Out of all the recurring house-chores out there, keeping things clean is the worst. No sooner have you washed, dried, folded, and put the laundry away when the next load is ready to be washed. No sooner have you cleaned the kitchen to perfection when it’s time to make dinner. No sooner have you finally sorted through all that junk mail when today’s mail comes in. And of course all of this isn’t counting that secret messy office and the master bathroom that is never quite clean because, let’s face it, you’re the only ones who see it anyway. Keeping your house clean and in order is like a constant uphill battle. In snow. Wearing skis.
But today some good friends came over so I wanted to be sure the house was spick and span for their visit. As soon as the hurried during-Maciek’s-short-nap cleaning was over, that magical feeling set in. You know the one. It’s that feeling you get when, all of a sudden, your house is perfectly clean and all you can think of is wonder who replaced your home with that beautiful model home. You can actually *see* the kitchen counters. Your table functions as an eating space again. The baby toys and blankets are all contained. So you reverently tiptoe around all the rooms and only whisper in quiet awe so as not to disturb the wonderful cleanliness of it all.
What puzzles me most is the fact that I even GET this feeling to begin with. All my pre-married life, I was that person who swore by the “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?” adage. Seriously. Every time I was, ahem, gently reminded to clean my room and desk when I was a kid, at the end I’d think the whole thing looked kind of eerie and creepy. I much preferred my lived-in, cozy clutter. But as soon wifedom descended upon me, the tables completely turned. Oh sure, I didn’t walk around with Clorox wipes attached to my belt lest I find a smudge, but I definitely got way more obsessed with cleaning. These days I have to avert my eyes from my kitchen sink if I know there are dishes in it because it makes me uncomfortable. I’m genuinely saddened to see mail strewn about my kitchen table. And the basket of clean laundry that’s been sitting around since yesterday, patiently waiting to be folded around Maciek’s erratic sleep schedule? Don’t even get me started.
So you can understand why, this evening, I am content to simply sit on our couch, being careful not to crease the throw pillows and blankets too much, begrudgingly marring the vast expanse of our clean coffee table with a coaster for my water glass, just to bask in all this serenely clean beauty.
Fortunately our couch faces away from our kitchen, which is already besmattered with this evening’s pots, pans, and dishes.