Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: Family chaos: A boy in the box and kitty on the lam

Sometimes you just don’t recognize that your life is absolute chaos until you tell somebody about it. This is one of those stories.

My husband came home from work the other day to see me assembling a new garage storage unit for the children’s various sports balls and gear — and their sizeable hiking stick collection — while my daughter practiced her skateboarding moves nearby. Our son was inside playing a game on the iPad.

I bought the storage unit for myself for my birthday because I really like organization, and having a place for everything and everything in its place is truly what makes the chaos that is everyday family life much easier to navigate.

“Wow you sure buy different stuff for yourself than I do for myself,” my husband said.

I laughed. I mean, he’s right. I get as excited about organizational systems as he does when he finds new craft beer flavours.

To each their own, I guess.

The garage was a disaster, as I’d pulled everything away from the wall to make space for the shelving unit. The sticks the kids pick up on our hiking excursions were pilled up, more life jackets than people in our home were strewn on the floor, the sports balls were loose, and the bikes, scooters, helmets and other random bits and pieces were scattered about as well.

It was quite the scene. But, as any organizer will tell you: it has to get worse to get better.

I had assembled the unit and moved it into place when my daughter declared it was time to practice riding her bike. Neither of my children have been very keen on learning to ride their bikes so my husband and I jumped at the opportunity when she brought it up.

The three of us were out in the front yard and I was holding the seat of my daughter’s bike while she wiggled and wobbled about when we heard our son call for help. Not the type of “HEEEEELP” that makes your blood run cold and has you tripping over your own feet to get to your child — just the kind that will probably involve reaching for something high or opening something sealed too tight, or just help doing something with the iPad type of help.

My husband went inside to check it out while my daughter and me continued on with bike riding practice.

A short time later my husband came outside hauling the box my storage unit had come in. It turns out my darling son had climbed inside and got stuck. The box was just the right size to fit a diminutive eight-year-old but left little room for him to move.

Of course Dad had to bring the boy and his box outside to show the rest of us. In carrying the 60-pound box of boy, my husband’s vision was obstructed just enough to not notice Timber the cat (a.k.a. Mr. Bite), sneak out between his feet and take off into the cul-de-sac.

I saw the brat cat take off in a flash and sounded the kitty escape alarm. By now we all have set jobs during a kitty escape. I get one of the long sticks from the garage, which is good to flush that cat out from under vehicles. My daughter’s job is to stand in certain spots and prevent the cat from going in those directions. My husband is the head searcher because he covers the most space the fastest, and my son is the only one who always seems able to get close enough to grab the cat.

When he heard that the cat got out, my husband propped our first born, still in the box, against the back of the car so he could join in the chase for the cat.

This is the type of chaos having young children and a cat involves.

Anyway, I yelled across the yard to my husband that if the box tipped over our son would crack his skull open on the driveway because he couldn’t use his arms. Then I kept chasing the cat — into the backyard, around the corner, through the side yard, under the neighbour’s car, across the cul-de-sac and right to another neighbour’s car — and in running around in the chaos, I looked up to see the box still propped up against the car, but now with a little bike helmet poking out of it.

Instead of lifting him out of the box, my husband thought it was quicker to throw his helmet on him. You know, for safety.

It made me laugh at the chaos of it all.

Eventually that cat was corralled, the garage got tidied up and my son was rescued from the box. I have absolutely no doubt that at least two of those things, pick any two, will happen again very soon.

ColumnistComedy and Humour