From time to time my house goes from neat and presentable to a tornado just passed through here. Today my husband and I realized it was heading towards tornado damage, so we decided early in the day that we would clean. It’s never really horrendously dirty, we tend to get cluttery. We also have finally acquired all of the necessary paperwork for our impending mortgage application. So at lunchtime (I work only seven minutes from home, so I come home for lunch everyday and always call husband on the way) that I would work on getting all of the paperwork finalized and he would work on vacuuming, etc. Right now we live in basement apartment that is about 1000 square feet. If that. It’s not overly big, so even when cleaning the whole place at once it doesn’t take long. Of course you think, why yes, how efficient, one of you clean while the other does the paperwork. We don’t break up the work because it’s efficient. Well, it is, but that’s not the point. We break up the work because we can’t work together. Any time we clean the house together, we have to be apart. We have to be in separate rooms.
This has gotten better since we moved out of our old place. We used to live in a small two bedroom house in the village. (I loved that house and being in the village, but we saved $600 a month by moving. Where that money goes though, I don’t know…) It was old and cute and suited our purpose. Now when I say old, I mean like 150 years old old. It had a dirt floor in the basement and the foundation was made of stones. Stones that were sort of cemented together. Or whatever they used for cement during the Civil War. Ok, I don’t think it’s from the Civil War, but you get the point. Apparently they didn’t use tape measures or levels back then. They must have only eye-balled things because there was not a damn thing in that house that was square. If you left it in the right spot, the computer chair in the living room would roll across the floor because it had a dip in it. Anyway, the point is that we could not clean that house together without nearly killing each other. If I was upstairs putting clothes away he had to be downstairs washing the floor.
We get so caught up in critiquing each other’s cleaning processes that we fight instead of clean. We have very different cleaning habits. I tend to start in one place and then wind up all over the place. I’ll be putting clothes away and get to the towels. I’ll put the towels in the linen closet in the bathroom and then notice my hairdryer is still out, so I’ll put it away and whatever else is on the counter. Then I’ll go back to the clothes and get to the dish towels and go to the kitchen to put those away, then I’ll wipe the counters off or organize the mail. Everything gets done in the end, it just makes more sense to me to deal with something when it’s right in front of you. Husband (I should really think of a better name to use than husband…), on the other has a far different, probably better, work ethic than I do. He works from space to space and does not get distracted and move onto something else until whatever he’s doing is done. So it drives him COMPLETELY bat shit crazy that I roam around. I get mad because he’s mad that I’m not cleaning the way he would do it and I get mad because he’s walking past things he could put away/clean because he’s “not there yet.” (I also hate cleaning and would rather will things to be clean. I also was the messiest teenager ever. Like clean and dirty clothes mixed together all over the floor, couldn’t get in my room dirty. One year for Christmas for my parents, my present to them was presenting them with my freshly cleaned room. That took me three days to do…)
So we realized that we work best together when no where near each other. He stays out of my way and I stay out of his way. Of course, this evening I did all of the cleaning. It wasn’t much, mostly vacuuming and some straightening up and dishes. I began and then turned over the task of brushing one of our dogs. We have two black labs, Gus and Angus. Oh, did you notice “Gus” was part of each of those names too? They really are his dogs, as I came along after the dogs, but I will tell you, much to his denial, they are mama’s boys. (In fact, he is reading over my shoulder and just grumbled about that.) But it’s true, Angus’s name should really be Shadow because the dog jumps up after me if I breathe funny and follows me all over the house. I joke with him that we will have to name every dog something with “Gus” in it. He then tells me that our children will be named like that as well. I hope he is joking. Anyway, they’re both black labs. Angus has the longer, coarser hair and doesn’t shed as much. Gus, on the other hand, has the shorter, finer hair and it basically a walking hairball. We should really brush him more often to help with all of the shedding. If you sat and brushed him for an hour I’m pretty sure you would get enough hair to knit a blanket.
Bottom line, the house got cleaned and the dog got brushed. And now we’re watching Hoarders. Does this make me feel like a clean freak or like I should go back and clean more?