Housecleaning

I mentioned once that some of my posts may come from an old writing class. This is one of them. It came to mind, however, because it’s Christmas – that time of year when we bring boxes down from the attic, squeeze holiday decorations into small floorspaces and move furniture to make room for a tree only to discover dust bunnies old enough for menopause. Trying all this while sharing space with my beloved Captain Chaos however, can be a bit of a challenge. So, I engage my sense of humor envision our life as an episode of a sitcom and stay out of jail and/or the funny farm.

Wife: 8:25 pm:           
 “Well, honey, I just mopped the bathroom floor.” I will add, the vinyl bathroom floor.

Husband 8:26 pm:     
 “Okay! I going to vacuum in a few minutes …” He’s already grouchy about cleaning. It’s boring work for him, but of course, an engaging hobby for me.

Husband 8:30 pm:     
 “Damnit! Holy …” A string of loud profanities ensues.

Wife 8:31 pm:            
running hurriedly and worriedly toward the screams and profanity, which oddly enough, originate in the bathroom. Electrocution? Vermin infestation? Cat injury?

“What?”

Husband: “The floor’s wet!” Well, ya think? “I nearly fell!” Because you walked on a wet floor. The floor you knew was wet. Yes, that floor.

“Well, I told you five minutes ago I mopped the floor.” I don’t even bother to stop the giggles. This is too good. Hey, you think he’s serious when I burn myself on the stove once a week? Of course not; he asks why I haven’t figured out where the coils are by now. (He’s got a point.)

“But I didn’t expect it to be that wet.” He expected it to be merely moist?

And so it begins, the ongoing struggle between good and evil, order and disorder. Sherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarty and I have Captain Chaos: never a clean room he can’t conquer, never a pile of clutter he can’t love. And once we start cleaning, a battle of wills worthy of a graphic novel begins.

Now I’m downstairs and it’s time to tackle the mail. The mountains and seas of mail: white envelopes, multi-colored discount offers, junk mail, personal mail, official mail, mysterious mail. If I die early, my limp corpse will be found underneath a crushing pile of half-opened envelopes, pennysavers and unread real estate bulletins. And my husband will stand there sobbing, begging them not to take the stupid mail. So now, driven by my fear of a violent death by direct mail marketing and my husband’s pathological fear of the trash can, I’m muttering profanities. Of course he hears me when he passes to get the vacuum cleaner (note: not to put it up).

“What?”  he hisses.

“You know, it’s a house, not the black forest. You don’t need a trail of open envelopes and credit card offers to find your way to the toilet.”

“You don’t have to be such …” He’s not going to use that word; he’s not. He knows better. I’m tired, I have a spray bottle and he knows I’m not afraid to use it.

“Well, when you got married you told me to be more assertive and outspoken.”

“Well, I didn’t mean you had to start with me!” He stomps up the stairs. Who else did he think was going to be my crash test dummy?

“Well, just thank you then!” I shout back.

He turns, red-faced and glares down the staires. “For what?”

I hiss slowly: “Material!” Oh yes, revenge is best served when it’s double-spaced 11-point font.

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