It is a conundrum that few can figure out. People look at my smiling face , their eyebrows shoot up, their mouths drop open and they sputter,
Your happy but you have 9 kids !!
There are all sorts of components to my life, my soul and joyful spirit but one aspect to my happiness is one that most people have never considered. Large families are hilarious. and their homes even more so.
First picture a large, 1886, quaint house with all sorts of quirks. A window became a doorway to a hundred year old addition. It must have been some one with an odd sense of humour who cut a 4 ft 10 inch doorway to the baby room into the low wall with a slanting roof. (In the pitch dark, I banged my forehead against that door frame every night for the first month when I walked into the baby's room at 2:00 am.) Three sets of steps converge on the upstairs landing.
The bathroom, added in 1949 when a local farmer installed electricity, is so tiny that the tub is not even 4 ft. long. The shallow well dries up all the time and we must order a load of water. The toilet water pump is in the barn, surrounded by hay bales but still manages to freeze in the winter. We employ ingenious methods to thaw the pump.
The list goes on but it all adds up either to frustration or comedy and the kids and I choose comic relief.
Oh I forgot. If you plug two appliances in at the same time in the kitchen the power shuts off and I resort to sending a kid running to the cellar (and yes I do mean a cellar with huge oak beams and 2 ft, thick stone walls). There are three freezers stocked with our home raised meat and vegetables are in the cold storage. The kitchen pantry is halfway under the stairs and is a frightening place to wander into.
The decorating theme is early childhood art and it is everywhere. Too many plants add to the sense of colour and an eclectic combination of furniture is very comfortable. Generations of former owner, who were all full-time farmers, believed in 4 inch spikes for building barns as well as hanging pictures.
Into this absurd house, picture 11 people living in 5 bedrooms with bunk beds, 13 dressers and huge trunks because half the bedrooms have old-fashioned hooks on the wall but no closets. I should not have to explain further except to remark that I once lost a grade 1 reading book for 3 months in a trunk with dress-up clothes!! That is all I will say. You can surely picture the chaos as I madly fling socks about in a 3 ft high wicker basket full of unpaired socks, trying to find a pair or two before school.
This is the background to all sorts of mix-ups, and mayhem. I reacted the only way possible.. I laughed. By laughing, that house became a very, very fine house with two cats in the most comfortable chair, a dog that tripped visitors by the door, goldfish on the counter and a guinea gig squeaking for food every time the fridge opened.
Welcome to our house. We love kids, animals and plants. We will even love you but watch out, do not trip over the dog and please, edge around that blanket fort. It took an hour to make yesterday!