I’m a terrible housekeeper. I figured that little admission might come in handy, considering I’m about to complain about my messy house… no, not messy, downright dirty. And you know, like everyone else I hate living in a dirty house. I just can’t understand how it keeps getting like this. If it’s clean, I can usually keep it that way for a while, but when it gets out of hand, it gets really out of hand and usually that has something to do with my slacking for a few days. That’s all it takes, a few days, and my house is a disaster again. Then, it’s the snowball effect and before I know it, we’re knee deep in messy. It would probably help if I had help, someone, oh, I don’t know, like a husband to take up half the slack. How novel.
Now you’re probably thinking that I’m either being dramatic and that it’s not really that bad, or that it’s the opposite and we’re some kind of hoarders who need an intervention. It’s really neither, but rather somewhere in between. For example, since yesterday I’ve run three loads of dishes and i’m not even half done. I’ve probably got another 5+ loads to wash. Oh, and lets not even get started on the laundry, which I would love to say stays in the bedroom, but in fact seems to gather on the sofa in the living room. Matt takes his clothes off and throws them wherever he happens to be, and that means the sofa. No matter how often I ask him to quit it, he just keep using the living room as a hamper.
While a good part of the problem is that no matter how cleaned up my house is, it never feels clean because of the clutter, the problem is also that I can’t keep things clean by myself. I simply can’t. Matt makes more messes than anyone I’ve ever met, hands down. Messes just seem to grow from him, like he’s just producing the mess that surrounds his desk from the ether. Today, I picked up a dozen or so cigarette boxes, several handfuls of food wrappers, half a dozen empty water bottles, handfuls of the little papers that they put in the top of the cigarette boxes, tissues, and believe it or not, cigarette butts from times he’s spilled his ashtray and not bothered to clean it up. Oh, all that and his desk is still a huge mess! Then, he uses my computer and leaves his trash all over my desk. I got up yesterday and there were ashes on my desk (as there are right now), food wrappers, and his coffee press. All strewn out on my desk. Ugh!
And it’s not just his desk (and mine) that are the problem. He lets the trash overflow in the laundry room, with coffee filters, before he takes it out. Do you know how hard it is to sweep up coffee? It’s almost impossible to get it all up, in fact. It lingers, in the cracks and under the dryer, and gets all over everything. Right now, there’re coffee grounds all over the laundry room floor because he took the trash out and didn’t bother to sweep them up. So, yours truly is going to have to do the dirty work because he refuses to see the messes, or he doesn’t care, or a combination of both things–though I think it much more likely that he’s just ignoring it because he doesn’t care if his environment is a disaster.
I suppose I should have known, when we first got together, and his friends came over and were downright shocked that his place was clean. Well, of course it was clean! There was a time when I was a really good housekeeper, before time and messes and apathy beat it out of me. I use to care that my house was a mess, and though I still do, I’m so distracted by the thought that it’s just going to look like a mess again in less than a few days, that cleaning it up seems like wasted effort I could be expending doing something else… like grading, or working on my thesis, or preparing for class, or reading a book (hah, yeah, who has time for that?!).
And really, the fact that no matter how clean it is, it never looks or feels clean is a real downer. Living in a mobile home, for quite a long time now, things are just starting to be dingy. The walls are a little tiny bit yellow from the smoke, the carpets are downright disgusting from wear and tear and time and animals, things are breaking and are in need of repair, the blinds are cracking from time and sunshine. It’s just disheartening. I can’t get it really clean and I hate it. But even if I did, it wouldn’t feel clean because of the clutter. We have so much clutter and every time I tell myself we’ll get rid of something, I can either not bear to part with it, or Matt refuses to let me get rid of it (he’s a HUGE pack-rat, worse than me by a mile).
So I keep telling myself that it’s okay that I don’t have the time, energy, nor the drive to keep things sparkling clean right now. I work a full-time job (teaching & grading are very time consuming) and am trying to write my thesis. I don’t have time to do anything I enjoy right now, let alone to do the things I have to do, like keep my house clean. Matt won’t help, and though he always says he will, time has taught me that those are empty promises. I’m getting use to it. But I told him that when we move, things I will be different. That when we move, and have a different house, that things will stay clean and he promises me that he’ll help keep them that way.
I’ll believe it when I see it, but right now I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I impressed upon him, and myself, that if my friends and family saw my house looking the way it does now, I would literally die of shame and embarrassment. I would never be able to show my face in public again, I would be so humiliated. It’s important to me that people I care about be able to come visit me. I don’t want to end up a shut in who can’t let people come into her house because she’s ashamed. I simply cant, and moving to a new state and living in a new place is a good way for us to start over, together, and form better habits. I just keep hoping that the change will fix some of the things that’re broken and that we’ll be able to work together to keep things clean. We’ll see.