When to Clean House

Published August 04, 2015

My husband sent me this picture at 7:40am. The text below said, “Now what!!”

I was in New York City. He was at home in New Jersey.

I laughed hard.

I laughed not only because of his predicament but also because I admired his humor considering the jam he was in.

My husband is bossy and controlling but he’s not high maintenance. And since I am usually the first to criticize him, I wanted to stop here and say I appreciate his easy-going nature about household things.

Recently, every one of his golf shirts went missing. He barely said a word and bought new ones.

When he had only one pair of underwear left in his drawer, he simply said, “Last pair.”

And after a shower, there were no bath towels in the cabinet. I honestly don’t know what he did. (There were plenty of hand towels.)

I spent three days in New York City and he kept sending me texts and pictures, updating me on the status at home.

Random garbage. A family group text goes out: Who did this? Random garbage. A family group text goes out: Who did this?

By the time I got back to New Jersey, let’s just say there was an outdoor garbage can that had not been emptied since the weekend. Inside the can there was a rotting strawberry Pop Tart, some half-eaten Oreos and a handful of sticky Laffy Taffy wrappers. You can imagine the rest.

All of these calamities weighed on me but I hate housework. Thankfully, I have help (new and inexperienced) but still, I don’t supervise well.

We are a big family and it’s hard to keep up.

My mother always said, “Housework is the most thankless job. You clean a sink only for it to get dirty again.”

It seems like everyone else around me gets it though. At other houses bath towels are folded all the same way and stacked properly on shelves. Coffee is delivered to bedroom doors every morning.

That’s certainly not how things work at my house and I often think I’m doing something wrong.

The problem is I don’t want to focus on doing it right.

It's summertime and I want to write and read and ride my bike.

In order not to make myself crazy, I teeter-totter between caring and not caring, cleaning and not cleaning.

I take a break from writing and go to the kitchen. It’s noon and this is what I see.

Breakfast dishes Breakfast dishes

I also see two of my children, my daughter-in-law and my grandson at the dinette table, talking.

I have choices.

I reach for my cell phone.

I take a deep breath and the picture above.

I decide to write about this and think— One day I’ll get it right.

And then again— maybe I won’t.

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