I’m on vacation except not really going anywhere. I’m here. But I’m a little one tracked and when I’m writing, I’m not doing housework.
The dust bunnies have multiplied and formed armies. The clutter has become fortresses in every room, and the dust webs are poised for attack! Armed with trash bags, a broom, and dust pan with a long handle, I am planning to destroy the enemy. Unfortunately the only thing that comes to mind is Pogo’s famous quote.
This is my doing! I did it to myself! I let things get out of hand. Why? I had every excuse in the book.
It’s only me here and there’s no one to care.
I’ll do it when I get to it.
It doesn’t matter.
I’ll clean up when I’d done this book.
So the same old excuses piled onto the old ones and the house has gotten worse. It got a semi-cleaning when a family member moved in with me last year. But it’s reached the point where I must stop and clean it. And truthfully, I hate having to sort through stuff.
So I am my worst enemy and I will get a grip on the mess. I have vowed to do this and I have set August as my month to tackle it.
When my kids were little, I killed myself to keep the house clean. I scrubbed both bathrooms everyday and I did the kitchen floor. I’d run the vacuum and dust daily. Did the laundry and made beds. Many a time, I tossed the toys onto the sofa and kept cleaning. The children’s clutter didn’t bother me. But I didn’t want them getting dirty feet or knees from my house! So I cleaned like a mad woman when they took naps.
With hardwood floors, I waxed and buffed. I had a pale gray, almost white wool rug in the dining room, foyer, and hallway. I didn’t choose them, I inherited them from a grandmother. I also inherited her pretty cherry furniture. That stuff was not child proof! I killed myself to keep things perfect.
At nineteen, I had a baby, a brand-new house on an acre of land, pretty furniture, and two cars (one new and one fairly new) in the driveway. Church mice had more money than we did, but we didn’t look it.
I had a huge garden. I had no clue what I was doing. I only knew I needed to raise food for my family as a way to stretch the budget. The first summer, I fought grass in the garden. It wouldn’t grow in the yard, but it went crazy in the garden. I fought bugs, cut worms, etc. Just when I got most of it under control, we had a drought and it was hot as blazes, then just as everything was about to be harvested, the turtles discovered it then…it rained and rained and rained! My garden turned into a mud hole and plants rotted. I cried. I was a total failure!
I learned and subsequent gardens improved considerably! I discovered Rodale Press and all the info on organic gardening. I learned to protect things from bugs, birds, and turtles! I learned to keep the weeds at bay, cut down my watering, and how to keep the garden from turning into a swamp when we had too much rain. And the whole time I kept the house spotless.
In a strange way, I was driven to do it. People looked at me and knew I was young. My husband was seven years older and a war vet, but no one considered that, they just looked at me toting two babies. I had to prove myself all the time.
My girls did not walk out the door without being perfectly groomed and perfectly dressed. Before my husband came home I called the girls inside and made them bathe and change into clean clothing. I’d re-braid their hair or pull it into pigtails with pretty ribbons. The table was set for dinner, and I’d run back to my room, wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair, and often change into cleaner clothes. We’d scurry to tidy up because daddy was coming home!
And that is how my life as Supermom got started! We eventually wound up in a townhouse and I had a full-time job. But my role as Supermom never ended. It just changed. Gone was the garden and the big freezer – there was no place for it in the townhouse. The girls were long since capable of doing their own hair and half the time they weren’t there for meals. My attempts to keep the house spotless were constantly thwarted. I’d come home from work and they had left a mess. If they were old enough to work or do other things, they were old enough to keep their bathroom room clean and not make messes in the house! I put my foot down, and they ignored it!
I had a serious Supermom meltdown one night around 1 a.m. as I attempted to make my house perfect. My husband came and got me out of the kitchen. He took me to bed and held me until I fell asleep. The girls were a little better after that. But I have noticed that my granddaughters have never gotten away with half the stuff they did because – catch this – their mom’s work! Excuse me, what was I doing 40 hrs a week? And why was I working? So they didn’t have college loans! Oh how short the memories!
The youngest child keep boomeranging and coming home. She married and brought her spouse, got rid of him, moved out eventually, moved back, moved away, moved back, then finally she was gone, except I had the granddaughter most of the week staying here because mom worked a horrible shift. Things stayed clean. It didn’t take much to keep it clean. But I also didn’t have the same energy. Besides playing Supermom was the stupidest thing I ever did.
Finally it was just my husband and me. I slacked off. We were renovating, which means construction dust and things in places where they shouldn’t be. Then my husband died and my world collapsed. I didn’t care. I tried out of rote to keep things tidy, but slowly I gave up.
So here I am facing a mess. A mess I made, little bit by little bit. It didn’t happen overnight. I’m not talking about straightening the pillows on the sofa or putting a few dishes in the dishwasher. I’m talking about dirt and accumulated clutter. I’m talking about sticky, dirty dust and the overflowing pile of junk mail in the foyer. A pantry that needs to be emptied, a fireplace and several chandeliers and ceiling fans in unused rooms that are filled with dust webs, curtains/drapes that need to be washed, starched, and ironed. Oh, the windows! And a deep and through vacuum. The ladder is my friend in this old house because the lowest ceiling downstairs in this old house is about 12 feet or a little under 4 meters.
So hi, ho, it’s off to clean I go! I’m armed and ready. This is going to be worse than editing!! New habit, two hours a day dedicated to cleaning my house! I want a clean house and maybe I’ll even be happier. In the meantime, the characters in my head are having a field day, for they are running a muck and enjoying total freedom. They are speed dating without my permission!
Anyone have tricks for doing this faster or easier? I want to know. Besides I’ve never figured out how to really scrub a floor or make it sparkling clean! I need some inspiration – all advice is welcome. How do you manage?