November 4, 2010

The Pick-up-u-natr...

Yesterday we took an impromptu mini-break from school that will take us through the weekend.  What special occasion brought this about?  Desperation.  After two years in this home, nearly every room has been painted and Wilburized, but downstairs in the finished basement are three burdens I've been carrying.

The previous owners of our house finished the basement themselves, from what the neighbors tell us, and divided the space up in a configuration that suited them perfectly perhaps, but has required some thought and planning on our part to make it work for us.  The main room is great for TV watching on one end and a play area on the other.  Off of that main room, though, they built five other rooms.  While that may sound great, that’s five rooms that needed to be dealt with when we moved in.  How did we deal with it?  Well, one is a bathroom, so that was easy.  And one we set up as a guest room.  But we filled the other three of them with boxes of junk and non-junk.  We’ve had a busy two years here, first with minor construction in our home to build a room for our twin boys, then a slew of visitors (you know who you are and that we love you,) travel, school, and life in general, and as life rolled on the piles of boxes grew higher and sloppier.  We invaded them when we needed something that was buried in them, but upon unburying we would leave whatever sloppy consequences resulted, and get out before it fell on us.  As with most small problems left unresolved, it grew to epic proportions.  Or at least an unbearable mess.
Welcome to Toyland

The excuse to avoid the treadmill
(maybe I shouldn't clean this room)

Finally - a paint center
for me!

My husband's geek supplies:
wires, gadgets, doo-dads
finally tucked away neatly
(with our George Foreman grills)
I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had finally started chipping away at it earlier this week, forcing the cleaning of one of the rooms by removing everything from it to paint it.  (As you’ve learned if you’ve read my other posts, painting trumps cleaning in my world.)  But yesterday I realized that I could never get all three rooms done unless we ceased all other activity.  School set aside, the kids pitched in, and when there were no tasks for them to do, they occupied themselves to let me work undisturbed.

Enter The Pick-up-u-natr.  Audra, my six-year-old, told me yesterday morning that she would love to have a robot who could pick up toys for her.  Wouldn’t we all?  Not one to be satisfied with wishes and dreams, she drew up plans and prepared to create it herself.
The schematics
She raided the supply of empty boxes that was growing with every bit of my effort to sort our junk, and I let her help herself to her engineer father’s vast wire, gadget, and doo-dad collection.  After some frustration at realizing she didn’t actually know how to build a motor, she conceded to have her robot resting on a Lincoln Logs cart that you would pull around yourself to have it do your picking up.  She attached a magnet to his “sensors” to pick up anything magnetic.  Nice touch, I thought.  The Pick-up-u-natr senses where the toys are and gets to work.
Although all the kids were of great help to me and will continue to be as we finish out this organization vacation, I particularly love that Audra caught the cleaning bug and did her best to pitch in not only by doing jobs for me herself, but also by creating a servant.  It was also helpful that she had a great project to keep her busy through the day, since her Pick-up-u-natr mother had a lot of work to do.  And I was encouraged to see that with a day off of school, like a typical homeschooler, she decided to spend it building herself a robot.
She told me last night that today she will be making a robot just for me.  A Cook-u-natr.  I can’t wait!  I’m going to need it after another day of this.

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