Thursday, June 2, 2005

Blech. Gag.

Ugh Posted by Hello

“What’s Clint going to do?”
“I emptied out the dishwasher last time. Tell Drew to do it.”
“Clean it yourself.”
“Chill. I said I’d do it later.”
“What is with you? Why are you all obsessed about cleaning?”
“How come we have to do it?”
“I’m watching my show. Get Max to do it.”
“I did it last week. How come I have to do it again?”
“Since when are you such a clean freak?”
“Is someone coming over?”
“I like it like this. Doesn’t bother me.”
“I didn’t make this mess. Why should I have to clean it?”
“What is your problem?”

Every request for help is a debate. A long passionate exchange of opinions on the need to keep our home tidy inevitably breaks out when I ask my house-mates to give me a hand.

Some days its just not worth the effort it takes to get them off the couch.

I could go on and on. But you wouldn’t understand.
My kids are uniquely wired.
They have the ability to open a fruit-roll-up and drop the wrapper on the floor without a second thought.
They can take a juice box, remove the cellophane sleeve on the straw and leave it on the floor. The half consumed juice box will likely be left in an obscure location to insure the contents will ferment.
They can take a fresh plastic cup every single time they are thirsty. Rarely will they finish the beverage in the cup. Never will they return the cup to the kitchen. Nightly I wander through the house and collect a colourful assortment of cups from every horizontal surface available.

Sock balls decorate every room in my home. My favourite location for their used, usually slightly damp, always smelly turned-inside-out sock creations is the kitchen table. Today I removed 4 used socks from the table. Two were on the floor beside the back door. Four were in the front entrance. One lonely one was on the stairs. Three were in the garage. Five were in my truck’s back seat.
I hate socks. I hate being a sock manager.

I was at my cousin’s place for dinner a week ago. While we were relaxing at the table after an awesome meal, her daughter stood up – WITHOUT BEING TOLD – and started clearing away our plates. She took them to the kitchen, and put them in the dishwasher without being told.
I need one of those.
No one ever does anything without an argument first.
And some days, I’m just not up to fighting.

I’ve been trying to get into the habit of all of us working together for half an hour a day to keep on top of the mess. They complain for hours before we start our half hour. They need constant prodding to keep at it for the full 30 minutes. Usually they spend a good third of their time checking the clock and another third questioning the chore in the first place.
I am completely drained by the time they abandon me to resume serious TV viewing.

Tonight, I was going to tackle a room by myself. I hoped that once I got going, I would find pleasure in organizing and sorting and dusting. Maybe I'd find myself on a roll; and end up doing two or three rooms.
But I was having a hard time actually starting.
Had myself a little pity party first.
This is one of the things that sucks about being single.
Not having another adult on the premises that cares enough about the premises to keep things tidy bites.

I thought I’d start with the dining room. One of my favourite rooms. But 2 new library books were on the table. So I took the smaller one, and read it. Cover to cover. (It’s called “Being Perfect” by Anna Quindlen.) My favourite line … “Pursuing perfection makes you unforgiving of the faults of others.” Oh my goodness. THAT is so profound. I had no choice. Clearly I needed to sit and ponder that for awhile. Pursuing perfection makes you unforgiving of the faults of others. Man. That is so true.
That’s why perfect people bug me.
That’s why I like hanging out with folks who’ve lived messy lives.
That’s why I appreciate the way imperfect people forgive my kids when they screw up.
That’s why I love the way imperfect people have room in their hearts for other imperfect people.
That’s why some of my favourite people are those whose aim is not to always be right, but rather, their goal in life is to be kind. Sometimes you have to give up ‘being right’ in order to extend grace.
Who would you rather spend time with? That person who is striving for perfection and makes sure they do it right? Or the friend who isn’t keeping score, forgives easily and isn’t pointing out your endless faults?

