Spring cleaning


New games room/study/parent-free zone.

I think my body needed a holiday. From Wednesday, March 11 until Sunday, March 22, I slept in every morning. And with the exception of a very fun welcome-back-to-health family soccer game on Friday afternoon, I did not exercise. This morning, I’m back to the usual schedule, up early, etc. I was happy to be back this morning, but also happy to have taken time off. (Although next time, I should just take a holiday and skip the getting sick part.)


Games room. Kevin even painted! No more stripes.

My energy returned with a roar over the past few days, and we did a massive spring cleaning, rearranged rooms, and opened up new space for the kids to make their own. We’ve got six people in a four-bedroom house. Not everyone can have his or her own room. Them’s the facts. We also don’t have the money or the desire to renovate in order to add more space. People have to share. If we weren’t living a life of ridiculous North American privilege, we wouldn’t even question the sharing of the rooms. You suspect that you’re hearing a version of my lecture to the kids right now, aren’t you. Why, yes, yes you are.


Boys’ room. This is as tidy as it’s ever gonna get.

The main problem is that three of the four kids strongly want(ed) their own room. The fourth kid was like a refugee being moved from fiefdom to fiefdom, grudgingly granted space to pitch his tent, but essentially unwanted. But we’re not a household of kingdoms or mini-nations, we’re more like a socialist democracy. Okay, without the elections. Basically, we have to share the resources in a way that benefits everyone, and privileges no one.


Girls’ room. With bed sheet divider.

So the dictator’s solution (yeah, that’s me), was to make everyone share, and free up one bedroom as a communal games area/study/parent-free zone. Although I’d really prefer if they didn’t eat chips in there. Unless they want to clean it themselves. In that case, eat all the chips you want, kids. I’m not an unreasonable dictator.

Yeah, so I had to get back to my regular schedule, lest in my renewed energetic state, I move us right across the country or something. I’ve got the spring itch for adventure and change. This morning, I heard myself saying (mostly to myself), “Hey, a year ago at this time I was getting ready to go to London. I miss London! How can I miss London when I was only there for a week? Maybe I should go there again this spring! What’s stopping me? Nothing’s stopping me! I’ll go spend a week at the British Library …”

“Why would you want to go to a library, Mom?” (Okay, CJ was listening.)

Anyway. What’s stopping me?

I’m not sure. Maybe it’ll be the early mornings.

xo, Carrie

Dear diary
Soccer Friday #FridayReads #Today'sPoem


  1. Nath

    I miss London too. So much! If you go, can I come too and be your personal assistant/tour guide/logistical planner? You could be at the library all day, and I’d come fetch you at mealtimes and take you somewhere nice!

    Or you could just send me a postcard. And maybe some McVities chocolate biscuits.

    • Jennifer Hutchison

      Hi Carrie,

      It must feel great to rearrange/sort/clean/paint. All of those are on my to-do list. Just wondering: looks as though one of your cute kids is around my son’s age (14). I can’t get him to read!!!! He is well versed in politics and current affairs from the computer, but he WILL NOT READ! He was into American presidents for a while and read part of a book on that topic. Just wondering if you have any ideas?

      • Carrie Snyder

        Hi Jennifer,

        Oh what a good question, and oh, how I wish I had a better answer!

        Yes, our eldest is almost 14. But the truth is that as much as I try, I struggle to entice him to read. I told him about your question, and asked him to recommend a book, and he said he enjoyed Bill Bryson’s Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, which is a memoir. He read it recently because he had to read a non-fiction book for school (he’d been planning to read The Guinness Book of World Records (!!), but agreed that it might be a bit lightweight for a Grade 8 assignment). Anyway … he liked Bill Bryson, so I gave him A Walk in the Woods to read next, but he says he hasn’t gotten into it as much. We’ve been trying to make him read for a half hour every day. (The other three kids, by contrast, read on their own all the time and don’t need encouragement.)

        For awhile he was into dystopian teen fiction, but that phase has ended. I don’t think teens necessarily need to be slotted into reading teen fiction — they might be ready for adult literature. That said, he did read all three of Susin Nielsen’s YA books last winter and genuinely loved them. Look those up, if you haven’t yet. I’ve been searching for something as good ever since! I’ve been thinking he might enjoy Nick Hornby, for fiction. I’ve also been wondering if he would listen if I read aloud in the evenings, like I used to when the kids were younger — he listened to the Little House series, Narnia, The Hobbit, Charlotte’s Web, all the classics. Right now, I usually read aloud only to the youngest, before bed. Might be worth trying to pull everyone in. My dad read out loud to us until we were well into our teens. It’s kind of lovely to be read to…

  2. Kerry

    I would like to go to London for the first time. Sounds like a great recommendation. I would go, just for the library as well.
    I had to share a room with my sister until I was sixteen and she fled and moved down to the basement, to spend more time with her first boyfriend.
    I never really had the room much, with her blaring her music and staying up all night doing homework.
    It does teach children excellent lessons. Hope there’s not too much fighting as a result.

    • Carrie Snyder

      Yes, we haven’t gotten deep into the teen years yet. Are we do have a basement (unfinished) should anyone be desperate enough to need a real retreat!


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