I Dream of Clean... a humorous look at cleaning


Where to Start

It's cleaning day baby! You wake up Sunday morning with good intentions. Today is the day, you say.

But where to start?

The kitchen is hostile territory. The bathroom is... well let's not go there. And what about the hallway?

Kind of confusing, better brew a coffee and sit back awhile and think about it.

Where to start?


It's not as easy as it looks

You've read every House and Home magazine from cover to cover. The pictures look so pretty. Why do they never show the dirty dishes sitting on the counter or in the sink, and on the table and on the top of the stove? Surely these fancy home and garden people must eat!

Maybe not, maybe they go out to eat? Just the thought of it makes you hungry as you scoot the cat out the door before you retrieve last night's chicken lasagna from the fridge and heat it in the microwave in the same dish you cooked it in because there is not a clean plate in sight and the one the cat ate off of last night looks too grotty; would take away your appetite even if you could find a spot under the tap to rinse.


The lasagna is yummy, could have used a salad, but would have meant washing a bowl and a knife, oh man, tired now from looking at it all.

Once the snack is over you realize you cannot start the dishes because there is not a clean dish cloth or tea towel left in the drawer, that drawer is empty...

Oh boy.


At last, a sense of direction prevails. Laundry! And a list. A laundry list perhaps would help to organize the job. This seems a better idea than mumbling and ordering yourself around and grumbling when you don't respond to instructions from within.

The laundry part is easy, Add soap, load, start.

Ah the feeling of accomplishment as the washer rumbles and swishes.

Now soak some dishes?

Better wait til the washing is done. The water pressure is maxed out no point in dribbling water around when what is needed is a power washer to get off the baked and dried on crud.

Best take a break while things spin and rinse and spin again. Your head is spinning now from one too many cups of java while you wait.


A Laundry List

  1. Dishes
  2. Bathroom
  3. Hallway

    Best to keep the list short, won't want to overwhelm oneself with the weighty work ahead. And besides, the pen is running out of ink from working on all those other lists of things to do. The other lists are pulling at your mind, but you can't find them on the couch where you last saw them five days ago because a pile of stuff has gathered there too, and anyway the cat (the other cat) is sitting on that, best not disturb the sleeping pile of fluff, it's migration season for the wild birds, and you don't want to throw the cat out and encourage killing (the other cat that's out does not hunt except for scraps and crumbs in your kitchen, so that one's ok out).


More Laundry

As you're putting done laundry in the dryer you realize another load would expedite the cleanliness mission as you kick around the chair covers that have piled up near the tub in the bathroom, but these need shaking out, oh that cat fur is everywhere, so you take a pile of these to the front porch, and oh no killer kitty escapes, and the 'scrounger' sneaks back in.

Another load is lurching and spinning as you weigh the pure brutality of nature and listen as a butter dish goes crashing to the floor in the kitchen, and a furry blur runs under the couch.

No point in crying over spilt butter as you gingerly step around the glass and search for broom and dustpan that got left outside in the rain after you cleaned the car and then decided to go for a ride and when you returned it was already dark so you didn't notice. Oh man!

A trip outside to fetch the broom lets in the cat this time with a dead bird in its mouth and you don't notice this til later when you wonder where all those feathers came from on the bedroom floor.

It's too late, the bird is dead, the broom is wet, and you realize you will have to vaccuum.

You start up the Hoover, but to your dismay there is no suction and further investigation reveals the bag has broke, and it was the last bag, so you better sit down and make a list.

No Pen!

The End

Thank You Mike, aka Mckbirdbks, for illustrations!

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Comments 50 comments

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 4 years ago from Northern California

A very humorous way of looking at cleaning :) I agree - I think the people in the magazines go out to eat. Cats certainly add a whole different aspect when it comes to cleaning the house.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Oh, that is so, so funny--and fits my world of housecleaning perfectly! such a mess! And one thing gets distracted by another. Loved this hub. All the votes!

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GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

Actually, this has happened to me! I love it when things don't work out for me to clean! But, then I have to find out why the suction doesn't work on the vacuum and have to get the dishes in the dishwasher before my kids come back from school--don't want them to know their mom is a slob--oh, well, at least I tried. Superb Hub! and voted it UP!!--Deb

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

glassvisage, Cats add a whole other layer for sure. Throw a stinky dog in, and it's time to hire a housekeeper (I wish). Thank you for the read and comment!

