Somewhere That’s Clean
That desire was simple; it was the desire
to do housework to live, at least for a few days, in a clean house.
Living in a clean house may sound straightforward.
For me it is not.
See, due to excessive work demands, I NEVER have the time to do anything other than wash dishes, sort kitchen, tidy lounge and spruce bathroom. And this is usually done at a frantic rate, with my eyes shut because I’m shattered! In fact (and I’m not ashamed to admit this) the Sanctuary is hardly ever FULLY spruced unless its some special occasion or if we have someone coming round who has OCD and I like them enough not to upset their status quo.
Mostly this doesn’t bother me as I’m too busy to notice, but lately (possibly nesting instincts kicking in, possibly the fact I’ve had a couple of days off) I feel the need to be housewifely.
And live in a fresh, ordered environment.
Again, this may sound straightforward.
Again, it is not.
You see, when it came to receiving the 1950s house-wifely gene, I must have been lounging in a meadow over the fence, nibbling a bit of grass and thinking up stories. I must have then dozed off, woken with a start, jumped back over the fence and stood in line, mildly panting. And hoping no one noticed. But I was too late. The housewifely gene injection had already gone.
The result of this is that NOW, for me, housework is like trying to speak Italian.
It is flowery.
It is romantic.
I fantasise I can do it.
However, doing it is rather like knitting with ones toes.
When I approach housework, I approach it tentatively. Like its a spider. Weirder still, when I eventually manage to pick it up, make a start and begin folding and brushing and cleaning, it turns into some bizarre pretence. I feel like I’m acting out being a 1950s housewife with a strange Disney fetish-like relish.
What is WRONG with me??
WHERE IS MY 1950s HOUSEWIFE GENE?????
Today though, despite it going against my natural instincts, I decided to face the housework.
I would get into character and Just Do It – like Nike wisely tells us.
So, after dropping Roo at school, I whizzed over to pick up an order of 30 Goal Mapping books (am running a creative development workshop for an eclectic bunch of artists and artisans at a place called the Depozitory all day tomorrow). After that I drove to the Winter Studio to make some phone calls. My coaching company is in the process of putting together a research paper to highlight the outcomes of the addiction recovery programme that myself and my business partner have designed and delivered and continues to have extraordinary results for participants. This is very exciting and a bit complicated and it ALMOST pulled me off track, but NO. I stopped myself. Gathered my things. Headed back to Sao Lorenz.
Now, at that moment, I should have gone home.
I should have gone home, shut the door and made a start.
Instead I thought, “I’ll just nip to the deli and say hi to Ads.”
This I did. Yet when I arrived I could see poor Ads was really busy, so I gave him a quick kiss, told him I was off and headed towards the door to go and make a start on the housework. But just as I was about to leave, three people powered into the deli.
It was Naughty N, Jols and Lovely Sarah.
All wearing latex!!
“Where have you been?” I frowned.
“We’ve been playing tennis,” gushed Jols, with the cat-had-the-cream pride of someone who clearly is not used to exercising.
Folded my arms. It turns out that they have been playing tennis for some time on a Friday. I have not known this because I have been Too Busy Working. And being pregnant. And pregnant people CAN’T jump about and play tennis anyway. So.
A bit begrudgingly I sat down to discuss Naughty N’s upcoming birthday arrangements and because everyone was being healthy, they all ordered salads. I glanced at the clock. It was only 12.30. I ordered salad too.
“Oh, it’s Friday,” Naughty N suddenly blurted as an after thought. “That means we can also drink wine! We’ll have wine too please!” she hooted.
Folded my arms, crossed my ankles and pushed out bottom lip. I did not realise that Friday meant you could drink wine at lunchtime. I did not know this because I have been too busy working. And being pregnant. And pregnant people can’t drink wine. With lunch. Especially when lunch is a salad. So.
“Spritzer? You could have a spritzer,” Jols suggested supportively
“No. I mustn’t. Have things to do …” I replied sniffily.
Naughty N frowned. “What are you doing”
For some reason I did not spit the word housework. For some reason, if my tone was food, the word “housework” would have been Philadelphia spread (advertised by Audery from Little Shop Of Horrors). Smooth. Creamy. Said with the dulcid tones of a 1950s Goddess.
I said “housework” like is was SEXY!
Naughty N practically quivered with delight. “Housework? Ohhh,” she said softly. Then shaking her head a little, as if to rid it of lustful thoughts, confessed, “My housework is out of control at the moment. I just keep on doing it. I can’t stop myself!”
I stared at Naughty N.
What was she saying??
“In fact,” she continued in a lusty whisper, “I’ve actually had to hide the washing piles away from myself so I don’t do them all at once. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
She was salivating with the same relish as she does at the promise of operating on a child’s splinter or cutting my toenails. Luckily Jols and Sarah were looking at her with the same baffled confusion. At this point Naughty N, who had clearly gone insane, leaned over the table. “I’ll come and help you,” she whispered eagerly. “I’ll help you clean. Please? Let me?””
Now, this made me feel very, very uncomfortable.
More uncomfortable than … I don’t know … someone you know hand washing your knickers. It felt awkward and squirmy. It felt pervy.
“No, no, no. It’s fine,” I said, waving a hand in the air dismissively. “You can’t come and clean my house.”
“No, I WILL. I want to. And you’re pregnant!” she implored me.
I frowned again. “No! You can’t clean my house. It feels wrong.” Took a deep, authoritative, shit-need-to-divert-NN-away-from-my-housework breath and said, “I know lets go to Jols’ house. We can clean THAT instead!”
“Ooh yes, mine needs a good clean,” Jols said dreamily.
That was a complete lie as Jol’s house is always immaculate despite also being a very busy working mum. I am not sure how she does it. She DOES have a nice dishwater, which I do not, but apart from that all I can put it down to is that Jols received a balanced injection of the 1950s gene, unlike Naughty N who clearly overdosed and binged on it whilst the gene-fairy had her back turned.
Back at Jols’ the sun was shining, the kitchen surfaces were gleaming and the French doors were wide open and sparkling like they’d just been Windowlened. We lounged on garden furniture on the veranda, looking out over the trees to the sea, sipping tea and eating chocolate. (I sipped tea and ate chocolate. They smoked forbidden roll-ups and drank coffee). We discussed the finer points in life, such as having sex whilst your stomach is flabby prior to the hard stomach bit of pregnancy, who should be nominated to have a fire-work night and the intricacies of sibling competitiveness.
Then it was time to go and pick up the children from school.
And when I came home I walked straight back into my Sanctuary Pigsty. And there, on the doorstep, I faced the cold hard reality of my original desire (which was, if you recall, to have a clean house).
By this point however, I was done with trying to do EVERYTHING and living up to the fantasy of being a 1950s housewife. So I threw in the tea towel, looked in the Yellow Pages, picked up the phone and called a cleaner.
I’ve realised that being Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors and I do not share the same dreams. I want to have a shiny toaster, but I don’t want it to be my life purpose.
And that is OK.
On the other hand, I am quite concerned about Naughty N. If you click on the picture below you will be taken into her fantasy world. Please beware. Its practically pornographic.