My Dust Bunnies Aren’t Bunnies; They’re Rodents of Unusual Size

My dad had open heart surgery, and then my kids started puking. Of course they did. Of course they did. Because illness waits for no one, as parents everywhere know, and I did not have the time or energy for pukers this week. Nope; illness waits for no one, and it’s certainly not going to book a time on the calendar that’s convenient. 

My friend Valerie started texting me things like, “You have a puker AGAIN?” and “SERIOUSLY? AGAIN?” and then, because she’s a registered nurse who’s medically trained and knows how to combat things like viruses and bacteria, she suggested we purchase an isolation bubble for our backyard, or invest in a decontamination unit, or, and this is the most medically sound suggestion of all, “light a match and walk away.” 

I thought about it, but I can’t find the matches because our house is buried under mountains of socks who’ve given up ever finding their soulmates, and All the Papers that come home from All the Schools, and That One Stack of Stuff I Was Going to Take Care Of two years ago that has reproduced and multiplied and is now Seventeen Stacks of Stuff I Was Going to Take Care Of But Probably Never Will. 

So, instead of cleaning my own house (because UGH and ARE YOU KIDDING?), I headed to my parents’ house to clean theirs. After all, my dad is recovering from OPEN HEART SURGERY. They NEED ME. (Read: They didn’t actually need me.) And also, I can AVOID CLEANING MY HOUSE by being altruistic and SELFLESS and stuff, and no one — NOT ONE PERSON — can blame me for it. WIN/WIN, friends.

Win/win.

I asked my parents where I could start — what all they neeeeeeeded me to do– and, after my dad finished sighing the I-wish-you’d-go-away-because-I’d-really-rather-nap sigh, they said I could clean the floors because, and I quote, “Our floors DO indicate we’ve been living in sloth and squalor.”

FYI, for those of you who Weren’t Raised by Marines, the picture below shows everything — every single thing — I could find to sweep in their kitchen along with a penny for scale. 

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THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is Sloth and Squalor to a Marine.

Let’s just take a moment to think about my childhood, shall we?

Thank you.

In addition, I found a dust bunny under my parents’ couch.

This dust bunny:

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That dust bunny.

That teeny, tiny, adorable dust bunny.

Which I found after looking diligently for it because my dad had said, “There are dust bunnies everywhere.” 

Everywhere = one spot under the couch. 

Just one. 

One wittle baby dust bunny whose eyes hadn’t opened yet.

Under the couch where my dad couldn’t even SEE it.

It’s like the Princess and the Pea, except it’s the Marine and the Mess. 

For comparison, when I got home, I picked up the first dust mammal I came across. 

And, you guys, this isn’t even the biggest of my dust rodents.

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Just the most available.

Let’s compare:

Aw:

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Ew:

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Cootchy cootchy coo:

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Needs headgear:

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And you know what I did with that dust rodent of unusual size?

I put it back where I found it. Yes I did.

Because I LOVE you, and, if your house is messy, I don’t want you to feel lonely.

I know. I give, and I give.

With love,

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
28 comments
  1. Hahaha, I love you Beth..(And not just because you have an awesome name 😉 But you remind me that I’m not alone in the mess that is my crazy wonderful life… However, You’d make me feel a whole lot better, if you tell me you have not only dust rodents of unusual size..but also entire eco system science experiments in your couch…

  2. Your humor is always just in time! Keep doing what you do.

  3. Thank you, dear woman, for this post. I needed to know I’m not the only one with DROUSes.

    The dust in this house is so thick I apologetically/jokingly told a drop-in neighbor we had decided to live like chinchillas. (You know, dust on the floors for spontaneous dust baths….*ahem*) Yeah, she now thinks I’m insane AND a lousy housekeeper.

    Keep on rockin’ it!

  4. Dust isn’t a big one at our house this time of year. Thankfully we don’t have any pets with fur– that makes a huge difference.

    But I have given up on the pine needles. Every time I walk past my front door, a new battalion has arrived and the line has advanced, and I just glare at them because really, what are they gonna do? I could snap them like so many straws. They are simply adrift in the gentle harbor of my patience, to paraphrase Cobra Bubbles.

    One day soon, there will be a reckoning. Oh, yes. Not because *I* will sweep up the pine needles, mind you, but because my four-year-old has his own child-sized Amish-made broom and he LOVES to sweep.

    All is going according to plan.

  5. Thank you. Your thoughts and concerns for your fellow momrades know no limits. And I, for one, am truly grateful. I have three cats that live mostly in our master suite. They enter their outdoor kitty enclosure from a cat door in my bedroom window. I also have deep burgundy velvet drapes ( from World Market, so probably not really velvet) that now have more cat hair than the cats. I keep saying I’m going to de-fur them somehow, but haven’t yet.

  6. Thank you. Your thought and concerns for your fellow momrades know no bounds. I, for one, am deeply grateful. I have three cats that live mostly in our master suite. They go out into their cat play yard through a door in my bedroom window. I also have deep burgundy velvet drapes ( from World Market, so possibly not real velvet). They have more cat hair on them than the cats. I keep saying I’m going to somehow scrape it off. But I haven’t yet.

