coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Monday, August 15, 2016

Keeping House

I am not the best housekeeper in the world. I got the slob gene from my mother, although I am not really in the same league as her. She was an heroically bad housekeeper, especially as she got older. Sagas were sung! My siblings and I (and older nieces and nephews) tell stories about her house and we all laugh with great fondness and then shake our heads sadly. She just didn't care.

I was a little embarrassed by the clutter in her house, but I also got a kick out of her. She never took on that 1950's wifey clean-demon persona.  She was a complicated woman. Geez, I miss her!


Still, I keep a cleaner, neater house than she did.  She was a bit of a pack rat. The clutter in her house was over the top. I don't want my grandchildren telling stories about how messy my house was in 40 years. So I make the effort, the great sacrifice of time; however, I don't enjoy it and I don't go the extra mile. So there! I am a "perfunctory" house cleaner. I do a good enough, basic job. I like to imagine we pass as normal most days. I hope I'm not kidding myself.

You would think in retirement, one could at least keep up with these things. I try, but I have so little interest. I envy people who read Martha Stewart magazine and try to make everything beautiful. I admire those who have a day of the week for specific household tasks, who are organized and "keep up." I get it.  I appreciate it.  I just don't have it in me. Oh well.

A corner of my quilt/computer room right this very minute! Aaaack! I need to file.

25 comments:

  1. I can relate. Which reminds me, a filing session is calling. :-)

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    1. My filing pile is still sitting there. Today FOR SURE!

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  2. This is the story of my life: 17 years a child with unorganized, marginally hoarder, parents. Fifteen years in a relationship with, married to a hoarder slob. Twelve years leading a minimalist life, by choice, in a clean house. Twenty eight years with my sister and brother in law, unparalleled hoarders. Back to a simple life, now. Such a relief.

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    1. One of the best things that happened because of our move from NYS to FL was getting rid of loads of "stuff." I can well imagine your relief. It comes through in your moving posts.

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  3. I love reading this! I grew up in a reversed-role household. Both my parents worked, but my father was home with us during the day, made us lunch and dinner, and on Saturday mornings we did the big house cleaning. Every Saturday through my childhood years to high school graduation, my siblings and I (and my dad) cleaned our suburban New Jersey home til it was sparkling and spotless. It wasn't a horrible task. My father made it quite fun, and we always did the cleaning to an album of show tunes on the victrola! No hoarders in my immediate family, although my husband has carried around a collection of very heavy tools and machinery in each of our moves for a long, long time. Oy.

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    1. It is so interesting to hear about how others grew up. Your dad sounds like a nice guy.

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  4. I am a one day a week cleaner and a "picker upper" on the other days. My house is "mostly" neat, but it is a home, not a house. We live, we mess, we straighten up, but we do not obsess. My mom was not a great house cleaner and sometimes I was embarrassed when people came over. However, she was a great mom who was loved by all who knew her. For that, I was always proud.

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    1. Nice. That's the way my Mom was, too.

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  5. I once lived in a community where the women prided themselves on being seen fully dressed with make-up and jewelry outside of their houses by 7:00 am. They cleaned by the Mennonite cleaning schedule. I made the mistake of telling someone that I didn't do that because I wasn't a Stepford wife. It bought me friendship with the pediatrician's wife, but no one else would talk to me.

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  6. Perfunctory describes me too. I do try to do a specific task each day. Some days it works...some days it doesn't:)

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    1. This afternoon I was really going to file that stuff in my computer room, but instead I talked my husband into going to see the new Star Trek movie.

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    2. A perfect choice IMO... we must have our priorities, right! Dawn... The Bohemian

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  7. When I was growing up my mum vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms every single day. I've cut back to once a week. I like my house tidy but have learned to let things go as well. Right now I have a pile of papers on my desk as well that need filing but the weather has been too nice to bother. When it gets cool:)

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  8. (Tried to comment earlier but probably messed it up so excuse possible second posting)
    After a childhood of household chores I went wild when I moved out. Communal living didn't help. We had endless meetings about the kitchen rota and whether the shower needs cleaning weekly or monthly - among other more radical items to be discussed into the night.
    All this changed dramatically when we moved to a tropical African island near the equator and discovered ants and cockroaches and rats and all of their friends, in our clothes, food, my child's toys etc. There was only one way to cope and I soon copied my busy sweeping and airing and washing and cleaning neighbours (who lived in spotless homes) and I have become the perfect housewife.

