No, I am not referring to some kind of pus-filled skin abscess that I get twice a year. The Biannual Boil is what I call the crazed cleaning spree I go on whenever one of Jimmy's relatives comes to visit. The cause for this particular "boil" is Aunt Grace (visit the Dramatis Personae here - it will splain - as Ricky Ricardo would have said), who arrives from New York on Sunday for a 10 day visit. Yes, I said TEN DAY VISIT. I'm sorry, did I yell that?
The reason my twice-yearly cleaning spree has become known as the "boil" (well, known inside my brain anyway) is that in order to get the house to Aunt Gracelike standards, I need to boil, bleach, scrub, steam clean, iron and align everything in our home. Because Jimmy's people are tidy. REALLY tidy. Crazy, whackadoo tidy. These are people who can't sleep at night if there is as much as a spoon left in the sink. If said sink is not emptied of dishes, scrubbed down with Comet and DRIED. I once caught one of Jimmy's cousins on the floor of her kitchen with bleach and a toothbrush cleaning some offensive stain she swore she saw in the grout - that WASN'T THERE. Their homes are all perfect and pristine. Not a mark, stain, chip, animal hair, footprint or speck of dust anywhere. Closets are all carefully organized and labeled. Pantries perfect. Clothes in drawers all immaculately folded. Laundry carefully ironed and hung up. If you lift up a cushion on the sofa you will find...nothing. No old Cheetoes, no spare change. Nothing.
I am not like this. In fact, I was raised by a mother who was a bit of a disaster. Mama would grow hideous "science experiments" in the refrigerator. I remember often finding strange, unrecognizable pulsating masses of mold in Tupperware shoved to the back of the fridge. Everything was surface clean, but every hidden recess was a disaster.
Probably because of the embarrassment and shame brought on my my mother's inadequacies (wow, I'm actually analyzing myself as I'm writing this, aren't I enlightened), some deep insecurity in me feels the intense need to pretend that I too am very tidy. To make Jimmy's relatives think that I am better than I am. Thus "the boil". I realize this is not healthy.
Here is what I have accomplished thus far this week -
Monday - Disassemble our king-sized bed, move it out of our bedroom, vacuum and steam clean underneath it, assemble our new wooden four-poster bed frame (thanks Carol - we LOVE it!), move the bed back onto the frame. (Should explain that the aforementioned large wooden bed frame has been sitting in pieces in our dining room for two months.) Dust/vacuum/steam clean the rest of the bedroom. Clean the bedroom closet. Do about 10 loads of laundry. Finally take down Halloween decorations (this involves standing on tiptoe on a ladder to take down the pumpkin lights around the porch). Box them and jam them into closet. (This is the closet that Aunt Grace is absolutely NOT allowed to enter!!!) I'm afraid that choosing to do all that disassembling/assembling of the large, heavy wooden bed all by myself was really, really stupid, as I seem to have done something hinky to my back. Rest of day is spent icing.
Tuesday - Reorganize all of Jude's toys. Steam clean the carpet in Jude's room. Organize/straighten Jude's closet (Aunt Grace will be staying in Jude's room, so this is key). Climb up and clean the half inch of dust off the tops of all the ceiling fans. Organize/straighten the linen closet. Dust the top of everything (not that Aunt Grace will ever see this because she's about 5' tall, but just in case she decides to literally "white glove" the place). Wash, iron and rehang all curtains that are wash and ironable.
Wednesday - Put all the crap that had once been in my car, but was now on the front porch, back in my car. Power wash outside of house. Clean/organize/dust desk/office area. (Okay, is anybody getting tired of my backslashes?//////) Aunt Grace was an executive secretary on Wall Street for over 40 years, and I feel certain that the normal chaos of my bills/paperwork (there I go again with the ////) would possibly give her cardiac arrest.
Okay, so far so good. Yet to do: Refrigerator - ACK! Pantry - ACK! Laundry Room - ACK! Baseboards and molding! Car!
PS - Please, please, don't tell anyone in Jimmy's family about this (well, except for sister-in-law Niki, who understands all). Don't walk into my house and announce in front of Aunt Grace "WOW! Look at this place! You must have been working all week!" Like one friend who shall remain nameless did the last time Aunt Grace was in town. Pretend it's ALWAYS like this. Because it is. Right? RIGHT?