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How 'The Cat in the Hat' almost ruined my life

Melissa Schmalenberger, Ms Simplicity columnist

Did you ever read a children's book and have it still impact you as an adult? For me, that dang Dr. Seuss book "The Cat in the Hat" seriously traumatized me. How I run my house is because of the lessons I learned from that naughty cat!

Here are a few of the lessons that I learned:

• When your mom isn't home, keep the door locked and don't answer it. The cat didn't even knock; he just let himself in. To this day, if I am home alone, I don't like to answer the door.

• Listen to the fish. The fish is the mature one. Yes, I see myself as the fish. The one who keeps reminding the cat that he is naughty. The fish kept wanting the cat to leave. No one heard the fish.

• Be careful what you wish for. The kids in the book were just looking for a fun time on a rainy day. On rainy days I create my own fun and not wish for it to be created for me because a crazy cat might show up!

• Don't allow strangers to bring in even more strangers in the form of Thing 1 and Thing 2. No good can happen of more strangers entering your home. Seriously why did those kids have their front door unlocked!?

• There is no such thing as a machine that will come and clean everything up. We all wished at times that there was such a machine. But we knew that if we made it messy, it would be us cleaning it up.

• Don't just sit there and take it. For most of the book, the children are just in shock. Finally, the mom is coming home and the brother acts and grabs a net to capture Thing 1 and Thing 2. Oh, how I wish the brother would have acted earlier as they could have avoided all of this.

It ends with the question, if this happened to you, would you tell your mom? This is some serious heavy conversations to have with a young child. The answer is yes. Yes, you always tell your mom. Nothing good happens by hiding things from your mom. You can bet that your mom will notice the bent rake.

As a child, I came to the realization that cats are trouble. Cats and I are not friends. And I blame this book as where it all stemmed from. Now as an adult, I keep a tidy house. I keep the doors locked. And if something gets broken or something happens, I tell my husband. And don't even get me started with the sequel "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" where they wash the tub with mom's dress!

Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer based out of Fargo and author of "Organizing in Simplicity: Kitchens." Email her at