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    1. Sorry you had trouble with the comments. FYI, I never received the first one. In truth, the bugs and small critters of Florida have made me a better housewife in retirement as well, at least in the kitchen area.
      It was fun to hear about the communal living and decision making.

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  9. So refreshing that you keep it 100% Real about the challenge so many of us have... and the Humor, well I read it twice because I just enjoy laughing that hard! I don't know where I got my gene from since my Mother is immaculate... and I'm so... NOT... but I do Care and therein is the dilemma, Caring and yet not having it in you, which I clearly don't even on my best days... some things just take on a Life of their own around here. Better since The Big Epic Move, where I could start over and attempt to become more of a Domestic goddess, but I'm still such a long ways off... long, long, long ways off... though here in the Land of Blog I can give the illusion of good housekeeping, if I don't do Panoramic views and concentrate on the Close-up and Careful Editing... *winks* Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Yes, you notice I only took a picture of a small corner of my quilt/computer room.

      My maternal grandmother was an immaculate housekeeper, so I often wonder if my mother was rebelling against her upbringing.

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  10. I am so fortunate to live with a partner who likes to clean the house. Granted she is somewhat of a hoarder so there is a LOT of stuff. But it is clean stuff : ) And I have not had to clean a toilet in almost 30 years. My blessings runneth over.

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    1. OMG, 30 years! I think we should nominate her for best significant other of all time. My husband used to be a better cleaner than me but over the years he has sunk to my level. :)

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    2. I agree - that's a blessing! Something I have thought about regarding all this is how anxiety works differently in those of us who have it. I've noticed that anxiety tends toward either "slobness/hoarding" or OCD behavior. my former love-person and I both have anxiety but it manifests differently in both of us. I always struggled with resentment because I knew we both struggled on an internal level but on external level, his manifestation of anxiety trumped mine. that's kind of how I feel - like the slob always beats the ocd person in a Rochambeau kind of way. my daughter makes fun of me because it's a torture for me to see crap on the floor. I can't handle it. I am WAY better than I was when I was younger when my ocd was very bad. now it's manageable. but still... I have to vacuum BEFORE I do yoga or else I'll keep stopping to pick up lint. now.. on the other hand... you might know all that if you saw my house, lol... which is super organized but also has a lot of stuff and isn't super clean. I cleaned houses for a living for many years and i'm burnt on cleaning plus have too much to do. so I focus on vacuuming, basic maintenance, and picking crap up off the floor, lol. I like organization - but again, my form of it might not look like that to a stranger. if i'm going to do a big project, I need to make the space fairly "open" (cleaned up or out) before I make my own chaos. i'm a creative person and write, make art, do various projects - and none of this impacts that. I can spread out with huge projects and have. that's different from me feeling anxiety about dirty plates in the living room or lint on the floor. anyway... what the heck is my point, lol? that anxiety plays a role in how we manage and feel about our environments. I find it really helpful to remember that so I can stay out of blame and resentment - or at least try to. I notice that "tidy" and "relaxed" people can judge each other if we're not careful - when really, we are so alike at heart. :-)

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    3. I think you are absolutely right about the anxiety manifesting in different ways for different people. My inability to "get with the program" some days is totally related to anxiety.

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  11. My sisters and I grew up in a house that was, in my first boyfriend's words, "neat as a pin." Everything in its place. Everything spotless. No clutter. It occurred to me that our home was something like a stage set. Although people comment on how neat and clean my current living space is, it would not have passed inspection by either my father or mother. I have too many beloved things covering most flat surfaces. I don't have a cleaning schedule. On the other hand, I realized that I have severe dust and mold allergies and had to remove from my home most of a lifetime's collections of books some years ago. Until then, I couldn't let go of my books, although I have much more room to move around without my books. To this day, I cannot enter libraries or used bookstores or second hand and antique stores unless I am willing to contend with 3-day migraine headaches. What a fate for someone who loves books and old things! I'm eternally grateful for the internet, which allows me to read and look at old things to my heart's content. I'm a compulsive reader. That's a splendid gift from my mother who said as a child, "Books is my friends. I will stick to their sides until I die."

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    1. Love your mother's quote. I also have mold and dust allergies, so I know what you mean. I've stopped buying books and use a Kindle instead. I miss the physical feel of turning a page and being able to go back and find passages easily, but the Kindle really does solve a lot of problems for me, including accumulating too many books.

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So, whadayathink?