My house is messy. There, I admitted it to the world. And not the kind of messy where you know it's clean but when people come you say, "Oh excuse the mess!" so either a) they will think, Wow this is messy? She's a great housekeeper if this is messy or b) in case they really do think it's messy (even though you think it's clean) they will think At least she knows its a mess. No. I'm talking the kind of messy where if you stop by unannounced I will literally make you stand on the porch for 5-10 minutes so I can hide the piles of stuff that are everywhere. And I am not even joking.
Example: One night a few months after Dan and I were married, we were hanging out with our friends at some restaurant or bar. We all decided to go back to someone's house and while I was in the bathroom, Dan nominated our house. When I came back and heard that we were all heading to our place, I gave Dan the Death Stare and put on my fake happy voice. "Oh our house? Great!" And then I took great care to let everyone know that our house was messy, we weren't expecting company, no seriously our house is really messy I'm not even lying.
And then I pulled Dan aside and very unhappily asked him why he invited people over when our house was such a disaster. He suggested that we ask people to drive around the block a few times so we could race in and clean up. He was serious. Normally I would have been embarrassed at that idea, but the embarrassment of my nasty house far out-weighed the embarrassment of asking our friends to circle our neighborhood while we hastily straightened up. So we actually informed our friends to drive slowly and if they got to our house before a certain time to drive around and come back. I'm almost dying of shame as I'm reliving this experience.
Let me clarify: Our house is not dirty. We don't have dishes piled up in the sink from last week, we don't have moldy food sitting in various rooms of the house, we don't have garbage cans overflowing with trash that no one will take out and our toilets don't have rings in them. You don't have to worry about catching a disease from my house. You do, however, have to worry about walking around in the dark in my house, because you could trip over a pair of shoes or a pile of clean (and folded) laundry and break a bone.
So no, we're not dirty. We are messy. We have too much clutter and not enough places to put it. We have too many clothes and not enough dressers for storage. And we are (I have to face it) just a little lazy. Or maybe a lot lazy. We just have a lot of little things that would take a few seconds to take care of. Sadly, if you add up all the seconds it would take to take care of these little things, it would amount to an entire weekend. And there-in lies the problem.
I didn't realize how messy our house was until one time we had Dan's aunt come to clean our house (she cleans houses as a side job). She was there when I left for work in the morning at 7:30 and she was there when I got home at 4:50. Her face was bright red from the energy she was exerting, and she didn't finish until 5:30. I'm pretty sure it took all her self control not to run from our house screaming when she was finished. But MAN did our house look good. I don't think it was that clean when we moved in. It actually smelled clean for five days.
I often dream about that day and the next few days that followed. Dan and I decided that we were going to keep our house clean and that having his aunt get it nice and clean was the perfect jumping-off point. We were like the masses of people who promise on New Years to get in shape, lose the weight, quit smoking, eat healthy, scrapbook all their pictures, walk the dog every day, etc. etc. And you know the route those promises usually take.
So we're back to Square 1. Some weekends we make a half-hearted effort to get the house clean. We are often successful on the downstairs, which is really the most important part. The upstairs is like no-man's land. Clean clothes are piled everywhere because we don't have the space to put them away and I can never get motivated enough to cycle my clothes by season (which I really should do, now that I think about it). Dan's dirty work clothes are lying on the floor right beneath the laundry shoot (which is probably the wrong usage of the word "shoot" but spell checker is giving me red lines underneath every alternative spelling I try. Schute? Shoote? The journalism major in me is ashamed.) because it's way to hard to open the door and throw the dirty clothes down. But who am I to judge? I'm too lazy to move my clothes from the bathroom floor after I take a shower.
The moral of this story is that I want a cleaning lady. Regularly. I would sacrifice a lot to have Dan's aunt come once every month. I've suggested this to Dan before but he's not quite as willing to make the same sacrifices. But I might win yet. Maybe I'll suggest a trial basis of two or three months. Once he sees how much happier our lives are when our house is routinely scrubbed to a shine, he might be more willing to come over to the clean side.