  7. This post is one of the so many reasons you are so loved 🙂

  8. Our German Wire-Haired Pointer dog is shedding her winter coat. This morning I swept up a behemoth of a dust-and-dog-hair bunny just from the small area in front of my washer and dryer. That bunny filled the entire dust pan and stood several inches tall! The only reason I swept it away was because I wanted to take clean clothes out of the dryer and not have all that dog hair immediately static-cling itself to the clean clothes! I hate to think of the size of the dust-and-dog-hair bunnies that are roaming the rest of my house. I think I’ll just go back to sewing a quilt for my daughter and try to forget them. Maybe if I ignore them long enough they’ll grow up and move out.

  9. My Dad was career Navy. I am physically unable to fold a white undershirt like a normal person (read without the crisp military fold). All to say, I relate. My Dad would need open-heart surgery if he saw the number of cobwebs hanging around in the corners of my house.

    1. My 7-year-old recently told his grandmother (my mother-in-law) that he uses to spit the chewing-gums behind our television, because there are so many cobwebs there and it’s funny to see the bubblegums cling to them. He obviously loves to tell cock-and-bull stories, but wait… What’s that sticking to the baseboard? Oops!

  10. You give and you give. And for that, we love you!

  11. I have wool mammoth dust things. Or whatever You can call them – there is only One child but there are 3 cats here and i swear that our dust animals breed whenever i am not looking. Also they tend to sneak out from under the Couch right after I’ve put away the vacuumer. Hate dust! I tried to incinerate the dust bunnies with my super Laser power gaze. Didn’t work, though.

  12. My mother was a full time nurse who baked all her bread from scratch and cleaned her house every Friday–washed sheets, vacuumed and dusted everything, cleaned bathrooms and tidied everything. Every month or so she also washed AND BUFFED the kitchen floor, cleaned out the fridge, etc. Oh, and she ironed, sewed about 1/3 of our clothes, and knitted. And hung clothes on the line any time it wasn’t raining. Okay yes, she had 2-3 teenagers and an elementary school kid who were trained to help to her standards, but still. I’m pretty sure my children are unaware of the concepts of ironing and changing sheets, and dusting is so rare that they think it’s exciting to help.

    Mom also would never have spent free time sitting around reading about someone else’s life on the computer, even had the internet existed in those days. We didn’t have a TV, she read infrequently (but would let the house disintegrate around her ears when she did have a book going), and saw yard work as a creative outlet, not a chore. None of her daughters do all of those things, although we all have our strengths. Still, she was proud of us and our lives.

  13. Yeah, we live where we really do see buffalo pretty often (the real kind) and I have to say, “dust buffalo” might just be the right word for what grows in our house. And since we do not have 5 kids (only 2 grandkids that we only have about half-time) and I work from home, I’m at a bit of a loss for an explanation/excuse.

    I have to say, though, that the fact that you put your dust rodent back just makes me love you more. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who’s done that!!

    Hope your daddy is getting better. (The fact that he is still popping online to comment is a good sign!)

    hugs,
    –arden–

  14. I love you! I too have 5 kids & am also raising a farm of dust creatures… I just let them live in their natural habitat and we coexist just fine. Waving, surrounded, in the dark.

  15. I was ranting one day about the mess that my kids create when I caught sight of two enormous rocks /boulders under the table in the hallway…And who,I bellowed,brought those massive rocks into the house…mum,they’re not rocks,they’re dust,says my daughter,rolling her eyes…

    All of these dust bunnies/boulders /buffalo prove two things
    No 1…we are all living such fun lives that we don’t have time to clean (in other words,we are lazy)
    No 2…our houses do not have damp…and this is good…a silver lining people:-)

    Hope your dad is doing great Beth

  16. Apparently wearing mismatched socks is stylish. A parent at my kid’s middle.school.told me. I still think my.son wears dispatching sock because he is lazy. (He is Montessori and they are supposed to dress themselves. The first two years of school he wore pajama pants everyday.) And I guess if the puking is a regular thing you can’t claim that it s building up their immune system…but you can try!

    1. Our 3-1/2 year old deliberately (and with quite some thought and care) selects two separate color socks to wear almost any chance she’s given the choice. Always carefully color-coordinated with her outfit, but “mis-matched” by the rest of the world’s standards!

  17. 5 kids… One large sectional…in the same spot for 3 yrs…never moved = a litter of rodents!

  18. And so, Dear Reader, did I succeed? Or fail? Or could it be “both/and”?

    1. That depends on the definition of success you are using. It seems to me that you have been very successful indeed. 🙂 Best wishes for a swift recovery (if you are who you think you are). If not, best wishes in general!

  19. This post is SO TRUE! My mom will clean her house….there is nothing to clean. She dusts….NO dust! Meanwhile, I vacuum and the carpet is a different color afterwards. I dust and….wait. Dust? Who has time for that?

    1. NO ONE. No one is who has time for that.

    2. I only dust my computer…and then only when I happen to catch a whiff of the warm dust wafting off the top of it and think…hmmm..might not want to start a fire! Lol

  20. I needed this post so much.

  21. I am still laughing so hard

  22. I tried to clean but my puker(who is 3) keeps moaning, ” I’m sick” which translates into “I need to lay on you and breath all over you while I watch hours of Mickey Mouse”

  23. my mother used to call them “dust buffalo”.

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