Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shipshape - NOT

Today is Saturday. Our house is for sale, and although I have little hope that it will ever sell and that we will live here for eternity until they haul our dead bodies out in black zip-up bags, we still have to go through the motions when a realtor calls, like one did last night, and says they have a client who wants to take the tour.

The problem is that we are slobs. Deep down in my soul of souls I know this. But they say that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. At times like this, when I know strangers will be looking at every cranny in my house, the stark reality of what we are is unavoidable.

It's not that I want to be a slob, or ever set out to be one. I would like to live in a pristinely clean, magazine-cover worthy home. But I just can't seem to manage it. We live in clutter, disarray, chaos. I work full time and I'm a full time student. As you can imagine, that leaves little free time, and what free time I do get, I guard jealously. Who wants to spend that time as a drudge? Certainly not me! I can think of dozens of things I'd rather do with my pitifully small reprieves from commitment: read a book, watch TV, play with the kids, go for a walk, bake a cake, go shopping, take a nap....anything but clean. YUCK.

I also do not subscribe to the idea that just because I am mother, wife, woman, the chores of the house fall to me by default. No way. I'm a liberated feminist. I've raised my kids on the mantra of: "You live in this house too; if you contribute to the mess, you contribute to cleaning it up." However, slovenliness doesn't seem to bother them so much. They clean when my husband and I crack the whip, but not before.

It is somewhat of an inconvenience for them when I tell them they can't have friends come in the house because I'm mortified by how we live. At that point they tend to resort to whining and begging, rather than cleaning up. They spend a lot of time at their friends' houses rather than the other way around. Sometimes I quiz them when they come back, asking them to compare the state of their friends' houses to ours. I don't have the chance to see many other peoples' homes, so I often wonder where ours falls on the cleanliness scale.

So here I am, admitting to the world that we live in a cluttered, messy, disheveled, and sloppy condition. I've taken the first step. My mother will be humiliated, since she raised us in a home so clean it bordered on sterile. But there are times when you just have to let go of the weights that drag you down. Is having an immaculate house really that important in the grand scheme of things? Would I be proud if after I died and the best that could be said about me was "she kept a darn clean house?" I say there are bigger fish to fry, better ways to spend my time.

So I'm admitting my faults, and letting them go. I want my epitaph to read: "She had better things to do with her life than worry about dust bunnies."

Unfortunately, we still have to dig out so the realtor can show the house today. Damn.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Love your epitath! Creative people tend to be disorganized. My husband is an anal retentive engineer, so he just closes his eyes when he comes in my office, which I call Sodom & Gommorah. :)

Get a St. Joseph "real estate" kit and follow the instructions. It works for non-Catholics as well as Caths! And...have you ever thought of hiring a stager to come box up the knicknacks and stage your house for open houses? Might be worth the investment!

alana said...

A kindred spirit! My family is the same way completely. We always complain about it and then continue on doing nothing to change it. lol

Anonymous said...

I to am an engineer but I don't know about the anal retentive part. My wife is rather tidy and so am I at times but I still agree with your sentiment here. You gave me a good laugh with your epitaph to. I would like to link our blogs if you are interested.

MilesPerHour said...

I have lived with a "neat freak" which can be lots worse IMO. Then again I shouldn't enable you with that rationale shoukd I? lol

Douglas said...

I come from a family of slobs. My mother taught me that any unused flat space was a waste and dust can be beautiful. You are not alone. The only time our houses were ever neat was when we were selling them. To this day I get anxious in a clean house.

Embee said...

Douglas - definitely! Let's just say that we like our environment to be lived in, comfortable, and LOVED!!!!

milesperhour - Yes, it's enabling, I'll admit. But we need some enabling after the cooped up performance anxiety...believing we should be clean but unable to make it happen.