At some point during the cleaning cycle, my house completely loses it. By cleaning cycle I mean this: At the beginning of the cycle, I clean frantically before a) the arrival of out-of-town guests or b) my book group meeting, and then I rest lazily on my laurels for the next two-to-three weeks until I can no longer walk into the upstairs bathroom without sinking into despair. During week two of the cycle, the house teeters on the edge of respectability, and then one day it falls into the abyss of the downright dirty.
It seems to happen suddenly, this falling off, but of course on some level of my psyche I'm observing it as it happens. There is a certain amount of denial that goes on. I do a little touch up around the sink with toilet paper, wiping up little hairs (how I hate them) and bits of dried toothpaste, and I tell myself, "There, that should do it for another week." I dab at spilled juice in the fridge, run a finger over a bookshelf, and feel the house has been rightly restored to its pristine state.
Yesterday I realized that my house and I have come to one of our frequent impasses. It desperately needs to be cleaned, I desperately need to do a dozen other things. But while it's possible to put off dusting for long stretches of time, and the junk drawer can be reorganized at a later date, there comes a time when bathrooms can no longer be ignored. And if the floors aren't swept and vacuumed sooner rather than later, who knows what manner of vermin will feel free to move in and settle down?
So today I am cleaning. I am taking little breaks between the tubs and the beds and the desktops strewn with debris (kleenex, tiny car wheels, game pieces, sundry playing cards, Valentines from 2003, Kohl's price tags) to write this. Right now I am full of energy. After I clean Jack and Will's bathroom, I will probably be done for. It is a horrid bathroom, tiny and full of nooks and crannies. We moved into this house in May, and it is a good 1,000 square feet bigger than our last house (which was quite small--I don't want you to get the idea we've moved into a McMansion or anything), but the bathrooms are miniscule (the house was built in 1965, long before luxury bathrooms were all the rage).
So, take one tiny bathroom, and two boys who are not always possessed of the most accurate aim, and a bathtub filled with assorted plastic pieces that were once attached to other plastic pieces, but now float around rather abstractly by themselves, and add one woman and a spray bottle of Mrs. Meyers, which smells so good but doesn't actually clean all that much (I'll pull out the Comet and other toxic cleaners when nobody is looking), and you have me and my morning. An island of frustration and little tiny hairs. Fingers crossed that I'll survive.
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.