There are many mysteries of the universe that I will never be able to solve, like why my husband would come home and drop his iPod Nano and sunglasses on the staircase where they are quite likely to be crushed, literally, underfoot. (Close call honey!) Or why, when two of his nephews and his brother came to our house FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER he felt the need to POINT OUT the hairball the cat had expectorated that very morning (and which no one had yet cleaned up.)
OK, so my goal of keeping the house neat and organized this summer has not exactly been achieved.
Anyone who knows me will tell you — I have a lot on my plate these days.
The problem is, those plates get dirty, and guess who has to wash them?
But it doesn’t matter if you have two competing work deadlines, a mother who lives downstairs and is sick with cancer, and a daughter who is having a hard time coping with it all — someone needs to wash the plates, the pots, the pans, the floors, well – you get the idea.
There are three conditions our house has been in lately: 1) Nice and neat – that was right after the cleaning people came when I broke down and spent the money for their desperately needed help; 2) basically neat, but not really remotely clean; 3) like a frat house.
Last week it looked like a frat house. Despite that, we’d taken it easy on Sunday because sometimes you just need to nap and watch Home Alone for the 18th time (my daughter’s idea). It had been another crazy week, but I had a schedule and a plan for the next week. I’d even emailed my husband a long schedule of what was coming up for everyone in the household (my disabled sister was planning on a visit, the kid was going to dance camp, and I had another out of town business trip coming up.)
On Monday I was working on my laptop in my living room, trying not to look at the clutter, the sand on the floor that accidentally got dumped there from the latest beach trip, the unread magazines and assorted kid paraphernalia, when I got an email from my husband reminding me that his brother and two nephews were coming by the house around dinnertime on Tuesday, and then they were all going to a soccer game.
This presented a problem: for one thing, he’d never told me about this in the first place. My husband’s family lives in Philadelphia, and if I’d known they were coming there is no way I would have been napping on Sunday. I would have been vacuuming. My husband comes from a family of 10. You can say that his brother (a confessed, even proud, slob) would not care if my house is a disaster, but all it takes is one off-handed comment to one of my FOUR sisters-in-law and the family switchboard would get the broadcast: my husband is living in squalor. I love my mother in law dearly, but really, I don’t need her hearing about sand on the floor, much less cat puke.
As I always say before someone comes over, standards must be upheld! (It’s the only way the place gets cleaned I think. Which is a good argument for dinner parties.)
I just stared at the computer screen in horror. I didn’t even call my husband because I knew if I did I’d say something I would later regret.
I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know where to start. So of course it makes a lot of sense, right, that I tore apart my daughter’s room? Not the messy, disaster of a living room. Not the dishes in the sink.
But, in the end it was good. I took a break from work and my 5 year old and I went through all of her clothes, made piles for the consignment shop and Salvation Army, and got her organized for the rest of the summer and the beginning of school. We even went through some of her toys.
Once that was done, I put on some music and did a power attack – made the beds, rinsed the dishes, cleared off the dining room table, lit a candle. I gave up on the downstairs – my kid had a virus and was watching Home Alone (what else?) on a blow-up air mattress that filled the living room.
I tried to clear some boxes out of the hallway – one of which was a package from Soap.com (I’d won a cool gift certificate at BlogHer and ordered a bunch of stuff with it – Method hand soap and all natural toilet bowl cleaner. I ripped open the box, threw the cucumber-scented hand soap in the upstairs bathroom. I opened the all natural toilet bowl cleaner and squirted it in, right as I heard my relatives coming up the stairs.
I scrubbed, then grabbed the baby wipes to make the rest of it look better (there was no time to go for “sparkle” – non toxic was the best I could hope for!) I had just enough time to wash my hands (cucumber!) before greeting them at the door.
It all worked out; my daughter was able to proudly show off her incredibly neat room. The men folk all used my cleaned up bathroom, and everything was OK. Well, it was OK until they came downstairs and my husband pointed out the cat hairball situation. Followed by my daughter saying to me: ”I can’t believe you haven’t cleaned that up yet.”
Seriously people? Seriously?!
Summer is almost over and I want to go to the beach. I am calling the cleaning people again. The cat will be in a time out.
This is an original post by Theta Pavis for JerseyMomsBlog.com.
Photo credit given to cats.about.com.