Living in this house has been bonkers. Probably because we don’t actually live here, we camp here. My kids have been gone this week and I’m finishing up some last projects with the hope to finally transition back to life. If I can remember exactly what that is. Every day we wake up to a huge mess that can’t really be cleaned, only kinda sorta straightened, and then I try to butter myself up to achieving whatever project I have on my list for that day. One thing at a time. But sometimes I get down. I get overwhelmed. Usually it’s the sticky stuff under the high chair, the blanket of construction dust on everything, and my nasty kitchen counters that I can’t really wash because there is no finish on them. Then, in the process of trying to find the broom to remedy one thing, I am reminded of five other things I need to do. And halfway down the hall I find Judith coloring on the walls. That’s how it goes. This particular Sunday I had so many things I had planned on getting done that weekend. But when we finally got home from church, fed the children, and surveyed the damage, Boy decided the best approach was to take a nap. I even admitted to myself that I would be lucky if I got my kitchen cleaned before the weekend was over. The extent of my ambition. That’s when a passenger van of our friends unloaded in our yard and said, “Oh, I thought you knew we were coming over?” Nope. Then they breezed past me and started cleaning my kitchen. (This picture was taken earlier in the week, just to give you an idea of my kitchen, albeit a significantly cleaner idea.) My friend Sharelle laid into my 7 foot stretch of counter “catch-all,” filled with Legos, duct tape, crackers, ratchet sets, and random electrical fittings. “Where does this go?” She would ask while holding up a selection of canning rings. “Um….kinda, sorta right there,” was my first response. But obviously, that wasn’t good enough. The kitchen was inevitably cleaned. When we were done I herded them outside to sit where it was less messy, but the girls kept asking me if there was anything else they could do. I said no and thank you, but when I went in the house five minutes later I found the little girls swarming the bunk beds, like termites with a penchant for hospital corners. “Ok!” I said, “You can wash my windows! Outside!”I sent Mary around first with the hose. Talisa and Lisha followed with vinegar for the mineral deposits. Melody and Deanne came behind with scrub water for the window sills. Before I went to bed I was able to do a final round of windex. Clean windows make a world of difference. It was like the house suddenly had eyes and a soul. Later in the week I pretty much spent a whole day cleaning the window tracks with Q-tips. I had to change my mop water for every two windows. That’s how dirty it was. Meanwhile the little children raised a ruckus. And as I heard the air compressor fire up in the distance I realized the men had done the same thing to Marc. Ha! Take that. When they left later that day my kitchen was clean, one of my bigger projects was crossed of my list, and they had even put me well on my way to painting my picnic table, which had spent the last three months being used as a sawhorse. All when I thought I was going to hang out and be depressed all day instead. How fun was that?I think I’ll keep them.