Saturday, November 7, 2009

Physician, Heal Thyself

It is sometimes said that we teach that which we most need to learn. It would appear that I am a sterling example of that saying. I recently commented to a friend of mine that I was considering offering my services as a housekeeper in an effort to make a little money on the side while accommodating my freelance schedule. One would think that the housekeeper's home would be spic and span. Well, in this house that is not the case.

It's not that I'm a lousy housekeeper. Far from it, but let's face it... housework is drudge work, especially when there are four people living here and only one person doing the really dirty work. True, my children do have chores but they only accomplish the absolute bare minimum necessary to keep me from witholding privileges and generally making their lives miserable. As a result, the little things are left undone. Like the corners on the floors that hold on to all manner of dirt and debris. Like the laundry that gets folded but never distributed so it languishes in the laundry basket for days. Like the dishes that get washed but the dirty sink is never scoured. I could go on and on. Then there are those things that you look at everyday but don't see really see or perhaps you just look right through them as if they aren't there, like the dust that accumulates on the top edges of tall furniture, door frames and ceiling fan blades, yada yada yada. I won't even touch the issues of pet hair, oven cleaning and freezer defrosting. Those things are just downright depressing.

After a while those little things add up to one big load of dust and dirt. And as is the nature of housework, it doesn't stay done. As soon as you clean something it gets used or dirtied again and the cycle begins all over again. It's enough to make me insane so I take an approach that helps me retain some semblance of sanity...I ignore the mess. But that tactic only takes me but so far. The day always comes when, in a fit of misdirected energy, I'll begin to clean something and then something else until, before I realize it, I've opened up a housekeeping hornet's nest. It happened to me today. That's when I took stock and really looked at my house. I looked into the corners, on the ledges, at the windows and mirrors, into those little used areas that seem to welcome dust with open arms, and I'm disgusted. Disgusted and embarrassed at the sad state of my own home. How did I think I could clean someone else's home when my own is in such a shameful state?

Upon careful thought, I realized why cleaning someone else's house appeals to me more than my own. It's because after I have done the work, I can leave while it's still clean and I don't have to be around to see it get dirty again. I can enjoy the illusion that I have accomplished something worthwhile and not have to watch that oh-so-clean house of cards tumble down. Of course I know that the residents of the house are going to use and dirty whatever I have cleaned. I just don't have to watch it.

I've recently been doing quite a bit of cleaning around my home, specifically those things I tend to look through and not directly at. Who knew so much dust could collect on the top of a ceiling fan blade? You'd think the movement of the fan would be enough to keep the dust off but apparently not. My other recent cleaning attacks include the grout between the kitchen floor tiles, the mildew on the bathtub caulking, the dust in between the stair rails and the etageres that hold my plants. This is not even the tip of my housecleaning iceberg. This amounts to a mere snowflake.

I would still like to do some freelance housekeeping but first I've got to take stock of my own mess, at least a small part of it. While I'm doing so, I'm going to pay attention to what I'm doing, how I'm doing it and looking for ways to do it better and faster. That way when I do get that first housekeeping job, I'll come across as a professional instead of a harried housewife looking for some pocket change. If nothing else, my home should look great for the holidays.

Holidays? Oh no, that reminds me...I'm still finding bits of last New Year's Eve confetti. Here we go again.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

1 comment:

  1. Hi ~ I did a Google search for ROBERTA SCHARF. She was my English teacher at FDR HS, Brooklyn, NY. She was my teacher 1970-1971.
    I am wondering if this is the same Ms. Scharf that you had the pleasure of knowing.
    Do you have any information on her?
    Thank you for any information you can provide.
    Sue Kahle Scherdel /
    (I am also on Facebook)