A little while after my super-awesome group of Book Club friends left my place, I sat in the quiet house thinking about the fun evening and just enjoying the clean. Earlier that day when I was vacuuming the miniature lampshades on the dining room chandelier (I know, totally uncharacteristic), I realized that particular cleaning task is one I do only when people are coming over. (Or more correctly, when I am nervous about people coming over.) But, unlike when I have family come for an overnight visit (like Mamaw and Dat last week), I didn’t even bother with the boys’ blue bathroom. It turns out, and I guess everyone already knew this except me, that there are different levels of clean for different occasions. For your convenience, I have listed them from least to most clean.
Wednesday Un-Clean: The last day of my work week is Wednesday. I get home late and watch tv until I am too tired to keep my eyes open. There is no cleaning of any kind happening until Thursday. By Wednesday evening, the bathrooms haven’t had one hair wiped up, the kitchen floor has days worth of crumbs on it from 5 people (No, the dog won’t touch them) and there have been no socks or shoes picked up by anyone. By Wednesday, the laundry room isn’t bad because you can’t even see it through the laundry. I concentrate my efforts on the living room because that is what the music teacher sees when he is here on Tuesdays, but it is inevitably gathering toys, granola bar wrappers, and nasty stuff on the carpet. In general, house looks like 8 little boys have been running around wreaking havoc because 8 little boys have been running around wreaking havoc: my 3 and various others from the street. This is one of the many reasons I love my neighborhood, but the state of Cloud 8 by Wednesday nights is enough to make me want to move to Happy Acres Retirement Community.
Everyday Clean: This one really should read Everyday “Clean”. This is the normal acceptable level of clutter/grime we can manage on a day-to-day basis. It means that the bathrooms were “cleaned” by one of the shorties within the last week, and the kitchen has been kept up for the most part by Husband and me. However, the trail of toys leads from basement to bedrooms and everywhere in-between. There is likely some piles growing on the dining room table and the kitchen counters have a bunch of stuff on them that needs to be dealt with. Undoubtedly there is significant hair accumulation on my white tiled bathroom floor. (As an aside, who the eff installs white tile on a bathroom floor? Seriously. Hairless people? Albinos? Norwegians? It is simply never ever clean. Ever.)
In Every Day Clean, there are backpacks, dog toys and shoes
everywhere anywhere and the laundry is in various stages of incompletion in baskets or in the washer or dryer. It isn’t totally gross, but it would be overstating it to call it clean.
Babysitter Clean: Before the babysitter comes, I like to at least throw the toys down the stairs, make Pumpkin Pie do the shoe patrol, and maybe run the vacuum. If I am lucky, I will have time to get the kitchen Every Day “Clean”, but with the crumbs wiped off the counters. This was more important to me when the sitter first started, now she knows
how whacktacular we are what we are really like, why try to keep up appearances?
Book Club Clean: This is when my house is the least like its usual self. Not only is it clean and picked up, but there are no children around anywhere because Husband takes them out to Chick Fil A or Krispy Creme for dinner. However, the clean does not extend beyond the public areas on the first floor because that would be just silly! Book Club Clean goes into effect for Book Club (duh) and whenever we have a party of any kind, which we never do. I had one party in the past 2 years for a friend who was moving away. I suck at having parties. Possibly because I feel the need to clean so much beforehand!
Over Night Family Visitor: This is when all the bathrooms have been scrubbed within an inch of their lives (including pressure washing the aged urine from the crevices between the toilet seat and the bowl which is referred to as The Nasty), the sheets have been changed and all the towels have been bleached into submission. The toys have been generally corralled, but the basement is still likely to be a wreck and nothing will stay clean for long. Dusting definitely hasn’t happened. I find dusting to be the single most thankless cleaning job there is. I can enjoy stuff being dust-free for what, a few hours? And then the dust comes back like it owns the place. Thankless and annoying.
Selling the House Clean: The only reason that I know that this level of clean exists is because I have sold my house twice since becoming a parent. It sucked huge both times. I don’t recommend it. There isn’t even anywhere to put laundry. The house has to look like people don’t live there, and certainly not dogs. Dear heavens, not dogs. If you have a white tiled bathroom floor, just move to a hotel or rent an RV until the deal is done. Oh yeah, and you have to (shudder) dust. More than once.