Sunday, July 13, 2008

“Different Layers of Clean” & Plans Derailed

The plan for Thursday was to clean the Master Bedroom - the messiest room in the house. This room earned this status because we never needed to show that room to guests and we kept Fiona out of that room, eliminating any motivation to clean it much during the past two years. Two years ago we got new bedroom furniture, which prompted us to clean the room - this was right around the same time I found out I was pregnant.

To give you, dear reader, an idea of the extent of the squalor, my husband had a pile of clothes right next to the bed that had been there for two months. I remembered he had said he put those clothes next to the bed because he wanted to throw them out. They were mostly old T-shirts, not fit to donate. However, as I looked at the pile on Wednesday, I noted some nice looking shorts, and a button up shirt. The shorts looked like the new ones we bought only a month ago.

Before we went to bed Wednesday night, I asked him, “Is that the pile of clothes next to the bed the pile you want to throw away?”

He got really agitated, and said, “No. Don’t touch those clothes.”

I replied, “Don’t get huffy; I thought you said you wanted to throw those clothes away.”

“I did throw those clothes away. These are different clothes. Don’t throw these away, don’t put them in the laundry, just leave them alone.”

“If I’m going to clean the room, I can’t just leave those clothes there.”

“Then just throw them on the bed.”

“Why can’t I put them away?”

“Because I’ve worn them.”

“Then if you’ve worn them, why can’t I put them in the laundry?”

“Because there are different levels of clean.”

At that point, I just burst out laughing. “How can there be different levels of clean?”

My husband was trying really hard not to laugh. I think he saw the absurdity in his comment, but didn’t want to admit I was right. “Good night,” he said, and turned over.

On Thursday when he called, I mentioned that I put his different levels of “clean” clothes in a bag and then asked him what he meant by different levels of clean.

He replied, “Haven’t you seen Ghost Busters II?”

I guess I forgot about the different levels of clean line.

. . .
Anyone who has kids knows sometimes the best laid plans get derailed. Wednesday night, Fiona was waking up fussy, and had a temperature of 101. I had given her some Children’s Motrin. In the morning she seemed fine with a temperature of around 98.

Nevertheless the policy at my daycare was that when a kid has a temperature as high as 101, the kid must wait 24 hours before returning to daycare. Therefore on Thursday, my day to clean the messiest room in the house, the master bedroom, Fiona was home. Luckily I managed to get a head start on that room the day before. Somehow, while Fiona was napping, and for a few minutes here and there, while she played in her room behind a gate (until she would realize she was behind the gate, and walk up to the gate and shout, “Ma”), I managed to clean the master bedroom.

Fiona’s temperature was normal all day, and she was her normal self, trying to get into the cat food bowl and such. I was feeling rather smug, since I finished the master bedroom, and there wasn’t much to clean in Fiona’s room, other than her changing table which I stopped using once she was around 6 months old, and became mobile, and has since become a collection area for clutter while I change her on the floor.

I figured it would take maybe 30 minutes top to de-clutter the changing table, and then a few minutes vacuuming, and viola! Fiona’s room would be clean, and I would have the entire Friday. I planned to go grocery shopping since when I was working I had little choice but to shop for groceries on the weekends, when the place was packed and picked over. Then, once the groceries were put away, I would have the rest of my Friday to blog, go to the library, maybe watch a Lifetime movie. Ah me time!

Imagine my disappointment, and not to mention concern, when Thursday evening Fiona’s temperature was back at 101. Not only did Rob and I feel she could not go back to daycare, we decided she needed to go to the doctor. I called her doctor as soon as they opened Friday morning, and the earliest appointment was at 2:45. That morning, I decided to go grocery shopping, and then went back home for lunch. Fiona and I spent the remainder of Friday at the pediatrician, where Rob and my concern was validated; Fiona has her third ear infection in the past 7 months. Then I went to CVS to pick up her amoxicillin. By the time I got home, it was dinner time. I did not get a chance to de-clutter Fiona’s unused changing table.

Fiona’s room, once the cleanest room in the house, is now the messiest, other than the basement, garage, and now kitchen, which I cleaned on Monday. I was keeping it clean too. What happened was the clean kitchen inspired my husband to do some painting in that room this weekend, and now we have painting equipment sitting around, which I plan to put away tomorrow.

I didn’t put the stuff away this weekend, because Rob told me not to. Yesterday, Saturday, Rob was painting, and I do appreciate it, but really wish he would have waited and allowed me to enjoy the clean house a little longer. I decided to keep my disappointment to myself, since when I was working, the last thing I wanted to do was a weekend project. I reasoned I worked enough during the week, and errands took up enough of my weekend, I wasn’t going to engage in a weekend project. But there was Rob, after a 50 hour work week painting our kitchen. Bless him.

I guess I am one who wears her heart on her sleeve. While he was painting, Rob saw me sitting there, with a disappointed look on my face, as I surveyed the furniture that was moved from the wall, and the painting equipment which was strewn everywhere. He asked what was wrong, and I said nothing.

Then he said, “You are disappointed since you cleaned this kitchen and now it is in disarray, aren’t you?”

And I admitted that yes, I was. After he finished the job, he saw me eyeing the painting equipment.
“Don’t worry, I’ll put it away,” he assured me.
“When?” I replied.
“I’m not done with the project.”
“It’s not going to sit here for a week.”
Other than touching up one edge, I’m not sure what other painting he has left to do. Anyway, I decided to allow the stuff to sit for the weekend, but if it wasn’t put away by Monday, I would do it then. When I mentioned that to Rob today, he seemed ok with that.

So I have a messy changing table and painting equipment in my kitchen, but other than that, the place doesn’t look nearly as bad as it did. Maybe my home isn’t Martha Stewart Living caliber, but it is much closer to being a home, as opposed to CHAOS.

I’ll close out this week with the familiar Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Cleaning my house may give me some illusion of control, but I will never be able to control everything.

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