Monday, June 2, 2014

Clean House? Not if You're Riding the Rails

I recently published an essay on Full Grown People about my slightly OCD relationship with housecleaning. There was no need to go into specifics about the cleaning schedule or the minutiae of my twitchiness. I would have liked to include a section about the book that taught me how to clean -- What To Do When Your Mom or Dad Says . . . Clean Your Room! -- but couldn't find a way to work it in. I love this book. Someone gave it to me when I was a child, and I still use the methods covered in it because they tap directly into the childlike love of having a routine and creating chaos at the same time. When my house, or a room, is a real mess, I chuck everything possible into some central location (as a child, it was the middle of my floor; these days, it's the kitchen counter), clean every single surface, and then start putting things away where they belong. The book is out of print, which is a real shame because I've never seen anything better.

I also didn't have an appropriate place to mention our Clean House playlist. There's a lot of fun music on there, and all of it shows my poor taste. But hyper-anal cleaning sessions require frequent dance breaks.

Except that wasn't the point of this post. The point is, Wednesday is our usual Clean House day. My kids are so used to it that sometimes my son (who's 6) will actually do his required duties (it's not rocket science -- all toys off floor and tables and put away somewhere, and Legos organized; sometimes he earns a bit of money washing the windows or the kitchen floor) almost before I'm done with breakfast. That sounds awesome, except that his purpose is to nab Angry Birds playtime before I have a chance to sit him down with arithmetic or have him read a Little Bear story to me.

That also wasn't the point. The point was, this happened.

It actually happened three weeks ago. These tracks go out of his room, into the hallway, and off into every other bedroom. I have to wait for Gordon to pick me up in his express before I can go anywhere. My son has pretty much aged out of the obsessive track-building phase (it's all Legos and Minecraft now), so it was nice to see what might be one of his last inventions. And I don't mind chaos at all, as long as the base state is clean to begin with. But after a week . . . or two . . . or three . . . I'm starting to get really twitchy and itchy and have trouble sleeping. Last night I had a nightmare about the weeping angels on Doctor Who. I need to vacuum this floor.


Barbara Largo said...

My children are young teens and just recently stopped playing with Legos. I remember those creations taking over a room for weeks and the dust did wind up building up. I would be eager to get to clean them. Now I miss seeing those unique construction projects. However, it seems teens leave plenty of clothes on the floor to navigate. I just spent a half hour picking them up and putting in a big load of laundry.

Antonia Malchik said...

I imagine the Legos and train tracks smell nicer than the dirty clothes :) Although, come to think of it, one of the cats peed on the tracks last year, so maybe not.