Cleaning! Oh joy.

Posted on June 23, 2009

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Hello. I hope you are well.

Michele has gone away to Cairns for the week. Duty calls and work beckons. Just when Toby and me were resigned to a week of lonely solitude, good noise turned up.

Friends of ours came over the weekend for boardgames and meals. It has been a long time since we’ve had visitors coming over for boardgames. It was something Michele and me used to do a lot of, but it got really quiet after Christmas, when the furore of the wedding caught up with us.

After our friends left, I took the vacuum cleaner out, gave the house a nice wipe down and sat down in front of the telly. Then it struck me.

If I was still single, the idea of taking time off to clean the house – time that could be spent leveling up my character on *insert RPG/FPS game* – was preposterous.

Living with your wife means lots of compromises, and one of them was sticking to a schedule. We agreed to clean the house every weekend, and if the buzz of life renders us a little fatigued, we will do the next weekend.

Two weeks tops. No question about it. Our house gets dirty real quick – still a curiosity to us as we don’t open our windows much. It’s like we’re living in the middle of a dust storm. Ground Zero. Within three days of cleaning, strange objects (perhaps seeking refuge from the dust storm!) start sharing our living space.

Schedule or not, I still hated giving two hours of my time for petty indulgences. I used to think, “who bloody cares if our home is clean?!” It’s not like we’re renting, and housing agents are coming to inspect the place.

The Better Homes and Gardens programmes, along with other housing programmes such as the excellent Location Location have a lot to do with my unusual fanaticism with houses and everything to do with it.

Watching ordinary people purchasing properties of varying degrees of opulence and/or absorbing tips on doing up houses, one can feel nothing but inspiration coursing through his veins when he is the proud owner of his own property.

Of course, for one to be house-proud, one needs a sense of ‘clutter’ and ‘cleanliness’. Thank god Michele’s a neat freak, and nagging always helps. Like it or not, husbands won’t like a disapproving look from the missus. Besides, a clean house is scientifically proven to enhance sexual foreplay, or whatever you want to call it. Though I can’t say more cleaning is needed after!

Dishes? I grew up leaving the dirty dishes in the sink while my poor mum had to clean up the mess. A kitchen’s the woman’s domain – I used to believe in that. Not because I’m a male chauvinist pig, but I just never knew any better.

I’ve grown to appreciate cooking and everything a kitchen represents. I love the way you’re in control of what goes in your family’s growling tummies. Everybody gathers around the kitchen to prepare food, indulge in idle banter and share a small, magical experience. The kitchen truly is the center of any home.

Of course, after everyone is fed, the job is only half done. Cleaning up is also part of being house-proud. Ask me a few years ago and I’ll tell you to shove it. Now, I do most of the dishes at home. Willingly and strangely, with much enthusiasm!

Cleaning gets more frenetic when Toby runs amok out in the yard and comes in with muddy paws. I like to think Toby is a precursor to having a real baby as he truly is, a baby on four legs.

A dog wouldn’t have a clue what’s dirty and what’s not. Sometimes Toby has the biggest grin on his face and a furiously wagging tail when he’s all muddied, smelly and wet and comes running up to you inside the house with a chew toy in his mouth. You have this incredible urge to yell, but the look in your dog’s eye suggests ‘come play!’. What follows after is a whole hour mopping and cleaning while Toby is left outside, sooking and wondering what he did wrong.

Highly unwelcome, mostly untimely and never pleasant. Don’t get me mentioning the poo he’s got between his paw pads that’s gotten crusty. Oh no, there’s the neighbour’s cat poo all over him too.

Then there are the areas of the house that I’ve yet to clean. Mostly, they are hard to reach and I’m a little lazy to get it done. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr Gutters and Mrs Window-I-can’t-reach-unless-I-get-on-the-roof.

I climbed up the roof once last year after moving in to inspect the shelter over our heads, and the gutters look immaculate and free of leaves. It’s been 18 months. Gee I wonder if I should get up soon.

Cleaning also extends to laundry. I’ve gotten into the habit of a little life-changing experience called ‘Doing Michele’s laundry’. It’s not pleasant sometimes (not going into details there! Then again, whose laundry isn’t?) and I still laugh at the kiddish underwear she sports to work, but it can’t be worse than cleaning poop off Toby or the spew our future kid I’ve to clean up!

It’s the little things I’ve taken time to love doing, and although Michele doesn’t say it, I know she appreciates everything. Besides, it gives her more time to do her shopping or *insert random woman activity* so she’ll spend less time nagging at me when I spend half my waking hours in front of the computer!

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