Upon arriving home today, I realized that my family has totally abandoned any pretense to gracious living. In short, my house needs to be condemned, and my family incarcerated, or at least sued, for gross negligence. My daughter's socks from two days ago, still reside on the living room rug, except now they have company in today's pair. I am positive that I specifically pointed out that these needed to find their way to the appropriate laundry pile, and yet, there they are, mocking me from the carpet. We had the usual morning drama before school, because she couldn't find a clean pair of tights....Gee whiz, kid, this isn't rocket science...if they don't find their way to the rest of the dirty laundry in the hamper, then they don't get taken downstairs, don't get washed, don't get dried....But I cannot totally condemn the child, as the spouse has set a pretty negative example. I am continually finding handerkerchiefs on the computer desk, on the bedside table, on the kitchen table, on the edge of the bathroom sink....these items don't seem to be able to find their way to the laundry pile either. And both of them have never heard of washing out a glass, rather they just abandon the glass or coffee cup and go off in search of a new vessel for their new drink.
I will probably commit some sort of mayhem if I have to once more hear somebody whining about dog hair on their clean clothing....We have three dogs in the house. Why would this be a surprise or shock? Furthermore, if clothing were not left on the floor or draped over a chair (only to be knocked down on the floor), perhaps it wouldn't have so much dog hair on it. Last I checked, the dogs do not hang out in the closet, and are too large to fit in the dresser drawers. Besides, am I the only person in the house who understands the mystery and wonder of the vacuum cleaner?
Which brings us to another topic: Sabotage! My daughter has successfully trashed two vacuum cleaners is an abortive, and ever so seldom, effort at house cleaning assistance. I know that it is her, because the last time I took out the vacuum, the dust container was held in place by one of her scarves....for some reason the latch that holds this most important component for proper suction is broken. The last vacuum got so clogged up with debris from her room (the nature of which I did not wish to investigate too closely) that it actually burnt up the vacuum motor. She of course blamed the machine for spitting sparks at her, as if it were some sort of personal vendetta, and perhaps it was. The vacuum became thoroughly tired of the abuse and retaliated.
I remember a time, while not perfect in the Good Housekeeping type of way, my home did not resemble a cross between a locker on Storage Wars, and a bombed out tenament in Beruit. We actually had clean sheets, each and every week. Clean dish cloths and towels each day. Fresh towels in the bathroom. At least the traffic areas were vacuumed or swept every few days. (I admit that there were dust bunnies breeding behind the entertainment center and underneath the fridge-Grandma used to say: "clean enough to be health and dirty enough to be lived in.") The bathroom was scoured at least once per week, and if folks were ill, more often. Dishes did not just sit on the drainboard until the next time they were needed, but actually found their way into those lovely spaces above the counters that have doors on them. And I was not in the basement, foraging like a squirrel looking for nuts in winter, in order to obtain clean socks that actually match, and actually belong to me.
Most of the time, I lug the laundry downstairs, and sort it into the respective piles. Here we go again with the sabotage. My husband always manages to boil something that was never intended to be washed on other than cold water/delicate cycle...or if he launders it correctly, completely makes up for his success by broiling the item in the dryer on high heat. I have seen my daughter walking through the house wearing more than one of my clothing items which have shrunk to the size of postage stamp either through boiling or broiling. I guess he figures if he throws the mistake into her laundry basket, I will never miss the item. I even tried buying those sheets that are to prevent colors from leaching onto other clothing, so that the red slacks in the white load would not result in the usual pink disaster. I am here to tell you that the silly things do not work, and I now proudly possess a huge collection of pink on pink items and accessories. I detest pink!
Many years ago, when I realized that if you gave anyone in my household a clean surface, they would happily fill it with junk. I referred to the coffee and end tables as the horizontal crap collectors, and in a fit of frustration, threw them out at the curb on garbage day. It made me feel so wonderful. However, I still haven't figured out to do with the ultimate horizontal surface, namely the floor.
It has been years, and not another coffee table, nor end table, has crossed the threshhold of my house. The kitchen table is barely recognizable as such. It is filled with paperwork related to work, bills to be paid, coupons to be clipped, newspapers to either be read or recycled, My one and ony surviving house plant actually needs to have the dust washed off the leaves, as it looks more gray than green right now. There is a window air conditioning unit residing under the table that never made it to the basement when we got new central air installed-two years ago.
The kitchen faucet has developed a leak, as has the bathroom vanity faucet...except you can't see the bathroom faucet leak. You hear it in between the walls, dripping down into the basement, onto those lovely baskets of fresh clothing that I washed and dried.....How did we get to this lowly state? The manger in Bethlehem is beginning to look like the Waldorf Astoria by comparison. I am truly not some sort of neat freak, as I could have never competed with my mother in that regard, and hence didn't even try, but I think that we have slipped to a new low, and what is most disturbing is that I am probably the only one that seems to notice or care, except of course when complaints about missing clean clothing and dog hair on apparel are raised. And those complaints are somehow always referenced with me, as the one and only person who could possibly correct this deficiency.
It appears the one of the laws of nature is that "mom" is the only one that can dot "i"s and cross "t"s. Mom is the only one who understands the great mysteries of the household appliances, their appropriate use, their appropriate care. There is a twisted game of the Three Bears at my house in which my daughter merely changes her venue when things become intolerable in her room. I have discovered her sleeping in my bed, rather than putting the clean sheets which I have laundered on her own bed.
I seem to remember becoming very frustrated with the lack of participation in general household hygeine. I work full time, plus, which is what self employment means. I volunteer at church and school, because responsible and involved parents make for successful students. Lead by example. Be industrious. I thought to myself that I would let everyone see what was unfairly required of Mom to keep things in order, and see how long it took for the family to notice. I think I may have shot myself in the foot here, because obviously, their capacity to tolerate squalor is far superior to mine, and their ability to create chaos is also top flight skill. And I fear that I may have waited too long for a response. There may be no hope of correcting the situation. It may be necessary to bring in the bulldozers, level the whole thing, and start all over....or maybe, just go down, forage out my technicolor belonings and steal away to someplace cleaner, brighter, and more oderly. The second option is less noisy and messy.
Filed under: Musings