Ennui and Pee

I love how all of the flowers at the beach are different from the ones we have at home.

Miles run today: 10

Words written in my novel so far: 35,605

Goodberry’s sundaes I ate yesterday: 1

I hate cleaning. I am of the firm belief that you don’t get Cool Points for dusting under the bed or exacting flawless baseboards. And I’m pretty sure people won’t stand over my grave and say, “Wow. Her house sure was clean.”

Unfortunately, my children have a.) learned to make do with substandard/imperfect house-cleanliness and b.) learned to see massive cleaning jags on my part as the sign of the Rapture or an upcoming party.

Sometimes I get a weird feeling that I need to clean the master bath or mop the kitchen floor. I have to go with those impulses, because they don’t happen very often.

So there I am yesterday morning, leaning into the shower, wearing only minimal clothing so the bleach doesn’t get all over my real clothes. And I’m sweating and scrubbing and getting all Cinderella on that soap scum.

My son runs into my bedroom, does a flying leap onto my bed and moans, “I’m boorrrred.”

That maybe was not the smartest thing to say. I lean back out of the shower and say, “I’m sure you can find something to do.”

Most adults would see this for what it was: the last stepping off point before Bad Stuff Happens. He did not.

“Aaaahhhhhh. What can I dooooo?

“Oh! Guess what? I have something!”

The cheery, Mary Poppins-like tone of my voice lulled him into a false sense of security.

He perked up and slightly lifted his head off the bed. “What?”

In my minimal clothing, carrying a dirty paper towel, I led him into his bathroom. “See this? It desperately needs cleaning. It is calling out to you for help. Let me get you the tools you need.”

Like a young Bambi, my son followed me to the cabinet that houses cleaning supplies. He was intrigued, looking at each container of Scrubbing Bubbles and Windex with mild interest.

I got the toilet cleaner and started its magic and set him to work on the sinks. Then I went back to the arduous task of restoring our shower to normality.

A few minutes later, he yells, “Mo-om! The toilet still has blue stuff in it!”

So I scrubbed out the toilet and handed him the spray to clean the top part.

“Ack. What? You mean I have to… touch it?”

“Yes, Grasshopper. Do you think fairies magic away peepee?”

He looks at me with a dawning realization that the grownup world is not what he imagined it to be. He walks out of the bathroom and sees his sister at the computer. He points at her with disgust. “What is she doing while I’m touching the toilets?”

Her eyes turn to him, the wounded look of betrayal in their depths. “Was I supposed to be doing something?” Her blue eyes widened a few inches.

“Make her do something,” he says imperiously, as he returns to the toilet.

She leaves the office as I suggest that she clean the glass front door. “Noooo. No. Please. Not that.”

“Okay. I have something better,” I say, and as I walk away, I can hear the wheels turning in her mind. Oh, shoot. Maybe the door isn’t so bad.

I hand her the wood floor cleaner. “The downstairs floors. Need cleaning.”

“Mommy? Why? Why are we doing this? What’s happening?”

Only in my house would cleaning take on such an Armageddon sort of feel. Under siege, the Woodman household must rise to the challenge… the young members in turmoil, the patient Queen of Avoiding Housework helps her progeny learn life skills.

At this point, as long as the house was clean, we might as well throw a party. Who knows when I’ll get the cleaning bug again?

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35 thoughts on “Ennui and Pee

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh, I knew I liked you for a reason!!! I HATE cleaning. The hubs will tell you I never do it…not true. My cleaning style runs more towards yours. These crazy urges take over my body and BAM! I’m cleaning. My boys have learned to avoid me like the plague when this happens. They don’t want to get sucked into the madness. Youngest had to clean the shower last week. They usually think someone is coming over or I’m mad about something when I clean. They’d be right. Have a great weekend!

  2. Anne-
    I can barely stop laughing long enough to type this. Your decision making and delegation skills are well honed. I would recommend a title change from “patient Queen of Avoiding Housework” to “Domestic CEO”. However, I have yet to meet a CEO who cleans showers.

    Mary Poppins, Bambi, Grasshopper (Kung Fu), Armageddon, Under Siege…all great stories artfully crafted into the blog post! Well done.

    I should shut up now before you find something for me to do. 😉

  3. David Gentry says:

    Earth to Mommy — you’ve been too easy on them. Make cleaning regular tasks for them. Oh, wait. All I had to do was take out the garbage and feed whatever pet I had at the time. Busted. But now I think my Mommy was too easy on me.

    Love, Papa

  4. Daryl says:

    Anne is most definitely Domestic CEO and treasurer. When I’m not at work being the boss, I like being relegated to mere “trophy husband” at home–Anne’s words.

  5. thepoelog says:

    Awesome title! And I’m fairly certain my mother only had children so that she could have us clean the house and do the yard work.

    • annewoodman says:

      When we were being unruly, my dad used to remind us that farm families only had kids so they could help in the fields. It didn’t instill the same kind of horror that he’d hoped. ; )

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    So funny and so relatable. The looks of disgust on my kids’ faces when I make them clean their bathroom is a mother’s revenge. They act like I’m torturing them, and then I remind them, it’s their own yuck they’re cleaning. Maybe if they’d have better aim, they wouldn’t have so much to clean.

