The Husband and I celebrated 12 years of wedded bliss on Monday. To say that he is a great guy and that I am happy I married him is an understatement. Every evening when he comes home from work and walks through that door, I think to myself how lucky I am, mostly because I have a lot of quirks and am not sure how anyone could stand to be around me for 12 hours let alone 12 years.
One of my quirks is maintaining the illusion to friends, family, and complete strangers that our house looks like a beautiful museum at all times, with every piece of furniture dusted, every stray clump of cat fur vacuumed, and every dish washed, dried, and put away. Of course we do not live a messy life with papers strewn about, papers that someone else inflicted on us, like the school, the mailman, or The Husband’s job. No. Our lives are neat and organized with everything put away or at least looked at and decided about immediately. We do not let papers languish on the front entry table, the coffee table, the fireplace mantle, or the kitchen counter.
We would never do that. To do that would make us slobs, lazy slobs who do not care what other people think. I am a lazy slob who cares very much what other people think.
I want the illusion of perfection, the image that the Architectural Digest photo crew might be stopping by at any moment to photograph us for their June cover.
As you can imagine, I had to clean the house before the sitter came over.
I got off of work at 3 PM, which was just in time to race home before the kids got home. As soon as they arrived, I handed them a snack and scooted them in the yard to play. Next, I put on my apron (a souvenir from my days at the high-end kitchen store) and began to tackle my messy house.
I spent the next three hours washing dishes, dusting the dining room, making beds, deep-cleaning the bathroom, scooping up all offending papers in the living room and front entry into several large shopping bags (to be hidden in the master bedroom on the other side of the bed next to the window), shoving shoes in the closet, until suddenly, miraculously, our home had the appearance of looking semi-clean, effortless, comfy, and casual. This was a vast improvement from mere hours before when various bugs were on their cell phones, placing collect calls to their spider cousins, asking them to move in with us. Dust bunnies had morphed into something slightly larger, like, say, dust elephants or dust dinosaurs. The surface of the bathroom sink could only have been described as “fossilized.”
But no more. The house shined, maybe not enough to be on the cover of Architectural Digest, but possibly on page 232 of Architectural Wannabe in a quarter-page article about living with kids and pets in harmony.
I put on my black skirt and my best red sweater, the outfit I reserve for special occasions, and sat down on the couch to survey the scene. I was pleased with the cleanliness level, but I was more pleased with the fact that The Husband had fed the kids dinner and gotten them in bed already. We were ready for our dinner reservation.
The phone rang. The sitter gave some lame last-minute cancellation excuse (“My dad just had a heart attack and we’re at the hospital”—okay, fine, I guess that was actually an acceptable excuse). I did the only thing I could: I asked the sitter if her dad would want to recuperate later at our house. It was nice and clean.