I used to really love to clean. That is, prior to children, and marriage, and cohabitation. I guess it would be more accurate to say I used to really love to clean…after myself…and only my things. I could wile hours away using a Magic Eraser on parts of my apartment that no earthly person would ever even see. I would buy exotic textiles, like hemp mixed with Orca blubber and Asian baby hair, so that I could buff the floors to a shine and lay supine on the hardwood to stare at a ceiling fan turn while Fiona Apple and Bic Runga played moodily in the background. Now the only person in my house who gets to lay on the floor and stare at a turning thing is my 10 month old, and it’s only after she has passed out from the fumes rising off the floor I’ve just cleaned.
Now that I’m shacked up with some of the world’s messiest humans and canines, I have had to lock away my toothbrushes, erasers, and cloths in favor of more expedient methods, like the leg of my sweat pants or my own palm. If I didn’t have to worry about shooting a baby’s eye out, I’d use a power washer and an extension cord for my daily wipe down. I am still investigating a black market stun gun so that the second I see a sippy cup starting to topple or a bowl of apple sauce about to launch, I can zap my offender into a paralytic position. Baby or not, that’s one Pavlovian response they’ll learn real quickly. G would be in a permanent state of ‘stun’ as I’d have to zap him the second he crossed the threshold to the home, just prior to that point where his work clothes, shoes, bag, and contents of every pocket combust into a thousand airborne projectiles. And then he’d have to stay in that state straight until I push his stiff body back out the door in the morning. What’s that, honey? You need your cell phone? Well, it’s not like you’re actually going to pick up when I call you 14 times today, but here you go! (toss out the door.)
Particularly now that we’re selling our home, I’ve had to up the ante on cleaning, in an attempt to make our home feel – in a word – sanitized. And it’s grueling work. There truly is no worse answering machine message to overhear when you’re in the midst of feeding a baby and a toddler than a realtor chirping that they’ll be bringing people by in 20 minutes. Call back only if that’s a problem! Call? I don’t even have time to search for the phone and then hit 10 digits. How about I just light a match and throw some flares; When you pull up to find the house ablaze, you’ll know it wasn’t a convenient time. Arson is a much simpler solution than actually trying to clean. It feels a little like exploring a petrified forest when you attempt to deep clean a home overtaken by children and men. You’re breaking out tools used only in archaeological dig sites to clean the counter and putting on, not only gloves, but protective facial masks, when attempting the bathrooms.
I’ve had to wave my white flag of surrender to G since putting the house up for sale. I just can’t find the time and/or inspiration to keep the house clean 24/7 on my own. This means, relinquishing some of my Type A preferences in favor of working as a team to get the house pulled together. I wouldn’t quite say we’re a team as that implies a 50/50 approach. It’s more like I’m the disgruntled coach and he’s the last player on the bench, to whom I have to yell, “come on, kid, don’t you want to play? Put your jersey on, and get in the game!”
And it takes MONUMENTAL control on my part to turn the other way when I see him clean with the only agent he’ll ever use:
Yes, that’s water. No additives. Just old fashioned water. Not renowned for it’s cleaning properties in Western society but quite coveted in third world nations.
Whereas I’m packing this kind of heat. If cleaners formed a gang, we’d throw out hand signals that look like squeezing a Windex spray bottle as we roll in our SUVs. ‘Sing with Me’ tapes up loud, bass up high. Wassup, Arm & Hammer?!
I guess I can’t complain that he’s not Mr. Clean. G, to his credit, does still boast a full head of hair. Though I keep trying to tell him that Mr. Clean – in all his shiny baldness – probably pulls a lot of chicks. Nothing gets a housewife hot and bothered like a muscle-bound man blasting through oven grease, particularly if his name is Don Limpio (check out that image I found)! Alas, I hope to soon be out of house sale mode and will retire G’s cleaning jersey to the same high shelf that my long lost hemp-Orca-blubber-baby-hair-cleaning-cloths rest in peace.
Now to sneak some Clorox into that bowl of water…(hopefully he doesn’t drink from that bowl in between wipes).