I admit, I’m not the best of housekeepers. Removing every speck of dust just doesn’t seem that important, especially when considered in relation to the current global crisis—or most anything else on my agenda. Our house isn’t dirty, by any means, but I don’t hold myself to the same standard that my grandmothers set, or even my parents. (My dad actually polished the plumbing inside the bathroom vanity!)
Moving into a brand new home has been a revelation. To start with, the place was spotless when we were handed the keys. It had been cleaned for our walk-through the previous week, and cleaned again the day before we closed escrow. I realize that it will never again be so immaculate, but there is a certain pressure to maintain this level of cleanliness for as long as possible.
I was talking to my friend as she cleaned off the top of her dryer. As a large, flat surface in the room connecting her house to her garage, her dryer was a convenient dumping spot for all sorts of debris, a backwater where flotsam washes up and is left stranded by the ebbing tide.
At our house, our dryer just collects dust were-rabbits, but we have The Shelf that serves the same function. It’s also just inside the garage door. Currently it provides a temporary home for a semi-disposable plastic container a friend send home leftovers in, some cans of organic cat food our resident Cleopatra spurned, two dust masks, a nightlight, a monkeypod candy dish, an old wristwatch with the hands proclaiming 1:45, a green milk jug lid, and one tube of Crystal Lite “On the Go” lemonade. I’d sort through the pile but it’s easier to let it sit.
After all the work I put into cleaning the house last week, I need to do it all over again. The company came. The company stayed. The company left behind linens to be washed, a bathroom to be cleaned, and crumbs on the carpet—not to mention the dog drool on the furniture, paw prints on the floor, and fur everywhere.
Of course, it was wonderful to get together, and we’ve very, very happy that everyone visited. But now it’s back to the housework. Houses, especially houses that are lived in, don’t stay clean for long.
Funny how this ties in with my recent reading in the gospels…
For the third day this week, I’m scrubbing floors, disinfecting toilets, and de-fuzzing ceiling fans. Sound like fun? You bet.
It’s a good thing that company’s coming, or this house would never get cleaned. I can think of a zillion other things I’d rather do—like be stuck in traffic, or yank out the spiny thistles threatening my garden—without gloves. (Though it’s interesting that I’m using the housework to avoid balancing the checkbook.)
Three days to clean one house sounds a bit extreme. I can do enough to make things look nice in a few hours—dust, vacuum, swish a brush around a toilet—and that’s what I usually do. And that’s the problem. All the surface stuff looks clean and shiny. The places where guests usually go is neat and clutter-free. Just don’t open the closet.