Shoving my deep thoughts aside, I returned to the kitchen to grab a garbage bag from under the sink.
An ugly odour wafted my way, so I redirected my efforts from the dining room to the counter littered with dishes needing to be loaded into the dishwasher.
Some kind of funky smell was still lingering as I filled the sink with warm water. When I reached into the cupboard below to grab the detergent, I noticed a dark spill.
Crouching down in my least favorite position, I took a closer look. The dark liquid stain appeared to be leaking from a small plastic grocery bag. I picked up the bag and more rancid juice oozed out of the opening and the most putrid smell imaginable assaulted my nostrils. It was vile. Evil.
I dropped the bag that was clearly ineffective in containing its decomposing contents.
Dry-heaving, every cell in my body longed for a husband that I could call over and say, “Hon? Did you leave a bag of raw meat under the sink a few weeks ago? You didn’t? Oh. Well, would you mind cleaning it up anyway? I think I’m going to be violently ill. Love ya. Oh and wouldja mind showering in Lysol before you come to bed?”

Max happened to be home with me tonight. I asked him to give me a hand. He tried. But the stench was too great. He stood by the fridge, watching from a safe distance protecting himself from the odor that could conceivably grow teeth and bite him in the ass.
Eventually he did get down on his hands and knees and applied disinfectant to what seems to be an incredibly porous shelving material.

It’s been 5 hours and the odor is still mighty strong. Gaggingly pungent. Overpoweringly offensive. Hateful.

Puts everything in perspective.
Makes me ashamed that I was complaining about juice boxes.
And sock-balls? Bring em on.

I know!
What was a bag of what must have been liquified rancid raw meat doing under my sink?
Disturbing, isn't it?

In case there was any doubt, this should make it perfectly clear. I'm quite obviously not perfect.

Efforts to attain perfection have been sabatoged at every turn.
Nothing like slovenly offspring to keep ya humble.


Anonymous said...

kid's are kid's, in every sense of the word. Where did your cousin get that daughter of her's ,Superstore? Save-on-foods? Costco? Gotta get me one of those-Until then I'll be singing the kindergarten clean-up song. Remember that? Clean-up, clean-up everybody , everywhere-yah, somewhere between kindergarten and teenhood I lost that battle.Yike's If my mom could read these words-she was the ultimate ,white glove perfectionist.Marg

Christine said...

Housemates? Nah. Not in my house either. It's more like a small bording house with me as the landlady.

JSY said...

I love that quote -- the one about perfection -- remember a little bit I wrote a while ago on the DishRag, about that gal I know who is perfect? Well, obviously she's not, and I find that quote EXTREMELY interesting in that this person ("Deb" I called her), she has a tendency to expect everyone else to live up to her exacting standards. Since we all fail miserably, of course, she is quite 'hup-to-it' about everything and expects those around her to respond with 'how high?' when she barks out the 'jump' command. Thank GOD I don't live with her.

I'd live with you anyday, Jane, even though I'm not much of a husband. Or much of a wife, for that matter. Even though I spent six years alone, and I HAD those thoughts of 'oh how nice it would be to have a man around the house to cook/clean/watch kids/share expenses/pick up crap,' that ain't always the way it works out. I got lucky, fer sher, but there are those moments when I reallllly wish I could just do things MY way without having to check in with the other half of my 'I Do/Til Death Do Us Part' team.

If nothing else, I mean to say that I feel for you. And though it totally won't make you feel any better -- whoever the dude was who invented the saying 'misery loves company' should be strung and quartered -- my kids suck at cleaning too. Well, at least Yaunna and Blake ... the other two are still kinda little, but the older ones suck and whine and whimper and pout and snivel at the slightest mention of CHORES. NOOOOO, CHOOOORRRRRES! You'd think they were witches and I'd just splashed them with water or sumthin' -- you know, like Dorothy does in the Wicked Witch of the East's castle at the end of 'Wiz of Oz.'

Speaking of wiz, Brennan is bothering me because he has to pee. Again. I will never get ANYTHING done today, I swear to gawd!