Because the intent was to put up the tree, and because I've done absolutely nothing to ready the house for Christmas, getting the room ready for the tree involved quite a bit of dusting, vacuuming and moving of furniture. This, of course, highlighted spots and stains in the beige wall-to-wall carpeting that one might not normally notice.
So I hauled out the Bissel rug steam cleaner (an investment that has paid for itself many times over), and I set to work removing evidence of sloppy, dirty children who are not allowed to bring food into the living room but who do so anyway.
It's my fault that I have not removed at least one child's left ear to show the others the punishment for eating in the forbidden zone.
Since the cleaner was already out, I continued to the space between the living room and dining room which is high traffic and a magnet for spilled food. Then I shuffled the dining room table around the lifted the rug there to clean all the spots that landed just off the area rug and onto the beige wall-to-wall carpeting.
People who put beige wall-to-wall carpeting in a dining area obviously do not have children.
I shudder to think how bad the carpeting would be without the area rugs.
I plan to take all my pretty area rugs to a professional cleaner in 10 years or so to remove all evidence of urine, juice, spaghetti sauce, etc. For now, the busy patterns hide the mess.
We had other things yesterday (Mass, children's party at church, flag ceremony for Scouts), so my cleaning took most of the day, and I finished up just before dinner. I was almost done when one child decided that she desired some purple grape juice (a rare treat, and the only kind of juice she really likes). A crowd gathered and suddenly everybody under the age of ten was indulging in a cup of dark purple liquid. One child (not the 3 year old and not the 5 year old) immediately walked into the living room to see what was on TV and promptly spilled her drink.
This is why my children have all their ears.
Fortunately, I was still finishing the dining room, so clean up was easy. I am once again happy to walk into that part of the house. A clean house fills me with joy, and no matter how vacuumed the rug is, stains and the dinge of traffic are not "clean."
I pulled another rug from the garage and put it in the awkward spot between the dining room and the living room. It looks stupid, since it is unanchored by furniture, but it looks better than plastic. Anybody's grandma have plastic on the carpeting? I used to think it was odd or tacky.
Now I just think it clever.