Gabriel's Groans: Why Over Cleaning Wipes Me Out
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I remember how clever (for want of another word (obsessive)) my mum was, (and still is) at getting me to do the house hold chores when I was a kid. There I was free from the claws of school for a blissful weekend of TV and french toast, until the dreaded duster appeared on the TV screen. My mother was dusting over Big Bird and in my eyes that was inconceivable.
''Mum,'' I screeched at the top of my lungs. ''Leave Big Bird alone.'' Just as my young heart recovered from missing fleeting images of Big Bird, the hoover started and I missed everything the cookie monster was saying. To this day I wonder how different I might have turned out, if only I'd heard those words. Needless to say my Saturday chores from that day on included dusting the TV and hoovering within the vicinity, before Big Bird hit the screen.
My mum was obsessed with cleaning and keeping things clean. My futile efforts were rewarded with an inspection that any Chief Inspector would be proud of. All mum needed was a magnifying glass to look the part. Nothing or no one could trick my mum. That lady knew if you'd made toast, opened the fridge or even switched the TV on. I'm sure even the toilet paper was subjected to a concentrated calculation on a day to day basis.
I must admit knowing how to make my bed better than any 5 star hotel has had it's compensations. I can remove any stain from any material, well I know how, I just can't be bothered! My friends are amazed when they come round for dinner and I've already done the washing up. You could say I'm obsessive about my drinks cabinet, as in I like it full. And I really get upset when some one makes me a G&T with a skinny slice of skanky lemon. However I'm glad to say that's where my obsessive behavior ends. With the perfect gin and tonic.
These days, the TV is still dusted and the cookie monster is living with me, as in there's never any cookies in the tin. My mother still loves to dust and hoover like no one else I know! The development of a rather annoying trait of washing your plate while your still eating off it, however is a little too hard to swallow. Recently having had my wine glass swiped from under my nose to be washed and shelved, because I happened to put the glass down between sips, left me feeling a little unwelcome to say the least. I now know why I eat my food so quickly. It's fear of it disappearing before my eyes, straight into the bin. Well at least she didn't brush me out the door during her ritual floor sweeping like the last time.
The thing that really got me thinking recently was when I popped in on my dad one morning and he was cooking breakfast. It wasn't the fact that he was cooking, more the fact of how he was cooking! My dad, normally a very sane guy had removed every bit of the hob that could be removed. All that remained was 4 burners stripped to their bare necessities. Paper towels covered every spare inch of hob and surrounding work place.
''Hey, what you doing?'' I asked curiously, looking at the covered hob and neatly folded paper towels.
''Cooking breakfast,'' he responded with a obvious look that said stupid. Well, I stayed stupid because I was afraid to be enlightened. ''You staying?'' he continued.
''Sure.'' I said, thinking at least I'll be on hand if an accident happens. At the same time I was wondering where the fire extinguisher was and thinking maybe I'd get my parents a fire blanket for Christmas.
Breakfast was good, although my last piece of bacon survived being swallowed (well by me anyway, I guess the bin has similar consequences). My plate as usual swiped with pure precision from under my nose by mother as she delighted told me the idea behind the naked hob and paper towels. Simple, no grease to clean up after the fry. If you're thinking: what a good idea! you need help, although it is very effective. And my dad. He thought that up all on his own, obviously living with my mother for far too long. I decided to ignore the fact he was wearing gardening gloves. It was a little too early in the day to let my imagination run and frankly I didn't want my imagination to run anywhere. Mind you, mum didn't spend as long cleaning as she normally would and dad sure cooks a lot more than he ever did. I guess they have it sorted!
My next mind boggler followed when my mum asked for my window squeegee to clean her windows (OK, there's a trend developing here). Have I mentioned rain and oh! rain, well anyway I was promptly told there's a difference between dirty dirt and clean dirt. There is! Of course there is! Silly me. Even sillier me, did I let my mum clean her windows. In the rain? What do you think? Although my patience ran out when she asked about washing the car.
''Hello in the rain.'' I could see the guys with the white jackets on the horizon closing in. I said no! To say I ended up cleaning the shower doors in the bathroom with my window cleaning accessories would sound ridiculous so I won't mention it. However I will say, I told them to lock the bathroom door if their taking a shower any time soon. Yeah! pristine.
Moving swiftly on. I realize as we get older we see things in a different light. Skeletons in closets bare different meanings. Perhaps we are all obsessive about something or other. When do we say to otherwise loved ones enough is enough. Let me finish my food. Watch Big Bird and no, I don't want to help with the Spring cleaning; to hell with Spring cleaning. Leave it till Spring. Oh! another thing; fill the bloody ice tray!
I'm glad to say my dad has mellowed and my mum, well not any worse, it has to be said. Although my mum does have a magnifying glass now (a prized possession) and constantly uses it to prove that I didn't clean one thing or another to perfection. Hold on; I guess that's not an improvement. My dad doesn't seem bothered though. They make a great couple and maybe I'm envious of their understanding of each other. If I asked a certain person in my life, a person who's suppose to love me, to mow the lawn; I get dirty looks. Ok I don't actually have a lawn, but it would be nice if just sometimes people would do what you ask. What's wrong with a little order now and then...
"Where the hell did I put my squeegee?''
© 2010 Gabriel Wilson All Rights Reserved
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