Friday, January 8, 2010

Spring cleaning--the Spin Cycle

As those of you who have visited my house may have deduced, cleaning is not my pastime of choice. When I saw this week's spin cycle topic, I almost had to google the term "spring cleaning" before I had a vague recollection of hearing the term from my mom when I was a kid. Let's just say the closest I typically get to official spring cleaning is in October when my mom usually visits us for a week.

We ALWAYS clean my picture windows in the living room, because frankly? My mom cannot handle seeing all the finger prints. There is an audible sigh of relief from her when we are done, and she spends the day pointing out to me how much sunnier it is in my living room now that the inch of grime has been cleaned away. And she's right. Once she is done cleaning, I no longer have to use three lamps in broad daylight.

It really helps to have my mom around to assist me with this task. First of all, I have to stop periodically to get the kids a snack or keep them from killing each other, but she is still there reminding me to finish the task. Were I on my own, I probably would quit halfway because I got distracted by a pretty butterfly or something.

Oh, who am I kidding? If she weren't there, I wouldn't be cleaning the windows in the first place.

Also, it is good to have my mom's perspective because I get so used to the accumulation of sticky handprints on the windows that I become inured to it. I need her to point out how bad it is so I will realize that glass is typically clear, transparent, see-through, even.

I don't think I am a total slob, though my sister (who was forced to share a room with me throughout childhood) might disagree. I do try to keep the house clean. Truly, I do. For example, I just now finished mopping the kitchen floor. I did a load of laundry, cleaned and vacuumed the living room and am at this moment making turkey broth. I am not completely lazy. So, why is my house more cluttered than I would like?

I blame the kids. And Bil. But mostly the kids.

What other possible answer could there be? I don't play with toy cars or eat lollipops or bleed all over the kitchen floor when I bash my head in while jumping on the bed. No, it is not I who trails Cheerios throughout the house or who wipes dirty hands on mirrors, windows, walls, and other people. And I most certainly do not spit my bubble gum out wherever I feel like.

I do not leave stray socks, coats, shoes and underwear in odd places. I do not shave and leave tiny little hairs all over the sink and floor. And I never, no never, miss the toilet. Ever. I alwaysget my waste products into the commode, not on the toilet seat or the floor around the toilet or even the wall near the toilet. Nope. Always in the toilet. Miraculous, right?

I think the problem is that I am horribly outnumbered. How does one lonely woman keep up with the avalanche of debris produced by 4 human beings, three of whom are kids and have an amazing knack to make messes Hazmat might have difficulty cleaning up?

On top of that, once I have cleaned a room, it not only doesn't stay clean for more than 10 minutes, but the other rooms that I have neglected that day look like a tsunami and Hurricane Katrina hit simultaneously.

Regardless, I have made some decluttering goals this month, just like I do every year, but I have also finally faced reality. Which is this: until Bil allows me to rent my own apartment where my kids are not allowed to visit, I will never have the pristine, beautifully decorated abode that I fantasize about. Nor will I get a good night's sleep, in all probability.

And I think I am OK with that. Most of the time. I love my kids (and Bil) even more than a clean house. So, I will put up with the messes and persevere in teaching my kids to clean up after themselves. I will continue to coach Danny in proper aim in the bathroom, and enforce our no-food-outside-the-kitchen policy.

And most importantly, I will beg my mom to come back in October. She couldn't make it this last Fall, so no window cleaning was done. You can imagine the state of my living room picture windows. By next October, we'll be living in complete darkness all day long, like Alaska in the winter.

Unless of course, my mother comes to visit.


Jan said...

Could your mom come visit me? My windows are a mess. And I just have one teenager left at home, so what's my excuse?

I'll let you know when I think of one...

Sprite's Keeper said...

Would it surprise you that I never clean our windows? I just figure since I'm outnumbered by the kid and the dogs (all three have been known to slobber on them), I'll leave it until the dogs are too old to stand on their hing legs and the kid is too old to stop putting her tongue on things. I have another five years or so. :-)
You're linked!

Mrsbear said...

It's impossible, I know. Even when I spend all day cleaning and tidying (when I have just the one at home), by the evening you can't even tell. Socks, toys, random bits of garbage, wrappers. Luckily for me the dogs scarf down whatever food stuff makes it to the floor, so that's one less thing. Windows? Those are way down on the list or priorities, way past hot shower and basic hygiene.

Kim said...

there is not a mom out there who can really, honstly keep a clean house unless...

A) they are mean and never, ever let their children play, but instead make them act like little zombies, sitting in one place all day long

B) stay one step behind their children all day long, doing nothing but picking up after them.

Personally, if I go into the home of someone with children and the house is not cluttered with toys, sippy cups and cookie crumbs... I assume they are a total phony trying to put on the act of cleanliness.

oh! and I could totally use a visit from your mom as well. ;)

Susan said...

I could totally hear/say Aunt B say all that stuff, but weirdly she had my Grandma S voice. :)
I hate cleaning and I question anyone who enjoys it.

Sarah said...

This is hilarious. I love the part where you no longer have to have 3 lights on in the middle of the day.

We lived together for 2 years and honestly you were not a slob so high fives all around.

I feel your pain, frustration and lack of enthusiasm towards cleaning. There is a silver lining---when Tommy heads to pre-school and you are alone, completely alone, for a few hours you will enjoy cleaning and seeing the outcome. Don't misunderstand, it will get messy again, but you will get to enjoy it for a little while :)

bernthis said...

my sister used to love me to visit her. I'm so compulsive and she is such a slob that I literally couldn't help but to clean her house (well some of it)

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

You're so lucky your mom helps out. My mom would just sit there and say, "I don't know how you live like this; it isn't how you were raised."
Windows do look so good when they're clean and streak free. But then the damn kids and pets get to them...

Mama Zen said...

Windows? I'm supposed to clean the windows, too?

Ginny Marie said...

We have so much clutter, it drives me crazy! But it just keeps accumulating.

I washed our front picture windows this fall, and just about killed my husband when he told company that our windows had never been washed. Half the stuff I do around here never even gets noticed!