For the past three years, the children, 12-year-old Mason and eight-year-old Maddie, have convened on our household usually from early June until mid-August.

For the past three years, the children, 12-year-old Mason and eight-year-old Maddie, have convened on our household usually from early June until mid-August.

After going nine months of the school year while the children reside with their father in International Falls with periodical monthly visits, Hubby and I are excited for our quiet household to bustle with kids again.

The first few weeks to a month are an adjustment period for all of us. Usually by July we have a routine and the summer flows.

Having a pre-teen in the house has thrown us for a few loops this year. One in particular has Hubby up in arms.

About a week ago Mason decided he needed more space from his sister so he turned Hubby's man cave into his new bedroom. Hubby hasn't had a decent nights sleep since the move happened, seemingly under our nose.

We came home from work one day to find Mason in the man cave. Pop cans, snack wrappers and dirty dishes adorned the floor and any available space. That night as we were settling down for bed, Mason gave me a hug, grabbed his blanket and pillows from his room and disappeared into the depths of the man cave.

"Wait!" Hubby exclaimed as he crawled into bed. "Where is Mason going with his pillow and blanket?" he asked near panic.

"I think he went down to the man cave. I think he thinks it is his new room," I answered.

That was the last night Hubby has slept soundly.

"I don't care if he's down there, but I want him to keep it clean and not hang up any of his posters or take anything of mine off the walls," Hubby explained the next day. "I'm finally getting my man cave decorated how I want it." 

We sat Mason down and had a talk with him about our expectations if the man cave will indeed be his new bedroom. Mason agreed to the terms. Maddie was delighted that she now had a room to herself and began purging her brother's things that were still in HER room.

"Hold on!" I told her as she passed by with a armful of Mason's possessions. "Where do you think you are going with that?" 

"I'm helping Mason move his room," she stated matter-of-factly.

"You two are only here for another two weeks," I told her. "We are not making a mammoth move for two weeks. Mason stuff stays in his room for the remainder of this summer. When you come back next summer we will consider the move then."

She agreed that since she was forced to, she would live with her brother's things–but ONLY for two more weeks.

Recently Hubby came home from a long day of work. The litter of a pre-teen again adorned the man cave. Hubby had a talk with me.

"I thought the rules were that Mason could inhabit the man cave if he kept it clean," Hubby said with a hint of hysteria in his voice.

"I've told him three times since I've been home from work to pick it up and he continues to shuttle litter up to the garbage. What more could be down there?" I asked.

I took a look for myself. Apparently it was worse than I had first suspected. While Mason had done a fair amount of cleaning off the floor, he neglected to see the three dishes, four snack wrappers and five cans of pop on an end table.

After a short discussion with Mason about the expectations when we say, "Pick up your junk and clean your room," I believed we were all on the same page.

Hubby tossed and turned for another restless night.

In the morning it was evident that in a weeks time, this moved has caused great chaos in our lives. Hubby looks like he's been on a week-long bender as Mason sleeps blissfully on the sofa-sleeper in the coveted man cave.

"In two more weeks the man cave will be yours and yours only again," I said to Hubby in an effort to calm him. "Over the next nine months we have some time to talk about rules and expectations for the man cave if Mason still wants to use that at his bedroom next summer." 

Hubby snorted in reply.

I'm almost afraid to see what next summer brings...