Sunday, October 09, 2011
Pine Sol Shining on and on
I hate cleaning. I clean about as regularly as I post to this site. Unlike those saintly fools who delight in cleaning and fancy nothing more than mopping the floors and scouring the grout, I spend my cleaning hours in a time sink in which my frustration ebbs and flows but never quite dissolves.
I wait for a day when I have something to do that I want to do even less than clean.
I begin with a mixture of faint hope and grim determination like I am sojourning from Rivendell with the Fellowship.
For weeks I have fooled myself into thinking "it's not too bad in here." Wipe down the counter, stack the mail in a pile once every couple weeks, a real clean won't be too bad.
So I begin by telling myself without much conviction that I will be done in an hourish. But as I proceed I realize what squalor I have been living in. After an hour passes and I have just managed to vacuum the rugs, I understand that this task will not be completed today or, indeed, likely ever.
What is the stuff on the floor that I have to scrape off with a knife? When did I let that drip on the floor and blithely leave it there? Is the wood turning black along the baseboard? Is it in the grain? Can I even get that out? And where does all this hair come from? Why does every pass of the sponge come back with a strand of hair? ARE WE GOING BALD IN HERE?
It seems as I clean that, impossibly, everything is getting dirtier. I am sliding down the hill I set out to climb.
This is how I find myself windexing the glass windows of the cabinets at 12:30 in the morning. As I typed that I looked up at the recently windexed glass and saw that it was all streaky, and so had to get up and DO IT AGAIN.
Do you know how much time I spent mopping the floor? I must be the most inefficient, incompetent floor mopper in the history of OCD.
(On a side note, I have never found a mop that I really like. They all seem to push the water around without doing much scrubbing. I need a mop that grinds dirt off the floor like a belt sander.)
I don't have time for this shit. How do people with kids not suffocate under their own detritus? I didn't clean the whole house. I vacuumed 2 rugs, cleaned the kitchen counters, mopped the downstairs floors, and cleaned the downstairs windows, and it was like four fucking hours. I have yet to clean either bathroom, straighten up all the papers and crap that are inevitably covering every flat surface in the house, clean the wood floor upstairs, clean the upstairs windows and then jump out one of them.
It feels like a super-human effort to keep the place at non-toxic. I used to sort of accept that I was a slob. But being a slob sucks. Living in filth is uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing. Like we're not fully capable of handling simple grown up tasks like keeping the windowsills from turning black.
I just got up to get a glass of seltzer and on that little 10-foot journey to the fridge I noticed that I had forgotten to clean the side door window. When I opened the fridge, I looked down and realized that there was crap on the floor that I had missed during my cleaning session because I hadn't opened the fridge door while I was cleaning. What WAS I thinking? I actually managed to ignore the crud on the floor (which is how the floor gets to be such a shitshow to clean in the first place), and windexed the damned side door window.
Now that the inside of the window is nice and clean, I can see so much better all the filth coating the outside of it.