Two things have never changed from when I was a child: I still pout and I still hate to clean my room. I'll help the kids clean their rooms. I'll tidy up the kitchen, wash the dishes, do the laundry, vacuum...but cleaning my own room is somehow 300% worse.
Keene is just as bad about cleaning the room. Even worse than me, actually, because he's much taller. Plus, he has bad eyesight. From his height, he doesn't realize that he is stepping on three-foot-tall piles of dirty clothes, six guitar cases, two photo albums, twelve books, and a partridge in a pear tree when he walks to the closet.
Last Sunday, we decided to buckle down and clean the damn room already. We spent hours and hours working on it, while the children blissfully played without the parents nagging them to clean their rooms. We even vacuumed. That's how serious we were about getting the room clean.
Despite taking so long to clean, we are those special kinds of people who leave the vacuum sitting out after using it. We clean and clean and clean. And once we have vacuumed, we prop the vacuum in the middle of the spotless floor, the way a kid will proudly display a trophy on his or her shelf. "See? We did it! We mastered our bedroom."
And because it is us, the vacuum remained there. And after a couple days, it became a sort of coat rack for our discarded clothes. Because, gosh, we don't want to throw clean-ish clothes on the floor, but the closet is waaaaaaaaaaay over there.
This wouldn't normally be a problem. Heck, given a couple of weeks, the vacuum would have disappeared under a pile of clothes and towels altogether.
However, it began affecting my sleep.
If you've made it back far enough in the blog, you may have read about my problem with hallucinations. The closest self-diagnosis I have discovered (thank you, Internet!) is called a hypnopompic hallucination. What this means is that I am happily dreaming (or not so happily, as most of these take the form of nightmares), but then I wake up and still see whatever I was just dreaming about. I'm lucid enough to see my surroundings, to know I'm awake, but there is just a twelve-foot-long snake on my ceiling, getting ready to eat me and my sleeping boyfriend.
I attribute these awesome experiences to a previously-hidden insanity proudly making itself known.
So, back to the vacuum. The machine alone is innocuous enough. However, once the clothes were thrown onto it, this:
The first night I was troubled by the vacuum because I kept thinking it was the usual make-believe shadow standing on our patio. Last year, I was awakened in the middle of the night by a surprisingly loud and angry Keene running a bike-thief off of our patio. (Imagine that, a bike thief, and we don't even live in the ghetto or France!)
That ensured at least a year of funky nightmares for me.
Now, one would assume I put away the vacuum after the first restless night, but no. That's far too ambitious for me. I forgot about it by the time I got home from work the next day.
However, the second night was more memorable. All night, I kept waking up because of the vacuum monster moving around. "Settle down, vacuum monster! You'll wake the kids!"
Over and over, I awoke. In a daze, I would stare at it for a minute, then fall back asleep. At some point, I even got out of bed to touch it, confirming that it was indeed just a vacuum with a pair of shorts draped over it. Satisfied that it wasn't anything more curious, I climbed back into bed.
Then, I awoke to it talking to me. The vacuum had decided that its previous tactics at keeping me awake were not working, so it pulled out the big guns: it became Maia. I tried to wake Keene to make him take the vacuum to the potty, because I figured that's why Maia was in our bedroom. Keene, sick with a fever, didn't stir."Kelli, I want breakfast," said the vacuum.
"It's too early," I explained. "Go back to bed."
When Maia wouldn't leave the room, I got out of bed to help her back to room. But when I touched her head, I felt a plastic handle instead.
Foiled! Pretty sneaky, vacuum!
(Looking back, however, I'm glad I realized it was a hallucination right away. Could you imagine the horror Maia would feel if she were to wake up in the morning with a vacuum lying next to her in bed? She would never watch Brave Little Toaster again.)
The next morning, I said to Keene, "I talked with the vacuum last night." He replied, "I know." I said, "You didn't think that was strange?" He replied, "It was no stranger than usual so I just fell back asleep."
Despite his lack of concern over his girlfriend talking to an appliance, before going to bed that night, he exclaimed, "Off with its head!" and removed the swim trunks from the vacuum.
And I got a full night of sleep.