Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting the House Ready

Getting ready for a home visit from the DCFS social worker, and it’s raising some awkward and amusing questions:

Where did all this alcohol come from?

There’s the globe bar in the dining room, the rolling bar cart in the living room that we use for parties, and the built in liquor cabinet next to the television that came with the house and holds the special stuff. When we were single and having cocktail parties it all seemed sort of glamorous. Now I’m looking at it in a different light!

How did I end up with so many clothes?

We have to have a room ready for the kid, and that’s no problem. We even have a spare bathroom. But closet space is another matter. The closet in the spare room holds my collection of coats. I could move them to the hall closet, but that’s where my trousers live. And I can’t put them in the bedroom, because that’s where I keep tops and shoes. When I worked 60 hours a week and traveled on business, the wardrobe seemed deserved. Now it just seems vain! Might be a good time to hit Goodwill.

 Is that art?

Until now, our collection of art mostly made by friends seemed cool. The neat little drawing in the guest room, made by an illustrator with an environmentalist bent, showing a fox cut in half as the ground beneath him is rent in two? Now looks a little grotesque. What about the blow-up photo of a doll’s head made from the tangled roots of a tree? That’s what my dad would politely call “challenging.” And the baby blocks in the office, that spell out “F@** you”? Well that’s just rude. Already tucked away in a dark corner of the garage: the ceramic cast of a deflated baby doll made by a friend who was deploying to Iraq. And thank god we didn’t buy anything from series of sex doll photos that a New York artist friend was selling last year. We’re gonna have to buy some pretty posters or something.

 How clean is “clean”?

I thought I was doing a pretty good job, until I started looking at my housekeeping through the paranoid lens of a social worker inspection. How did I not notice the dust hanging from the corners of the bedroom ceiling? What is that caked on the floor behind the sofa? Is it bad that I don’t really care about the grout in the corners of the shower?

Inspection happens next Tuesday. We have to childproof the house, including getting the cleaning chemicals out of reach, even though we’re interested in teenagers, not toddlers. I’m running out to buy the requisite fire escape ladders for the bedrooms today. And we have to write out an emergency evacuation plan. I’m struck once more that you can get pregnant willy-nilly but if you adopt an older kid, you’ve got to contend with government safety inspections, mandated trainings and endless paperwork. I can’t knock their interest in making sure the kids are heading to a safe home – I just marvel at the double standard for biological versus adoptive parents sometimes.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Too funny. After years of being content with my cleaning abilities, I have actually taken entire days off of work before DCF meetings to scrub the whole place down out of pure paranoia. Our Adoption worker has yet to check under our oven, fridge, or dryer, but I assure you, they are spotless underneath.

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