Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Crumbs and Poo: Making Martha Stewart Roll Over in Her Banana Bourbon Layer Cake"


(This is my attempt at heart-shaped red Snickerdoodles for a kids' neighborhood party: not so lovely. But excellent baked goods would be wasted on a crowd who thinks Blues Clues is high art, so I worry not)


Groom and I are gifted. We really are. He can run long distances, like 30 miles, and feel better at the end than at the start. I can fold laundry at 1 a.m. He can plan a weekly menu of meals so good that I proclaim each one fine enough to be "company food." I can cut a wriggling preschooler's fingernails without drawing blood. Together, we can just about finish a Sunday New York Times' crossword puzzle.

Obviously, we have our merits, and you'd be smart to want us as members of your tribe on Survivor.

However, when it comes to household precision and general domesticity, we are underwhelming. Sure, we fight the daily battle: heaving dirty clothes toward the basket in the corner, washing up the bowl that contained pesto noodles, rinsing the spit toothpaste down the drain. We do what's necessary to make sure Child Welfare Services doesn't have an excuse to confiscate the children.

But, while the place looks all right on the surface, and we can occasionally pass for "neat," we can rarely pass for "clean." No white glove should ever come knocking, lest it flee our house, dingy gray, choking back sobs and dusty coughs, mere moments later. For example, within an hour of one of us sweeping the kitchen floor, it will, predictably, look like this:














Indeed, I often am forced to admit, "We can be a lot of fun at a potluck, but otherwise, we're pigs."

Despite this reality, we do have one consistenly clean patch of floor, one upon which I would serve even Domestic Ballbuster Martha Stewart a heap of Baked Gemelli with Spinach, Ricotta, and Prosciutto; it is the two-foot patch of hardwood floor just in front of this glass of water:




You can see where this is going. Contrary to what psychologists might predict, I don't learn from my mistakes. Every night, I put my water glass just under the edge of the futon, where I can reach down at my convenience and have a sip while watching Weeds and commenting, "Gawd, if only we sold marijuana out of our house. Then we could afford a housekeeper."


And nearly every night, I invariably whack said water glass with my foot after getting up to retrieve yet another fleece blanket to warm me up in our frigid house (tv room thermostat reads 58 degrees). Natch, the water spreads immediately, sopping my wool socks, running into the cracks between the floorboards, causing me to scramble for a dishtowel--dirty, of course--to mop things up.


Even more invariably, I have to take a quiet moment after the mop up to gasp and admire: "My, my, doesn't this floor look spiffy after the application of water and scrubbing? Someone should market that idea. It could catch on."


In our household tiara adorned with old tires and crunched-up Bugles, we have this one shining jewel of floor space. It sparkles. It glows. It hums with cleanliness.


The rest of the place? The Clampett shack before striking black gold, Texas tea.


Thus, you can imagine the sheer pleasure with which I greeted our cheap toilet's overflow the other evening. I watched the water level rising and rising. Then it started to seep over the top edge. Marvelling, I stood rapt, torn between a desire to run for a plunger and a sense of possiblity.


The longer I let it overflow, the larger the patch of bathroom floor that would ultimately get cleaned.


I sat down and filed my nails.


Then I ran for the plunger and a stack of towels.


------------------------------------

"Dear Martha Stewart:


I request the pleasure of your company for an intimate picnique underneath my toilet paper dispenser. Wear your best chinos, as you will be eating the Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches, sided by Asparagus Panzanella, directly off the tile. "





26 comments:

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I'd feel right at home.

Jazz said...

How happy am I that I'm not the only one! As my mom used to say, it's clean enough to be vaguely hygenic and dirty enough to be livable.

lushgurl said...

Oh....my......God! Too funny!!! Who'd a thunk there were more Godesses of cleanliness out there!
BTW- if Martha doesn't show up, I AM available for those yummy little sanwiches...LOL

furiousBall said...

Two words for you... mop socks.

See you wear those and whilst you shuffle back and forth, you're cleaning. You kick that water glass over, no problem. Just shuffle those footsies around and viola...wait, that's an instrument voila itsa clean floor.

Em said...

LOL...this is just great. I would feel so comfy in your house, though that one clean spot might frighten me a bit. We fail to have one clean spot. :)

I do sorta recognize heart shapes in some of the cookies. Bet they taste terrific!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Voyager said...

The one clean spot on our floor is the area around the dog's water bowl. But I don't know if a floor wiped with a mix of water and slimy drool counts.
V.

Hammer said...

It's an uphill battle, Things get cleaned but not all at the same time.

mist1 said...

I try not to look in corners and crevices. I don't want to know what I might find. Once, I found a pair of child's sunglasses between the fridge and the wall. I wonder where the child is?

Ariel said...

I have 2 cats. One of the two is a very long haired fat cat. I like to spray him with pledge then let loose the mouse toy that's full of catnip. My hardwood floors SPARKLE.

Happy VD!

