Pig Pen meets Mr. Clean

imagesMy sister Bec just spent a few weeks with us to get away from the Arizona heat. It’s true that you don’t really know someone until you live with them for a while – at least I’m sure that’s what she would say.

You see, the fact of the matter – and what I don’t think she suspected – is that I’m a slob.

She would never tell me that, but I’m pretty sure she headed straight to her doctor’s office when she got back to Arizona to get a tetanus shot. Just in case. And frankly that was probably a smart move.

I come from a long line of NOT slobs. So, you see, I have no excuse.

My mom kept an immaculately clean house. She washed and changed bed sheets every Wednesday. She did I don’t know how many loads of laundry each week, probably including Dad’imgress bakery whites. She dusted and mopped her floor weekly. Each night after dinner (with help from the kids), she washed the dishes, wiped down the counters, and swept the floor. This, on top of preparing dinner every night, owning a business that kept her incredibly occupied, and being the mother of four children.

I don’t own a business, we have no kids in the house, and yet I change bed sheets every couple of weeks, I wash my kitchen floor when footprints begin to bother me, I haphazardly wipe down my counter, always leaving streaks in the process. My bathrooms are cleaned just often enough to prevent state authorities from coming in to shut down my house. I do laundry when Bill starts pulling out his travel underwear. Sigh.

But I can cook! Does that count for anything?

I feel compelled to tell you that I am, of course, exaggerating. I tell you this in fear that I will never again have a house guest. It’s true; I really am exaggerating. But not by much.

I loathe housework. I always have. I always will. I can walk past clutter longer than any other human being I know. I have taken to putting things on the steps that need to go upstairs, but I can walk over them for days. There can be something sitting on a counter that only needs to be put into a drawer in the next room, and it will remain there for, oh, I don’t know, three months.

For most of my married life (and therefore, most of my life in this almost-3,000 square foot home – I had a cleaning lady. She did an admirable job, but I used to think she and the helpers she brought along with her must – MUST – have been saying in Spanish, “These people are pigs and should not be allowed to own a home.” Unlike my mother-in-law, I did not clean my house in preparation for the cleaning lady. I just left her check on the table and hid until she was gone.

I stopped having a cleaning lady because I simply cannot justify paying someone to do what I think I should do now that I am retired. That’s, of course, not necessarily true. There would be many very good reasons to pay someone to clean my house, not the least of which is that then my house would actually get cleaned. Still, I can always think of a better way to spend a hundred-some every month than on house cleaning. Expensive bottles of liqueurs for my Barefoot Contessa recipes, for example.

All this is to say that I want to announce to the world, and particularly my sister, that I spent the better part of yesterday morning cleaning my kitchen. I swept, I scrubbed, I buffed, I polished, I disinfected, I tossed away food with stuff growing on it, I wiped down all of my appliances. Whew.

clean kitchen

See how shiny? It looks great and it makes me very happy. I informed Bill that we can’t cook or eat or even walk in the kitchen for at least a week. But even as I gaze lovingly at my clean counters, I see the dust settling.

It’s almost not worth it, is it? Sorry Mom.

6 thoughts on “Pig Pen meets Mr. Clean

  1. Mark (son-in law) always wants to figure out why clutter doesn’t bother me. I’ve had a safety pin and 3 paper clips on my kitchen counter for a week. And I don’t care!

    • I’m quite impressed that you call a safety pin and 3 paper clips “clutter.” When I talk about clutter, I mean auto parts, vast numbers of Legos, and small kitchen appliances that haven’t been used in 15 years that I keep MEANING to take downstairs to the graveyard-for-unused-kitchen-supplies.

  2. The kitchen looks beautiful. And it’s only ever not clean because you are a good cook, and you use your kitchen!

    I can’t stand clutter, and I hate that I have so much stuff on my kitchen counters. But I love the convenience of having things at hand when I need them.

  3. The kitchen does look squeaky clean, and the picture proves it. I don’t like clutter either so when I get the urge to tidy up a bit, I just lie down until it passes over. The way I clean my kitchen stove is with a dust rag. It’s the darn microwave that needs the elbow grease. Well, and my oven! Right now I can only bake one cupcake at a time. Keep up the good work, Kris, and you’ll have even MORE guests for dinner. See, it just doesn’t pay.
    Don’t you have to go chase foxes or something?

  4. I guarantee we are more cluttery than you. When my niece was 5, she said my house was “sticky”. I told her I would be old and lonely before it stopped being sitcky. I bought a wall sign at a craft fair about 20 years ago that reads: “Although you find this house a mess, come in, sit down, converse. It doesn’t always look like this; some days it’s even worse”.

    • I love your niece’s comment about your house being sticky. It should be sticky with all of you kids. Wait until the grandkids start arriving. Your house might be more cluttery, but remember mostly it’s just Bill and me!

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