Friday, March 23, 2012

Into the Deep: Spring Cleaning and Moby-Dick

I really don't like to clean house. It feels like such a waste of time -- like when I was a kid, my grandma used to give me a bucket of water and a paint brush and send me out to "paint" her driveway on a hot summer day. I would work diligently to finish a square of concrete just in time for the water to begin evaporating...

I have the same sensation now as a homemaker: Didn't I just wash these dishes...sweep this floor...sort these socks? Again and again and again like I'm stuck in a time-warp.
Happy Easter!
"For heaven's sake," I say to my kids, "WHERE'S THE MAID?"
"Mommy, you are the maid!" they giggle.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
A few days ago, I was closing in on the half-way point of Moby-Dick. I had completed chapter 42, which is considered to be the "visionary center" of the novel. It was an unforgettable, amazingly cool chapter. Up to that point, I had been clipping along at a nice pace of seven to nine chapters per day. The problem was, my eldest son suddenly had no clean socks for school (I let him wear a pair of mine.), my daughter couldn't find a t-shirt to match the shorts she wanted to wear (We settled on something that was close enough.), and anytime someone walked through the kitchen, a comment was made that the floor felt sticky.

I took a walk through my house and observed this:
Happy Valentine's Day!
and this:
Merry Christmas!
Time for spring cleaning!

Mom agreed to take my little boys overnight, so this morning after my oldest two left for school, I had the house to myself -- well almost -- my precious new baby girl stayed with me of course!

An entire day stretched out before me! I felt very optimistic about what I would accomplish. My goal was to organize the rooms upstairs until around noon and then clean those rooms until four o'clock or so. Afterwards, I would enjoy a leisurely dinner with (part of) my family and indulge in some uninterrupted reading until bedtime. I figured tomorrow I could handle the downstairs portion.

But it didn't work out that way. 
At all. 
I gutted and sorted five closets all day. It felt like gutting a whale. I just kept pulling stuff out. Pulling and pulling. Each of the beds were heaped with clothes -- winter clothes, summer clothes, stuff too small, stuff too large, a few things were even dirty.
It took more than ten hours to organize the bedrooms and closets of my five children. 
I didn't get to the actual cleaning. That part has been re-scheduled for tomorrow. (Before my little boys return!)

It would have been a perfect day for reading. The house was so quiet, a gentle rain came down for hours. I was tempted, but I did not cave. 

Next week will be better. My house will be orderly and clean. People here will be able to find the clothes they want to wear. Moby-Dick is not going anywhere. No, The Whale awaits me!


  1. This sort of goes along with your post: since I have taken up the quest to complete The Well-Educated Mind, I have noticed a downturn in the housework. Opps. But I had to give up something in order to make time for reading, right?

  2. My perpetual birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day request is that I get 12 hours all to myself at home for cleaning and organizing. I know that if I ever got it the same would happen to me - ten hours later I would emerge from my bedroom closet, the remainder of the house untouched.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I'd waste the whole reading or blogging or reading blogs.

  3. Oh I agree. It was so hard to keep myself on task the other day!

    With each child that I have brought into the world, my reading speed has increased. It's a survival skill.

    Also, I can now unload the dishwasher in about 2min. But you don't want to be standing within 10 ft. of the kitchen, because stuff is FLYING out of my hands. I motivate myself to do housework by telling myself that if I do, say, 20 nice things for my house, I can read my book. Then I set the timer and try to beat the clock.

  4. If I had twelve hours to my self I would . . . . .NOT BE CLEANNG. You are a lovely lady, and I'm inspired . . . . Just kidding - the kids can wash their own socks!!!!!


Comments make my day! I read each one and try to respond within 24 hrs. If you choose to comment anonymously, please leave your first name, pen name, or nickname in the comment box along with your comment. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!