Twice a year, my grandmother washed her windows. My grandfather took the panes from the sills and leaned them against the walls, and she scrubbed them all, back and front, with blue Windex and newspaper. This was a ritual, in both spring and fall, that my grandmother bitched about, but which seemed to give her a deep feeling of satisfaction.
My grandmother is rolling in her grave because I’ve lived in this house for seven years and never washed the windows. Sure, I’ve wiped some spots here and there. But they’ve never seen the business end of a Windex bottle. We see as through a glass darkly in our house. And we don’t care, because who the hell has time to wash the windows, other than the housekeeper I can’t afford? And the windows are just the first of many chores I ignore, put off, or just plain don’t do. I know I’m not alone. Because when it comes to some chores, ain’t nobody got time for that shit.
1. Washing the Walls
My grandmother washed the walls. She balled up rags, misted down paint, and scrubbed. This is surely nothing but a way to keep women barefoot and pregnant. Gloria Steinem never washed her walls, dude. And I only wash mine when the 2-year-old gets ahold of some crayons or markers (or heaven forbid, Sharpies) and I’m forced to try all the Hints From Heloise to get that crap off the paint. I’ll save you the trouble: It doesn’t come off, and that’s why my hallway looks like a modern art installation/rundown subway station.
2. Scrubbing the Baseboards
What are baseboards again? Oh yeah, those decorative wooden things at the bottom of the wall. Allegedly, I’m supposed to scrub them down because people kick them or they accumulate mysterious black marks or something. Considering that I barely know what baseboards are, I don’t have time to scrub them. Plus, scrubbing them would involve moving furniture. I move furniture for no man. Who the hell knows what’s underneath?
3. Cleaning Under the Couch
There is a couch. There is a dark underbelly to the couch, a midnight place full of dust and action figures and marbles and darkness. Also empty juice boxes, matchbox cars, and things my 4-year-old will regard as treasure, like flashlight batteries and broken crayons. I don’t want to look into the abyss and let the abyss look into me.
4. Washing the Couch Pillows
Apparently, this is a thing people do. It would only occur to me to wash couch pillows if the dog peed on them, which means I suffer from either incompetency or a total lack of imagination. Also, I’m filthy. Those pillows are lucky if they get fluffed, set in corners, and/or shown off for guests. I’m barely aware they have zippers. Usually, I just use them as a laptop stand or pass out on them while my children run amok (see: crayon on the walls).
5. Bleaching the Kids’ Toys
This is also allegedly a thing people do. Some mothers — stay with me here — collect their children’s toys, marshall up a bunch o’ buckets, fill them with some magical percentage of bleach solution, and let the toys sit until they are properly sanitized and bleached. I applaud anyone who can collect all their children’s plastic toys. My kids’ toys seem to materialize and dematerialize from an alternate dimension, possibly hell. I also applaud anyone who has enough buckets and/or time to bleach those suckers because, let’s be honest, that’s some Howard Hughes level of devotion. I never bleached my kids’ binkies, let alone their 6,000 plastic dinosaurs. Shine on, you crazy diamond. I’ll save my bleach for the laundry.
6. Organizing the Closets
There are things in the corners of my closet that date back to the Nixon administration, and I wasn’t even alive during the Nixon administration (possibly, neither was my closet). Either way, it’s full of clothes I don’t wear, hats I don’t like, dog hair — lots and lots and lots of dog hair — and confiscated toys we all forgot about. Sometimes the kids go exploring back there and try to find Narnia. We call it charming so we don’t have to face reality.
7. Washing Out the Washer
You’re supposed to do this every few loads, right? You run a wash cycle to wash the thing that’s already washing things. This strikes me as a pointless waste of water. I figure that washing washes my washer, and that’s good enough for me. Amiright?
8. Cleaning on Top of the Refrigerator
Only the Lord Jesus, looking down from heaven, can see the top of my fridge to judge me. So I keep a few cereal boxes up there, a cutting board we never use, and let the rest go to dust. Or whatever else decides to settle up there, like boxes of dog treats, kitchen flotsam, box wine, and that seltzer water we never drink because seltzer water is freaking gross. I’ll clean it when we move or when the fridge dies.
Some may think I’m the most disgusting human on the planet and not fit to parent small boys (who are a mess unto themselves). The rest are looking at their baseboards and slow-clapping. I know I’m not alone here. I’m just ballsy enough to admit it and to make my grandmother spin in her grave.
I don’t deep clean. May God have mercy on my soul.
And my house.
Mostly my house.