A non-writing friend of mine remarked recently, "You writers amaze me. Where do the words come from? Is it like being a compulsive reader or cleaner or quilter – you just gotta do it or be miserable?
Oh, yeah. The Husband would much prefer if I were a compulsive cleaner.
Alas, I am a recovering Messie. My name is Cynthia, and I'm a Messie. There, I've said it.
Before The Kiddo and The Writing, I had tackled my messy house with a good dose of How Not To Be A Messie, a wonderfully lovely book that pegged me like a sheet to a clothesline. I had it going on, chores done every day, menus planned in advance, a well-run house.
Truly. Honestly. It was a miracle. I even learned how to fold a fitted sheet.
But then The Kiddo came along, and one little person can dirty an enormous amount of clothes.
And then The Writing came along, and I got a job that was more than five minutes away from home, and things were harder.
And then The Kiddo hit her school years, and teachers will send tons of papers home, and what am I supposed to do with them, because if The Kiddo finds them in the trash, what does that tell her about the value I place on the work she does from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.??
And then The Kiddo turned out to be a packrat. I tell people that I live in a 1,100 square foot house and that I must have at least 3,300 square feet of junk in it, because, I swear, I feel like I'm manuevering around three feet of junk at all times.
With me, it's incredibly hard to write when the house is a disaster (The Husband would comment here that I shouldn't ever be writing, then). But cleaning my house is like rescuing starfish on a beach, an unending task that gets undone with every high tide.
So of course I try to tackle the problem systematically and research it to death (house going further to pot around me as I crouch over the computer).
Checklists abound on the web, checklists which will do nothing but raise your blood pressure and lower your self-esteem. For instance, Real Simple tells me that I can have a deep-cleaned house in 11 easy steps -- and they provide the checklist to go along with it. They have the nerve to call this a Weekend Cleaning List.
Dust inside drawers. Open furniture doors and drawers and dust the insides with a cloth and cleaner.
Bwhahahaahaaaa! They must think my drawers are empty!
Wait a minute. Maybe they're supposed to be empty. But if that's the case, then why have drawers at all? This is all very confusing. I must go away and think about this quandary.