It’s three in the afternoon on a Saturday. I’m in the family room watching a movie, just getting that wonderful fuzzy feeling of drifting off to a nap, when I hear a muffled bang coming from upstairs. It’s just me and Clay at home, so no chance I can continue my entrenchment on the sofa listening for the footsteps that indicate my wife will take care of this. I need to investigate.
Up I stand with a groan, take the two steps into the kitchen and promptly slam my head on the cabinet door that Clay has left open. We give him free access to a cabinet above the oven, which we stock mostly with a variety of chips. He never closes the door. After bouncing my head off it dozens of times, you’d think I would be looking out for it. You would think wrong. It is natural to look down at the steps into the kitchen as you climb them, and since the cabinet door is just a foot inside the kitchen and at eye level, well, wham-bam. This doesn’t improve my already crabby mood.
There is a bag of chips on the floor, which I pick up and put back in the cabinet. The kitchen counter is covered with pretzels. Since we keep most food behind locked doors, protected from Mr. Busy Fingers, we usually also leave some snacks in bowls on the counter so Clay can graze when hungry. I’ve written before about his propensity for grabbing huge handfuls of food, much more than he can hold or eat, which he then drops as he attempts to get two or three morsels into his mouth. I sweep the pretzels back into the bowl. (Our basset hound Miles is on duty 24/7 to keep the floor clear of all dropped food, and he takes his role seriously.) Three Horse Illustrated magazines litter the floor by the refrigerator. (Clay likes to squeeze them as he walks around. When done, why not drop them on the floor right where you are? That’s what teenagers do.) I pick up the magazines and put them back on the shelf. Then I close the back door, which is wide open. No wonder I can see my breath in the kitchen. I scan the back yard. No sign of the little fellow, who has been known to bolt outside to the swing set in winter with no shoes or coat. I fasten the extra latch I attached to the top of the door. Must not have locked it before.
I move into the living room, mumbling to myself. From here, I can hear Clay upstairs distinctly say, “Horton Hears a Who,” followed by a squeal. He seems alive and happy, so I take a few minutes to put the cushions back on the sofa. Clay likes to burrow into the sofa and the cushions get in his way. I pick up the beat up copy of The Five Chinese Brothers sitting on the floor next to the coffee table, right where the little guy dropped it, and turn off the lamps since it is broad daylight outside. (See Clay’s propensity for turning on lights as he circles through our house.)
I’m still not sure what caused the bang I heard, but since Clay seems uninjured, I detour to the downstairs bathroom to scan for clothes. Clay’s habit is to remove his pants and underpants completely when he uses the bathroom, and, since it is not easy for him to put them back on by himself, he just proceeds about his day al fresco. I’ve learned that it is more efficient to check downstairs before heading up. Sure enough, I find underpants and pants on the floor and the added bonus of a shirt. I wipe off the toilet seat, and pull the guest towel out of the sink where Clay inexplicably likes to soak it with water. I wring that out, hang it in its usual spot next to the sink. We’ve covered three rooms now, if you are keeping count.
I move up the stairs, finally, careful not to trip over the extension cord I put in place six months ago when we lost power to the outlets in two of the upstairs rooms (life in an old farm house). Clay’s room is at the top of the steps. He is not in there. I remake his bed since he has stripped the sheets and mattress cover. I pick up the toilet paper roll sitting on his windowsill. He’s not in the bathroom down the hall, either, but there are signs that he has visited recently. I hang the shower massage back on its hook, put the soap back in the soap dish, the nail clippers back in the medicine cabinet and replace the toilet paper roll on its dispenser.
I hear muffled talking in our bedroom, so move there next where I discover the source of the bang. The door to my wife’s closet is laying on the floor. The door doesn’t sit right, and is easily dislodged if you don’t move it with great care.
I also discover, at long last, Clay. He is happily rolling on the floor between our (bare) bed and the wall, tightly wrapped in our sheets and blankets and his comforter. I check him for damages and find none, get him dressed, remake our bed, put the closet door back in its precarious spot, put Clay’s comforter back on his bed, put Toy Story in the DVD player in his room (which has him immediately engrossed and squealing), head back downstairs and settle on the sofa in front of my movie.
Then I hear this bang from upstairs … .