I don’t know about other parents with children with Autism, but we tend to let a lot of things slide because we’re tending to the Monster’s care.
Now… messy houses with multiple kids aren’t anything that weird. (Though I do seem to know quite a few folks with multiple kids who have folks to help them clean…) I know that. And our house usually isn’t that much of a disaster. The problem is… the garage.
Why the garage? The wife tends to make cleaning the rest of the house a priority, since we’re in those spaces regularly. The living room might get disorderly, and the family room tends to get a bit cluttered (and don’t even ask about our home office), but those also get cleaned up regularly since we need to be able to move around those places and enjoy them. The garage, on the other hand, is rarely entered… if only because it is such a mess.
Just a little background – the house that we live in didn’t have a garage until about 18 months ago. We had an open-to-the-elements carport that was part of the original house, and we elected during some renovations to enclose it as a full garage as Phase I of the project, precisely for the purpose of using it as storage space when we were going through Phase II. The problem is that emptying it… never really happened.
And we can’t really clean it with the Monster around – managing him and keeping him occupied leaves only one adult to do the cleaning, and that just takes forever.
So this morning, as soon as the bus pulled away from the house, we put a play yard out for R and set to work inside the garage itself.
It’s… amazing how much crap we actually put in there, when we did the renovations and had to clear out two whole rooms of the house. And it’s not like we meant to leave everything there for ever and ever… but since I had the day off from work, and R could be left in that playpen, it was a good time to try to put some order in the midst of everything.
I’m proud to say that, after two trips to the city trash transfer yard and after some serious (i.e., overzealous) sorting… we’re one more good push away from being able to actually put the cars in the garage….