I try to keep our dining table from looking like a dumping ground. But it's got some strange magnetic force of its own. It lures stray objects to it when we're not looking. Stuff that actually stays there for, well, until we have visitors. It is in such an embarrassing state that I actually clean up before our cleaning lady is due to come.
I clean it, I do. Occasionally. But stuff just keeps.coming.back. I don't know how!
Our beloved dining table. One of our best buys. The one thing that makes us smile a knowing smile because nobody's ever been able to guess how much we really paid for it.
$50 at an IKEA auction years ago. I conducted the auction. That's right. Stood on a pile of pallets and screamed into a loudhailer. A small group had gathered in front of me, the girl in the yellow IKEA sale t-shirt, jeans, and red Puma sneakers, with the squeaky loudhailer that gave off frequent joyous shrills that made every cringe. It'd been the middle of the auction. By that time, I'd sold off armchairs, sofas, wardrobes, chests of drawers, lamps, storage boxes, work tables, kids toys. But when I started the auction of this lovely discontinued item, there were no takers. Nope, none at all.
So I ended up buying it. $50 for a gorgeous white table with a laminate top that's so easy to clean, we conduct our craft sessions and painting sessions directly on it without even bothering to lay a protective sheet over. We didn't know it then but as parents, we would appreciate its rounded corners.
It has served us well, this table. It's seen its share of family steamboat dinners, mashed bananas, spilt juices, fish bones, gravy drips and condensation rings. It has kept its share of the bargain, but we are not honouring ours.
The 4 of us occupy half the table and have to move stuff away from that side before every meal. What kind of stuff? Oh I don't know. Stuff. All kinds of.
Like right next to me now is a tub of calendula cream from after Calla's bath, a pot of paintbrushes from the afternoon when I painted while Poppy worked on an activity book and Calla drew on her tummy with markers (the markers are still in a pot on the table). There's a library book called Yuck and his Amazing Underpants, Poppy's current favourite. Actually hey, there's a whole stack of library books! A pile of cards - Donkey, Snap, Happy Family. Max's Mac (did that sound funny?), Calla's toys, two packs of half opened wet wipes, seashells, my old purse (now Calla's toy), a H&M shirt that I bought for Max that doesn't fit and I need to go get it exchanged, a photo frame (with photo taken out by Calla and neatly placed at an artistic angle next to the empty frame), a clean diaper, Calla's slot machine, a pack of twistable crayons, my IKEA card (oh hey, that's where it is!) lots of scrap paper that have yet to make their way to the recycling bag after being scribbled upon by little kids, couple of rolls of washi tape for good measure ....
Why? Why does this happen?
We're all to blame. All of us. This is where we empty our bags on. For whatever reason. We get home, we empty our bags, and sort through what needs to be thrown/recycled/kept. We don't always complete the task. Oh who am I kidding? We never complete that task. That's why it's such an attricious sight.
We do lots of activities on the dining table and sometimes (most times) migrate to other activities before we can clear up. What's that? "Clear as you go!" and "Finish what you started before you start something new," you say. I hear you. I hear my own voice saying it. I say the same things to my kids. But sometimes it's not possible. Why? Because this planet doesn't stop revolving just because I need a minute to put away a toy phone that sounds like it's been underwater for too long. Or to bring 5 books back to the bookcase. Or to return a plastic lobster to the supposedly designated tub of animals.
Life goes on, and it sometimes gets in the way. Life's funny like that.
So I abandon the poor dining table to read to my girls. To cook their dinner. To perhaps give the floor a sweep. To talk to my husband. To, I don't know, sit down and let my tired bones loosen and crank a little.
Messy dining table.... Life.... Messy dining table..... Life.
Yeah, I think it's a fair exchange.
Say what? You want to see it? You don't think that I am telling the truth? You doubt that anyone could really live like this? You really want to see?
Are we still friends?
Hey wait, come back!
Ps If you think you've got a table as messy as mine, I find it hard to believe. Prove it! If you paste it on Facebook, tag me! If you're an Instagram fan, use the freshly created hashtag #mymessydiningtable and tag me @gingerbreadmum
We shall see, huh?