Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

I always clean as I cook, which lately has been non-existent. It’s not that I mind cooking. I just made the worse deal of my life with my husband once and have paid for it for twenty-five years; he cooks, I clean.  Since I always cleaned as I cooked (soapy water in the sink, wash while you are waiting for something to boil, wash and reuse measuring stuff) I had no idea how much damage he could do just cooking a frozen pizza.


There have been times I have gone into the kitchen and thought he must have cooked for an army and had a bomb go off while he was doing so. This is akin to him doing the dishes and using the sprayer to rinse. Half the kitchen gets a bath. So, while he cooks, flour is everywhere and door knobs and anything he touches have gook on them.  


This would not be so bad if he even knew what a vegetable was or how to cook anything that is not fried. In fairness, he is trying to cook healthier food. He grills a lot, including pizza (Pizza is fantastic cooked on the grill by the way, but put foil on the shelf under it so the bottom doesn’t burn).


We also eat ground turkey instead of hamburger a lot now too. Don’t tell the boys they are eating turkey tacos, please. But, my husband has still failed to come face to face with a green vegetable, and fried potatoes are one of his major food groups. He bakes one for me.


Since he has COPD and about twenty other problems, he is becoming more and more tired as he ages (and the disease is aging him fast). When we go out with mom, they automatically sit him next to mom and give them both the senior discount.


He does not have the energy to stay in the kitchen, or near the grill and watch progress. This results in us eating a lot of either 1. Burnt food or 2. Raw food.  And, since his main cooking is of meat, I am amazed we haven’t gotten food poisoning. Perhaps the burnt pizza crust is actually an antidote for food poisoning. The government should study that.

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I live in a 1,000 square foot house with a varying assortment of people. I have never been able to keep small living quarters, clean. And, living with mostly males (don’t get excited, four of them are related to me) is not conducive to cleanliness.


Permanent residents are husband, EMT boy and JRockGuitarMan, the teenager. During the summer we have Gaffer and girlfriend and a new addition is Fisherman; he’s EMT boy’s friend and staying for the semester.  That makes seven adults in 1,000 square feet. Oh, and Irritating Chihuahua, who insists on crunching bones on my bed.


My mother occasionally mentions moving back in but we haven’t found a shoehorn big enough to squeeze another person into the house. It’s a good thing the Chihuahua only weighs 6.2 lbs and the visiting rabbit is small. I would really love to live in a clean house, but that is impossible, with this crew.


When I was single, long, long ago, renting and working 9 to 5, I had a clean house. Every Saturday, I would crank up the stereo (yes, stereo folks, not CD player) and clean. It took maybe two hours. When you have two daughters, who are rarely home, and yourself, it’s not as big a deal. One person tends to make very little mess. It was mostly dusting, sweeping and watering plants. I don’t like curtains, so I put up shelving and plants. Tarzan could not have seen in my windows. Watering plants took up one of the hours.


Recovery for me, has been a long process and I am just now trying to catch up a bit. When I am cleaning, I usually just find things that have been lost for some time; lost program CD’s to reinstall that program that is not working right, old photos, notes that no longer hold any meaning for me, something I thought I had answered two years ago, all just odds and ends.


But, did you know —–


If you clean everything off your desk into a Rubbermaid, and you go back to it two years later, it really will not matter?


All that stuff you so carefully did not sort or throw out, but set on the desk to look at later, just doesn’t matter anymore and you can throw 95% of it in the burn barrel? 


NOTE: I would advise having a place to put bills separate from the other stuff on the top of your desk and not putting them in the Rubbermaid.

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In the last couple of weeks, I have felt well enough again to start cleaning the house. You know that television show where they show you just how bad of pigs some people can be? Well, I have entered the room of the “child” and realized, that’s my home.


It has been a long recovery and with too many people, in too small a house, and the rest of them being men, who think cleaning is to use the sprayer, at full throttle, to rinse dishes, thus ensuring that that area of the kitchen also receives a shower —- well, you see my life.


Since the last two years of my life has consisted of me going from the treadmill to the couch, I have not traveled the vast wastelands referred to as:






1. That JRockGuitarMan (youngest boy) is able to now provide homework from six months ago? Mind you, it’s too late!


2. That, while EMT (middle boy) keeps his room clean, he will manage to leave his stuff in every single other room of the house?


3. That a three month visit can turn your screened-in porch into a rabbit warren store room?


4. Did you know that Gaffer and girlfriend are able to amass more plastic drink cups, from fast food restaurants, than McDonald’s buys in one year? 


5. That one carefully emptied lower shelf, in the bathroom, is not enough for a college girl’s makeup and that the teeny tiny counter in the bathroom will be unable to hold the extra roll of toilet paper because it too is covered with makeup?


6. That just one day before Gaffer and Girlfriend are to leave, (The flight is scheduled for 8:45 am tomorrow, meaning they have to drive off just after 5am) and they are off on a stay at the State Park and this is what their room looks like?


7. And, that this is the sum total of dirty laundry and garbage (including those drinking cups) from the cleaning they HAVE done? 


GOSH, I WILL miss them.

I really will!