    It’s often easier to just do stuff ourselves, but I remind myself that if I don’t teach them these things, who will? For example, they alternate emptying the dishwasher. Most of my kitchen stuff ends up in weird cupboards, and I grit my teeth in frustration, but they need to do it. Now that the oldest is in high school, he will start washing his own clothes. Ahh, sometimes parenting is sweet…

    Great title by the way!

    • annewoodman says:

      Oh, yes. The stuff in weird cupboards is something one of my friends wrestles with because her husband puts stuff in wacky places. I congratulate her for training him to put stuff in cupboards.

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Great stuff, Anne. I hate cleaning, too. But what’s worse is when I am in the middle of cleaning, I get interrupted. I just want to go go go until it’s all done. Being stopped in the middle of it is such a pain.

    Your son sounds exactly like my son. In fact he says “What can I dooooo?” also!

    I am usually pretty stubborn when it comes to getting them to help clean because they have to learn. I know they don’t do that thorough of a job so I give them easy stuff–just so they know this is life, so deal with it. They like to wash windows and run the vaccuum.

    My daughter does her own laundry–from beginning to end–which is something I was able to teach her at the age of 5! For whatever reason, it was a chore that clicked with her. She will also tidy her own bedroom or the playroom without me asking.

    My son is not as diligent when it comes to cleaning. In fact, I’m desperately trying to think of just one chore he shines at, but nope, I’m coming up empty. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, we’ve done the washing windows and vacuuming chores, too. I never wanted them very close to all the bathroom cleaning products. I’ve decided that might have to start changing soon… otherwise, they may be 30 and not very knowledgeable about how to scrub a toilet.

      It’s funny… our daughter is very neat and clean and helpful with certain tasks; our son very good at others. It’s interesting to see what they choose to do and how they choose to help. Your son may be a grass-cutting kind of guy… someday. ; )

  8. Bernie Brown says:

    Very funny blog, Anne! Thanks for the laughs! If it’s any comfort, I hate cleaning, too. I copped out and hired a cleaner. I’m a few dollars shorter, but a whole lot happier this way.

  9. Andria says:

    Too funny Queen of clean! First off -your house is always immaculate when I come there, so I’m not sure I’m buying the dust bunnies under the bed thing.
    I love how you got your kids to help out, and their reactions are priceless. Good thing you blogged about it – you’ll have to whip this out when they are out of college and living on their own for a good laugh, or better yet when they have their own kiddos.

  10. E says:

    I am still trying to get the visual out of my head of you contorting yourself to clean that horrible shower. Remember, I had that same one! I am sure that had I not been naked cleaning mine that it would have made a great video for You Tube! I am now enjoying the showbox-sized rental that takes 4 minutes to clean! Woohoo, I am on vacation for a year!

    • annewoodman says:

      Enjoy your blissful life this year! I fully expect you to move into a mammoth cleaning project 11 months from now. Don’t shake your head, Miss Clean! You’ll love it.

  11. Ravena Guron says:

    Ha! This is really funny!

    Unfortunately, while I’m of the opinion there’s no point cleaning if everything is going to get messed up anyway, my mum seems to think that life is only good with a clean house. And sadly, she makes me help.

    So, I’ve developed several short cuts which shave hours off my cleaning time. Then I hide in a corner somewhere until an acceptable time has passed and my mum thinks I’ve done everything properly 🙂

    I have no idea what I’m going to do once I buy a place of my own… I’ve made plans to be rich when I’m older so I can hire a cleaner 😀

    • annewoodman says:

      Well, when you get a place of your own, it might be like mine when I got my first apartment… very neat, clean kitchen, clean bathroom (no one ever used them but me!), but my mom would visit and go around dusting every surface! Why dust if the dust just resettles after you’re finished??

      And sadly, the cleaner thing has never happened to me.

  12. Subtlekate says:

    “What’s happening?” I love this. I needed to ease up on the obsessive cleaning and made an effort to let things go a little.

    • annewoodman says:

      I’ve had times in my life where I’ve gotten obsessive… I had to let that go when I acquired a husband and kiddos. I guess I could have done the sensible thing and made them clean all the time, too, but that never happened. ; )

  13. Amy Mak says:

    Ha ha ha!! This is so funny. “What’s happening?” Young Bambi. Love it. Sometimes I read blogs that make me feel horrible; the house is too perfect. So thanks, for making my day! And congrats on the 10 miles – that’s my long run next weekend…eek!

    • annewoodman says:

      I will be your underachieving blog to read–I am here to make you feel better about yourself! ; )

      You’ll do great on the 10 miles–it’s actually one of my favorite distances to run. For some reason, 10 is so much easier than 13.1! But 13 is easier than 26. ; )

  14. Chris Edgar says:

    And there I was thinking they gave out the cleanliness-related Cool Points at around the same time that the Cool Points for spending time in the office were dispensed.

  15. First: “Ennui and Pee” has got to be best best post title I have ever read. It made my dreary Monday morning a bit less dreary.

    Second: That fearful “What’s happening?” made my snorf my coffee.

    In short, great post.

    Nice work putting your little charges to work, by the way. Methinks you earned another Goodberry’s sundae.

    • annewoodman says:

      1. I’m glad when I can help make anyone’s Monday morning less difficult.
      2. Even better when I can include a coffee snorf.

      Ah, if only I could have Goodberry’s sundaes as often as I feel I deserve them…. ; )

  16. Claire says:

    Love love love this one!!!
    Your kids’ college roomies and spouses will thank you one day! Eventually your kids will too. But not for a while.

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