Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mad Rantings Precipitated By Cleaning Induced Psychosis

I am in an absolute frenzy of cleaning.

I used to keep an immaculate house, even when I had small children. But after 13 years, frankly, I'm tired. And it all seems so pointless. Floors get muddied again. Toilets get crapped in again. Ceiling fans, knick knacks and fixtures get coated in dust again.

And nobody cares. Nope. I think it's safe to say that my home could be condemned and still my family would be blisffully ignorant to the fact that they are living in a toxic waste dump.

So I became pretty apathetic about cleaning. And it was pretty easy for me to lower my standards, because I don't derive any particular sense of satisfaction from cleaning, partially because it's never done. How can anyone feel satisfied with something that will just have to done over again?

I'm still very neat and organized because clutter bugs me. When my home is cluttered, I just can't think. I'm sure there's some sort of psychology there. I have baskets, bins, folders, and files for everything.

But the day to day stuff has really slipped.

I used to vacuum daily, now it's sometimes weeks. I used to dust weekly, now it's sometimes months. I used to detail everything monthly, now it's sometimes years. parents are coming to visit on Friday.

I really didn't intend to do deep cleaning, because this weeks has been hellaciously busy, and honestly, my Mom doesn't care. And it would be her I would be cleaning for. My Dad has that peculiar blindness to filth that most 1950's husbands have. But she just wants to see us and spend time with the boys. I would never worry that she was judging my worthiness as a woman, wife or mother because my house is dirty.

And I stopped judging my own worthiness by my ability as a housewife when I stopped feeling that I had to justify my decision to stay home. Suffice it to say, that I am not defined by my domestic status.

But the thing about cleaning leads to more cleaning. And once I started, I became truly horrified about how far I had let things go.

Now, my home is still perfectly sanitary. The cat boxes are cleaned daily, the appliances, table and counters are wiped down after every meal, and though I went on strike and refused to clean the boys' bathroom any more (what? *I* don't pee on the floor...why should I clean it up?), the other two are clean enough that I wouldn't be embarassed to let a guest use them.

I swiffer up the more disgusting messes that seem to occur daily and I don't let dirty dishes accumulate. That's one of my pet peeves. My fridge doesn't have anything in it that can't be identified (another pet peeve) and the fingerprint problem is pretty much under control.

And because my house is neat, I can effect the illusion of clean without too much effort if we need to admit guests.

But ohhhhhh, the dust. The cobwebs. The sneaky, sticky grimy dirt that hides in places you don't think to clean regularly. And the curtains, the blinds, Dear God the windows.

I think blinds were a plague sent by Satan to torment housewives. So is carpeting.

If there is anything nastier than carpet, I don't know what it is. I used to steam clean our wonderfully well thought out (not by me, previous owners) white Berber regularly, but again, the sheer magnitude of the task of keeping that stupid carpet clean overwhelmed me and I gave up.

So I steam cleaned all the carpets and furniture and the water that I discarded was absolutely disgusting. And I'm sure there is still all kinds of nasty stuff lurking deep beneath that the steam cleaner didn't reach, breeding, sporing, spreading...((shudder)). If ever there was a perfect system for catching and retaining disease bearing organisms, carpet is it. Our next home will have NO carpet, anywhere.

If you have children, do not, under any circumstances, go look at the uderside of your kitchen table right now. Do not look at the chairs, particularly on the underside of the chair back where you always grasp it to pull it away from the table. Don't do it unless you have a couple hours to spend with a bucket of Lysol and a toothbrush.

Do not pull your child's bed away from the wall. Because if you do, you will find boogers cemented there. I think your kid would never do something like that, but trust me, they would and they do. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to remove petrified boogers without doing serious damage to the paint and underlying drywall? It's nearly impossible. I have found that an exacto knife is somewhat helpful and truly, chiselling away at dried boogers is great for building upper arm strength.

Also, don't look at the doorknobs and the surrounding real estate in any room that your child uses regularly. Gag. Do not, I repeat, do not look under the beds. There will be things under there that defy description, and then you will be forced to crawl under there with rubber gloves, a face mask, and a salad tongs to extract them.

