Dirt Devil

I feel like I have one of these living in my house. Not the kind that cleans up dirt, but the kind that spins around and creates more and more mess.

I’ve been away from home for about a month. Shortly before I left, my cleaning ladies quit suddenly. I’m not nearly as upset about the cleaning ladies quitting as I thought I would be. There are many positives to our new situation, not the least of which is that they had gotten pretty careless with my things. Each time they came, I would find more and more things broken. They were also rather judgmental about my house at times, so having them come had become stressful for me. I’m such an introvert that having strangers in my house — even strangers I’m used to — is pretty upsetting. I feel relieved knowing they won’t be coming any more. Given how stressful it had become for me to have them in my house, I probably should have let them go quite some time ago. But I felt bad doing it, because I worried that it would take away part of their income. Their sudden and abrupt departure relieved me of that guilt, which was a good thing. Also, it’s really nice to know I can now save back the money I was spending every other week to have them clean the house. So, yeah … Lots of positives, even if it wasn’t a change I instigated.

My house is not the cleanest. There are only three of us, but we are all a bit lazy and lax about putting our things away and doing the regular cleaning chores. Things tend to be dusty and cluttered. For the most part, I’m the only one who cleans, and I often feel overwhelmed with all the clutter, so I avoid the whole thing. I feel frustrated and annoyed that I can’t keep my house clean. The nooks and crannies, in particular, will never be clean. I know I need to learn to accept this, but I can’t seem to manage it. And there are the dogs. I love the dogs. Sometimes, I love them a lot more than I love my husband and child. This might make me a bad person … Or maybe not. I’m not sure, but it is the truth of things. Sometimes, I find the dogs much easier to get along with than a grumpy pre-teen and a grumpy hubby. Plus, the dogs are always happy to see me. Always. I don’t feel I can say the same about the rest of my family. No matter how much I love them, though, I have to admit the dogs are a big source of dirt and dust. They shed like crazy. They go outside … then inside … then outside … then inside … then outside … then inside (you get the picture), which means quite a bit of dirt and dust gets tracked back into the house.

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So, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been away from home for a month. Before I left, I cleaned the whole house. I probably didn’t clean it as well as the cleaning ladies would have done, but I did do a whole top-to-bottom thing: vacuum, mop, bathrooms, dust, etc … My husband, much as I adore him, is not a cleaner. He’s more of a clutterer. Even so, I had hopes that I could come home to a relatively clean house. After all, all he had to do was run the vacuum over the floors once or twice and, maybe, refresh the bathroom that he was using regularly. He was the only one at home, so I reasoned this fact alone would help. I mean, fewer people making a mess is a good thing, right?

Wrong. I came home to a wreck of a house. Clearly, my personal dirt devil had a field day (or a whole series of field days) while I was absent. Nothing had been done for the whole month that I was gone. No vacuuming, no mopping, no dusting, no … well, you kind of get the picture, right? There was enough dog hair on the downstairs carpet to make a whole new dog! And a fine coating of dust decorated every flat surface. Thankfully, there were only a couple of dishes left in the sink. I had almost expected to come home to a whole pile of those, too. If that had happened, I think I might have cried a little bit. Even so, it was a little demoralizing. I guess, if I want to look for the positives, I could tell myself that this shows how much I’m needed at home. But, somehow, it didn’t feel that way when I stood in my entryway and stared at the mess in front of me. I almost wished I hadn’t come home. It all just felt like too much, and I stood there, staring at it all in dismay and thinking that I needed a good, stiff drink. Or three.

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Today, though, I have wrangled some sort of order out of the chaos. My husband even helped me. We vacuumed and dusted and mopped and dusted some more. I even got down into all the nooks and crannies, sending the dust bunnies scurrying for safety. There’s still a lot of work to do, but at least I feel like the house is livable again for the foreseeable future. And my dirt devil has been tamed — for the moment, anyhow. Take that, dirt devil!

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