Columbia Star

Cleaning Clean

I’m just saying...



“What are you doing Julia?”

This question was from my husband Marty when he came home from work the other day and found me on my knees with a cloth scrubbing the floor between the washer and dryer in the laundry room. From his point of view with my butt in the air and my face red and a tad “dewy” and ringlets of damp hair plastered to my ears, it certainly wasn’t my best look but I thought the bucket of water and the cloth should have given him an indication of my objective.

“I’m cleaning the floor Marty…there was some dust back here that I couldn’t get to with the vacuum,” I replied without getting up so it must have seemed as if my answer came from my buttocks.

“Cleaning?” He sounded incredulous. “Why? There’s nothing there to clean!” He had just seen me mopping the floor a couple of days ago and I guess he thinks, as most men do, one mopping lasts forever.

“There most certainly IS something to clean Marty,” I said as I pulled my head out of the washer/ dryer crevice and tossed my cloth on the lip of the bucket. There was DUST back there! Do you want people to think we live in a pig sty?”

“No Julia I do not… but I don’t want to be friends with people who would come into our house, get on their knees, and look between our washer and dryer either. You JUST cleaned here two days ago!”

“That was then and this is NOW Marty…dust comes back you know!”

“But aren’t the maids coming in tomorrow? Isn’t that a job for THEM to do?”

“Oh MARTY! Do you want the maids to think we’re dirty people?”

“Noooo…I don’t want them to think that. But NOBODY is going to think that!” He bent down and picked up my cloth. “Look Julia…it’s CLEAN! There’s NOTHING on this!”

And he had a point. Sort of. I mean…there wasn’t much dust on the cloth but I could SEE the dust. There’s no way to not have dust when you’re using a dryer. There will ALWAYS be dust! I snatched my cloth back and got up to empty my bucket.

“Fine Marty…if you want these new maids to come in here and then tell people we live in a dirty hovel then…FINE!” I was huffing a bit as I was talking while I was getting up.

“That’s just absurd Julia…we’re PAYING these ladies to CLEAN! We really should give them something to CLEAN while they’re here! You don’t want them to feel bad do you?”

“Feel bad? How can my doing a little tidying before they show up possibly make them feel BAD?”

“Well if they get here to a clean house, they might feel bad taking our money for nothing. I mean their JOB is to clean houses. Do you want them to feel bad about their jobs Julia?”

I could tell from the gleam in his eyes he was messing with me but I was still hot and grumpy from all of my pre-maid-visit dirt and dust assault so I was in no mood to laugh.

“Oh just go watch television on the porch Marty,” I said with an exasperated sigh. “And DON’T mess anything up!”

“How can my sitting down and watching the news mess things up?” He was actually serious.

“I have already cleaned out there Marty… I’ve dusted and vacuumed and wiped everything down. Just try not to clutter things up.”

“I still just don’t get it Julia…tell me again… WHY are you cleaning when the maids are coming tomorrow?”

I sighed again before launching into my explanation.

“BEcauuuuzzze Marty…the ladies coming in tomorrow are coming for the FIRST time. We have NEW ladies and I don’t want them to think we’re filthy!”

“Filthy? I don’t even know why we HAVE maids! There isn’t so much as a water spot in a single sink or piece a dust on any furniture in this house! You need to relax and give that OCD of yours a rest.”

As he said this, he was getting himself a glass of water. In the process, little shards of ice escaped his glass and hit my newly mopped kitchen floor and freshly polished counter tops. He then began to empty his pockets at his “Marty Pile” spot on the corner counter where I had meticulously placed several organizer boxes for just this sort of thing. Out came pieces of candy, candy wrappers, a handful of change, and countless teeny little unidentifiable bits of this and mysterious tads of that.

None of these things went into the meticulously placed organizer boxes. Not one. They all spilled onto the counter top in no particular order. He then took his water glass, which had formed a ring of condensation on the counter, walked to the door, kicked off his shoes, and went to watch the news on the porch.

“USE A COASTER,” I yelled as he sat down and pulled off his socks and stuffed them behind a cushion. I reached for my bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels to wipe up the melted ice and water ring. I’d get the socks and shoes later. At least he’d be at work in the morning before the ladies arrived. I’d have time for one last tidy time before they got here.

“You’re just cleaning clean Julia,” he retorted.

He calls my penchant for tidying “OCD” but it should be called OCMPD…obsessive-compulsive MAN-proofing-disorder.

I’m sure every wife suffers from it.

I’m just saying…

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