Housework: Ugh.

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I have so many blessings, itís a crime to complain. So I wonít. Except for oneÖ leetleÖ thing.


Hell, for me, wouldnít be a lake of fire or a never-ending Dave Matthews concert or a place without books: Itís cleaning house.

Like Sisyphus in Greek mythology--who was condemned to forever push a giant boulder uphill, only to watch helplessly as it rolled down again--Iím trapped in an endless cycle of dirty laundry, dog hair and a dusty dining room table you could write ďWar and PeaceĒ on.

I donít understand it.

Hereís the thing: I actually like to move (I lived in three apartments in one complex), so Iíve had a couple dozen homes and I kept them clean. CLEAN, I tell you. So we know Iím not a slob. But the house I share with Widdle looks like a frat house, after the frat moves out.

You wonít find beer kegs on the stairs or magazines and dirty socks and junk mail piled on every chair. In fact, books are neatly shelved, framed photos are arranged on tables and pillows are plumped on sofas. If you suddenly walked into my house, and I canít imagine why you would, you might think, ďThis doesnít look so bad. And thatís some nice crown molding over there.Ē

But thereís dust on the crown molding, and on the eight-inch baseboards and chair rails, and donít even look at the silk plants or the six-panel doors. Youíd faint.

Hereís what Iím supposed to do, according to our unspoken marital contract: Make the beds, wash dishes, empty the trash, do laundry, fold clothes, sort the mail and newspapers, feed and medicate the animals, scour my bathroom (hubby has his own, which I Do. Not. Touch), mop, dust, vacuum and occasionally clean the windows.

Hereís what I actually do: As little as possible. OK, I fold and put away the laundry hot out of the dryer, recycle faithfully and change the beds like clockwork, but my house does not sparkle and shine. I have no idea how women with children and a job handle it, unless maybe they strap sponges to the kidsí feet.

Iíd probably clean more if I could drink wine while doing it, but even I know that drinking Chardonnay at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday is dicey.

Housework is boring and tedious. Take dusting, and I wish you would. We have lots of wood furniture, wood floors, wall art and books. And all those surfaces collect dust and dog hair. Plus you have to clean the lamps and coasters and candlesticks and move the flower arrangements and wipe down the picture frames. Itís ridiculous.

I also hate to vacuum, because the machine is too heavy and too loud, and I always run it over my feet or pull the plug out of the wall.

Maybe our house is harder to keep clean because we have a dog. Maybe itís because we live near a busy road. Maybe itís because Iím oblivious. Example: I didnít realize ceiling fans were supposed to be dusted until maybe five years ago. I was flabbergasted. How can something that spins in a circle all day collect dust?

The obvious answer is to hire a cleaning person, but s/he might silently judge me. Or run away screaming in horror. I donít know, and Iím unwilling to find out.

For now, Iím going to go cut up some sponges. And tie them to the dogís paws. Itís worth a try.

Julie R. Smith, who also canít fathom how dust gets inside a china cabinet, can be reached at widdleswife@ol.com.

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