May 29th, 2008 | 30 Comments »

I have lived with my younger son for almost twenty-five years. I know if and when he leaves home, I will miss him dreadfully. We get each other. Most of the time.

Every once in a great while, I recall the times before I had children. When nothing sagged or wrinkled, or was anything but cute.

On Saturdays, it was errands and housework. After work during the week, it was everyday chores. Whoever got home first made supper, the loser had to do the cleanup and dishes. I always raced home from work.

I always did my housework naked. I would tear through the entire house, doing laundry as I went. When all was done, I jumped in the shower, and had no sweaty clothes to hang around and foul my hamper.

After my shower, I would don a crisp, clean outfit that was awesomely cute, and be ready to go someplace and show off my hard-working self.

What I didn’t realize back in the day was that I had a picture in my head of what my house should look like, and I felt terrible anxiety if the reality didn’t match the image in my head. I was fanatical about it.

Once a month, I would strip the wax off the floors, using a knife to make sure even the corners were clean as a whistle, although when I think about it, how can something full of spit be clean? Then, when the floors were spotless and clean as a whistle, I would re-apply the wax. It was very satisfying.

What I didn’t get was that other people had to live with me. On my terms. Or visit me. If they smoked, I would wash their ashtray the minute they butted out. How to make your guests feel comfortable, huh? But that image in my head kept giving me anxiety. I guess I figured if everyting matched the perfect image in my head, then my life was okay.

Eventually, I figured out that it made more sense to change the image in my head rather than feel overwhelming anxiety when the reality didn’t match the unreasonably perfect image.

People enjoyed visiting more. Who knew?

My compulsive cleaning left another gift for me. I overexposed myself to chemicals so much that I break out when exposed to them now. I use a lot of vinegar now, and green products, and nowadays, the image in my head is pretty darn lackadaisical. If nothing stinks, it’s all good.

I’m still averse to clutter and mess, because it is one extra step to tidy before cleaning and dusting. I do both less often now.

And Ass Burger Boy? I just ask him to keep his door closed because nobody wants to see what’s in his room.

Really. I have pictures.

And? I don’t do my houswork naked anymore. First, nobody wants to see it. Secondly, I never work up a sweat at it now.