So anyway...I've been cleaning from morning til night for the past three days, and my offspring, surprisingly, are noticing.

After last Christmas I declared war and removed everything from the Dining room, which has served as the playroom for 11 years. I ruthlessly discarded everything that was broken, missing pieces, had too many pieces, or just pissed me off. What was left was trundled up to Diminutive One's room and for the first time since we bought the house, the Dining Room had room for actual Dining type furniture.

Unfortunately, it has stood empty for the last year because funds have been lacking and because I am picky. I don't buy cheap furniture because I intend for it to last. My sister in law has had three living room suites in the last 14 years. Three. And at least two bedroom suites.

But surprsingly, I digress.

So...I went to Big Lots yesterday (Big Lots, how do I love thee???) and bought household crap that we've been needing forever. Throw rugs, towels, bath mats, some new kitchen accessories like napkin and paper towel holders. And I bought a couple non-essential items to class up the place.

Diminutive One said to me this morning, "Wow, Mom, you've been working so hard to make the house look nice. I like all the new stuff you bought. You should buy some furniture for the dining room now."

"I'd love to babe, but it's just not a priority right now."

"I wish I could buy you a Dining Room set."

"You do?"

"Yeah. You always buy us stuff and not stuff you need. HEY! When I'm 15, I can get a job. I can buy you stuff then." Pause. "Do you think you can wait that long?"

"Yeah. But you shouldn't buy me stuff. You should buy yourself stuff while your money is still your own."


"I mean, someday you'll have to pay bills and buy your kids clothes and food, and you won't be able to buy whatever you want. There's only a short period of time in everybody's life when they can be selfish with their money. You should take advantage of that."

"Oh. Hmmm. Well...if I really wanted to buy you stuff, would you let me?"


He went away looking satisfied. And it was kind of a bittersweet moment for me. I remember wanting to buy my Mom and Dad stuff they never could afford for themselves, and I realized that my child had reached that age of awareness. He's growing up and seeing the world through glasses that are a little less rosy. I'm proud, but sad. That carefree innocence is so very fleeting, but I guess, along with it, comes a little bit of altruism and selflessness. It touched me deeply.

And yannow? It almost makes up for the boogers on the wall.


  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger Mary Alice said…

    What we give up in new "things" is always out weighed by providing them with a safe landing spot, lots of love, understanding, good food, security - in the long run it's the things that money can't buy that are remembered and appreciated.

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    I feel exactly the same way about cleaning.
    My neice once bought me a fridge magnet which says "Dull women have immaculate houses"
    It's still on the fridge and i still choose to believe it!

  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    first of all, your house sounds very clean to me, even before your cleaning spree. And secondly... that son of yours? Just be proud. Forget the sadness. He wants to do something to make you happy. Now THAT is love.

  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    You and I rate very similarly on the "need to clean" scale. Oragnized but dusty should be my motto.

    And your boy........well, he's a keeper!

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    Sounds like my house. I think I deep clean it once a year, maybe twice. I say an immaculate house means an unhappy house. If you spend all your time cleaning that leaves no time for the family, ykim? Oh, your boy sounds like he's growing up. Such a bittersweet moment.

  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Do not, I repeat, do not look under the beds. There will be things under there that defy description, and then you will be forced to crawl under there with rubber gloves, a face mask, and a salad tongs to extract them."

    My daugther recently asked to have hard wood floors put into her room because of how messy it always is. I think we should put a drain in the middle of the floor and just hose the damn thing down once a week.

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said…

    It takes a lot to scare me ... but the petrified boogers did the trick.
    Shudder, shudder.

  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I'm teaching a class on housecleaning tonight (for my single moms course, which is just restarting) and it is SUCH A MOCKERY. Everyone in my house is sick and the filth - the filth. When I push the Pie's chair up to the table, my fingers actually STICK to it.

