"We thought you said 'clear a path'"
The only time I would have told my children to clear a path is if I'm a naval captain on my way down the ladder to check the nuclear launch codes. Or a firefighter with an armful of kittens. I would not, I did not, say 'clear a path' to my children. What I said to my kids was "Good God, it's like a twister came through the toy room. You better hope that R2D2 can disable all the trash compactors on the detention level or things are going to get interesting. Watch out for the trash monster."
Wall to wall crap littered the floor of the toy room. Toys and trinkets were piled so high that some were headed up the walls as the only escape from the pit below. To walk across would take a city permit and the services of a good sherpa. Only steel toed boots should be allowed in that hole of pointy plastic corner pieces. So I told them to clean it up and gave them 1 hour.
At the end of that hour, I came back. I didn't check on progress during that hour because, and I'll be honest, I wanted a break. I was tired from long hours of thinking of metaphors to describe the pit of destruction that I had witnessed. When I did come back, they had indeed cleared a path.
A 2-foot section was opened making a nice little trail to the one window in the middle. The other two windows on the side of the path were apparently for decoration only, not intended for use. If my kids worked at Yosemite, then they would make excellent park rangers. This isn't Yosemite though, this is my house. There's probably a dead cat in there somewhere, we should find it before CPS comes and decides to give me some free time.
I asked for their logic because I honestly want to see what is going through there heads. Maybe there is a scientific explanation like maybe there is a hypothesis about the amount of clutter and the level of Dad's frustration. Maybe there is a device in this pit of destruction that measures the colors of my face. That would be cool.
"Bacon Hoss wasn't helping."
The 4-year-old wasn't helping. Always blame the toddler, a favorite family tactic. I implored them to go on.
"And we thought you said to clear a path."
So we are back to the beginning which is good because there is literally nowhere else to go in this room. We are going to start again. It's tough to explain to childless, easy going people, how it can take 2 hours to clean a room. Because it's not just the room we are trying to clean here, it's also language and the messages that it conveys.
I go grab my big boots and a trash bag. They know the rule. If Dad picks it up it goes into the trash. I have yet to actually throw anything away after the first threat of this 7 years ago. I walked into the room with my trash bag, my body finding dog, and a smile.
"Ok, I'll help. Let's clean the room!"
The toy room was cleaned in 10 minutes.