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Family, Marriage, Parenting

Maid in Connecticut

cleaning day

Image by jaymiek via Flickr

Psst.

Don’t tell anyone else, but I think I might be magic.

I’ve thought about it a long time, and frankly, magic is the only explanation.

Yes, I know many think of me as a witch, or something that rhymes with that word, but hear me out. I have an ability no one else in my house does:

I see housework.

Only I seem to know when a wastebasket needs to be emptied, that feet should not stick to the kitchen floor, or that dust should not be allowed to grow to a full fur-like height.

No one else is aware that a sinkful of dishes does not miraculously jump into the dishwasher, or that a mountain of dirty clothes will not spontaneously bring itself to the laundry room. (Or that clean, folded garmets will never make their own way to the bureau or closet shelves.)

Well … they do notice occasionally — when I have a Medusalike meltdown. After that, Basil and Catherine will clean house and neaten up for at least an hour or two before reverting to their old habits.

Even during those brief honeymoon periods, however, the joy of scrubbing the toilets remains mine.

To say all this drives me crazy is, of course, an understatement. For all our liberation and technological advances, we women remain chained to many of the same household tasks as our mothers and grandmothers.

And husbands and teenage daughters cling to their quest to duck the dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing and mopping.

Basil and Catherine will tell you that they have given up because my standards are too exacting, but I don’t buy it.

I’m not nearly the housekeeper my mother is. When I was a kid, she cooked, cleaned, baked, sewed, dutifully changed curtains and drapes with the seasons (every time, it was days before Dad noticed), washed windows, aired linens, mowed the lawn — you name it. And she tried to train Traci and me to do the same.

There were daily and weekly chores, including lists of tasks to accomplish while she and Dad were at work. As part of the family, we were expected to do our part.

Looking back, I’m sure my attempts were seriously subpar — and often beyond stupid: I once tried to get the kitchen floor REALLY clean using straight bleach. I stripped the color from my Keds and the hem of my jeans in the process. Of course, now I understand why Mom didn’t appreciate that bit of effort! I’ll never know how I didn’t asphyxiate Traci and me in the process.

I’m much more lax than Mom (and feel a little guilty about it). But — call me crazy — I like clean undergarments, a floor free of crumbs and furniture I’m not tempted to finger-write my name on.

For the moment, however, delegating these tasks doesn’t seem to be an option.

You see, I have this magical gift. Now, how do I exchange it?

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Maid in Connecticut

  1. I am not a housekeeper by any means. By the time I notice a house needs cleaning, it REALLY needs it. I blame my mother, who was similar to yours. I never could meet her standards and would have to do and redo a task many times to meet her satisfaction. We live in a semi-organized chaos, and clean when necessary.

    I will admit that when we do clean, Bill vacuums. He says he would do more, but doesn’t know what needs doing. Hmm, after 45 years together, you think he’d figure out that his stuff needs picking up, shoes put away, wastebaskets emptied — he’s good with garbage, but the wastebasket could overflow for days before he sees it. And why am I the one who refills the toilet paper roll? And cleans the toilet. I’m sorry, I do not drip on the toilet itself; why am I always the one to clean it up?

    I want a wife!!

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | September 23, 2011, 8:55 pm
  2. Oh Terri, I feel your pain. And I don’t even have a girl-child (who, theoretically, would inherit the housework gene). But, no, I have left garbage bags by the back door, only to have them moved to the side. I mean, honestly, it’s only 10 quick steps to the garage! And can we talk about kitchen counters? I won’t put anything of importance down because it might stick permanently to the jam or oj glue equivalent. And I would never EVER consider walking around the house in bare feet. The boys do it. I’ve tried it, have completely grossed myself out, and have hauled out the vacuum in self defense!! You see, my dad was always the one who noticed “stuff.” I had the misguided notion growing up that all men were like my dad! But not so!! He, apparently, was an anomaly among his gender. Wow, have I had an education with three males in my house! At least I’ve trained the boys to put the toilet seat down–their dad, not so much (his mom gave up with 3 boys). As for cleaning the toilet, they haven’t a clue.

    Posted by Nancy Lanzoni | September 23, 2011, 9:23 pm
  3. Great post today thanks I really enjoyed it very much.

    Please Recommend and Share – The Leaves are Changing

    Posted by Topic Trends (@Topic_Trends) | September 24, 2011, 12:14 am
  4. Seriously–how hard is it to put the new roll of toilet paper in the holder?

    Posted by Abbie | September 25, 2011, 2:02 pm

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