Thursday, March 22, 2007

The filthy truth

People, there comes a point in a person’s life where they simply can’t pretend any more. They have to face facts. They have to accept that sometimes, the status quo is not acceptable. They must take action. They must make a difference. They must look the ugly, messy, stinky-breathed truth dead in the eye and say, “I am not afraid of you and furthermore, I am going to do something about you!”

That’s right.

I have come to this point in my life, this very morning.

You see, I am very good at indifferent housekeeping.

I can step over dollies and even fruit treat wrappers left on the floor. I can ignore socks left in the middle of the hallway and will wait not only until my desk is declared a Federal disaster zone but for the check to arrive from FEMA before dealing with it.

And let’s not get started on just how long I can pretend a bathtub isn’t “that bad”, shall we?

This morning, however, the bit has flipped. The 0 has become a 1, and the light has come on, and my hardware is responding to the new command: Thou Shalt Clean Up This Mess.

I honestly don’t know why I operate this way. Because you know, really – it isn’t like I’m really ignoring the growing clutter and filth. Oh no. It’s slowly working its way under my skin. Making me itchier and itchier. I’m getting annoyed. I’m getting angry. I’m starting to have trouble sleeping. I start obsessing. And then, suddenly, WHAM!

Cleaning maniac!!!!!!

Why can’t I just stay on top of it, and avoid the whole ‘itchy under skin annoyance’ part?


Now granted, I’m not alone in Slobsville. I have five other people in this house putting in their fair share of the clutter. But I’m no angel on this front. I actually caught myself in the act yesterday, and was shocked! and also appalled! by my behavior.

There I was, sitting at my desk, eating a bag of Chez-Its. Upon finishing, I cast about for the garbage can. Oh, ugh. Clear across the room. Feh. Well, I’ll deal with it later, I said to myself…as I dropped the wrapper on the floor where the trash can ought to have been but wasn’t.

Now I ask you: What the hell was that about?! I didn’t even really register what I had just done until I kicked my chair back from the desk and rolled over it. What was that crinkling noise? Oh, for the love of Dawg…!

Another example. I was cutting a tag off a belt the other day. Took the scissors, but off the plastic hanger doohickey thing, let it drop to the ground like a leaf and took off on my merry way.

Left it there.

On the floor.

Like, maybe it would clean itself up.

Which it sort of did, when it attached itself to the bottom of my bare foot and took a brief ride up the hallway, at which point I peeled it off and tossed it into the trash can where it belonged in the first place.

I absolutely cannot explain this behavior. It isn’t that I love a messy house. It isn’t that I’m expecting house-elves to come in the night and clean it up for me. It isn’t that I’m just so far gone to depression that the effort of picking up a piece of plastic off the floor is just too much for my delicate psyche to bear.

I can’t even claim laziness, which, while maybe not the best excuse in the world, is at least something.

But I’m not particularly lazy. I mean, I have my moments, but overall I really don’t do the ‘sitting around waiting for something to happen’ thing. I’m actually on the ‘twitchy nervous energy’ side of the scale.

I think I have no ‘why’ on this, except perhaps that I am easily distracted. By the time I’ve finished producing the garbage, I’ve moved on. I’m already three tasks ahead of where I was in my mind, and now that the Problem That Was Formerly At Hand is over (at least, in my mind), I just literally and physically drop it, right there, and move on.

Leaving a trail of chaos and destruction in my wake.

I’d like to pretend that I’m about to turn over a new leaf and, once I’ve cleaned up the current layer of detritus, I will Debris No More.

But I’m pretty sure I’m not. I’m going to enjoy the clean for a few weeks and then…slowly…paper by paper, wrapper by wrapper, ‘in-a-minute’ by ‘in-a-minute’, it will grow, and grow, and grow until I get out of bed after a sleepless night, regard my front room with intense loathing and declare, “That’s IT, I’m cleaning this mess up THIS VERY MINUTE!”

In somewhat related news, I really hate changing the sheets on the new bunk beds. Between cracking my head on the upper bunk while changing the lower and trying to figure out how to get the fitted sheet onto the upper one without falling to my death, I’m starting to think I’m just not smart (or dexterous) enough to have this particular piece of furniture in the Den.

I can just hear the headline now: Crazy mother falls off bunk bed and breaks fool neck trying to wrestle Disney Princess fitted sheets into place – film at 11!


froggiemeanie said...

Sing it sister! I love knowing I'm not the only one living in a pig pen only to occasionally snap and make the place absolutely pure so I can start allllll over again. I have the same reasons as you too. Twitchy brain.

buffi said...

Okay, we have to be related. I am mortified by the thought of someone coming to my house unannounced. The game pieces, tags, magazine inserts, blankets, shoes, socks, pull-ups (gross), newspapers, et al, strewn across my house is horrifying. Who lives like this? I'm glad I'm not the only one.

How can I yell at the kids for it when they are only following what they see? Oh, I yell at them for it all right. I need to give theie therapists plenty of fodder for the coming years. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I had to laugh at the Cheez-its bag thing.

I have a rule about not putting food garbage in my home office trash can because it gets taken out irregularly. So, here I sit, with a near empty trashcan and all kinds of dirty dishes and food containers (wrappers, frozen dinner trays, an apple core) on my desk.

Errr... what's wrong with this picture? Off to clean up my gross desk now - thanks for the motivation!

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Me too.

About the bunkbeds...can you put just the head of the bed against the wall so you can walk around them?

Amy Lane said...

I love your's almost like I'm home...except cleaner. (And you don't swear nearly as much as I do.)

Anonymous said...

Once again, you have been in my house. I swear the filth breeds when we aren't looking. And yes, fitted sheets on bunk beds are a major pain, but lemme tell you, a (very tightly dimensioned) loft bed is even worse. I'd crawl down from the loft looking like Quasimodo every time. It's nice when they're big enough to wrestle with their own sheets, that's for sure.

Siercia said...

Oh man, it's like you live in my house!

Crap everywhere. My husband seems able to enjoy iy, but I slowly get madder and madder and madder about the mess until I have an all day cleaning fit, cursing under my breath the entire time. Never mind that I contribute to it as much as they do.

Bev in TN said...

Thankssss! Now I have a new reason for the disgraceful mess in my house (and my yard)'s just that I;m easily distracted :-)

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY know what you mean. I am the same way. But I think I know what my problem is.

I absolutely detest doing the dishes. And in the back of my mind, cleaning always involves the dishes at some point.

Subconsciously I know this and will avoid like the plague anything that will result in me having to plunge my hands into dishwater.

Oh and BTW, the chip wrapper thing? I do that all the time.

Jessica said...

Ha ha ha! This post SO reminds me of myself. I ALWAYS yell at the kids for leaving their garbage laying around, but I catch myself doing the same thing when thinking about a million other topics! Anyways, I have been a lurker for a while now, but HI! I am de-lurking, and also I just barely started a blog myself, and mentioned you in my first post, so you might want go check it out!