Just a little blog about me and mine.

Life With the World’s Most Thorough Cleaner October 6, 2008

Filed under: family — Katie @ 11:24 am

One of the main reasons I think blogs are so popular is that we all have an innate curiosity about the inner workings of other people’s lives. Wow, that family can’t get anywhere on time either! Her cat is sick, I hope he gets better, even though I’ve never met him. He saw this really great movie–I should check that out.

I’m a sociologist by training, and while I thought it was normal to know what cars the neighbors drive and figure out the relationships for the people that are hanging out at their house (we used to live next door to gay Panamanian men with a rainbow cat sticker on their car, on the other side was a house that hosted Spanish speaking Pentecostal church in their basement and all of this right down the street from the headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church), PL told me this was being nosy. I argued that it’s vital to know about your neighbors’ comings and goings when you live in a neighborhood where you have to play the “Fireworks or Gunshots?” game on a regular basis. I’ve been canvassed by the police and hadn’t heard or seen anything, so now when I hear a loud noise, I quietly make a mental note of the time in case a detective knocks on my door when I’m in my pajamas. There’s also a teenage girl who smokes while she walks to the bus stop in the morning–I should figure out where she lives and tell her mother.

We never seem to have enough time with most of our friends to share these mundane details of life, but we can read their blogs when we’re supposed to be working. PL and I are blessed to have two good friends we see often enough, and have known for enough years, that we can talk about things like our pets digestive health and other topics that someone else might not want or need to know about. I remember being at a party with these friends and another couple, and I mentioned that we have the same fight over and over again, and it’s about the dishes. They were so happy to hear this, and it turns out their major relationship issue is refilling the hand soap dispenser.

Sharing your living space with another person is always entertaining and often infuriating because no matter how long you have known someone, they continue to surprise and amuse you. That’s the point I guess.

As an only child, I always liked having my own space, liked things my way, and couldn’t imagine sharing my living space as an adult. I even recall expressing incredulity at why folks always crashed in each other’s dorm rooms in college–so crowded! Just go back to your own room!  Fate and irony has a way of making you look stupid when you boldly make a statement like that (also when you make statements about how Agnes Scott girls suck), and I found myself shacking up in a (very messy) dorm room at Agnes Scott and still shacking up with the same Agnes Scott girl in slightly less cramped living quarters 5 years later.

To quench anyone’s curiosity about the dull routines of daily life in our family, I’d like to share something that might be surprising to some people…PL is the world’s most thorough cleaner. It came as a surprise to me for sure. We share house work fairly equitably, but I have more motivation for it and I’m a big “nester.” Especially since PL went from a part-time worker to full-time (plus lots more) law student, I’ve done more of the daily cleaning tasks. I would be a great Southern housewife, but the cards weren’t dealt that way.

Left to her own devices though, PL doesn’t show a ton of interest in being neat. If I ever go insane, it will be because of tiny bits of paper that seem to multiply like bunnies all over the dresser. It only took 5 years, but I finally figured out her cleaning psychosis.  She can’t pick up the trash from the dresser without dusting it and refreshing it’s finish with orange oil. She can’t pick up sweaters from a chair and put them in the closet without picking up everything else on the floor of the closet and organizing her shoes. She can’t vacuum the rug without vacuuming the baseboards (we have baseboards?). She can’t wipe down the bathroom sink without getting out Q-tips to wipe around the faucet.

We did a lot of major seasonal cleaning this weekend because a) we needed to, b) her law school friends were coming to our house for the first time and we had cobwebs and c) my parents are probably coming to town next weekend and the way I get them to be ok with me being gay is to have a cleaner house than them and the world’s cutest grandkids, er, dogs.

Friday night I moved through a giant stack of dishes and picked up clutter and dusted 5 rooms in the house before PL even finished with the bathroom. By Saturday evening, I was bleary eyed and trying to stay awake and she had the vacuum out again, finding more pet hair. On Sunday, I’m was trying to watch Tina Fey on SNL online, and she was vacuuming yet another room (is there some secret passage to a hidden wing of the house?). Then I leave for a couple of hours when I thought the house was totally clean, and I walk back in to find the cushions off the couch, some kind of Arm and Hammer powder on them, and PL vacuuming and fluffing them all (thank you, they smell really nice now). I went outside to play with the dogs, while she stayed inside to clean lint out of tiny holes in the the washing machine with a toothpick.  I tend to exaggerate for dramatic effect, but she really did all that.  So, that’s how we roll…a dishcloth in one hand, a vacuum in the other, and two dogs trailing behind leaving a trail of dirt and leaves on the clean floor.


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