Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Monk, I Am Not

You know what I'm excited about? In another couple of days, McMama, McPapa and Oscar's Sister the Youngest will be flying in from New York to spend a week with us desert-dwellers, and specifically, to help Oscar celebrate (mourn?) the passing of his twenties. You know what I'm not so excited about? All of the prep work that is involved in having family visit from across the country. I know I shouldn't get too worked up about it, because honestly, it's family. And if you can't let your hair down with your family enough to let them see that you, too, live in squalor, well, you might need to work on your relationship with your family. But still...Mama Jo did ingrain in me a deep need to bust out the cleaning products when I know I will be having visitors, so I have a plan to get our home in tip top shape before McMama's plane lands on Saturday. And a fine plan it is. Or it would be, if I actually implemented it.

I'm having a hard time mustering up enough excitement about getting elbow-deep in scrubbing bubbles to actually DO anything about the zillion and one chores that must be done. I know you're shocked, being as I am SUCH a zealot about keeping my house clean. (If by "zealot" you mean "complete and total slacker.") I mean, I DO want to avoid the McMama lecture, which we did receive after her first visit to our house (although to be fair, we did warn her not to step foot in the master bathroom if she valued her life or her personal hygiene, so technically, it wasn't our fault that she had to spray Lysol all over herself after taking a shower in our bathroom) and I'm sure that at some point tomorrow, or Friday, or five minutes before their plane lands, I will be making an effort to at least de-fuzz the shower walls. I know it has to be done. I'm just not excited about doing it.

There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) No matter how clean the inside of my house is, the fact remains that the outside is a huge mess. I am mortified by the condition of our landscaping (or lack thereof, if you want to get technical about it.) I've been trying to make progress on getting it cleaned up, but we have a huge (HUGE) yard and I am one person. And while Oscar has been getting more motivated about doing home improvement type projects, what with the help he's been getting from the great god Lexapro, and all, he's still not particularly excited about working in the yard. So progress is slow, and any week that I end up with other priorities means a backward slide into "ghetto house" territory. So in some respects, I suppose I figure that even if I got the inside of the house so pristine as to survive white glove treatment, I'm going to have so many points deducted for the exterior issues that it really won't make that much of a difference.

2) Mama Jo is doing a lot of hosting this week. She's hosting Turtle's (belated) birthday party. She's hosting Thanksgiving dinner. And I'm sure that there will be other occasions that will find us over at her house during the week, because McPapa is no doubt going to be sharing some Thanksgiving cooking responsibilities with Mama Jo, and they will need to work out the details of how that will work. Now, Mama Jo is a true zealot about having a clean house, (if by "zealot" you mean "complete and total neurotic") particularly when company is coming over, and yet, Mama Jo is also completely overloaded with work and everything else. So when I spoke to Mama Jo tonight to nail down some particulars about Turtle's birthday party, she was in the middle of a panic attack/complete mental breakdown over everything that needed to be done to get HER house in order. And, you know, she's my mom, so I couldn't take the "Whatever, bitch, we all have problems" attitude that I might take if it were, say, anyone else having a panic attack/complete mental breakdown. Which is how I found myself offering to come over and help her clean her house in the event I can't secure her a licensed, bonded, insured and certified House Cleaner to take care of things instead. And let me be completely honest with you for just a moment: I only have it in me to get excited about cleaning one house per month (if by "month" you mean "year") so if I have to go over to Mama Jo's house to clean so that she can survive another holiday with (some of) her faculties intact, well....sacrifices must be made, and won't McMama be glad she and McPapa will have a hotel room if that happens?

3) Quite simply, sitting on my ass, surfing the internet and letting my kid's mind rot as he watches Playhouse Disney for hours on end is more personally satisfying than scrubbing calcium deposits off my fixtures. (That sounded kind of dirty, didn't it? I'll have to remember that one the next time I need a euphemism for some sort of kinky sex act.) I mean, sure, I could make all sorts of noise about the sense of pride I would feel when I looked around at my clean house and realized that all of that elbow grease was good for something, but you'd just call "bullshit" on me, and rightfully so. Because I'd feel just as pleased if I looked around after letting someone else clean my house and realized that the only finger I had to lift to get my house looking so nice was the one that dialed the number of the local maid service.

And last but not least, 4) I'm a realist. My kid may be potty trained, but that doesn't mean that when he sits his little butt on the toilet seat, Mr. Happy gets pointed down at all times. It's more like watching the skinniest fire fighter on the squad try to manage the water hose single-handed. Sometimes it gets away from him and the spray, it is deadly. And that's just the bathroom. He drops food on the floor. He gets syrup all over the table. His toys are everywhere. I live with a 3 year old boy with questionable personal hygiene and no respect for the fact that I JUST VACUUMED THAT FLOOR! So I don't much see the sense of cleaning everything now, only to have to clean it again on Saturday.

So while I will attempt to muster up some enthusiasm for neatening things up around here tomorrow, I'm not placing any bets that anything will actually get done. I will instead, probably, rationalize my busy schedule of watching the Food Network and eating bon-bons and staying in my pajamas until Oscar comes home from work by convincing myself that I do my best work under pressure. And I will delude myself into thinking that I can certainly clean my entire house in the 15 minutes it takes McMama and family to drive from the airport to my house. And when she gets here and everything is still a mess? I will remember the last time I visited McMama's house and rest secure in the knowledge that we take the same approach to preparing for visits from family and that she, of all people, won't (if by "won't" you mean "can't") judge me.


At November 16, 2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Flip said...

Hi Cymber,

You are not alone. Once when our younger daughter was in elementary school she invited a friend(?) over to play who, upon viewing our house, asked our daughter, "How can you live like this?" And that was like ten years ago when we still gave a shit.

It will all work out.



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