I was raised in a house where you could pretty much eat off the floors. My mother used to clean the entire kitchen after dinner. She swept, she vacuumed, she made beds. Once a year she would wash all the walls. Twice a month she paid someone to do more cleaning, but first she compelled us to clean in advance of the cleaning lady. Some of you probably know what I’m talking about here.
I’m a terrible housekeeper, even without comparing myself to my mother. If there are no dishes in the sink when I go to bed, I consider the kitchen in good order. Let’s not even talk about how often that floor gets swept. I hate cleaning, and I’m terrible at it, and I have a million better things to do.
When things get overwhelming–particularly that periodic geological phenomenon to which we refer as “Mount Laundry”–I like to turn on an episode of Hoarders for inspiration. Like, no matter how bad it is, you can still actually see my floors, and I’m fairly certain there aren’t any dead kittens in here, and I can clean a room in 3 hours without the help of an extreme cleaning specialist and a psychiatrist specializing in obsessive compulsive disorders.
The Man is way better at cleaning things than I am, but he only feels the need to do so if he wants to have a party and invite people we don’t know very well.
Our regular friends don’t judge us. Or, if they do, they do it silently, because we’re the only ones with a pool, and also I’m an amazing cook.
Housework has always felt like this me. For example: you make the bed. Why? In 12 or 16 hours you’re just going to unmake it. Dishes are just endless. I frequently run the dishwasher 3 times a day. Laundry didn’t really bother me before I was married; I learned in college that if a person owns 31 pairs of panties and wears the same jeans all week, that person only has to do laundry once a month. But now I’m doing laundry for 4, and 2 of us are very conscious about how they look. But it all seems like a meaningless cycle of drudgery.
At the same time, I like it to be neat. I just don’t like that I’m the one who has to waste time and expend energy to get it that way.
In this case, I’m glad I put the futon back together, and vacuumed, and put the laundry away. While I was halfway through this comic some out of town friends pinged me and asked if they could visit and stay in the spare bedroom. So I guess the effort wasn’t completely pointless after all.