Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cleaning House

All the craziness I've been dealing with over the past couple of months has a purpose   -- Christian, our second son, the baby of our 4 children, is graduating from high school in a scant few weeks, and we will have family and friends coming to witness this momentous milestone in his life. Hence our flurry of activity. For goodness' sake, we can't let people see how we really live on a daily basis!!

Housekeeping is not my strong point. Never has been; never will be.  There are mysterious, hygienic-related rituals that other people seem to know innately, about which I have absolutely NO clue. 

Like cleaning above your interior doors. Do other people do this? REALLY?? Apparently so.

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Now, to me, my house looks clean. I mean, I worked on it QUITE a while recently and it looked the best it has looked in a long, long time. That was before I had a housekeeper come out to give me a quote for cleaning. She was trying to be nonjudgmental, I could tell. She went through the house and pointed out things that I swear I would never have noticed in several decades, saying that when she took on the job, she would be deep cleaning these areas. Huh?? I thought it was clean. Apparently not.


The quote was staggering, but when she was finished inspecting, I felt we were living in a home that had been a main target of germ warfare, had someone die in it from bubonic plague, and was a petri dish for e. coli. And it was all my fault!! She said she would bring in a team of "her girls" and they would be in my home -- here she looked me directly in the eyes, and seriously and firmly, to underscore her point, pronounced -- all day. All day.


She wasn't kidding. They have been here for 4 hours as I write this and they have only cleaned my bedroom and bathroom so far. 

I truly have no idea what they have been doing. I have been moving from room to room, trying to keep out of their way, too ashamed to look them in the eye. I mean, for the love of all that is holy, I can't even think of anything that could possibly take me 4 hours to do in there!!

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This is, without question, an embarrassing and humbling experience for me. I am good at so many other things. I want to follow them around and say, "I make a mean tuna casserole!!"  "You should hear me crack people up with my one-liners!"  "I taught Bible Study for 15 years!" "I am really great at accessorizing!"  "I won the class spelling bee in the 4th grade!" But no, I think, I must acknowledge that this is not my shining moment and swallow my pride. Apparently... I suck.

Well, as in other things in my life, I will defer to the experts. I am paying them, despite my extreme discomfort, to clean up our crud and make our lives better. It sort of reminds me of a conversation we had in Bible Study once, about how Jehovah's Witnesses go door to door to evangelize. "Well," I said, " we are doing our part. Somebody has to be home to answer the door." See, I can feel good because I'm helping somebody have a job; I'm helping to boost the economy.

I'm also having to come to grips with the fact that, no matter how hard I try, there actually is one area of my life that I will never be successful at. I just do not have the cleaning gene. I respect people who do. I'm amazed at their knowledge and aptitude.  I'm not good at organization either. I remember once my oldest daughter came back home after she'd moved away, and she was helping me clean our computer room. Scattered around  the desk were a lot of pens and pencils; she picked them up and put them in an empty cup that was sitting there. "That's genius!!" I exclaimed. Yes. That's just how seriously deficient I am in these things. I do not lie -- I would never have thought of something that simple, that basic. My brain just does not work that way.

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BUT....I remember once telling my mother-in-law, who has always been an immaculate housekeeper (God knows how she has endured visits to our home all these years but she does it with grace), that at the end of my life, I know I will never say, "I wish I'd cleaned more."  I have played with my children, I have read books that have opened my mind, I have explored forests, I have painted pictures as gifts, I have visited dear friends, I have written poems, I have cooked meals for my husband (that's sort of waning also, but that might be another blog post), and I have run like the wind. Ok, a slow breeze. But I have been busy living, putting my time and talents into what I have been created for. And I have tried, in my own pathetically inept way, to keep up with our home.

The point is, we all have something that we're not good at. That's not a crime; it's a simple fact of life. And we can let it make us feel bad, and inadequate, and a lesser human being, or we can laugh at ourselves, count our blessings and turn to others for help. Our faults do not  define us.
                                                                                 
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Cleaning house has made me think about the life that I have left to me, too. It's time to take a look at the things I carry within me, and toss out what doesn't work, what I no longer need, what no longer fits. Time, too, to dust off what I cherish, shine what's gotten dull, and pull out what's gotten pushed to the back of the closet.  My gut feeling is, I am in the midst of upheaval or renewal.

Christian's high school graduation will end a chapter of my life which has lasted 29 years. For more than a quarter of a century, I have had children at home with me. 29 YEARS, people!!! We have been through many journeys, my children and I, together and separately. We've shared both laughter and tears, we've seen joy, and we've gone through some tough times, too. When I started out as a mom, I was young and incredibly unaware of what was about to shape my life. I end this part of motherhood much older, I hope a little wiser, but as always,  deeply, fiercely in love with my children. As this chapter closes with my own bittersweet graduation of sorts, I am excited at the possibilities ahead  -- what shall I do, what shall I do? I have, oh, about a million ideas.

