Monday, April 12, 2010

Housekeeping in the Time of a Toddler

I am tired of sweeping the floor. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful, I love our floor, I am grateful to have it and the roof that goes over it, but Christ on a crutch, the floor is CONSTANTLY dirty.

When we chose new flooring for our house, the rednecky guy at the flooring store warned me that the dark hardwood I wanted was not the best at disguising dirt. But my heart was set. And, I know flooring was the rednecky guy's business, but he didn't look like he'd spent a whole lot of time cleaning floors in his life. "Women's work," you know; so I doubted him. A really, really, dark floor, I surmised, would be like a dark colored shirt, hiding much more than a white one. Turns out, there is a lot more light colored floor dirt in the world than I'd expected.

It might help if I didn't share the house with a pack of wolves toddler. Violet doesn't try to be messy. Actually, sometimes Violet does try to be messy. But generally, she's just learning. Learning and leaving a trail of learning dust wherever she goes. Most of the floor schmaltz is unrecognizable in its current form; it has just become whitish dust collecting at the doorsteps of all of our kitchen appliances. Sometimes I'll spot a shred of cheese or a square of Life cereal that has been stepped on ever so gingerly allowing it to retain its woven pattern but disintegrate as soon as my fingers reach to scoop it up.

And Shawn, God love him, wears his mud caked work boots in the house every other day tracking bits of grass and mud in just about every room in the house. I think he figures it is the duration of his trip into the house that dictates the necessity of removing his shoes. So if he is only going to be in the house for 3 minutes, he'll leave them on. Never mind that during those three minutes he'll stomp garden dirt from the front door, up the stairs, into the bathroom, back downstairs, through the living room for a check of the score, into the kitchen and past the fridge for a glass of lemonade, and then back out the back door. It looks like that little kid from the Family Circus has been running laps through the house by the time Shawn heads back outside.

Scout tracks in all sorts of crap, too. Even the cat manages to leave footprints on the floor. She doesn't ever leave the house, but she has litter dust to add to the mix. Gross.

Luckily, I don't ever do anything dirty to our floors. At least one of us isn't a slob.

Sweeping used to be a once-a-week activity in my life. I am at the point now where I am doing it every other day. And everyday probably wouldn't hurt it. I have no idea what is normal for other people but this seems like excessive cleaning to me. I don't know about you, but I can think of four hundred and thirty-six thousand other activities I would rather do than clean my house EVERYDAY. But the spring sunshine bouncing off of the dust bunnies just doesn't make me feel like mother of the year. So I get out the broom. Or the Swiffer. Or the mostly worthless little vacuum that is supposed to easily tackle small jobs like my kitchen floor but is more like a dust bunny Cuisinart the way it spins the fluff away from the suction instead of into it.

I'm trying to keep up but I am really seeing the value of a live-in maid more and more. Or maybe just poorer vision so the dirt wouldn't bother me. Or lower standards. Or maybe we just need to go shoeless indoors, Tokyo-style. And get rid of the pets. And feed Violet exclusively outdoors.

But my guess is that I should just keep the broom handy.


Jen said...

I could've written this one, Jilly. So. Right. On. All it takes is the pulling out of the hide-a-bed to send one over the edge. :) You've always kept a clean house, though. I don't think our Crook Drive condo would have ever known a mop if it wasn't for you.

Babs said...

I've always been a neat freak, and I know that's no surprise to you, but I don't know what good it is. Seems like a preoccupation with something very low on the life accomplishments list. Your dad used to tell me I ought to lower my standards (for you kids.) I don't think I was ever really able to do it, but I'm still glad I had a different perspective as a partner. I'm sure that it helped.