Sunday, November 8, 2015

Messy House.

My house is incredibly messy.  I mean, it's kind of grossing me out.

I remember thinking that it was messy when my kids were toddlers, and I thought, "When they are old enough to clean up after themselves, that will be nice."  Hahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahaha... ha.  Yeah, they just got messier, like big kid messes, that they don't clean up at all...

Food dishes left in the living room, half dumped on the floor, a hot chocolate spill with a freshly cleaned bathroom towel tossed on top of it in the kitchen, clothes... everywhere...  And towels everywhere.  They use our dish towels and bath towels to clean up an little spill, and when I say clean up I really mean just cover up the spill with the towel or wipe it partway, then throw the towel off to the side... of the room... just thrown somewhere in the room.  Oh, and every time they go to the bathroom and wash their hands, (Yes, they wash their hands), they vigorously rub them on a bath towel, if the hand towel has already been left on the floor, and then let it fall to the floor when their hands are sufficiently dried.  If I don't see it happen, and I have witnessed it many times, towels pile up on the floor until I discover them and I don't know what's what, they are all damp, on the bathroom floor, and I give up and put them in the dirty laundry.

Drawing by Sam Coleman.  He gets it.
I really love doing laundry, and washing large, just-cleaned bath towels, strewn on the floor with small amounts of food or drink absorbed smack in the middle of them is fun.  Washing towels in general is just fun. They take up so much space in the dirty laundry baskets, then in the washer, and then have to be dried.  They often have to be washed with warm water and bleached, which is great for our oil bill and the environment.  And I do try and hang them up, not always use the dryer, but carrying them across the basement then trying to drape them all over the thin line of clothesline wire, without overlapping and then staying wet in places and getting that musty smell which means they go back in the wash...  ain't nobody got time for that.

How do we teach the children?  Let's see...  Sarcasm about my love for washing towels has no effect on them.  Michael says, "You're being facetious," and then goes alone playing Minecraft, like, "That lady is messing with us, and we aren't falling for it."  They also remind me they were trying to clean up a spill, which is obviously a big accomplishment, right?  Enforcing chores?  Making them clean?  Hmmmm...  Yeah, I remember chores when I was a kid...

I remember my parents suddenly imposing TV limits and chores on my brother, sister, and I when John was 8.  Listening to my older sister complain about whatever chore she had and seeing her do it in the laziest, most ineffectual manner annoyed the living daylights out of 10 year old me.  She was 12.  Get a grip:  Empty the fucking dishwasher and fill it back up.  Fold the laundry, don't just wad it up and throw it onto the beds.  See, I was a kid who helped out anyway.  I wanted to help my mom.  If she asked me to do anything, anything at all, I would always do it without even thinking about complaining.  And on top of that, I had a brand new baby sister, whom I wanted to help take care of, and who actually moved into my bedroom when she was about a year old, because I wanted her to.  I wanted to share my room with my little sister.  If my mom was making dinner, I would help her.  When my mom was really worn out, after just having a baby, I was the only one out of the rest of us, and this includes my dad, who knew how to cook anything at all.  I remember making eggs at the big brown stove for him.  I remember him being very hungry and helpless looking.

And I remember the "chores" sort of falling away, because I think it was more of a hassle for my mom to try and get everyone to freaking do them, when it was easier for her to just do it herself.  That's what it's like here.  It's easier for us to do the laundry.  It's in the basement anyway, so having an 8 year old try to lug very heavy loads of towels up and down, clean, then dirty, then clean, then dirty, wouldn't work.  It's easier for us to do the dishes.  And, you know, all we really want is for them to clean up after themselves in a respectable manner... respecting themselves, their parents, potential guests (thank goodness we never have any), and respect the house.  Just clean up your own darn messes.

In this house, the youngins' seem unphased by cereal and popcorn and crackers and chips on the floor, being stepped on and ground into the rug.  In fact, when you draw a picture, you toss it on the floor and draw another.  When you take off your socks, you drop them right where you are and leave them there.  When you spill Spaghetti-Os on the couch, you can just leave it, unless it's totally in a spot that might interfere with your comfort...  Then you yell as if the world might end so mommy or daddy will bring you a "towel" quickly.  If your toys are starting to fill up the living room floor space, you get really good at maneuvering around and over them.  If you make a pillow fort, it's expected to be left alone, and admired for its engineering and construction quality.

When I wasn't teaching anymore, but the kids were at preschool, then at elementary school I would clean all day, every day. I could just put on loud music, and clean, and by the next morning, my job was there waiting for me again.  I'm enormously conscious of the house being clean, even if it's messy.  The bathroom, and kitchen better not be nasty.  And food spills, and dirt and dust are unacceptable to healthy Joanna.  Depression has made it harder for me to care, sometimes, or maybe I just don't have the energy...  The house hasn't stayed "clean" for more than a day for about 5 years.

But now, since the kids have been home sick, at least one of them home, for at least three weeks, has meant I haven't done any cleaning really at all.  I haven't even left the house.  I love my babies, but having not a single moment alone for 21 days x 24 hours = me losing my G.D. mind.  I was luteal for 14 of those days, which means... hmmm...  I really needed to be doing healthy things, and not stuck in this house.  Over these weeks, I could clean, but I was needed periodically, and I couldn't play music, or vacuum or do anything too loud if they were snuggled, sick watching a show.  Their meals were taken in the living room, ordered throughout the day, and the spills and dish piles were even more impressive than usual.  And during these times I often walk like a person possessed by numbness, blankly watching the microwave count down the timer for the noodles being cooked, or staring down at the apple I am slicing, barely focusing on what I'm doing.  And I hand it over, as I step on Apple Jacks, and popcorn and whatever other godawful stuff is sticking to the bottom of my feet, and hand over the food, and then climb into my bed and dumbly wait to be called again for something else...  Tylenol;  Kleenex;  A towel;  More blankets;  The ipad charger;  a snack;  A drink--No, not water;  A different drink...  And we're still in the thick of it.  They had a half day Thursday and Friday off from school.  Monday... Monday will be the first day they will both be at school for the full day.  I will have a full day to... clean.  I can't wait.  Oh, just kidding.  Stella has a weird allergic reaction and her feet and fingers are swollen.  Hahahahhahahahah...  Holy shit.  I'm totally going to lose my mind.

And wow.  At least I realized that when I felt like I wasn't doing anything at all, and being completely unproductive every day when I was home alone, and useless to Sam and my family, I was doing a whole lot of shit that was necessary to keep myself sane.  Dirty houses make people crazy.  Laying in bed with depression makes otherwise healthy people crazier.  So something better happen, or I'm going to paint this house the color of a dumpster and just freaking watch them turn it into one...

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