Dixie Peach: Like the Love Child of Hazel and Alice

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Like the Love Child of Hazel and Alice

While chatting with Darling Mollie last night I mentioned that it's time for me to get going with fall cleaning. I need plenty of time to get it done and completely out of my hair by the time I leave for the US because nothing makes me crazier than the idea of my MIL cleaning my apartment with me not here. That would literally leave me sleepless. I've mentioned recently that I'm territorial and my MIL cleaning things and putting stuff away in places where I'll never find them again gives me a twitch. But my MIL, a lady who loves to keep busy, will need a distraction while she's here with B so I'll leave her the windows and curtains to wash. 'Cause I'm nice like that.

I'm not good with housework. I don't do badly at it - mostly because my apartment isn't all that big - but I'd rather do other things than housework. And I sort of feel bad when I'm off in the kitchen or one of the bedrooms cleaning stuff. B's all alone in the living room and he gets a little lonesome when I'm not there and I'd simply rather be with him. If given the choice of scrubbing the kitchen sink when it's not in dire need of cleaning or grooving with my husband for a few hours, the choice is clear. This could be why my living room is always pretty clean and my back bedroom looks like a junk heap. But the clutter is beginning to overtake rooms and there's dusty film building up overall and despite my being able to lay my hands on the bill from 18 months ago when the kitchen heater was removed, I've misplaced a good 15 skeins of yarn - yarn I can't seem to find anywhere. Cardboard boxes from catalog orders build up to extreme proportions. I'm convinced that cardboard boxes come to my apartment to die. Once a box finds its way inside my apartment it's going to stay and breed and make more little boxes and it continues until I finally have enough, whip out the box cutter and send their chopped up souls to the recycler. Compressed and reinforced paper reincarnation.

It's generally at this point where I look at everything I need to do and begin to feel overwhelmed and feelings of being overwhelmed are just one step away from feelings of futility and feelings of futility lead to becoming one of those people who are found dead under stacks of newspapers with 47 cats milling about.

So I told Mollie that instead of trying to clean my whole apartment in two or three days of doing nothing but cleaning I'll do it over seven or ten days, a day for some rooms, two or three days for others. Make a list of everything that needs to be taken care of in each room and work on that room alone on its assigned day. Don't even try to put misplaced items belonging in other rooms back where they belong. Instead I'll throw them into a couple plastic bins I have and when everything is clean I'll put back the things in the rooms where they belong. Maybe that'll get rid of the virtual library of books that is beginning to form on my washing machine.

I'd considered making this a blogging project and taking some before and after shots but that may prove to be too humiliating. Taking pictures of the now grimy corners of my bathroom floor or the dusty kitchen shelves may be rather like me taking a picture of my ass. There's a 50% chance that yours is just as pale, dimpled and flabby as mine but it doesn't lessen the cringing thought that you'll know exactly how pale, dimpled and flabby it is. Maybe I'll take some less embarrassing pictures - pictures that would be the equivalent of a photo of my pale, flabby upper arm.

I figure some areas will just take one day. My bathroom shouldn't take more than two or three hours, including throwing away cosmetics I hate or no longer use. My kitchen may take two days. The refrigerator needs to be washed out and mystery items need to be purged from the freezer. And the jar of marshmallow fluff that I bought for an outrageous price and made only one sandwich from before thinking "Eh. It's not quite as tasty as I remember it being back when I was ten years old." needs to be unearthed from the back of the pantry cabinet and tossed. The living room will be a quicker clean but there are cabinets that need to be re-organized and those "semi-important papers" in the Ziploc bag that I spoke of last Friday should really be put in a place a bit safer than a drawer. I imagine most of them could actually just go through the shredder and then into the recycler. Letter size office paper reincarnation.

I'm planning this frenzy of cleaning for when my MIL and Gerd will be gone on a trip for three days. I'm hoping to do most of the cleaning in the mornings but some will have to be done in the afternoons and few things irk me more than to be hip deep in Swiffer cloths and disinfectant spray and have visitors drop over. If I can have some peace from them while I get to the tough stuff then so much the better. Cleaning! Organizing! Making lists and crossing things out! I don't have time to entertain!

But my grungy oven? I'm going to leave that for my MIL as a surprise for her to clean while I'm gone. Just so she knows I love her.



Blogger Tiffany said...

You know, blogging about it and posting the pictures couldn't be any worse then the laundry picture right?

Of course, no close-ups, just take an overall view of the room, and then we can say "Oh yeah! I have a room like that". And all the while you will be thinking "Suckers, if only they could see the closeup."

See its a win win!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Rositta said...

I'm Mom used to clean my house and I could never find anything when she was done. Boy do I ever miss that. Just leave some good stuff for her to clean not just the grungy stuff.There was a tv show here called neat freak where everything went into keep and toss containers. Looked good on tv but never really worked for me, everything ended up in the keep box...ciao

1:43 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I clean before I go on vacation, too. Because it's very important to make my friend Lora (the cat sitter) think I live like that all the time!

2:10 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

If you wouldn't mind, maybe while you are here in Mississippi you could swing by and clean up for me. I much prefer hanging out with Lily to cleaning, and she too gets lonely when I am off cleaning something. Poor thing needs my company. Hee, hee. good luck, I actually prefer your written descriptions to pictures in most cases, they are wonderful.

5:38 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Oh yes! I'm rootin' for ya because overwhelmed is my middle name.

I (ahem) STILL have a bunch (OK, maybe 9 or 10) of crates down in the basement from the kitchen renovation and they absolutely need to be sorted through, along with other various junky corners in the house that could look a LOT better. A little chunk of time every day is the only way to go for me because if I starte tearing everything apart trying to Do It All it never gets done and the place looks like more of a pit than usual.

And my m-i-l is now trained to only touch windows and the ironing board on our house. Everything else is off limits and she knows it. :-)

1:41 PM  

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