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I love it when it takes Katy three days to discover we don't have any glasses or plates left and complains that there are no clean dishes. I just remind her that the dishwasher is still full, so I can't load it.

The hall usually has to be swept along the edges before I vacuum because the dog sheds so much that I would have to empty the container three times to do the hall. She has to do the front bathroom and I do the one in my bedroom. No one wants to use the front bathroom because there are towels and clothes all over the floor.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Funny hub and don't touch my pen.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Victoria Lynn, I'm glad you enjoyed, and that you could relate. Sometimes I feel like such a slob. What's really weird is cleaning is a big part of the work that I do for others, and I'm really good at it. But when it comes to my own nest it's a different story. Go figure! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, much appreciated.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Deb, Having kids changes the whole ball game. I can't imagine. But just think, when the get a little bigger the can help, and you can sit back and paint your nails lol.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Becky, You have a big job to do every waking hour to keep up. Wow. Yes, we need to laugh at ourselves, it's either that or cry. You better hide that pen! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you're enjoying your day.

afmolinajr profile image

afmolinajr 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

great hub! cleaning is always a promising task to do. but after that tiring day of cleaning its all worth it. cheers!

Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 4 years ago


My house is effing filthy

I don’t know where to start

Oh... how I feel so guilty

That the mess is off the chart

Yes, my place is effing stinking

And hit with a frikkin' bomb

God knows what I am thinking

Neglecting my sweet home

So disgusting is this dwelling

That I might have rats and mice

The crap is over swelling

A mess made more than thrice

Dirty b@$t@rd domicile

You need a cleaning lady

For maybe in a little while

I might come down with rabies

A-h but... putrid place of my abode

I think I’ll just light a match

Or another bomb I could explode

And move to another patch

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey Ercolano, Your poem is so appropos. Got me thinking of a song by the Wall Flowers, thank you I've now added music to the mess. Good one, virry virry funny.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi afmolinajr, Thank you. It would be worth it for sure, just got to do it lol.

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GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

snakeslane: Funny thing is, I have five grown children, whom I taught from very little on how to clean well. But, what they don't know is that I have a sloppy side and it's due in part to what I call "life." There was a time when I had to have everything perfect, but over time, I guess I have softened my view of what "clean" really means. I do try to keep the main rooms tidy, but my bedside is tornadic (if that is a word.) That is probably why I didn't submit a pic of my work place for HubPages. It definitely would have been worth a laugh or two--or even three. Great Hub, again!--Deb

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Deb, I hear you. That's why I didn't submit a pic of my work place also. Too funny. Nice that we relax a bit as we get older though.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

You see that cat sound asleep on the bed in the photo at the beginning of your hub, sl? That's how tired I feel after reading your humorous exposition about cleaning. So I'll have to put off my own cleaning efforts until I feel more rested. Maybe tomorrow . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I could identify with 95% of this, Snakes! I laughed so hard. It's not necessarily the exact situations that are so familiar as the progression of rationalization and expert procrastination that is sooooo familiar! Then there are times when some other ominous task looms which makes housework so much more appealing, right?

Your example about seeking out a job to gain a sense of organization & hope among the chaos is very familiar, and laundry is such a job. Except in my two-story house, it involves lugging the stuff up and down the stairs. One break is that, living alone with no one to object, I can pitch the dirty stuff over the banister upstairs and gather it from wherever it lands to take on the rest of the way to the utility room. The utility room itself, though, is one of the disasters in this house. It's organized but only I can understand it. haha. My system for preparing to actually do the laundry is rather complicated so I let the laundry accumulate enough to justify the effort! This means folding LOTS of towels and washcloths when they're washed & dried, since I'm fanatic about those. Hanging up clothes so my iron gets very little use is another element of the job; then lugging everything back upstairs and putting away when washed, dried, folded and/or hung up is the final end to a productive day. Other tasks simply must wait! Jeez - I'm no spring chicken! hehe. And "tomorrow IS another day!!"

