Housekeeping

I wouldn’t claim to be a fastidious housekeeper at the best of times, but this has been a rough term, and while sleep and patience have suffered, cleanliness has suffered more.  Stubb, while also not fastidious, has been pretty busy too; between us, we’ve managed to stay on top of laundry and dishes, but it’s been, ahem, a while since either of us, say, picked up the vacuum cleaner.  And, of course, the Snork Maiden is a kid.  We’ve got her trained to do some basic things–put her clothes in the hamper, help clear the table, etc.–and since she is the main user of the TV, it’s also her job to keep the TV/couch area picked up–but she’s not spontaneously scrubbing the bathroom, either.

Barbara Ehrenreich–I think in Nickel and Dimed–relates a conversation she had with one of her sons in which she observed that despite her own fairly casual housekeeping habits, her kids have all turned out as adults to keep pretty neat houses.  Her son gave her a look, and she realized that it wasn’t despite her slovenliness, but because of it, that her kids keep their own places clean.  Maybe the Snork Maiden will turn out that way.  Who knows–my mom is very neat, and when she looks at my cluttered living room (even in its straightened-up state), I know she wonders where she went wrong.

But I like neatness, and I realize it doesn’t take as long as I think it does.  I look at the cluttered living room and I know it wouldn’t take long to fold the pile of laundry on the chair, straighten the books and magazines on the coffee table, put away a few things, run a dustcloth over the surfaces and vacuum.  If I set a timer for twenty minutes and then go at it, I always see a marked improvement.  If all three of us work like maniacs for twenty minutes, we get great results.  So one of my goals for the Thanksgiving weekend is to get some things cleaned up around here.  I know I’ll do better if I set a few specific goals, so I’ll think about that.  I have other things I want and need to do, of course: spend time with family, write, and, as always, grade.  (Thank goodness we’re doing Thanksgiving at someone else’s house.)

In total agreement here with phd me‘s sentiment: “How glad am I that this is a short week. If I was looking at a regular five days of teaching, meetings and writing, I believe I would break down in tears.”

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