Steve and I are about to get in a fight. It’s because I cleaned the bathroom really really well (and because I’m just this side of the loony bin).
But, you should see it shine.
I worked at it today because some guy is coming to replace a broken mirror. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. I have this bad habit of cleaning really well for other people. Not for people who actually live in or use the facilities in our house, but for strangers, visitors, spectators. I scrub and organize and hide our messes in drawers and cupboards and behind closed doors. It’s so bad that if my kids see me with a broom or spray bottle they ask who’s coming over. I keep these cleaning sprees limited to the rooms and paths that visitors might take. For example, I only clean down stairs, paying particular attention to the dining room and kitchen, on Thursdays because thats as far as our small group goes. If a team member is coming over for the first time and will be getting a quick tour, I sweep the stairs and tidy up bedrooms, shoving anything and everything that will fit into the closets and leaning hard against the door. The super-duper cleans happen when we are about to have a house sitter. This is when I clean and organize the house from top to bottom leaving no corner undusted, unbleached, or unshined. For two whole days the house will smell like the Hilton, until signs of life take over once again.
Steve hates this. Although he has never said he hates this – I know he hates it. He thinks to himself “Nice that she cleans for everybody but me. She knows I like a ‘fresh bowl’, but the freakin plumber has to be on his way if it’s gonna get scrubbed.” He never actually says any of this. But I know he thinks it.
Today, when the sparkle in the sink catches his eye and the smell of Windex wafts his way, he will be disappointed once again. It will start him thinking about how I only clean for other people. It will make him wish that he was married to one of those sitcom wives, or a rich heiress with a maid, or that perhaps, oh yes, he was single. And because I know he is thinking these things, I will get my feelings hurt, and I will start thinking about all the things I do around here. All the things that keep me from cleaning on a regular basis. Things, like…um……you know…..well, I do alotta stuff around here! Okay, I’m not exactly sure. It’s never been my strong suit. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that now my husband thinks I’m a terrible wife. And he is probably flipping through a rolodex of divorce attorney in his mind. So now I’m mad. Fuming. I mean, after all I do – the laundry, the dishes, folding his socks together like he likes even though it takes me twice as long. I mean, come on, he’s gonna be mad because I cleaned the bathroom? Pa-lease!
The entire fight will occur in my mind. Steve does not, in fact, care about the frequency with which I clean. Although he does enjoy a fresh bowl. I will imagine him being mad at me in his head (which is actually in my head) and it will actually get me down. Then, he will ask me “What’s wrong?”, and I will say “Nothing.” which will start him thinking about whatever it is that he thinks I think about….