ReRun – This Writer’s Life, April 2006

January 23, 2007 at 7:34 am 19 comments

 Wow, its hard to believe that I actually HAVE simplified my life some since last April.  This post was made right before I accepted a partnership in our little publishing company….

This past weekend, I begged off from my editing duties with every intention of doing some spring cleaning so the house of perpetual remodeling will be presentable for a guest. In eighteen days my boss will fly in from California for a 4 day business meeting. Papa Bear has managed to complicate this visit further by allowing his leg surgery to be scheduled into that period also. Can we all say passive-aggressive? Anyway… With one book out to potential publishers, one in edit with my partner and a new one in the note and research stage, I don’t notice much around the house. Between my accounting job, my editing job, Princess and the dogs, I notice even less. It will be the first time the Chief has seen my house, so I would like it to look like something other than the place where hillbillies go to die. I would prefer that he didn’t lay awake all four nights staring at the ceiling and wondering what diseases he may be contracting from the polluted air of our humble abode.

It should be noted that I am lacking the cleaning gene. I grew up with a woman who was so gifted in this respect that I never saw anything out of place or dirty, nor did I see her actually cleaning. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure I just assumed fairies came in the night and tidied up. I learned to clean from TV. It’s embarrassing, but that’s just the way it is. Thank you Martha Stewart, Clean Sweep and those two British ladies that insist on sniffing the stains to prove the house is really dirty. From these professors of cleanliness I learned: 1) to assemble my supplies in a bucket, 2) Carry with me an empty basket for orphans that belong in another room and 3) clean the room from ceiling to floor in a clockwise fashion. There are lots of little things, but these are the BIG rules.

The first problem arose when I went to gather my supplies to put them in the bucket I’d retrieved from the toy box (the grand girls were using it as a Brat Doll condominium), I couldn’t reach the cabinet that stores the supplies because of the mountain of dirty laundry. My laundry area being approximately the size of a phone booth, it was necessary to actually sort the clothes by color into piles in the dining room. That messed up the last two of my three rules, I couldn’t remove the orphaned laundry or get around the piles in a clockwise manner. Everything broke down after that.

I wouldn’t say I’m anal, but I have always had this aversion to half doing anything. I can’t put a coat in the closet without first straightening the other coats, boots, hats, gloves, camera’s and shoes already in there. I can’t just water the plants, I have to pick out all the dead leaves and repot them if necessary. I can’t just wash a wall that needs painted, I must paint it. Here is where problem number three reared it’s ugly head.

Our old house has two stairways. The back stairs lead to my dressing room and, for all intents and purposes, might as well have yellow caution tape in a big X over them. Treads are loose or broken on three steps and the ceiling has a huge hole in it (when Girl Prof was in High School she and a friend decided to climb into the unfinished attic and walk around. They may have gone up through the attic hatch, but they came down through the drywall). The other stairway is the one we use. It is paneled in ugly 1970’s dark wood paneling. Too narrow for a handrail, going up them was like ascending a tunnel in a coal mine. I made every attempt to just dust them off and go on about my business. It just wasn’t possible, they had to be painted. Lucky for us, Princess works at Home Depot and we have tons of paint. To make a long story shorter, the stairway, upstairs hallway and all the bedroom doors are now a lovely shade of icy blue with darker blue woodwork. It looks cool and clean. The rest of the house is still a disaster, but the hall and stairs are impressive!

Clean houses are over rated in my opinion anyway. How is a person supposed to develop immunities in a sterile environment?


Entry filed under: Reruns.

On Church and Other Institutions Motherhood – Round Two

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catch  |  January 23, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Ha ha Kat…my Mom was a great housekeeper too…..while I like things picked up..I am nowhere near the housekeeper she was. And I dont even care. I am 58 years old..if I dont make my bed she goes in and makes it!!! Ey yi yi.No wonder I never learned the fine art of putting a bedspread on the bed!

  • 2. Linda  |  January 23, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I wish that I had the clean gene, but unfortunately, I don’t. My mom’s job kept her away from home a good bit, so my Dad did the cleaning and always did it before my sister and I got out of bed. My dad was really strict about everything being in its place and if it wasn’t he made sure that it was. If my bedroom closet or drawers weren’t clean to his liking he would just dump their entire contents into the middle of my bedroom floor leaving me no option, but to pick them up (the room was clean otherwise, just not tidy behind closed doors, so to speak). I truly think that this is one of the causes for my cleaning aversion. I don’t really speak to my Dad now, but he would just die if he saw my house on any given day.