This season presents another snag. During one day I may start off wearing sweats, then change to capris and a short-sleeved T, then end up in shorts and a tank top. These choices stay handy on the chair in the bedroom for easy access. Today was exactly such a day. It will be like this all week and then Saturday the temperature is expected to plummet at least 20 degrees with possible frost early in the day. Of course, meantime, changing into three outfits in a day piles up in the hamper too! Next week may be back to that!

I miss my cats, though. Is that picture really one of yours? So adorable. Mine were strictly house cats, so the bird feathers on the floor never happened. Toulouse was allowed to sit on the back patio sometimes and it was obvious that he had the instinct, though he knew not to step one paw off the patio. Camille really didn't yearn to go outside. Once when she was young, a dog scared her so, she never wanted to venture out again.

Snakes, your story is certainly one of the best, funniest and most engaging I've read in awhile! What a talent you have for this tongue-in-cheek endearing humor!! More, more!!

ps - I love your poem, too, Ercolano! And GoldenThreadPress - definitely. I remember when I started fall cleaning as soon as spring cleaning was done and so on, year after year. Everything was so-so all the time. But it's "Tiresome Details of Living", as Mother called them, and we finally learn how to cordon them off into reasonable limits like the life-imposters they are! hehe.

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Great and funny (as promised). Trade: My wife got angry when our daughter did dishes. "look at the ness she makes!" Think about it. 1) The dishes are done. 2) The mess is in dish water. rinse and dry and you have a clean sink area. :)) plus a really clean daughter.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi drbj, That napping cat is so sweet, I will now think of you as a fat and fluffy (and funny) white cat. Don't rush on the cleaning, the mess ain't going anywhere.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Nellieanna, Engaging and funny eh. Who knew? There's something about cleaning that sets me off. It just seems so impossible to ever get it done completely. It's like a game where the goal post is always moving.

I love your laundry story. I love doing laundry, but I rarely put anything away in its proper place, if there even is such a place. But I have a lot of hooks and hangers for things (including chairs). That white cat is not one of mine, but she is a cutie. I suffer horrible guilt about the cats hunting. I have four cats, and two of them hunt, but they were wild when I rescued them, and it is really hard to keep them inside all the time. I would have to lock them in and go out myself because I couldn't stand to listen to them yowl and scratch to get out. My one consolation is they are 'fixed' so not contributing to the cat over population, but still it's sad, and I do keep them in more and more during certain times of day, but not enough.

Isn't Ercolano a funny guy. Been laughing a lot today, not much cleaning done.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

MHatter, Thank you, I'm so happy I was able to follow through with my promise. I'm thinking the story you told about daughter doing the dishes and making a mess but coming out clean would make a good Limerick. Clean is a very relative thing, especially around relatives. Nice to see you.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Ah, yes. You've perfected described it - "like a game where the goal post is always moving". That's exactly why I've settled on doing the things that matter to me, - either for hygiene-sake or to please my visual senses. I'll admit that finding cobwebs on things stirs one or the other of those motives, but they don't accumulate too fast! A little dust or awareness that I haven't vacuumed in awhile - naw. I ilke to vacuum and did it consistently every night after George went to bed, but not long after he passed away, I had to have surgery for collapsed pelvic organs, so I do it much more sparingly now. Also there is less tracking of dirt out of the yard since I don't do a lot of yard stuff! He loved doing it!

That kitty picture is indeed adorable. You are obviously a fellow cat lover. I admire your rescuing your cats. But yes, I can imagine getting cats whose life-styles were already set to hunt and scrounge for their food. That would be almost impossible to alter! I understand about that guilt you feel. We observed a shrike (bird of prey) attack and kill a cardinal al the ranch and were so devastated. But when we told our game consultant and asked what could be done to prevent it, his reply was, "Don't try to play God." Nature is nature. sigh.

Our kitties were born in the bottom of my closet, though! Their parents were actually Siamese alley cats of good breeding. Their momma was a Balinese Lynx variety and arrived so scared on our window sill after obviously escaping from some amount of abuse. She became somewhat 'our cat' but preferred mostly outdoors. The day the kittens were born, we had to be away and she'd sneaked in to find a safe place to give birth, where we found her with her 5 little babies when we returned! Her kittens inherited her fleas immediately. We spent much time & effort ridding them of the fleas.

