I called my friend, Babs, the other day, but she couldn’t talk. She was busy cleaning her house before her house cleaner got there.
Babs isn’t the only person I know who does this. My mother was an immaculate housekeeper but toward the end of her life she wasn’t able to keep up with it as well as she liked, so she hired someone to help. Yet, each week she would continue to clean the house before they showed up. I don’t get that. I think if you’re hiring someone to clean your house, you should let them do their job and stop interfering.
But then that cleanliness gene must skip generations, because my idea of deep cleaning is sweeping the room with a glance. I admit, this means there are times when someone drops by unannounced and I quickly greet them at the door and then chat awkwardly in the front lawn without inviting them in. I do this because I feel uneasy letting them see my collection of dust bunnies that have become large enough to be considered household pets.
I like to rationalize this house keeping deficiency as my small attempt at countering the media’s undue influence on us. Watch one hour of daytime television and the reasons for our obsession with cleanliness become apparent. We have products that clean our air to our hair, our floors to our doors, our gutters to our putters, and just about every mentionable, as well as a number of unmentionable, parts and places. The other morning after showering, shampooing, rinsing, moisturizing, brushing, drying, fluffing, flossing, tweezing, defoliating and deodorizing I was so worn out I had to take a nap before continuing my day.
It’s enough to make the rebel in me want to run outside and roll around in the mud. But then I’d no doubt track dirt all over my floors and as soon as I did someone would show up and think I lived like that all the time.
However, what would be the real harm in that? I doubt too many people spend their last few minutes on earth wishing they had kept their kitchen floor cleaner and brighter, or that they had done just one more load of laundry in an attempt to get their whites even whiter. I’ve wandered through a number of cemeteries in my lifetime and have yet to see a stone engraved with the words, “Here lies Mary. She kept a really clean house.”
So, I bet when it comes to our Last Call we don’t regret the days we didn’t make the bed or do the dishes as much as the ones we didn’t make time to watch the sunset, or play with the kids more, or share a good hearty laugh with a friend.
Besides tossing a little glitter in those dust bunnies and cobwebs in the corners of the room makes the house feel so festive!
Wow this so so good and so true.. Love it. I hate to admit when we lived in Salina and I was teaching full time I had a housekeeper. Ron would get so upset with me when I would be hurrying around the night before she came thinking I have to pick up and get this house in order before the housekeepers comes the next day. How crazy is that?? With age comes wisdom.. I am so glad to have friends stop by and now dont worry about my house. Thanks for the great blogs!!!
Love the “sweeping the room with a glance!” You write so wonderfully! Hope to see you at the Manhattan Magazine launch party next week!
I’m going to try that ‘sweeping with a glance’ sounds like it might work better than what I’ve been doing. Fun read.