn won in a competition.  But I managed the unbelievable feat of killing a cactus.  I’m not sure how I did it but it is decidedly dead.  I did water it (but not too much) and it looked so happy. Around the time that Kaitlyn brought home her special gift to me from school (a seedling of unknown heritage that she had grown all on her own) the cactus took a nosedive.  Maybe it thought it had been replaced in my affections, that I was gazing upon this new windowsill friend with more love in my eyes than I had for it.  Obviously it hadn’t spotted Emily’s gift of a zinnia plant that was residing on the far end of the sill.

I know I should have planted these expressions of love outside in the garden where they could be wild and free and grow to their greatest potentials, but I missed the opportunity during the summer and now its too cold.  Emily’s plant is looking decidedly autumnal and I’m not sure how I am going to explain the demise of either of these precious gifts that were so lovingly bestowed upon me.  I sense their imminent departure as I type.

This new carnivorous member is rather small and as yet has not lived up to its promise of sucking the life out of household insects even though I have witnessed several of them resting on its limbs.

Also inhabiting my windowsill is a small tank full of sea monkeys.  Abigail was given these as a birthday present in May and so far I have managed to keep them alive.  I haven’t actually done anything to them so I’m pretty sure other family members are caring for them and judging by their propensity to breed I am thinking they are highly cannibalistic in nature.

I have a number of other items on my windowsill which probably make no sense to the innocent bystander.  There is my favourite mug with its handle broken off.  I haven’t had the heart to throw it out so there it sits helpfully keeping a group of paintbrushes upright.  It sits next to a particularly pleasing glass jar which I liked the look of, it used to have lemon curd in it but is now empty.  I’m starting to go off it so its life is probably coming to an end soon.

There’s a dried up Hello Kitty stamp that will end its membership in our family as soon as the kids are looking the other way.  Then there’s the bud vase that until recently housed a single red rose with an apologetic message from one of the kids who was being rather obnoxious that day.  The rose is gone because James was certain it was the source of all fruit flies in the house – it turns out it wasn’t.

Then there is Sponge Bob’s pineapple.  We have had a number of beta fish which have all been named Bob.  The latest one was purchased in an impulsive mood by James when he went shopping with several of the girls early in the summer. At the time I was shopping elsewhere and when I caught wind that they were descending on the pet shop I drove as fast as I could in order to intercept any such purchases.  Fortunately for me the shop didn’t sell either puppies or kittens and the girls are not enamoured with reptiles.

Unfortunately I was unable to halt the purchase of a third Bob.  The previous Bobs had all met untimely demises over the course of many years.  This particular Bob was the youngest of all and although I was hopeful that he would be with us for many months I had my doubts. 

James and Kaitlyn took him home to get him set up while I went to one last shop.  The idea was to have him in a vase so as to look ultra cool and also so we didn’t need to buy an expensive tank.  When I arrived home I found a variety of my vases on the bench.  When I enquired I was told that the first choice hadn’t worked out (fortunately for them since it was a rather nice crystal vase which had been a wedding present).  They had settled on a very nice, large square vase and it now sat proudly on the coffee table with its young inmate, his new home all decked out like Bikini Bottom complete with the pineapple house.

Over the course of the next week Bob was looked at, talked to, fed and admired from all sides.  On his 1 week anniversary I came downstairs and noticed that Bob was floating rather slowly and upon further investigation it was found that Bob had indeed expired.  This made him the shortest lived Bob in family history.  So now his little pineapple house sits on my windowsill next to the bottle brush waiting for its next Bob to swim happily in and out of its little portholes.  Who knows when that will be but we’ve discovered that playing Wii bowling right next to the fishbowl is not a very good idea.

There are various other miscellaneous objects gracing my windowsill including a paint scraper, a new baby bottle, a test tube and a prism hanging on a string which, on sunny days, fills the room with rainbows.  This brings much delight to Abigail who spends long periods of time trying to catch them as they shimmer and dance around the room. 

Perhaps my next project should be tidying the windowsill but most of these objects have memories attached to them that still warm my heart, tiny snapshots of our lives captured in these little objects that remind me that our family is crazy, funny and full of love.

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