November 13, 2010


My House is Clean

This will mean nothing if you don't know me well. Nobody around here likes to clean. It sucks. My mom used to sneak clean whenever she came over; mom died a decade ago, and you can tell.

My usual drill is to go into a room, peruse the flotsam and jetsam, and cry. And do nothing about it in the mistaken belief that it will somehow get better, not worse. Yeah. I'm too burned out to clean. The boys have their chores, and I'm sure I should assign them more, but I hate cleaning too. I just can't get it clean enough to have someone come in to clean.

I peered under my bed today, and something just finally snapped. I didn't have dust bunnies; I had dust rhinos. It's a king sized bed and I can't reach under there. I went off to find the vacuum, hoping it would have enough extension thingees to reach. The cats had done a little cacking under there, so I knew I'd be sprawled on my belly scrubbing. When Maggie was a kitten, she had a fruit fixation. She loved nectarines. She would somehow haul them out of the fruit bowl on the table, haul them up the stairs and eat them under the bed. She weighed about a pound and a half. I still have no idea how she did it, but one day I finally looked under my bed and counted 7 nectarines.

I have worn out sewing machines; I have worn out clutches; I have worn out leather boots; I have never worn out a vacuum. I felt I should be clear about that.

I stared at the pile of unmatched socks on my dresser. And I threw them all out. I haven't felt that free since I went cliff jumping at the cottage. I bundled up a stereo I haven't used in two years and told the kids to find a home for it. I pulled out CDs still in cellophane, untouched for 15 years. Damn you to hell, Columbia Record Club.

I wiped down wooden blinds, I dusted Shakespeare's face, and I put on my winter duvet.

Christer wandered into the kitchen, sniffing the air like an airport drug dog. "It smells...clean," he said. "It is clean," I replied. "Want me to help with anything?" he lied. "Tomorrow, you cut and clean up the yard for winter," I told him. He nodded. Just like that. Ari pulled laundry up and down, just like that.

My mom always used to tell me it was easier to keep things neat if you just cleaned up as you went along. Then again, my mother also told me it was as easy to marry a rich man as a poor one. Mom had an immaculate house, so she was right about one thing.

It's not that I thrive in clutter, it's that I kinda don't notice it. I work and work and work in the middle of it, and while there was a point in time my shrink would have had a field day with the disorder in my life, it really has come down to time. "I live large," I used to tell people. And I do. But I really do need to live tidier.

There are women who will tell you then knew they were about to go into labour because they started a cleaning frenzy. I've actually witnessed this. Never experienced it, mind you, but I've seen it often. It's a nesting thing. They like clean nests. When Christopher was born, my only statement after the hour of labour he put me through was that I'd missed Knots Landing. It was okay; I'm sure my mother had probably cleaned my kitchen floor the second I left the house anyway. One time she dropped a jar of beets in my kitchen. She did this fake gasp, and proceeded to rip the entire kitchen apart to clean it. "There is beet juice everywhere," she lied. I swear she did it on purpose.

Still and all, there is no labour taking place around here. But there is definitely a need for renewal. My renewal is pine scented. With a little Mr. Clean thrown in.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

In my house it's "a little Mr Clean thrown out." After the expiration date.

It's usually full. And that stuff lasts about 200 years.

Did your parents ever mention a lost brother?

November 13, 2010 8:46 PM  
Anonymous B1 said...

I understand.

When The Redhead was working all hours in a pub in England in 1981, she wrote to me that she desperately needed a wife. Poor wee gal.

(BTW, I did repost "Seeing Red"). Again, thanks for the open call in the first place. It's one of my faves.)

November 13, 2010 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a male who easily procrastinates when it comes to cleaning. I found some helpful hints at www.flylady.net. By following the routines suggested on a regular basis I am able to stay on top of things.

November 14, 2010 8:49 AM  

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