The daddy was a traditional torty-point Siamese and was "king of the hill" in our neighborhood and had the scars to prove i! We loved the parents but there was no domesticating them completely. We called him Ali Khat. He would proudly accompany us on our daily walks around "HIS" neighborhood and would frequent our place for periods and then disappear for periods, obviously spreading himself around among all the neighbors, to be fair to all. We wished we had a kitten of our own, especially one like him, so after the female appeared on our sill, we arranged the mating. (He disappeared forever as soon as we introduced him to his kittens!)

The three female kittens looked like him and the two males looked like her, except that Toulouse was even more typically Balinese Lynx, with long silky hair which grew in an all-over cowlick & never tangled, plus big fluffy plume of a tail, plus all the charming personality characteristics of the breed. We'd intended only to keep Camille, who looked most like her daddy, but Tous just won us over, too! Camille was always the perfect elegant lady while he was something of a clown, very playful and demanding. But when he misbehaved, she would walk over and box his ears, especially if his misbehavior was delaying their feeding! He would meow and stomp around and George wouldn't feed them till he sat down in front of his bowl. She'd be patiently waiting in front of hers. till she had enough of her brother's antics and saw fit to discipline him! He'd quietly settle down and then they got fed!

Normally, though, they were best friends.

I didn't want them to have to contend with fleas or catfights, but to live long,happy, carefree lives. So the decision to keep them inside was the answer. It was virtually all they ever knew. For years I made their food from scratch from a recipe in a 'Natural Cat' book I got at Whole Foods Marke. Eventually when we began commuting back and forth to the ranch that became difficult, so we compromised somewhat on their diet, using partly commercial cat food. They were always with us except one time when we went to England. We had a 'critter sitter' come to the house daily to feed and tend to them. They would scarcely speak to us when we returned!

They never needed vet care other than annual shots and checkups. The vet asked me what I fed them to keep them so healthy! haha. They were excellent travelers (after a couple of practice trips) and were perfectly at ease living in our RVs and either home here in Dallas or at the ranch. They rode in the car when we took trips and we always had our RV for overnights. They rode to & from the ranch in the car, with never a complaint, sleeping most of the way. - 500 miles per leg.

What finally got them was the one time we stayed in a motel en route from the ranch without an RV, when we decided on an unplanned visit with some family for Christmas. Alone in the motel room, they must have gotten into something very toxic. Camille died almost immediately when we got home and Toulouse was ill then but rallied till a couple of months later, when he again had the same symptoms and went just as quickly. 17 years is a long cat life, but we really had begun to think they'd outlive us - and they might have, otherwise!

Well, you certainly stirred up a lot of memories! :-)

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Good morning Nellieanna. Please publish this cat story! It is beautiful and complete without any further editing. I think you could submit it to any of the literary magazines, New Yorker, Atlantic, I could send you a list. And I know you have pictures. If nothing else make it a Hub. Thank you thank you thank you. Just having coffee, not quite in writing gear.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I guess you're right! Thank you. Perhaps I'll do that! As I was writing it, I sort of thought about it for a hub. I do have pictures - of our two, as well as their parents; - even on the fated the day we introduced them on the patio of my house before George & I married & moved here There was a physical challenge for Ali Khat, though, because the lady's body was quite a bit longer than his. Ahem. We finally locked them in the utility room and left them there till they resolved it. (blush).

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Step one: Deep breath

Step two: A cup of special tea

Step three: Clear one spot.

Step four: Expand area around spot.

Very cute look at the neverending task of fighting back the onslaught of 'stuff' that seems to gather around all of us as we go about the things that are important to us.

Very funny

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Nellieanna, sorry kind of late getting back to you. I got side tracked today. I love the way you tell stories. Your recall is so sharp. Always interesting. I will look forward to a cat ancestry hub from you.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Mckbbks, It's funny to tell, but sadly it's all true. Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for saying so. :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Original and wonderful. This is one of the reasons why I love hubpages so much!!As well as being able to publish our own work we also get to read gems just like this one. Take care and have wonderful day.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Thumbs up! :-)

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

HI Eddy, Thank you You are a gem. I am so wrapped up in my own little world, I haven't been visiting everyone else's pages enough. I'm missing out.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Step two...repeat as needed!

