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?