  • At 1:21 PM, Blogger Tania said…

    Your son is sweet. If it makes you feel better, I steam clean often (we have dogs), and the water is always disgusting, even if there has only been a week between cleanings.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    carpet grosses me out, so so so so so bad. I hate that I live in an apartment and I have to have it. Grosses me out so bad

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger Cathy, Amy and Kristina said…

    This post makes me want to go home and clean.

    And organize.

    But the table & chairs ... not sure I'm up to looking underneath.

    Your son — how very sweet!

  • At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My son has a quarter sized patch above his bed where the texture was scrubbed off trying to remove a petrified booger. We never did manage to get the last little bit off. We painted over it. Gag.

    Your son is so sweet.

  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    What a great post. You have a way of drawing out wonderful life lessons from mundane things like boogers.

    And my husband and I both hate carpet, too. We have vowed that our next house will have hardwood floors throughout.

  • At 4:02 PM, Blogger Sarahviz said…

    Thanks for yet another preview of my life to come, although I think we probably already have our share of boogers on the wall here in Casa de la Trenches.

  • At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a closet where everything gets shoved when we have company coming over. Open that closet and you'll be sorry.

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I love his desire to buy you things.

    I have never thought to look under the chairs and the dining room table. Sigh. You know I'll have to peek now, don't you?

  • At 10:41 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    Oh man, my mom was SO mad when she found my booger collection on the wall behind my bed. LOL.

  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    One good thing about all of our clutter is that there are more ways to hide the dust.

    Something tells me as bad as you say it is there, it's pretty awesome still. Have a great visit with the fam!

  • At 11:13 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said… but the joy of your child realizing you are human and have desires is priceless.

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    I have carpet I hate as well. We live in a rental house, so I can't change it. The brilliant person who had the house built decided on off-white, crap-quality carpet. It's 15 years old, and there's no getting it clean. I try, but it's a losing battle. It grosses me out.

    I have a surface clean, so I can give the illusion of clean, but if you look more deeply.. *shudder*.

    And as for the family noticing or not...I am a firm believer that if not for me, my family would be living knee-deep in their own shit. I think I'm the only one that cares what the place looks like.

  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    My goal for today is to clean, a task long overdue. My house currently reeks of eau du dog. (Get the picture?)

    I just might have to look under my table now. Yikes.

  • At 8:08 AM, Blogger XUP said…

    Once upon a time before women had vaccuum cleaners and washing machines, they had maids and cooks and housekeepers. Then we got appliances so our lives were so much easier and we shooed all the household help away. Then we all got jobs and committee positions and kids to ferry from one activity to another and can't keep up with the housework anymore. Re-enter the household help. It really isn't that expensive to have a couple of people come in for one morning a week to keep on top of all the stuff you don't have time to do. Really, it's like having a whole new life. (PS: your babe is a sweety)

  • At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We just went through the thorough cleaning when we put our house on the market ~ and then a couple months later took it back off ~ so now we're in the process of moving stuff around again, reorganizing, and cleaning. All over again. You'd think that since we got it show-quality clean and kept it that way for weeks that we wouldn't have that much cleaning to do again. But we do. It's amazing to me how quickly the dust builds up.

    Your son is a sweet sweet boy.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I'm like you -- I hate clutter. My mom was a packrat and as she got older and sicker the clutter literally took over areas of her home. I must say, I'm pretty organized, closets included. Just don't look in the basement...we're still not fully unpacked and that's where everything has been shoved.

    I love how this story came full circle. And you know, it's true -- nothing gets me cleaning harder than a visit from my in-laws. My dad...since he's not a "cleaner", as he puts it, I don't really mind if there's shit all over the place? But if my Gram came over? I'd clean for weeks beforehand, and she was blind.

  • At 2:26 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Cleaning is never done.
    I am blind and that saves me from looking at the mess but not from running into it.

  • At 3:13 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    Your house sounds incredibly clean and I don't know if I ave ever lived in a home as clean as yours after a deep cleaning. Nice work and what a sweet comment your son made.


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