Oh Miss Lane...let's worry about all this tomorrow! For tonight I am too busy laughing... Voted UP and all across. Hugs, Maria

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Nellieanna, I looked for a cat Hub today, Anyone who calls their cat Ali Khan has got to write a story, nevermind Toulouse and Camille, and their exotic Balinese Lynx momma. But I found something else to read instead. You always have something nice to read. :) I would love to get the recipe for the cat food, you could include that in the Hub too, oh I can't wait!

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Mar. Leave 'em laughing is always a good exit strategy. Have a good night.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Hello Snakeslane. Loved this humorous hub with its witty escapades. My feelings about housework are expressed on a fake needlepoint pillow I keep on the couch: "My idea of housekeeping is to sweep the room with a glance." Voted all the way up and across. Very funny. Thanks, I needed that.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Peg, Thank you very much, glad you got a laugh! The old house keeping thing is definitely over rated. We have too much stuff! I see you've published another chapter, shall be there soon. :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Another great hub; simple but compelling reading. I loved it and even more so I love your cat. I had a white cat when I was small and you never really forget your childhood friends.

Also liked the pics;I am sharing this one and up.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Eddy, Thank you for the visit and the share! That white cat is a photo 'borrowed' from brownpau at Flickr Creative Commons, not my cat, but seemed to fit the story, and charming for sure. I don't know how white cats stay so clean, that's a lot of licking!

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This was such a funny read... just what the doctor ordered.

Thanks for the chuckles.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Rosemay, So happy you got a laugh!

LauraVerderber profile image

LauraVerderber 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

It was funny. I liked the inclusion of the cats- little chaos makers.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Laura, the chaos continues...

epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

Obviously I would like to see you exploit this side of you more in your writing - (and I also saw it in delicious top notch form the other night at Mike's cafe; in fact I couldn't take my eyes off you) your words, thoughts and ideas here are witty and wonderful.

And that white cat at the top is the spittin' image of my Mister Gabriel, lol, imagine that - a twin brother!

Big hugs from Mister Gabriel , Little Miss Tiffy and Colin on a wind swept lake erie beach in ontario - the lake doesen't look like it's going to freeze over which is a good thing - I love watching the moving water. lake erie time 12:45pm after night shift sleep and the smells of Colin's world famous honey garlic chili in his slow cooker

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey Colin, welcome to my world...A friend used to say "Why clean? It's just going to get dirty again," May be something to that. Oh, Mr Gabriel sounds so cute. I am a closet comic, need to get out more haha. Thanks for the visit, enjoy your day! PS: I have four cats, but this is not one of them. Meow meow from Lickey, Kato Jr, Grey Boy and Spirit Cat.

John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 2 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

I love it snakeslane. It's the 'where to start' problem that really gets you down, and after that -' what ever can go wrong will go wrong.' We have a dog that kills when we're not looking. Last year it strutted proudly back from the bottom of the garden and laid a struggling rabbit at my wife's feet. Luckily, we were able to divert her long enough to rescue the rabbit and set it free - in a neighbour's garden. Give Mike a pat on the back for me.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

thanks for digging up the dirt here John, it's been awhile since I saw this piece, I almost forgot I wrote it. Nature is cruel, and Mike is gold. There you go. Thanks for the read and comment.

Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Love this article on cleaning, and can relate to it! It's also hard to make a bed with a cat wanting to play with you. :-)

Isn't it hard to find motivation to do housework? Once it's done, you know you have to do it all again very soon.....

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Snakesmum, You got that right. I need a housekeeper! Thanks for reading and comment. Much appreciated. :)

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 22 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Sounds like Adult ADD to me, so add (pun there perhaps?) that to the list of obstacles to your Good Housekeeping remodelling.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 22 months ago from Canada Author

Perspycacious, I have failed miserably as a housekeeper. But this was supposed to be funny. Haha...

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 18 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Well done, and well.....if I am to even to cross something off my own list today, it reminds me to stop sitting here smiling at the computer. Whizzzz! I'm gone.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 18 months ago from Canada Author

Perspycacious thanks for encouragement, I'm off now too...

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