    I am sure that your house will be fine. If it were mine, I would be concerned!

    Some day, I want to be independently wealthy so that I can hire somebody with a clean gene! HA HA HA!

  • 3. Cindra  |  January 23, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    You know…a messy desk is the sign of a brilliant mind? Well, a messy house is the sign of a busy, active, BEING.

  • 4. Stacy  |  January 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I used to at least keep things presentable if not exactly spotless, but that was before I married a slob and spawned two more. Keeping after them is an uphill, not to mention losing, battle. Keeping this place clean and neat is like the war in Irag….I’m there, I’m always doing something, but is it really making any difference?

  • 5. katcampbell  |  January 23, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Catch – Now we know who the real “princess” was growing up.

    Linda – My mom used to do the same thing. I hated that, coming home to the entire contents of my bedroom dumped in the middle of my floor. I’m sure that’s why I rebel against spotlessness while still trying to achieve it.

    Cindra – If that true then I’m a brillian, active being. My desk would benefit from a bomb.

    Stacy – Perfect! Like the war in Iraq….

  • 6. DaveM  |  January 23, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Your last sentence says it all. Dont look for dust and you wont see it. I’m sure your Chief will be more impressed by a happy, family friendly house than a sterile, cold and unloving one.

    Its the warmth of the welcome thats important.

  • 7. katcampbell  |  January 24, 2007 at 5:22 am

    Quite right Dave, that’s my rationalization too.

  • 8. John Linna  |  January 24, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Rationalizations don’t clean houses. Of course since this is a rerun your house is now spotless with everything painted that should be painted. Oh and the laundry is done.

  • 9. Nessa  |  January 24, 2007 at 5:49 am

    My mother once asked me “How can you consider yourself a woman if dust doesn’t bother you?” Not kidding.

  • 10. katcampbell  |  January 24, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Good catch Dr. John! Although, part of the reason I reran THIS story is because the dirty house part hasn’t changed….

    Nessa – Now that is an interesting test of femininity. LOL.

  • 11. another kat.  |  January 24, 2007 at 9:24 am

    yeah….the cleaning gene is ANOTHER one that skips a generation.

    I got three words for you:

    “Hire a Housekeeper”

  • 12. katcampbell  |  January 24, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Kat Too – A housekeeper? Hmmm… but then I’d still have to pick up the orphans or she’d be gossiping about her rednecked clients that leave their underwear in the living room. A bomb perhaps…

  • 13. QuillDancer  |  January 24, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    I am a great housekeeper. I used to clean other people’s houses for a living. NOTE: I said, other people’s houses. If you come to visit me you may have to move a magazine, two novels and the remote to get to the couch — provided I have actually folded the laundry and put it away.

  • 14. katcampbell  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Quilly – Isn’t that always the way? I can happily clean up any of my kids houses perfectly, but getting to my own is just drudgery.

  • 15. guyana-gyal  |  January 25, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    I LOVE to clean but I’m not fanatic about it, the laundry piles up some days, the table is full of my craft junk. But when I get to cleaning I enjoy it. I was even writing about it in my head on Sunday.



  • 16. katcampbell  |  January 25, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    GG – My poor brain damaged friend…you love to clean? Would you like to come be my roommate?

  • 17. sunfloweroptimism  |  January 26, 2007 at 3:05 am

    Well, I’m a slob. But I’ve really been trying lately. Had to – can’t blame the kids for the mess anymore since they’re away at college. Several weeks ago Velvet mentioned I tried program several years ago and it worked . . . not sure why I stopped. Anyway started again a couple of weeks ago and things have been looking better! There IS hope! LOL

  • 18. Gela the city dweller  |  January 26, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    I couldn’t stop laughing at para.5,where you talked about not being able to do things half way. Come take a walk with me and I’ll show you how.

    Although (and I have to whisper this) – I now find that it’s getting more difficult for me to leave the house dirty, find myself making sure that after I’ve messed up the bathroom basin with make-up, hair, combs etc, it feels hard to leave that way like first time. I now feel compelled to stay and clean up.

    Yikes! Am I turning into my Mom? OMG!

  • 19. sterile gloves  |  June 26, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    sterile gloves

    I found it very useful. Thanks for the knowledge. I am personally trying to follow the advice & try to be independent.


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