I am jumping on the photoblog bandwagon, like my friend OBL, but unlike OBL, there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about the photos you are about to see.  In fact, you may call me the AntiOBL.  (Not as in, “against OBL” because I am most emphatically pro-OBL.  I was thinking in the same vein as “Antichrist.”)

Previously on “I Am the Giraffe,” I canceled my regularly scheduled clean with the housekeepers.  This was because I had all of Sugar Daddy’s family visiting us, and there simply wasn’t time to prepare the house adequately for housekeepers to come and clean it.  So I canceled it, thinking, “Well, I cleaned the house pretty well before everyone arrived, even deep-cleaned a couple things, and we’ve been eating out and eating off of paper plates and whatnot, and so after they leave and take all of their attendant crap with them, the house should not be in such poor shape.”  I would laugh, but then I would start crying.  Because what I forgot, gentle readers, is all the gifts everybody brought with them, for which we are most grateful but which will also need places to live now, and there is no room in the inn, ladies and gentlemen.  There is never room in the inn.  We don’t even have a stable with a manger wherein to lay the  most precious gift of all.  When I clean house, I clean house, but I only find rooms for everything we currently own, minus all the stuff I’ve decided we cannot any longer own due to the fact that there simply isn’t room because this isn’t Hogwarts and we don’t have a Room of Requirement.  I do not account for guests bringing gifts.  I don’t know what mental block is preventing me from doing this, but whatever.  The fact remains that there is more crap to manage now than there was before, and with the kids being on spring break, the house vomited up its contents, and with the kids continuing to be on spring break, every time I tried to shove contents back into their rightful spots, contents continued to get vomited back up.

It is not unlike the two days after spring break ended, when Girlfriend started vomiting for thirty-six hours straight, severely limiting my capacity and morale for housekeeping.  Then Sugar Daddy went out of town for three days, and then it was Elvis’s birthday and new gifts vomited themselves on the house to join the rest of the metaphorical vomit.  So it’s been four weeks since the housekeepers have been here, and this is what my house looks like, i.e. this is what my house looks like when I don’t follow the strict cleaning-for-the-housekeepers-fortnightly schedule and especially when there has been a week-long school break and a birthday and other springtime harbingers of largesse in the interim.

This is our family room–also known as the “toy room,” but more properly labeled “where the kids play until there’s no longer any floor space, at which time they bring their toys into other rooms.”

Would you like to see our art cabinet?  I would ask you to compare and contrast with OBL’s daughter’s messy art cabinet, but the image no longer exists.  I think it is because she was afraid that my own photoblogging would put her untidiness to shame.

I know what you’re thinking.  Well, at least I know what I’m thinking.  “Why the @#$* do I even bother?”  Answer:  [inaudible, due to uncontrollable sobbing]

No, no, I’ve pulled myself together again.  Long enough to show you my kitchen, which, in my defense, would not look quite this bad were it not for the fact that we made spring baskets and there is no other place to put spring baskets except for my kitchen counter.  I’m waxing a bit sarcastic, which is unbecoming on a woman who lets her kitchen go to hell on a regular basis.

This is my spice cabinet.

No, the door doesn’t really close all the way.  Yes, we do use all of it.  You know, when we can find it.

Here is my refrigerator covered with refrigerator magnets.  I did that on purpose.

It’s kind of a metaphor for my life.  Here’s a close-up:

I’m not going to show you what the sides look like.  That would be ridiculous.

Now let’s go into the living room, shall we?  This is ordinarily the tidiest room in the house, but you saw the family room–how is anyone supposed to play under those conditions?

This is the computer area of the room, which was originally supposed to be a formal dining area, but which we use as the “computer area plus library.”

Here are some shots of my bookcases.

Since we don’t have a game cabinet, the games live in the bookcase and on top of the bookcase.  They used to all live on top of the bookcase, until Sugar Daddy decided he would rather have them in the bookcase, to make it more convenient for the kids to get them out and spill them all over the floor.

Most of those games up there don’t have all their pieces.  Why we still own them–well, I think you’re beginning to get the flavor of how we live, so why would you even need to ask that question?

Here is what my coffee table looks like.  As a companion piece, here is a conversation I had with Princess Zurg the other day:

Princess Zurg:  Why do we call it a coffee table if we don’t drink coffee?

Mad:  Because “table where you randomly dump crap in the hope that Mad will eventually deal with it” is too cumbersome.

We have many such surfaces in the house.  Technically, every flat surface in the house is properly labeled “place where you dump random crap hoping that Mad will eventually deal with it,” but if I showed you photos of all of them, you’d just lose respect for me.

Here is my piano.  My once-beautiful piano, covered in lesson books for children who refuse to practice the piano.  These are the same children who have historically told me to knock off the racket whenever I play the piano.

At least there’s nothing on the keys.  I tell you, I absolutely draw the line at people dumping stuff on the keys.

Here is my solution to the 47,000 pieces of paper that enter my house on a daily basis.  I find it a more efficient system of tucking things away so I don’t have to think about them until it becomes too late to deal with them anyway.

Those vanilla Ritz Bitz crackers are a gift from Japan, which is not why they have a privileged seat on my cubbyholes-of-denial (see “coffee table”), but I just thought I’d include that detail for additional color.

Guess what Elvis got for his birthday?  A case of shaving cream.  When he opened it, I thought, “I am going to need to ration that shaving cream so he doesn’t use it all at once.”  Guess what he did yesterday while I was upstairs folding laundry?

This is a detail from my downstairs bathroom.

Here is where the towel bar fell down for the forty-seventh time.  Or rather, the place from which it fell.

There’s a million more where this came from.

Let’s move upstairs, shall we?  Yes, the stairs.  Even the stairs they cannot leave alone.

This is Girlfriend’s room right now.

This is the kids’ bathroom.  If I hadn’t been in my detached-photojournalist-mode, I would probably have thought to put the toilet lid down.  But whatever.

A close-up of Girlfriend’s rubber duckies.  (A gift from my sister.)

Here is the boys’ bedroom.

The good news is that it won’t take long for Mister Bubby to shove all that stuff under Elvis’s bed.  [Insert Marge Simpson growl here]

This is hardly all I have to show you, gentle readers, but I do believe it is all you can stomach for one day.  Also, I really have to get started on the cleaning thing, since there are only 48 hours–whoops, 46.5 hours–until the housekeepers show up, and as you can see, my work is cut out for me.  Plus, there is laundry.  And at some point I should go to the grocery store.  But first I have to figure out what we’re eating for dinner.  I am about ten seconds from a nervous breakdown.  Need to breathe, need to breathe, need to breathe.  Okay, never mind breathing.  I have to go now.  I’ll be back with “after” shots on Wednesday, assuming I’m not in some kind of inpatient facility.  Ciao, babies.