Every house has the room. The messy one. The room that will actually take a bulldozer, eighteen garbage bags, a shovel, and a garbage eating rat to get it anywhere close to available for public viewing.

Right now that room in our house is the playroom for the children. It’s gotten a little out of hand. Ok. More than a little. On Friday, I asked the children to blaze a path just so I could get to the stairs. You have to understand that school just started and I haven’t gotten my Fall legs under me yet. So one room suffered. We have like…7 rooms. 1 out of 7. That’s not bad if you’re grading on a curve. Unfortunately, my wife isn’t.

On Saturday, after we got home from soccer my six year old daughter had a play date with a child who lives nearby. Right before I was supposed to go pick her up the mom of this other child called to say they were walking over. OK, I say. I’m thinking this is good news as I don’t have to go get her. My wife doesn’t see the good in the news, however. To her, this means we’re going to have to invite her in.

So first, I have to change my shirt, she says and then she tells me we must run around and clean up the children’s playroom as this woman is coming over. I, of course, speak common sense to my wife and say, “What?! Are you out of your mind? This woman is going to come over, sit down, have a glass of water, chit chat, thank us, and be on her way. Do you really think she’s going to leave the living room, go through the kitchen to find our messy playroom? That’s crazy!”

What cleverly went unsaid here was the Notre Dame game was on and I didn’t want to get up. My wife looked at me with her hands on her hips and said, “Ugh. Fine. Just help me tidy up in here at least.”

“Ugh fine,” I said.

So I vacuumed while watching the game mainly because she can’t give me orders if I have the vacuum on. Let me tell you, if you saw the rug right in front of the television you wouldn’t believe how clean it is.

So I shouldn’t even have to say it but here’s what went down. This woman came over with my daughter and her daughter, sat down, had a glass of water, chitted and chatted, and thanked us. (Now she didn’t mention how clean the rug was in front of the television but I just figured she was just shy.) And then she stood up to be on her way. But then all went wrong. My daughter had taken her friend into another room to play. The woman called her daughter and to my surprise the little girl said, “Mom come here and look what they have.” And the woman gets off the couch, walks through the kitchen and walks right into the playroom where it looks like a toy/book/stuffed animal grenade blew up.

And you know what I’m thinking: I’m dead. And I was pretty sure my wife was thinking the same thing.

In a few moments this woman was out the door and I was left alone with my wife. She turned, her hands on her hips, looking at me. I expected anger. What I got was worse. Tears. I could’ve dealt with anything but that.

I felt terrible. I felt like such a selfish jerk and was pretty confident that if put up for a vote it would be unanimous.

So I labeled Sunday “The Big Cleaning Day” in the Archbold house. We didn’t even turn the NFL games on. The Giants went to overtime. Overtime! And I was vacuuming under the couches. We even dusted under books. (Does she really think someone’s going to come over and look under my books?)

The kids were told they had to give some toys away to “the poor kids” and they first voted to give away what I call the Barbie morgue filled with decapitated, crushed, and limbless Barbies. I felt like a CSI detective going through these poor victims. But then the children actually gave away some real functional toys and they talked about how much the poor kids would love them. That was kind of nice.

And I felt a little less like a selfish jerk. A little.