Sunday, May 3, 2009

creative house cleaning

When I was growing up my mom attached a pin to her dresser mirror that said "Fuck the Real World- I'm an Artist." As the dining room table was often piled high with inedible objects, we ate dinner on a picnic blanket in the middle of the living room. On one memorable occasion, a friend and I found potatoes in the washing machine. I had no idea what an iron was. Our house was characterized by dirt, oil pastels, clutter, clay, those colorful crystals that you can use to make feaux-stained glass window hangings, tissue paper, tye dies, paint brushes, cats, cat hair and random surplus natural and manmade materials that might at some point come in handy for creating something. A lampshade collage! A little clay animal friend to hang out in a potted plant! One of our cats often slept in the dish drying rack because it was pretty much guaranteed to be dish-free. We didn't have a TV until I turned 13 (and then my mom insisted it be in my room and not in her WAY) so we made shit. And we didn't clean. At least I have no memories of cleaning. My first 3 jobs after graduating from liberal arts school were in the house keeping and food service industries. It was while scrubbing out cabins on a dude ranch in Colorado, hotel rooms in Arkansas and heads on a cruise ship in Alaska that I learned how to use a mop, a vacuum cleaner and to tell the difference between Windex and 409. This was a skill set previously unknown to me and I tried it on like an ill-fitting wig. I was fast but never good. I simply couldn't make myself care, the way that people who grew up cleaning every Saturday did.

For the last 10 years I have lived in the house that I grew up in. The feelings surrounding this are as complex as the sedimentary layers of dust and dead skin and karma that have built up like invisible earth. I light sage, I put mirrors behind the toilet and baguas in the corners but the sacred hold of the past and dead things and my childhood burns stronger. I woke up this morning with every intention of setting things straight. Putting this here and that there. Sorting, folding, sifting, washing, scrubbing, arranging. But I simply cannot muster up the right kind of energy to make it happen. Over animal crackers and steak this morning, I told my husband I was too busy anymore to attend to domestic duties and asked if we could please hire a maid.

Sure, he said. How should we pay for it? Well, you could sleep with her in exchange for laundry, I suggested. OK, he said. But in that case, I get to pick who we hire. And you're in charge of finding lawn care.

1 comment:

  1. So funny!!I particularly like the arrangement around the maid. Think I will try it.