Seriously. What is my domestic problem? We had friends coming for a barbecue last Sunday afternoon and I spent the previous day and a half cleaning my house; basically my weekend. This type and this length of a panic clean up are typical.
The living room tends to have DVD’s strewn in front of the TV stand where there is shelving for said DVD’s. The long coffee table is covered in everything from magazines to hair elastics. The side tables generally house candy wrappers of some description or crumpled up Kleenex (the ones the dog didn’t find to eat). The mantle simply collects dust. It only takes two days and it’s back to its pre-dusted status. Dust that is dusted off the mantle tends to somehow move on air currents that cause it to eventually settle into the fishbowl. Then I feel obligated to tell my kid to change little Pepper’s water, and so of course I end up changing little Pepper’s water when my kid doesn’t recognize the urgency of having the fish in a sparkling clean environment for when guests arrive who might choose to spend hours gawking at a boring, yet obviously well cared for and very clean fish.
The dining room, which shares the same space as the living room, struggles with the weight of mail, homework, library books and school bags endlessly placed on the table and chairs. I confess I have to clean the living room every night before we sit down to eat. And by cleaning, I mean redistribute the crap to various parts of the living room while we eat and then the next day, like Disney magic, it’s all back in the dining room.
Kitchen? Shit. It’s too small for everything I have, so neatly arranging counter space to make it look like I actually want things like a blender that gets used once or twice a month hogging coveted surface space is part of my guests-are-coming organization repertoire. I also enjoy staring at the pile of paint and painting supplies that sit in the corner of the kitchen beside the fridge and have done for about six months now. Man’s going to do something with the paint, I just can’t remember what.
We’re lucky to have two bathrooms. I get that. But that’s one extra bathroom I have to clean. And it’s one extra bathroom that is essentially the girls’ bathroom and the girls don’t treat their bathroom well. Half empty toothpaste containers strew on the counter while the new one has already been cracked into. Nail polish marks abound. The mirror sprayed with water spots. Hair everywhere. Clothes stripped off before a shower thrown onto the floor, abandoned. Then there’s my washroom. Same.
My bedroom. My oasis. I have a problem putting away clothes. They tend to linger on the end of my bed until I have a good pile that I have to sort through and decide how much of it I can just throw into the laundry basket. Not much unfortunately, because the girls have already beat me to it from when I yelled at them to pick their clothes up off of their washroom floor. So before I can even make my bed properly or think about tidying up my room, I have to fold a whole bunch of clothes and stuff them in drawers. As I look around at the dated green walls while doing this, I remember what Man was going to do with the paint. Right. Luckily, some of the drab wall is covered by the pile of stuff that tends to accumulate on my dresser tops. Bills, clothing, jewelry, face cloth, picture hangers, batteries. You know, stuff.
Tonight as I sit on my couch two whole days after tidying my house from top to bottom, I stare off between thoughts at the Lego shark that sits with its tail upon a yellow sticky note pad beside a DVD and a hair band at one end of the long coffee table. A half eaten dog rawhide, a pencil and a popcorn kernel sit on the floor beside the couch, while a school bag and some lacrosse clothes and equipment take over most of the second couch. I’m sipping my herbal tea and I think: fuck.