BlogWhore said...

good post.

being that i'm a natural cleaner, (not a positive, rather a burden) we could exchange household chores?

i'll clean your house two hours each week in exchange for four (4) pre-made meals for my freezer. don't hold back, I want the 'company' goods.

Dan said...

Sorry, but my mind latched onto those cookies and I wasn't able to see anything else in your post. I just couldn't focus! :)

Happy Valentines Day! Hugs and smooches. Please send some cookies!

Glamourpuss said...

A friend of mine has a fridge magnet that says 'Only dull women have clean houses.' Works for me!

Puss

Lee said...

1) you are my kinda woman

2) i have those same IKEA glasses

3) you are my kinda woman!

Julie said...

Oh geez, I can SO relate. I always feel especially bad when my girlfriends bring their babies over and let them crawl around. How very quickly their pretty little pink heirloom crocheted jumpers become tannish-blackish around the knees.

CSL said...

The taste of the cookies is way more important than the shape, and they look good to me. I'm a bit slob myself, and I'd ratehr be with fun people thanneat people. As for the flat learning curve, I think psychoogists are well aware that people often don't learn from their mistakes!

choochoo said...

LOL

personally, I can usually pass for clean (although the pooch makes it challenging), but never, ever neat. I'll pick my mess ut, clean under it, and then put it right back again.

Diana said...

Maybe I should start drinking more water, because that trick just doesn't work with beer. Even good beer.

velvet girl said...

I find that if you allow a little dust to accumulate, it makes the other dirt less noticeable, kind of like a soft focus lense.

-velvet

Steven Novak said...

Are you sure we don't live toghther? ;)

Steve~

somewhere joe said...

That's the most elaborate scheme for the thrill of changing into dry socks I've ever heard. I have much to learn.

MadameZ said...

Hey teach, nice blog! I´m glad I finally to get to read some of _your_ writing.

Steve said...

As a sometime guest in your home, two things. 1) I've sat on that toliet; it's other issue is making the chunks disappear. Who knew a toilet had such depth. I also was secretly hoping you'd have run for your camera after filing your nails. 2) It's also a bit troubling to know that the excellent cuisine I've been served in your lovely "spot cleaned" home was merely daily fare. Happy eating!

Diesel said...

I'd tell you to get an end table, but I do the same damn thing.

Zdanna said...

Oh, this is Zdanna King. Not any of the other Zdannas that you´ve probably met on your travels. You were my creative writing teacher during post-secondary stuff in high school. Then I went to Carleton. Now I study monkeys and live in New Orleans. I love your entry about the donuts... and to celebrate I just bought two and nibbled them in public while I reread Harry Potter 6.

Jocelyn said...

LGS--I'm glad to know you wouldn't be put off by the crumbs on the floor when I feed you down there.

Jazz--See, I knew I liked you from Day 1.

Lushgurl--Salmon sandwiches in cybermail for you right now. Be on the lookout!

Furiousball--Now these mop socks...do they have long strings hanging from them? Can they double as a wig?

Em--One day, somewhere, a small patch of clean floor will be yours. I have this hope for you.

Voyager--Now, see, I think slimy drool would help cut through some of the build-up.

Hammer--This is just it. I clean one thing, and while I was doing that, seventeen other places get crapped up.

Mist1--That missing child? In your Pradas. Go look.

Ariel--You just about make me want to get a cat. Or at least some Pledge.

Blogwhore--The real question here is: and where in Wisconsin do you live? How far of a commute are we talking?!!!

Dan--My regular Snickerdoodles are killer. The heart-shaped ones suffered from my attempts at shape. Sigh.

Glamourpuss--Our filth is just why we're so complex and interesting, for sure.

Lee--IKEA just does design so well. We're glad the nearest store is 3 hours away, so we have to work to throw our money at them.

Julie--Maybe you should pass a "toddlers and older" rule in your house, so those damn crawlers stop highlighting your filth.

CSL--Maybe it's historians who think we should learn from our mistakes. The're probably wrong, too.

Choochoo--So, taken together, we might actually make one real adult?

Diana--Beer. Hmm. It's amazing how my internal radar always knows *exactly* where my beer is. I never knock it over.

Velvet--This is the loveliest excuse for my filth I can think of. Thanks for a new weapon in my rationalization holster.

Steven--You're actually right next to me on the food-littered couch right now.

Somewhere--You should hear my scheme for changing underwear.

MadameZ/danna--I'm soooo glad to have the mystery solved. I left you a much longer comment now on your blog! A primotologist. Wow. I was *sure* I'd swayed you to become an English major.

Steve--The toilet is now upstairs feeling publicly humiliated. It does its best; it just doesn't do "chunks." And, yes, we do eat that well pretty much every night. Really. Groom is a Food God.

Diesel--What makes me more pathetic is that I do have an end table. It's just at the other end of the couch, and who can be bothered?

Mother of Invention said...

Such a hoot! I hate to houseclean too! Dust bunnies get free rent!