Monday, November 09, 2009

Cleanliness is next to clean-limbed (in my dictionary)

Many years (actually, decades) ago, a group of us from college developed the habit of gathering twice a year, sans children and other significant others. We started with a stolen Saturday afternoon (some of us were nursing babies), which later grew to an entire day, an overnight, and eventually a whole weekend. It gave us an opportunity to smoke, drink, eat chocolate, watch R-rated movies, play cards, and discuss whatever subjects were pressing at the time. Thirty (30?!?) years later, we smoke less and drink less and eat less, but we still gather and gab.

This past weekend, the group met up at my house, which meant I did not have to drive anywhere but I had to clean everything. I'm one of those people who cannot see the dirt in my own home except through the eyes of others, family members excluded. After executing a rapid "spring cleaning" in anticipation of this weekend, all I can say is, Oh. My. God. It was gross. It was inexcusable. It was embarrassing. My house was filth personified.

But now it is clean! And I would like to keep it that way. Occasionally, I consider hiring someone to clean, rationalizing it would take only one or two hours a week to keep things under control. Then I think, surely, SURELY, I could spend one or two hours a week doing just that. But for some reason, I don't.

Not that I don't create a cleaning schedule for myself. Living alone, if I did an abbreviated spring cleaning in one area each week, my house would always be presentable. Week 1: bedrooms. Week 2: bathrooms. Week 3: livingroom, diningroom, West Wing. Week 4: family room and kitchen. This would be beyond the weekly laundry and vacuuming and toilet swishing. This would be the mopping and the decobwebbing and the dust bunny roundup. Not everything would need to be done every time, but each area would receive a bit of individual attention, to keep things from going to hell and to forestall a cleaning marathon such as the one that occurred last week.

What usually happens, though, is when it comes time to execute the plan for week 1, I think, Well, it's still clean from the last cleaning and I'd rather do such-and-such and I'll do it next time. And that is usually the end of that.

Actually, if I could just keep the breakfast bar clear, I would be happy.

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