Now that I’ve retired from the newspaper business and transitioned to the role of Trophy Husband, I’ve taken a much more active role in cleaning house.
Since my wife heads to the office every day and makes money, I figure the least I can do is try to make our domicile nice and clean when she gets home.
To that end, I’ve made out a schedule that includes vacuuming (twice a week), dusting (once a week), mopping (twice a week), cleaning the upstairs bathroom (occasionally) and cleaning the downstairs bathroom (every day … sometimes more than once).
I won’t say I’ve got it down to a science, but I have developed a pretty solid system.
As for the first item on the list, I could vacuum constantly and it still probably wouldn’t be enough. When you have four animals that live indoors, there will be shedding.
And when one of those animals is a giant, long-haired gray and white cat, fur will float and fly. I have never in my life seen a critter shed like Bane.
Plus, his fur tends to gather in specific places, as though there are various hair hubs situated throughout the house.
We have a coat rack in the corner of the dining room and on any given day you can look behind it and find what appears to be the head of Bea Arthur.
Sadly, minutes after you’ve vacuumed the entire house you’ll find fresh evidence of shedding, so there’s no point in fighting a losing battle.
So, I vacuum on Tuesday and Friday and just try not to notice all the extraneous fur the other days of the week.
Dusting can also be a challenge.
When the sun shines through the windows at a certain angle, it exposes all the dust that collects – and it covers everything from your stove to your television.
When you stop to think about all the stuff you’re constantly breathing in, it can be scary.
I’ve learned the best thing to do is to keep your curtains closed, Miss Havisham-style. It doesn’t decrease the dust, but out of sight, out of mind, you know?
As for mopping, it’s another task that should probably be done daily.
Sometimes you’ll track in dirt from outside, and occasionally when cooking soup, a renegade tomato will decide to make a run for it and hit the floor.
And of course, there’s the animal factor.
Cats tend to barf.
And our oldest dog Charlie, likes to drink a lot of water and then yak half of it up.
To people without animals, it sounds gross.
To people with animals, it is gross.
But it’s all part of the experience, and that’s why mopping is necessary.
Cleaning the upstairs bathroom (or Batroom) is easy because it’s barely used and reserved for the rare times when “company” comes to stay with us. And the reason it’s called the Batroom is due to its décor, which is completely Batman-themed.
Normally all that’s required here is a light feather dusting; no need to even open the “Batcave.”
But the downstairs bathroom … well, that’s another story.
I’ve always admired those who clean for a living, whether it be businesses or homes. Aside from doing hard but necessary work, they often have to deal with inconsiderate people.
I’ve been to public restrooms and witnessed unspeakable horrors.
There are toilets that look like crime scenes – ones in which the perpetrators have no regard for those who might follow them.
I have seen urinals used as trash receptacles. I once ventured into a gas station restroom and saw that someone had deposited half a Twinkie on top of a urinal cake.
I mean, what the hell? Who eats a Twinkie while peeing?
Perhaps the bigger question is, why eat only half a Twinkie?
I have opened doors to restrooms and been driven back by foulness so profound I still have nightmares about it.
So in order to avoid such evil, each and every day I tackle the toilet, sink and shower with brushes, cleaners, paper towels and, if need be, incantations so that they remain as clean as is humanly possible.
The idea is that if you ever have to use the downstairs restroom at my house, you will never see what cannot be unseen.
In just the few weeks I’ve taken on housecleaning full time, I’ve developed a great appreciation for the skill involved in doing it right. And I still have much to learn.
So the next time you run into the person who does the cleaning where you work or where you live, give them a thumbs up and a sincere thank you.
They deserve it.
And when you use the bathroom – mine or anyone else’s – act like you’ve done it before.
And finish eating your damn Twinkie first.