                                                                                 


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25 comments:

  1. We are identical twins...torn apart at birth... I just know it. I don't have the cleaning gene either. My mother had twice that of the normal person and I felt I spent my whole childhood cleaning. My theory now is to ask the question should I do "this" or clean? "This" always wins! I have also said that I would be horrified if at the end of my life anyone would say "She kept a very clean house." That would be so very sad. And there's not a chance of it happening! (I don't even want to know how much time the house cleaners would have to spend on my house. Especially right at this minute. Hey, do you need a newspaper from the past 6 months?)

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    1. I knew immediately that we were sisters. However, it must be through our dads because my mom is worse than I am. That's what I blame it on, anyway -- that I was never taught to clean. This should make you feel better about how much time cleaners would be at your house -- late this afternoon, the owner ended up calling in more women to come in to help finish up. I think there were about 10 people in all and they finished up around 6:30 this evening! (They got here at 8:30 am.) Honestly, like I said, I thought the house had looked halfway decent when they got here...but it really is amazing now. I'm so glad some people rock at cleaning!!And no, I have my own newspapers stacked in the garage...somewhere...I know I saw them a few weeks ago.... ;)

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  2. This is my all time favorite. If I wasn't laying on my be I would be ROTFL!!!!!! Love it and can so relate. The cleaning gene passed me by also. I have heard tales of my Granny taking everything out of her house on Saturdays and literally throwing scalding water on the walls. At least this was a story my Mom told. If you could see my home you would know I did not take after her side of the family. LOL

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  3. Congrats on the grad! :) Stopping by from the blog hop :)
    Cindy

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    1. Thanks so much Cindy! I appreciate it and will do the same!

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  4. Karen, I think we need to start a new club -- maybe the Disheveled Housewives of Facebook! Wow, your Granny was industrious! I would have given up at just having to drag all the stuff outside...God bless those pioneer types!! I'm certainly not cut of that cloth.

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  5. Thanks for the laugh; congratulations to the graduate; enjoy your clean home (it never lasts long); finally, I wish you much happiness, health and adventures as you start the next chapter of your life!

    P.S. I can't wait to read your cooking blog!

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    1. Thanks Mary Jo!! I said everyone has to get over here QUICK before we totally trash it again!! Everyone's invited but you have to show up RIGHT NOW!!!! ;)

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  6. Choices - read a book or clean the house? Well, you've been to my house so you know the answer. lol

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    1. Reading a book trumps everything. NO QUESTION.

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  7. Wonderful Blog you have created of course the subject is also interesting and considering cleaning services is an important concept these days so many peoples are hiring them for cleaning their offices restaurants and even house cleaning too which include post construction and post renovation cleaning.
    Commercial cleaning service vaughan

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to read and I agree with you -- everyone should hire housekeepers if at all possible!! Mainly because I don't want anyone to ask me to help them. ;)

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  8. That "pencils in the cup" moment is really the epitome of our personalities. ;) I can't wait to see this super clean house! And I think what I've been coming to realize recently is that it's important to know your own limits. If you don't get anything out of cleaning, and you can afford to delegate, then by all means, don't waste time cleaning. Life's too short! (Personally, I like cleaning because it scratches my OCD itch. But grocery shopping, for instance? Hate it. So I have my groceries delivered!)

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  9. Better get here soon! Lucky for you, they are coming again before you arrive. Hmmmm, I may have to look into the groceries thing, because I don't like that either. Wonder if I can also hire a cook? I may have to talk to Dad about his retiring...he may need to work a few years longer to pay for all this... haha.

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  10. Congratulations on your son's graduation. I hope you had a lovely day.

    I know what you mean about cleaning. I once cleaned my house really well, and then my aunt came, and told me how dirty it still was… I just don't get it.

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  11. Momshomerun, it's this Saturday and I'm still in a panic trying to get everything done! Thanks for the congrats, I know it will be a wonderful moment once we're there...I don't get it either!! I try really hard, but like I said, apparently there are things people see and do that I am totally unaware of.

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  12. I think I am one of those horrible people who have the cleaning gene. I do love to clean, but it comes with hazards: 1) no one will invite you over 2)You are constantly cleaning up after yourself-even if you're not finished with the glass you're drinking out of 3) If you have OCD, it's worse than usual.

    Teresa

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    1. Teresa, I so wish I had just a little bit of that gene!! I have a friend like that, and I don't think I've ever had her to my house. I know she would think she was going to catch something!! I have been trying to maintain now, though, and they also are coming in on a regular basis to help me out. I succumbed. Lol!

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  13. Haha! I, too, cannot let other people outside my family, see the state of my house in a daily basis! Housekeeping isn’t and never will become my strong point too! When I clean, I only work on the surface, and I’m contented to have my house generally presentable on my taste. I get a solid homily from my mom whenever she visits because apparently, the state of my home isn’t presentable enough for her. So, on the times when the cleaning mood really strikes me, I grab my mighty rug, duster, and cleaning solutions and wipe out the interiors of the doors and insides of the cabinets.

    Skylar Cox

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