Our house is not disgustingly dirty, but if I were being honest I would say that I’m able to ignore the fact that it’s a mess about 90 percent of the time. Usually I wait until everyone is settled comfortably on a Saturday afternoon, relaxing, to notice that the house is an unacceptable disaster. Then I freak and out and all five of us clean like crazy people—or rather, normal people who are being chased with a broom by one crazy person.
The fact that I can sit here writing all day and not notice the sink full of dishes or piles of laundry is, I think, just a sign that I am highly focused on my “work.” I never, ever waste time reading, or playing on the internet, or Skyping with my favorite word nerds. Sure.
Then Tuesday night, after watching John do the dishes for about the 200th time in a row , I got it into my head that I would take the day off from writing on Wednesday and just clean my house really well. You know, to impress him and remind him that it was not a huge mistake to marry me.
Turns out my plan was way too ambitious and nearly ended in disaster.
First of all, I did not realize that cleaning the entire house (it should be noted that I never even made it upstairs, so really, just cleaning one floor of our house) is apparently the equivalent of taking the highest level spin class at the gym. You know those people who post “I maxed out at 15 minutes on my Insanity Workout of the day” on Facebook every morning? Well I maxed out at 3 minutes of mopping the hardwood floors. So there’s that.
Next, I determined that although Cate has been in charge of dusting for a few years now, she really hasn’t fully grasped the concept. I decided I needed to go old school and I actually left my house on a mission to buy some furniture polish. We haven’t owned furniture polish since 2004, but it seemed absolutely necessary in that moment, despite the fact that we still don’t actually own any ‘real’ furniture. I sprayed and sprayed that liquid miracle worker, turning my dull pseudo-furniture into shining, artificial wax-coated objects of beauty.
And, purely unintentionally, I apparently also coated some sections of the hardwood floor. More on that in a minute.
Satisfied that all the wood surfaces in the house were no longer covered in muck, I turned my attention to the lone piece of carpet left downstairs, in our family room. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this carpet before, but let’s just say it’s beautiful, soft, brand new GRAY carpet, that sometimes looks as blue as an old lady’s hair–but only in the right (wrong?) light or if you’ve had too much to drink. But hey, it’s clean.
Or at least, mostly clean, but I still needed to run the vacuum over it. And that was going so well until the vacuum started making a strange noise and then actual smoke started billowing out of it! My solution was to take the vacuum immediately out into the garage, where I exchanged bewildered looks with the construction crew working on my neighbor’s house. I like to think they wanted to ask me if I needed any help but were possibly just deterred by the fact that I was very vocally begging the vacuum cleaner to not actually burst into flames.
It seemed like a good time to quit. I mean, by this time the house was perfectly straight and mostly clean. As long as no one wanted to go upstairs, I was golden. Then the kids came home and I proceeded to make a new recipe for dinner that was deemed, “the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had in my mouth” by one family member and “not something we ever need to make again,” by another. No worries–I still had half of a very clean house and a random gorgeous dozen red roses that John brought me. To summarize: worst dinner ever, but still winning.
Thomas slipped on the freshly (accidentally, remember) furniture-polish-coated floor. He had a glass in his hand and I swear I heard it shatter, only when he finally landed the glass was still perfectly in tact, held above his head because he had purposefully saved it from hitting the ground. So the cracking noise I heard was, unfortunately, his left elbow hitting the floor.
At this time, we are waiting for the radiologist to call and tell us if his elbow is fractured or just deeply bruised. If he ends up needing a cast, I’ll let you know, in case you want to sign it or wish him luck co-existing with me for the next 6 years.
So yeah, the next time I get wildly ambitious about something, it’s probably not going to be about cleaning the house.