Cleaning makes me grumpy.

I spent today cleaning the house. If you know me, then Yes, I am okay, thank you for asking. For those who don’t know me personally, I’ll put it bluntly.


I adore having a clean home, it makes me happy like few other things in the world, but I absolutely despise having to clean it. For one, it’s large. I am not complaining about that – oh no, I love it. But there’s a reason why middle-class Victorians had servants. 3000 square feet of dust accumulation. Hauling the jumbo shop vac up and down is a chore in and of itself, but having to operate the sucker over all three floors, then turn around and haul it back down to the basement for storage – UGH. Mopping each floor with diluted oil soap is an extra kick in the pants. My back ACHES after all of this. Not to mention all of the windexing and the dusting with lemon oil. We have a LOT of woodwork. And don’t get me wrong, I am the first one thanking God we have more than one bathroom. But having to scrub three toilets, 2 bathtubs and 3 grotty sinks.. not fun.

We have a zoo here and I love all our pets dearly. But they are dirty. It’s more because of them than anything that I MUST CLEAN. Our beloved dog alone sheds a small animal every other day. He also happens to have a severe allergy to some mystery substance – perhaps it is us – which renders him itchy, flaky and incredibly smelly a good part of the year. We have tried everything. Nothing seems to work. And the only reason we put up with his hairball tumbleweeds, and the snow-like layer of dander which falls off him coating the floor around his bed, is because we love him. We have a conure I adore who sees me as her own personal toy. She likes nothing better than to poop on me the minute she leaves her cage in the morning. In fact, she enjoys free pooping pretty much everywhere, so I spend a goodly portion of each day wiping up after her or changing shirts. I mentioned in a post a long time ago that we used to have a second bird, a macaw whose slovenly eating habits encouraged a whole village of mice to move in. Said bird was also incredibly vicious, and we ended up having to give her away. It was sort of a relief not having to clean up after her anymore – as much as it was a relief not worrying about her biting my face off. My husband says all the time, MAN can you imagine how clean our house would be if we didn’t have any of these pets?! I know it’s true. So unbelievably true. My husband is eagerly counting down as we lose pets to sickness or old age. And he keeps warning me not to bring anything more home, but frankly even I have my limit. As much as I would love to have more pets – I adore animals and have so much love to give – I just don’t need another reason to HAVE TO CLEAN.

My family. I love them like nothing else, but they are pigs. Yes, I know I am too, but I am after all the one doing most of the cleaning. My husband is fairly tidy God bless him, but he doesn’t see the point in dusting. He will vacuum, mop, etc. But he just doesn’t notice the inch of dust over everything. My kids, forget it. They love it when the house is clean, but they are both just like us – pack rats out the whazoo. My older daughter, the aspiring artist, collects a forest worth of paper in her room every week. Understandable. We recycle most of it, but man oh man, what is her excuse for the rest of it? Every price tag, bit of string, scrap of foil, pieces of every little thing she encounters, she hoards all of it like someone who lived through the Depression. And I would know. My grandmother, before she moved to her retirement home, she would keep every bit of food ever made. Eating a meal in her house was like a recreation of her past 7 suppers. 25 empty margarine tubs filled with 2 bites each – she did tapas before it was ever cool. But I digress. What I’m saying is I simply find it heart-breaking to spend an entire day cleaning the house, then after dinner look at the floor and realize it was ALL IN VAIN. I sweep, I pick up, it’s never-ending. So half the time I just don’t bother. The only reason I ever succumb and do a deep cleaning is because I have no choice. I wake up one morning – like this morning, and I can see the outlines of things in the dust when I move them. The dog is sitting in an inch of his own hair – and so am I. Then I can’t take it anymore. Only when the mess and the hairballs and the smell reach maximum threshold, must it be done.

I am a housewife. I feel an obligation as such to actually clean my house on occasion. Mind you, this urge doesn’t really kick in more than once, twice a month, but still it comes. We don’t have a lot of extra money, so I would feel intensely guilty hiring someone else to clean my house. I take it as part of my moral obligation and duty. But I confess I fantasize about having a paid house cleaner the way other people fantasize about strippers. Or movie stars. Or whoever else floats your boat. I want one baaaaaaaaad.

I remember a vacation we took 6 years ago. We went to the shore for a week, it was great. I remember many things about the trip, but the one which sticks most in my mind is the family renting the apartment next door to ours. The mother, a vivacious woman with a tan to die for, had the most neurotic compulsion I’d ever witnessed. Every morning, at like 6-7-8 AM, this woman was up vacuuming – and not only her own apartment, but the OUTSIDE DECK. Yes, I do know that sand accumulates and inevitably gets kicked inside. BUT WHAT THE HELL?! Every fricking morning of your vacation you want to be up vacuuming someone else’s house? NO THANKS. I will also never ever forget this woman’s kids because they were made to scrub their shoes I believe daily. Their sneakers were so sparkling white I would have eaten off them without thinking twice. But those poor kids. Do you know many kids whose sneakers look nicer than brand new 6 months after purchase? If so, pity them.

5 thoughts on “Cleaning makes me grumpy.

  1. Um. Get a maid. Seriously. But for only one day a month and let her handle the serious scrubbing. That way you can do clean-as-you-go cleaning, or semi-light cleaning.

    I think the thing that drives me nuts about SAHMs is the feeling that they have to do everything all the time. YES! You should definitely clean. However, if I get snowed under at work or there is a task that is highly taxing, I have someone to go to for help. I have a support system.

    You could rock a househelp for one day a month, I’m sure of it!

  2. seriously… i have been proposing this idea for sometime now, but it hasn’t progressed beyond “yeah”

    my proposal was that we clean the house immaculately and THEN hire a house cleaner. that way we could say “look, this is how clean we like to keep the house and we’d like you to help us keep it that way.”

    we’ll see.

  3. We’re guilty of having domestic help. I tend to use our house as more of a landing strip–I buzz in and buzz right back out and don’t have the time to keep it as spotless as I like. It’s worth every dime. I think I’d rather have our housekeeper than have food in the refrigerator. 🙂

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