It's really all Mama's fault. She set a fairly poor example in the housekeeping department.
I mean, she wasn't...dirty, exactly. Housekeeping was simply low on her priority list. She would much rather have spent her time cooking or crafting or gardening or canning or hanging out with her friends at the lake or doing projects with and for me than cleaning the house.
Almost all of my best friends families had a housekeeper. Or, I should say, because it's the truth, a maid. As in The Help. Their homes were pristine and well-kept - the linens ironed and the silver polished. The dirty clothes would magically disappear from the clothes hampers and appear in their drawers and closets, beautifully laundered and folded. Heaven.
At my house, things weren't quiiiiiiite like this. All the work that had to be done was done by Mama. I do have memories of helping her make the beds, neatly folding square "hospital" corners with the flat sheets, something that the younger generations have never even heard of, having been raised with fitted sheets. I also remember having a booming business ironing Daddy's shirts. I charged 15 cents per short-sleeved shirt, and 25 cents per long-sleeved, as cuffs were trouble. I wrote up bills and presented them to him for payment. But everything else was done by Mama.
I have to admit that I was a bit ashamed of our not-so-perfect home. While the surfaces of the house was generally tidy, the further reaches often housed terrifying horrors. Closets were booby-trapped to collapse on your head if you pulled something out, horrific science-experiments grew inside Tupperware in the refrigerator, for all I knew, Jimmy Hoffa might have been hidden under one of the beds along with the junk and teeming dust bunnies. It was embarrassing.
I'm afraid that I was a lazy child, and my room was always a disaster. To Mama's credit, she didn't clean my room for me, but expected me to do it myself. I'm sure she assumed that this would teach me work ethic, and to take care of my things. But I don't think this worked. I think that what it really did was to lower my standards. To make me used to living in a mess. I think that if I'd grown up surrounded by tidiness, I would have felt the need to keep things in order.
When I moved out on my own, slovenliness followed, as any of my early roommates could tell you. Once, when I was in my 20s, my apartment was robbed, and when I called the police, they walked into the bedroom and said "Wow, they really tore this place apart!" And I was forced to tell them that no, that was the way it was before the robbers got there!
Luckily, I have learned. I am MUCH better now, due in part to the influence of the women in Jimmy's family. Mommy, Aunt Grace and ALL the cousins are absolute neat freaks. Their homes are always perfection. And so my standards have risen.
Back when we used to make more money, we had a housekeeper who came a couple of times a month. Her name was Lucy. This woman was amazing. I loved her. For Lucy, housecleaning wasn't just a job, it was a calling, a vocation. When I walked into the house after she'd been there, I was filled with joy - everything glistened. This woman would do brilliant things, like take all the jelly jars and condiments out of the fridge and scrub them. She would move all the furniture and even the refrigerator, and scrub underneath them. I considered the house to have been Lucyfied. But alas, we haven't had Lucy for many years now, and I really don't want to know what might be found if I moved the refrigerator!
Usually, I manage to keep the place from falling into squalor. A while back, I developed my cleaning plan, the idea of which, I stole from Ma Ingalls. If you remember Little House in the Big Woods, Ma had a different day for each of her chores - laundry, churning, baking, mending. I adapted this to modern living, as I seldom do much churning. Monday is laundry, Tuesday is bathrooms, Wednesday is the outside (porch, backyard), Thursday is the kitchen (includes dumping old stuff out of the fridge) and Friday is floors, dusting and Windexing all glass surfaces. If I manage to keep this up, our house stays in order.
I have not managed to keep this up. Over the last few months, our home has completely devolved. It's starting to look like...Mama was the housekeeper. I'm sorry, Mama, but it's true.
The laundry has absolutely taken over our home. I keep doing laundry, and then folding it, but never having time to get it into the closets/drawers, so it ends up in the laundry basket, and eventually, I forget what is clean and what is dirty, and have to wash it all over again! The closets are HORRIBLE - the floors covered with shoes and dirty clothes. All of our dirty clothes hampers are half-filled with seldom-worn clothes which need to be either hand-washed, dry cleaned or mended. Jude's drawers are filled to the brim with clothes he's outgrown.
The laundry room and the office have become dumping grounds for everything I'm not sure what to do with. The other day, I just happened to stumble upon the gas bill, which I had haphazardly tossed onto "the pile" JUST in time to keep it from being shut off!
The outside of our house looks like a gypsy family has taken up residence. The front porch is a disaster, and I haven't scooped the doggy poop in the backyard in ages. I'm thinking it's now fertilizer.
And Jude's room? It has started to look...JUST LIKE MINE WHEN I WAS A KID! And he DOESN'T CARE! Which says to me that HIS standards have lowered considerably.
I must do something to get things in hand.
And so, I have decided to take a week off writing, and concentrate on reclaiming our world. That's right, next week, there will be no Random Tuesday Thoughts, no Mama Kat's Workshop. I WILL come up with a Spin Cycle on Friday, because it's my thing, and hopefully, by Friday, my world will be a bit clearer.
I'm feeling better already, just having made a plan. Our home is about to be Lucyfied. Please send moral support.
Please go visit all of my other "Clean" spinners...
Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie - NEW on FRIDAY!
Vandy J at The Testosterone Three and Me - NEW on FRIDAY!
Next week on The Spin Cycle...
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