Today’s news:

Crazy Lady is on the warpath in Teen Spirit’s room

for The Brooklyn Paper

Crazy Lady has been busy lately. Just minutes after Teen Spirit left the apartment for his road trip to SXSW in Austin, Texas, she went into his room, popped his window open and unmade the bed.

“We need to fumigate in here,” she wailed.

Crazy Lady was right. But Smartmom promised Teen Spirit that she wouldn’t do anything drastic to his room. He was very firm with her.

“I will kill you if you redecorate,” he said.

Smartmom swore that she wouldn’t redecorate. But she did tell him that she had to do some cleaning in there. It had been ages since the floors were washed, the walls scrubbed and the whole room sanitized. He agreed, warily, to let her do some cleaning.

But Crazy Lady was going wild. She pulled all of his black-and-white marbled elementary school notebooks out of his closet. Same for his grade-school chapter books, video games that he doesn’t play anymore, clothing from when he was 8, infant snow boots, broken board games, jigsaw puzzles and ancient computers.

“Crazy Lady, don’t throw anything away. All that stuff needs to be packed up,” Smartmom warned her.

Crazy Lady had already created a mountain of detritus outside of Teen Spirit’s door.

Ever so carefully, Smartmom went through everything that Crazy Lady had thrown into the hallway. While she organized the clutter into piles, Crazy Lady moved the bed away from the wall, where she found all manner of food and garbage. She pulled his bookcase and his desk away from the wall and started scrubbing.

At one point, Crazy Lady went halfway under his bed, and pulled out a huge plastic box of action figures.

“Don’t throw those away. Those are his treasures,” Smartmom screamed from the hall. Smartmom was doing nothing wrong — it was Crazy Lady she had to worry about. Everyone knows that in order to clean, things must be temporarily moved; everything would be back to “normal” by the time he returned.

Meanwhile, Crazy Lady was tearing through weeks of dirty socks and clothing that carpeted Teen Spirit’s bedroom floor. It was like an archeological dig. She found dozens of ties; leather jackets and eight pairs of skinny jeans buried in the mess.

No wonder he told Smartmom that he needed new jeans. His “old ones” were lost inside his room.

Crazy Lady found enough quarters to buy a week’s worth of breakfast at Daisy’s.

When Crazy Lady saw Smartmom neatly packing up all of Teen Spirit’s clutter, she looked aghast.

“You should toss that in a garbage and pour kerosene on it,” Crazy Lady said with a demonic look on her face.

That scared Smartmom. What if Crazy Lady went too far? What if she did something that would compromise her delicate relationship with Teen Spirit?

“Back off, Crazy Lady,” Smartmom said. Every item was infused with memories from Teen Spirit’s childhood. It wasn’t up to Smartmom to decide what to keep and what to throw away. She could, however, organize it in such a way that Teen Spirit could look through it and decide for himself.

“But this is junk, garbage, things he clearly doesn’t need,” Crazy Lady told Smartmom.

“But it’s his junk,” Smartmom replied. “Hands off.”

Crazy Lady rolled her eyes and went back to work in Teen Spirit’s room. Now that there was less clutter, she could really clean.

At times like this, life with — or as — Crazy Lady is a mixed blessing. She’s a good motivator when a job needs to be done. But sometimes she goes too far. Smartmom has to keep her in line so she doesn’t destroy the family’s ever-tenuous dynamic.

In the days that followed, Smartmom and Crazy Lady worked side by side in Teen Spirit’s bedroom, which smelled of Meyer’s soap, Fantastic and Pledge. For the most part, they got along well, but there were some touchy moments. Smartmom thought she saw Crazy Lady eyeing Teen Spirit’s collection of Tintin books,

“Don’t touch those,” Smartmom told her.

“Just dusting around them,” she told Smartmom.

By the time Teen Spirit gets home from Texas, he may not even notice how extensively the room was cleaned. Smartmom will show him the boxes of childhood stuff that he can go through. No pressure. He can take his time. Just as long as Crazy Lady isn’t around

She gets a little carried away sometimes.

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
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Reader Feedback

Jaimie from Brooklyn Heights says:
You dont need to do much (trust me, having two teenage children myself I have seen my share of messy rooms). Just crack open the door, toss a little bit bleach around the room and let it sit for a few days. It should have a fresh, chlorine scent after that and be totally disinfected.
March 23, 2010, 2:57 am
Chad from Park Slope says:
Teenagers need rules, you can't just let them live like wild animals. If you did, then they might just go around and hunt gazelles. Keep your spirited teen on a leash and then he'll be housetrained.
At very worst, make him use a litter box.
March 23, 2010, 4:21 am
hmm from bk says:
I don't understand. Isn't "teen spirit" done with school and working? Why are you coddling your adult son? Make him clean his own room!
March 23, 2010, 8:56 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Gotta get rid of all the roaches and hash oil.
March 23, 2010, 9:33 am
Trustafarian from Park Slope says:
Of all the journalists in the world that Rupert Murdoch hires, we get this?
March 23, 2010, 8:57 pm
Someone from Brooklyn Heights says:
What is with this column's readers? why do you bother reading this if you don't like it! Especially you, Not Goish- on every single one of Smartmom's columns, you leave a nasty remark. And Chad, FYI- keeping teenagers on "leashes" will do nothing but make them hate you.
March 24, 2010, 6:21 pm
Jaimie from Brooklyn Heights says:
Seems like "Someone from Brooklyn Heights" needs to be kept on a leash as well - she's gone wild.
March 24, 2010, 6:49 pm
Chad from Park Slope says:
But I love crazy mom - her family is delightfully quirky.
She's got that little fiesty tart, her husband the kitty kat, and teen spunk (my personal fav, though his bad attitude is just ticking off my cheese lately).

Looking forward to hear more about your wacky fantasies about family life. They really are the lighter side of a boring lifestyle.
March 25, 2010, 9:39 am
ESB from Park Slope says:
Wow, Chad. If Smartmom's inane columns are the "lighter side of a boring lifestyle," you should really get out more. It's New York City. This tripe shouldn't even make it on any list of the lighter side. Live a little :)
March 29, 2010, 2:29 pm
Jaimie from Brooklyn Heights says:
Ha ha, that's right - eat it Chad! you just have to eat it and get out there!
March 29, 2010, 6:08 pm
Not too bright from Park Slope says:
Hello ESB and Jaimie,

I think you may have misunderstood Chad when he said, "They really are the lighter side of a boring lifestyle". He's not speaking about HIS life, he's speaking of Smartmom's family.

By the way, my title, "Not too bright" is not a description of myself. Whom could it be in reference too? Hmmmmmmm..... thanks guys, you really are on the lighter side.
April 30, 2010, 8:51 am

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