Crazy Lady has been busy lately. Just minutes after Teen Spirit left the apartment for his road trip to SXSW in Austin, Texas, she went into his room, popped his window open and unmade the bed.
“We need to fumigate in here,” she wailed.
Crazy Lady was right. But Smartmom promised Teen Spirit that she wouldn’t do anything drastic to his room. He was very firm with her.
“I will kill you if you redecorate,” he said.
Smartmom swore that she wouldn’t redecorate. But she did tell him that she had to do some cleaning in there. It had been ages since the floors were washed, the walls scrubbed and the whole room sanitized. He agreed, warily, to let her do some cleaning.
But Crazy Lady was going wild. She pulled all of his black-and-white marbled elementary school notebooks out of his closet. Same for his grade-school chapter books, video games that he doesn’t play anymore, clothing from when he was 8, infant snow boots, broken board games, jigsaw puzzles and ancient computers.
“Crazy Lady, don’t throw anything away. All that stuff needs to be packed up,” Smartmom warned her.
Crazy Lady had already created a mountain of detritus outside of Teen Spirit’s door.
Ever so carefully, Smartmom went through everything that Crazy Lady had thrown into the hallway. While she organized the clutter into piles, Crazy Lady moved the bed away from the wall, where she found all manner of food and garbage. She pulled his bookcase and his desk away from the wall and started scrubbing.
At one point, Crazy Lady went halfway under his bed, and pulled out a huge plastic box of action figures.
“Don’t throw those away. Those are his treasures,” Smartmom screamed from the hall. Smartmom was doing nothing wrong — it was Crazy Lady she had to worry about. Everyone knows that in order to clean, things must be temporarily moved; everything would be back to “normal” by the time he returned.
Meanwhile, Crazy Lady was tearing through weeks of dirty socks and clothing that carpeted Teen Spirit’s bedroom floor. It was like an archeological dig. She found dozens of ties; leather jackets and eight pairs of skinny jeans buried in the mess.
No wonder he told Smartmom that he needed new jeans. His “old ones” were lost inside his room.
Crazy Lady found enough quarters to buy a week’s worth of breakfast at Daisy’s.
When Crazy Lady saw Smartmom neatly packing up all of Teen Spirit’s clutter, she looked aghast.
“You should toss that in a garbage and pour kerosene on it,” Crazy Lady said with a demonic look on her face.
That scared Smartmom. What if Crazy Lady went too far? What if she did something that would compromise her delicate relationship with Teen Spirit?
“Back off, Crazy Lady,” Smartmom said. Every item was infused with memories from Teen Spirit’s childhood. It wasn’t up to Smartmom to decide what to keep and what to throw away. She could, however, organize it in such a way that Teen Spirit could look through it and decide for himself.
“But this is junk, garbage, things he clearly doesn’t need,” Crazy Lady told Smartmom.
“But it’s his junk,” Smartmom replied. “Hands off.”
Crazy Lady rolled her eyes and went back to work in Teen Spirit’s room. Now that there was less clutter, she could really clean.
At times like this, life with — or as — Crazy Lady is a mixed blessing. She’s a good motivator when a job needs to be done. But sometimes she goes too far. Smartmom has to keep her in line so she doesn’t destroy the family’s ever-tenuous dynamic.
In the days that followed, Smartmom and Crazy Lady worked side by side in Teen Spirit’s bedroom, which smelled of Meyer’s soap, Fantastic and Pledge. For the most part, they got along well, but there were some touchy moments. Smartmom thought she saw Crazy Lady eyeing Teen Spirit’s collection of Tintin books,
“Don’t touch those,” Smartmom told her.
“Just dusting around them,” she told Smartmom.
By the time Teen Spirit gets home from Texas, he may not even notice how extensively the room was cleaned. Smartmom will show him the boxes of childhood stuff that he can go through. No pressure. He can take his time. Just as long as Crazy Lady isn’t around
She gets a little carried away sometimes.