Pick up the dishes from the various surfaces on which they rest in sticky little puddles of spilled juice. Empty the dishwasher. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Rinse out the sink.
Pick up the counters. Put the endlessly drippy bottle of syrup away. Wipe down the counters. Sweep up the trail of cracker crumbs leading from the table to the . . . well, who knows. There are crumbs everywhere.
Clean the toddler's seat, chipping away mystery detritus and plucking petrified banana from its crevices.
Turn on the dryer to un-wrinkle the ball of clothes sitting in there. Pick up the clean clothes from where they're piled on the backs of dining room chairs. Re-wash the wet laundry since it smells like mildew. Fish eight million small plastic toys out of the bottom of the washing machine from where they've fallen from someone's jeans pockets. Put the toddler's clothes in the toddler's room, the preschooler's clothes in the preschooler's room, the adults' clothes in the adults' closet, the towels in the bathroom, the dishtowels in the kitchen drawer, the grody dog-wiping towel in the dog bed.
Walk around the house picking up toys. Get drink of water and snack to fortify self, since this will take a long, long time.
Drag out the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum forty pounds of dog hair, crumbs, tracked-in dirt, and pine needles. Use the hose attachment to suck dog hair from the leather couches which you swore you'd never let the dog sleep on ever.
Pick up preschooler's shoes, toddler's shoes, and five different pairs of adult male shoes. Endure near-immediate request from husband who wants to know where his shoes are, dammit.
Put board books into basket, plastic horses into toybox, and pry out Legos from where they have painfully embedded into the sensitive arch of your foot. File away mail. Toss newspapers.
Survey house, breathe sigh of relief. Revel in the knowledge that it may have literally taken your entire night, but at last, at last the household chores are done. Sit down, rub eyes, and—
A whirlwind of children, husband, and dog passes by.
Every surface cluttered. Every dish dirtied. Every toy unearthed. Every piece of clothing strewn across every item of furniture. Every square inch of carpet encrusted.
Slump bonelessly to floor. Weep to the uncaring gods. Lie there moaning, trampled by small feet, moistened by small drippy noses.
Pick up the dishes from the various surfaces on which they rest . . .