Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This Writer's Life April

This past weekend, I begged off from my editing duties with every intention of doing some spring cleaning so the house of perpetual remodeling will be presentable for a guest. In eighteen days my boss will fly in from California for a 4 day business meeting. Papa Bear has managed to complicate this visit further by allowing his leg surgery to be scheduled into that period also. Can we all say passive-aggressive? Anyway... With one book out to potential publishers, one in edit with my partner and a new one in the note and research stage, I don't notice much around the house. Between my accounting job, my editing job, Princess and the dogs, I notice even less. It will be the first time the Chief has seen my house, so I would like it to look like something other than the place where hillbillies go to die. I would prefer that he didn't lay awake all four nights staring at the ceiling and wondering what diseases he may be contracting from the polluted air of our humble abode.

It should be noted that I am lacking the cleaning gene. I grew up with a woman who was so gifted in this respect that I never saw anything out of place or dirty, nor did I see her actually cleaning. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm sure I just assumed fairies came in the night and tidied up. I learned to clean from TV. It's embarrassing, but that's just the way it is. Thank you Martha Stewart, Clean Sweep and those two British ladies that insist on sniffing the stains to prove the house is really dirty. From these professors of cleanliness I learned: 1) to assemble my supplies in a bucket, 2) Carry with me an empty basket for orphans that belong in another room and 3) clean the room from ceiling to floor in a clockwise fashion. There are lots of little things, but these are the BIG rules.

The first problem arose when I went to gather my supplies to put them in the bucket I'd retrieved from the toy box (the grand girls were using it as a Brat Doll condominium), I couldn't reach the cabinet that stores the supplies because of the mountain of dirty laundry. My laundry area being approximately the size of a phone booth, it was necessary to actually sort the clothes by color into piles in the dining room. That messed up the last two of my three rules, I couldn't remove the orphaned laundry or get around the piles in a clockwise manner. Everything broke down after that.

I wouldn't say I'm anal, but I have always had this aversion to half doing anything. I can't put a coat in the closet without first straightening the other coats, boots, hats, gloves, camera's and shoes already in there. I can't just water the plants, I have to pick out all the dead leaves and repot them if necessary. I can't just wash a wall that needs painted, I must paint it. Here is where problem number three reared it's ugly head.

Our old house has two stairways. The back stairs lead to my dressing room and, for all intents and purposes, might as well have yellow caution tape in a big X over them. Treads are loose or broken on three steps and the ceiling has a huge hole in it (when Girl Prof was in High School she and a friend decided to climb into the unfinished attic and walk around. They may have gone up through the attic hatch, but they came down through the drywall). The other stairway is the one we use. It is paneled in ugly 1970's dark wood paneling. Too narrow for a handrail, going up them was like ascending a tunnel in a coal mine. I made every attempt to just dust them off and go on about my business. It just wasn't possible, they had to be painted. Lucky for us, Princess works at Home Depot and we have tons of paint. To make a long story shorter, the stairway, upstairs hallway and all the bedroom doors are now a lovely shade of icy blue with darker blue woodwork. It looks cool and clean. The rest of the house is still a disaster, but the hall and stairs are impressive!

Clean houses are over rated in my opinion anyway. How is a person supposed to develop immunities in a sterile environment?


land.downunder said...

Oh ! how I miss the Campbell household.
Really put the house into a spin and start cleaning in an anti-clockwise direction.

Hope that the Chief is a
"Steelers" fan.

Kat Campbell said...

We miss you too! Catch a plane, a ship, an energetic whale!