I want a smaller house, and one near the airport. A great home to cycle and run and garden and be outside.
I’m building in one of the biggest planned communities in the U.S., Daybreak in South Jordan. It has outdoor pools, organic community gardens, many miles of trails, a river, several sandy beaches, and volleyball, soccer, and tennis facilities within two blocks of my house.
A huge amount of effort was involved, to get a decade of accumulated stuff out of here. Given away, put in storage. All the evidence of my kids’ childhoods, mostly gone. I kept only a few boxes of favorite books and dress-ups I’m saving for my children’s children one day.
My house looks so shiny and new right now I kinda want to change my mind, and stay. Landscaping, windows, closets, looking perfect, like no one lives here.
So I have two challenges right now. ONE, keeping this house immaculate. Like, Home Show immaculate. While my children and puppy live here. While I’m out of town sometimes.
I said to them:
“You are Jason Bourne! When you walk in, you make sure there are no traces of you. Assume the police or the bad guys will be here in 10 minutes. You live to see another day only if it looks like you were NEVER HERE.
“You drink a glass of water, or eat something? Not only do you wash the dish and put it in the dishwasher, but you wash and polish the sink, too!
“There’s no Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum, let alone Bourne Legacy, if you fail in this mission. You’re just dead.”
(It’s rather pathetic how much I know about 10 years of Jason Bourne movies. I draw on what I know! I’m fighting the urge to go sideways right now about how I feel about Matt Damon’s non-participation in the fourth movie.)
It’s not going that well. It isn’t that my kids aren’t trying to be neat and clean. They actually are.
(The threat hanging over their head goes like this: “A realtor finds dried toothpaste in the sink? Your shoes lying around here? You have to go stay at your dad’s. Zero tolerance, pal.”)
The problem isn’t motivation, or how hard they’re trying. It’s that they have a life-long history of being habitual slobs.
Lately I’ve been trying not to bark at them, by saying instead, something really kind and encouraging:
“You suck at being Jason Bourne.”
They’ve been saying the same thing to me. Turns out I leave empty glasses and shoes around here, too.
My second challenge, as my family faces this major transition, in my next post.