If you live in an old house, chances are you are very familiar with the phenomenon that if you set a ball down to rest on the floor, it will easily roll to some little sweet spot across the room. Some resting place where the settling and shifting of time has caused the floors to sag and give.
We have many floors like that in this house. Character-giving flaws, right? In fact, there is a room upstairs, that when empty of all furniture, gives me a serious case of vertigo–the "fade to center" was that bad. Now that we've completely filled it with desks, beds, dressers, I feel much better. (Though I happily usher all our guests to that room.)
And when floors sag, chances are you have a few doors that don't cooperate either. If you want them open, they want to swing closed, if you want them closed, they'll swing open.
In a house with so much character as ours has, one piece of hardware is vital–the rock door stop.
And it just so happens that if you follow our mowed trail out the back fence and through the field you'll find yourself at the perfect little stream crossing. The perfect little spot for gathering nice, heavy rocks to hold back doors.
On this particular trip, I failed to remember that you can't rush stream play. We'd just returned home from running errands on a beautiful day and I was feeling stir crazy. If I was a completely responsible mother, I would have been sending all my children upstairs for stories and naps, but instead I decided to strap Elizabeth into the backpack, tell the girls to get their bathing suits on and grab a bucket. We were going rock collecting.
Of course I told them we were on a time crunch. A small piece of information that didn't sink in.
Over an hour later, after I'd given ten of the "I'm serious this time" warnings, none of which were serious: "Okay, I'm really leaving now and if you don't come with me I'll make you eat these rocks for supper…" I found myself standing knee-deep in the stream, shoulders aching from the 29-pound chunk of baby on my back, fingers stiff and cramped around the handle of a pink plastic feed bucket carrying 15 pounds of potential door stops, I realized all my mental guidelines for this trip had suddenly washed down the stream with the current:
We're only going to take 20 minutes.
Don't take off your shoes in the water.
Just don't get your hair wet.
Don't sit down there, you'll get the seat of your suit covered in sand and mud.
You must carry your own rocks back to the house.
Don't get me wet.
What was I thinking? Seriously.
Days later after the rocks were given "baths" more times than my own children, we finally had a painting day. (Which quickly morphed into a face (and hand and bicep)-painting stand. )
All in all. A good outcome. I have a lovely tattoo of flowers on my bicep, which I'm thinking looks pretty tough. And my bathroom door no longer hits me on the way out.