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I have come to the conclusion that you have to actually do something to have something funny to write about on a blog. Like Dad Gone Mad, who cooked shrimp and chocolate for his kids. Now, that is funny; positively gross, but funny.


Or A Mask to Hide Behind. in Britian, who has the most hilarious parents I have ever heard of.


Then, there is Masters Daughter, www.BrainDebris.wordpress.com who has a busy life and is hilarious — when she has time to write about it.


Then, there’s me. I get up, let the dog out, come in, get dressed (I am dressed when I let the dog out by the way, just in my pajamas.), do dishes, exercise, feed the dog and eat 1/3 cup of oatmeal myself. The dog does not appreciate oatmeal.


At that point, I look around the house. I am denied entry to the boys rooms because they are usually sound asleep yet. If they aren’t at work, they are sound asleep at 1p.m. I do not clean the boy’s rooms anyway. I do not snoop, although I have reserved that right should I suspect things like drugs, explosives, or dishes. Dishes being the main thing I open their door and look for.


I’m always sorry when I open their door, no matter what I find, so I’ve found it best just to do without bowls for a day until they decide they cannot eat cereal because I have no dishes to wash. The same with clothing.


My next step would be to look at the bathrooms, but frankly that is just plain disgusting at 7:00am, or anytime. I usually tackle that in a Haz Mat suit right before taking my decontamination shower.


Then, I am left with the front/dining/kitchen open L. It just ain’t worth it. Besides, I’ll never get my book done, if I spend all my time cleaning.

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There is an Obsessive Compulsive gene in our family. My mother’s brother once refused to visit her house for three years because the minute he flicked an ash in the ashtray, she would jump up from the card table and wash it; the ash tray not the ash. Since she had given him the ashtray at his place at the table, he mistakenly presumed she meant for him to use it.


Mom is good natured about her foible and we have all learned to live with it. If I ever write about my life, I have threatened to title it: My Life in a Ziploc, for I am certain I was born in one. She could not have dealt with the mess otherwise and has worked hard to ensure that everything she owns is wrapped and bagged, preferably in ZipLocs. She alone may be responsible for the success of the company.


What happens with children of Obsessive’s? They turn out to be, well, Not-Obsessive. I would rather paint a picture or be outside taking photographs than cleaning stoves and corners. Somehow, I have decided that, since I could not afford a self-cleaning oven, I will just give it away when the dirt creeps under the aluminum foil. Presuming I have sold a book by then. Ah, another thing to spur my novel on.


I do have an excuse; my husband has been disabled with COPD for nearly twenty-five years now. We live in a pollution free (note, I did not say dirt free) atmosphere. No smoke, no perfumes (I use Vanilla upon occasion-sounds weird, but what greater scent to evoke love than Mom’s home cooking?), no scented cleaners or shampoos, etc, and certainly no oven cleaner. It’s my legitimate excuse. I am also quite sure this was a big reason why my mother moved into her own apartment. She was in withdrawal for the scent of Lemon Pledge and hairspray.


My husband smoked for about a month, until cigarettes hit 25 cents  pack, but his family has “weak” lungs. He was under thirty when we were hiking out east and contracted a virus. It never left him, and damaged his lungs. He is 56 now and he looks 90. Children think he is Santa with his white hair and white beard, and often point at him through their car seat window when we drive past.


Once, during a high school concert, a family of six children was sitting in front of us. One little girl kept turning around and looking at my husband, until the end of the concert, when she stage whispered to her dad. “Daddy, did you know Santa was sitting behind us?” Then, there was the little boy who came up to him in a store and thanked him for the presents he (the child)had received last year.


My husband’s chubby cheeks have taken on a sunken look in the past year and, when we go to a restaurant, they give him a seat next to mom and a senior discount. There are perks.


What happens to the grandchild of an Obsessive? Since the gene skipped my generation, they may be obsessive too. I have a granddaughter who is “my girl.” Other children cling to their brothers or their grandfather, but this girl took one look at me, when she was three months old and decided I belonged to her. The look was pure adoration. It is so nice to be adored by someone. However, this poor thing has inherited the Obsessive gene.


At two, with a baby sister ensconced in her room, Rachel would wait until sister, Leah, finished her bottle, then she would get up and bring the bottle down to someone to, either: 1. Get it out of her room and/or 2. Have it cleaned. Her brothers used to torment her by rearranging the Christmas presents under the tree as she took her nap.


Occasionally, I have caught myself doing things that frighten me; counting steps, color coding clothing and coat hangers. I stop, mix them up and don’t look back. I do not want to even go there. Perhaps that is why I don’t want to spend time cleaning, because I love a clean house. I really do. But, what would happen to me if I started cleaning. I might not know when to stop? Do you buy that??? If so, see me about some property.


I do like my studio straightened up before every new project and I loved having a clean house when I had a house large enough to do that. I seem unable to keep this small one, with six adults, clean. There just isn’t enough closet/storage area and things spill out and about. When the table gets too piled, I make the boys put there things away. It looks nice for a day. I do NOT pile things on the table myself, I have a dresser for that, which has a printer on it and two years worth of filing and paperwork.


Told you I did not inherit the obsessive gene and one day the boys will move out and there will be room to keep things clean. Darn! I will miss them.

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