Out Damn Spot!

If I had any sort of ability with these pesky computer-type things, you’d be listening to the Jaws theme music right now. Or maybe the shrieking music from Psycho.

People are coming.

To my house.

I invited them, of course. If I hadn’t, there wouldn’t be a post today at all because I’d be busy barricading the doors and phoning the police instead of trimming the jungle outside and collecting piles of recycling and freecycling.

And since I invited these people, I should probably make something of an effort to make my house presentable. And if not that, at least I can attempt a look that isn’t offensive. As in, you know, clean a little. Or maybe you don’t know. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how dirty this place was until I started cleaning it. (With my mom’s help of course. Otherwise, why bother at all because there wouldn’t be enough time to make a dent – a dent! – in the mess.)

We’re pig people. Disgusting pig people, living in filth.

We’ve been in this house for one year and eight months (and three days…easy to keep track because we moved on New Year’s Day). In all that time, I have never wiped down the outside of the microwave door. Blech. But you know, it’s not a high priority when one is simultaneously trying to keep a little (demanding) person happy, write a novel, and maintain some facade of sanity.

I could gross you out with further examples of my housekeeping negligence. But I won’t. I could also write out my rationalizations/justifications/whining-creations of why I don’t go to the effort to keep my house pristine and shining and golden.

But people are coming over, so I have to get my booty back upstairs to clean (with my mom’s help) so I can pretend I’m a great housekeeper/mother/everything-together kind of girl to a bunch of friends and family who know me better than that anyway.

P.S. There’s a Yappy #3 next door. I hope it’s just visiting.

Max the Noble

Naming inanimate objects has always been a hobby of mine. My favorite egg baby in middle school was Hester. I had a dust mop named Jorge in college, and my dwarf mandarin orange tree is named Frida. Most, if not all, of my stuffed animals had names, and now I name Z’s animals. She has a giraffe named Gerald, a penguin named Mr. Penguin (yeah, really stretching the bounds of creativity on that one), and her Duplo person is Guy. Husband named her stuffed cat Talula, and I’m jealous that I didn’t come up with the name.

I also have a clothes hamper named Max. He was  in the garage, on top of the Yard Sale pile, and I’d forgotten about him until yesterday when my friend Kristin visited. “You have an elephant clothes hamper,” she pointed out in wonder. Or horror. One can’t be sure.

Max previously belonged to my Grandma Marion, and I don’t know where she got him, or why. But grandmothers have a way of foisting their strange belongings onto their granddaughters. I still have a garbage sack filled with throw pillows Grandma Myrt started to sew but didn’t want to finish. When I look at the fabric patterns of gigantic, blazing orange peonies and kittens wearing Christmas-patterned ribbons, I have to wonder why she abandoned that particular project.

But back to Max.

I grew so attached to him throughout middle and high school that he came to college with me, and then my first apartment, and to subsequent apartments, until Husband and I got married. Now we (gasp!) shared a clothes hamper, and Max simply wasn’t big enough to contain our filth–especially since said filth collected for between two to four weeks at a time until we made a trip to one of our parents’ houses to do laundry (yes, even when we were married. We have a deep-seated and irrational fear of laundromats). Max was sent back to live with my parents, and we adopted an accordion-style, silvery clothes hamper from IKEA that I have christened Ugly.

When we finally bought our house and our parents brought all of our junk from their garages to our own, Max resurfaced, took a quick breath of fresh air, and then the garage door closed on him for months. (Anybody thinking of The Velveteen Rabbit? ‘Cause I am.) During a purge of old things, Mom finally convinced me to put Max in the Yard Sale Pile: an epic mound of…garbage, basically. But garbage I hope someone will buy, so that I can, in turn, use their money to buy more garbage.

Then Kristin mentioned Max, and I remembered our fond times together. Personified as a faithful friend, he held my dirty clothes for so many years, and now I sell him like the other garbage? I asked Kristin if she needed a clothes hamper, concealing the fact that Max was missing an ear. No, she didn’t need a clothes hamper.

But you know who does?

My daughter.

Max the Noble

Welcome back to the fold, Max.

Kitchen ‘Capades

This morning I was greeted in the kitchen by the Mt. Everest of dishes, looming precipitously above me and sucking up all the oxygen with their stench. Didn’t I JUST do these? I wondered. Hasn’t there been enough kitchen cleaning for one week? Does it never end? I know I’m not the first stay-at-homie to ponder these philosophical quandaries. With my easy solution, perhaps I’ll be the last.

For those of you interested in my ground-breaking solution, here it is: stop eating. No food means no dishes. I know I can certainly survive until the Fourth of July off of my stomach fat alone, not even needing to use up the fat stores from other parts until much later. Z can survive off the handouts she gets at playdates. Seriously, the kid walks into a stranger’s house and starts begging. I try to convince the other moms that she does eat at home, but they don’t believe me. So I may as well stop feeding her and make the rounds to the other toddlers’ houses. And Husband? He barely eats anyway, somehow getting through an entire day on three cookies. In fact, he doesn’t even have to eat those cookies. He takes them to work, then brings them home; he magically absorbs whatever calories he needs just from carrying them. I magically absorb whatever calories I don’t need just by looking at air.

But this isn’t an article intended to poke fun at my weight, as easy as that is right now. I’m mystified by the kitchen, and the dishes inside it, and how they seem to dirty themselves through the very virtue of being dishes. Perhaps I don’t get it because I don’t cook. So when I see the dishes it’s magical in an Oh-No-Voldemort-Just-Apparated-In-My-Kitchen sort of way.

When I do finally tackle the mess, usually in the morning (I mean really, who wants to waste Z’s precious bedtime hours cleaning?), I vow to never again let it get this bad. “Never,” I say, scrubbing a chunk of enchilada off the rim of a plate. All good intentions are lost as soon as Z looks “thoughtful” and needs a new diaper. My child protects me from doing too much work because after the diaper change she wants a story. And in the face of all those dishes, reading Rosemary Wells’s Bunny Planet trilogy forty-six times sounds like nirvana.