Recently I was overcome with a day of high energy and the inexplicable desire to clean the house. Not just clean but super clean. I had the urge to give the house a real scrubadub dubbing. Cannot explain why but there it is.
Now I would like to say here that our house is clean. Unless there is some very unusual circustance, this house is always tidy, the bed is made and there are no dishes in the sink. The clothes are either in the laundry basket waiting to be washed or hanging neatly in the closets. Towels are draped over towel rods in the bathrooms and the floors are not sticky or gritty.
That said, I will not vouch for the level of cleanliness of baseboards or the tops of things that I cannot see or reach. The windows generally need a wipe or two and dusting is well, not something I do every day, we will leave it at that. Clearly there are some areas in need of improvement. So I took advantage of the rare cleaning mode day to get it all done.
And I did. I spent the day, scrubbing floors, polishing furniture and making shiny things glisten. I employed every cleaning machine that we own, nearly every cleaning product that we own and an outrageous amount of paper towels. When I was done, at the end of the day, I stood back and admired my work. It felt good. The house nearly beamed with cleanliness. Right up until I started fixing dinner.
Suddenly there were, once again, dishes in the sink, drips of this and that on the stove top, and fingerprints on the refrigerator. Crumbs were dropped onto perfectly swept, vacuumed and washed floors, sticky spots suddenly appeared on beautifully washed and polished counter tops and the garbage needed to be taken out once again.
Initially the feeling is a little discouraging. Until I started really thinking about it. A house is only clean until it's used. And our house is used all of the time. We actually live in our house. It's not a museum, or a model home or showpiece. It's a real actually home that people eat in, live in, spill in, dribble in, drop crumbs in and more. As the saying goes, "Stuff Happens".
And it's not just house cleaning, the same thing happens with laundry. I do laundry twice a week. Monday and Thursday. By the time I have washed, dried, folded, ironed and put away everything on Monday afternoon, I can absolutely guarantee you, there is already at least one thing in the laundry basket. It's never completely done.
A bathroom is only perfectly clean until someone uses it. The grocery shopping is only totally done, until you make one meal, As soon as you start using up products, it needs to go back on the shopping list. Cooking is finished just in time to start at least thinking about what needs to be done to make the next meal. It is never really done.
That resulting feeling or discouragement could go one of three ways: 1) I could become completely obsessed about housey chores and dedicate my entire life to just cleaning. I could scold anyone who ever dropped so much as a muffin crumb on the floor. I could hire a serve to clean in between my own cleanings. I would smell of furniture polish and Mr. Clean on a regular basis. Or 2) I could give up entirely and never make the bed (hey, in 18 or so hours I'm just going to get back in the bed, right?) wear the cleanest dirty clothes picked up off the floor, use paper plates and eat mostly fastfood so I don'thave to cook and paint everything brown so that the dirt blends in better. Or 3) Do a super cleaning when I'm in the mood and just a regular cleaning/laundry/cooking as I'm already doing now and not worry about it otherwise.
Whenever we are expecting company and I said, "I guess I need to clean the house" Tim looks around and says, "The house is already clean". Bless him :) Now that I am retired, I feel like my "job" is cooking, cleaning, laundry and other housey chores. Well those were kind of always one of my jobs, but instead of doing the short cut half-assed job that I did back when I worked full time, my plan was to do a Great job! Where the house sparkled, the meals were gourmet and the laundry was professional grade. Instead, the house is tidy and mostly clean, the meals are good and the laundry is done. And every once in a blue moon, I am overcome with a crazy desire to really dig in and scrub the house from top to bottom. Which is totally negated as soon as we actually live in our home, which is all of the time.
And that's fine too. Because we are real people who live in a real house who have all sorts of interests other than constantly cleaning. Honestly I do not want the first thing people say when they think of me to be, "She had a really clean house". There is so much more to me than that.
So forgive the cookie crumbs and the scuff marks and the funky spot on the window that I cannot seem to get rid of. Real People Live Here.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.