Category Archives: room


I just finished reading Room. The beginning was a little slow, but by page fifty I could not put it down and finished it before the end of the day. This is when my awesome parenting skills kicked in and I let the kids watch Dinosaur Planet all day so I could finish reading. Ironically the book is about being a good mother. So basically I am neglecting my kids to read about being a good mother. Logic at its best.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, it centers around a mother and her son. She was kidnapped at 19, and locked up in an 11 by 11 room where she would spend the next seven years. During this time period she gave birth to her son (and obviously also the son of her captor). She does an excellent job taking care of him, and upon their release/escape (which is a story onto itself), despite some unavoidable psychological trauma, it becomes apparent that her son turned out very well. I am doing a terrible job conveying the story. It is unbelievably moving (evidenced by the number of times I broke out into tears), but I also think the author was making a few commentaries on society and parenting as a whole. However, she was not being pejorative to any one type of parenting, but rather looking at the pros and cons to different approaches.

During the first half of the book it is clear that Jack, who is only five, is far advanced for his age. Anyone who has children or spends a lot of time around children would note this immediately. Once Jack and his mom are out of their confinement Jack’s cognitive advancement is apparent to everyone, whether you have children or not. Through comparison with children his own age in the story, along with some adults and their perceptions of childhood, Jack stands out. His Ma attributes this to the numerous hours she spent every single day teaching him, and the attention he received (after all, what else would they do all day locked up?) I saw this as a positive depiction (although highly exaggerated) of the benefits of homeschooling. Yet, the author does not condone homeschooling entirely either. As Jack emerges from his cell he is unable to socialize properly, and has great difficulty integrating himself among other people. I personally would chose cognitive skills over social skills. But that probably has more to do with the fact that I have plenty of the former, and not too many of the latter. Other people may disagree with which is more important.

Room also highlighted basic human behaviors. The book is written from Jack’s perspective, and he has spent his life, since birth, locked up. As he emerges into what he calls the Outside, he notices things to which the rest of us are desensitized. One of the most striking remarks, that he makes over and over, is about how we rush through everything. We are always too busy to enjoy anything, and even when we assert we are enjoying ourselves, we are rushing through that. We are too busy doing seemingly unimportant things and ignore those things that have true meaning. And we are always working.

I think that Jack’s perspective gave the book the necessary angle and push of emotion to enlist the type of reaction I (and several million other people) had. Not only was his view fresh due to his young age where thoughts were not mediated through agendas, but also by the fact his youth was coupled with the experience of confinement to the point where he was conscious of his surroundings, and able to articulate his thoughts, but also acting like a newborn, exposed to our world for the first time.

And yet, even someone who is not young, or new, can understand what he means, and realize the truth of his words.

My Garage Drives Me Crazy

My garage drives me nuts. I mean, it has been bugging since we moved in, but now I find myself almost obsessing over it. As I take my kids for a walk in the mornings, there is a house, two doors down from ours, that has the most immaculate, perfect garage I have ever seen. And I want it.
I have always been on the neat side. Ok, who am I kidding, I am a complete clean freak, and have a very strong urge to maintain things like that. I clean my house several times a week. I clean the kitchen while I cook, and while my hubby cooks (which annoys him unbelievably, so I have been trying to work on that). My house has floors you could eat off of. Which is why the garage bothers me so much.
I have tried to rationalize that no one ever sees my garage, and that is not part of the house. It is a storage space for my car, and a lot of other stuff. Except now that the weather is getting nicer, I have been finding myself keeping the garage door open more, and that totally goes against the first thing I just said, because now all the neighbors see my garage. And what if they think the rest of my house is like that? They will think I am a complete filthy slob. Maybe I should put a giant sign on my garage door: THIS GARAGE IS IN NO WAY INDICATIVE OF THE STATE OF MY HOUSE. I SWEAR.
I know by now you are picturing a complete pig sty. But that is not actually the issue. The garage itself is in order. Everything is boxed and labeled, and put up on shelves according to category. My husband has all of his tools arranged in order (whatever order tools go in). Our laundry stuff is set up in a corner. The floor is swept. But despite all of this, it looks filthy.
When we first moved in, for whatever reason, the person before us painted the garage bright blue. But not all the way to the top. And not every wall. And he put some holes in some of the walls. And carpeting. And built shelves that are uneven. And unfinished. So, you see, despite the fact that all our stuff is neat, and placed where it belongs, the actual aesthetics of the garage prevent it from looking good.
So, when I say I need to clean the garage, I don’t mean our junk, er, um, holiday decorations, etc. but the actual space. I need to repaint. I need to redo the shelving. I need to get that stuff on the floor that makes your garage look clean and sparkly. I don’t know what it is called, but the lady two doors down has it on her garage floor. And I should wash my car again. It can’t hurt.
So, even though the garage is not really part of the house, I still feel like it should look better. Knowing that it is there, connected to my house, and in its current condition, drives me just a bit nutty. Maybe I will start on it this summer. One Friday at a time.
Is there a room in your house that drives you crazy? What would you like to have done?