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Cleaning for Company

Updated on January 16, 2012


I recently enjoyed reading mljdgulley354's hub, Company is Coming! What to Do? and found that it sent me on a mental foray into my own adventures with cleaning. I hope you will get a laugh from my memories!

Parade of Homes ... Not!
Parade of Homes ... Not!

The Paraded Home

I'm not sure if I've ever achieved the status of "clean", which I imagine to be like houses on the Parade of Homes: neat, uncluttered, in good repair, color coordinated, and entirely without dust, stains, dirty dishes, or paw prints on the floor.

When my children were little, I defined my goal as "basic sanitation," i.e. dishes done at night, the tub scrubbed before use. I developed a somewhat lofty excuse to explain my housekeeping lapses that went something along the lines of, "If my house is clean, then my children (of whom there were six) are neglected."

However, if the truth be known, sterile, beautiful, color coordinated homes make me feel ... uneasy. I have a dear friend who manages to live in this fashion, and when I visited her home on one occasion, I could not contain myself. "Where is your stuff?" I asked.

She looked startled, but answered readily enough, "Put away. I can't stand clutter. But ... if you really want to know, every cupboard, every drawer, every chest and every cabinet is absolutely crammed to the gills."

She did not even have a bookcase.

"Where are your books?" I demanded. (I have walls of books, stacks of books, boxes and tubs and tables of books, despite constant "thinning.")

"Books? Oh, they're in a basket in the bedroom," she replied.

Obviously, we do not have the same sort of relationship to books. Or perhaps we do. Perhaps she just reads hers more efficiently, retains the information more thoroughly, and is less codependent about their departure, whereas I read three (or more) books at the time, feel my favorites to be old friends, and am no more able to part with some of them than I could cut ties to one of my children.

But I digress.

Unmentionables Mentioned

mljdgulley354 spoke of mold in her guest toilet.

You are not supposed to speak of these things in "polite" company.

It stands to reason then, that I am not polite. Because ... I'm here to tell you that ...

I once had mushrooms sprout spontaneously from the carpet behind my primary toilet after one of my littles (children) caused an overflow. That was the day I sprouted the plan to eliminate all carpet from my house.

Because carpets ... hold odor. Things breed in carpet. Trust me.

For example, I once opened the door to my SUV, in the days when there were car seats strapped to every seat, and raised a cloud of fruit flies from off the floor, where they'd been enjoying a lovely repast of fermented sprayed-from-the-baby-bottle apple juice.

It was just one day in a life of days. Please, do not feel you need run to refill your birth control prescriptions! Even a day with fruit flies rising in clouds from my back seat nether regions was a blessed day ... I promise!

Life With Dogs

In addition to six children, I perhaps should mention that we are dog people. The number varies, (currently seven) but there have always, since the very beginning, been dogs.

Dogs are wonderful. They have cold noses, warm hearts, and ... muddy paws. And ... dog hair. And ... accidents. And sometimes, ... they get sick. Dogs are a lot like children ... a lot of work at times, and totally worth it.

However the reality is that seven dogs living in the house equals ... at the barest of common denominators ... a lot of dog hair and many paw prints.

Conclusion? Dogs, while of utmost value, are not conducive to a "clean" house.

Who's Coming Over?

It is a sad but true fact, that when my children were little, and I set for them the task of cleaning house that, invariably, one of them would ask, "Who's coming over?" To this very day, the recounting of this story causes me much chagrin. However, I believe in transparency. Therefore, I will confess that nine out of ten times, when my children asked this question, we were expecting company.

In addition, had you checked inside the oven on any such given day, you might have found: crayons, tennis shoes, dirty frying pans, soiled underwear (did I mention my chagrin?). It is possible, but not certain, that we did indeed, sweep dirt beneath the carpet.

Had you thought to look, you may have discovered our guest room to contain piles of unfolded laundry, school books, sports equipment, bags of dog food, unused vacuum cleaners, science projects, and bagged trash.

However, transparent of not, even I have my limits, and thus cannot confirm with certainty, that any of these things actually existed.


What I can confirm, is my admiration for mljdgulley354.

This chick cleans her ceiling fans, folks, and honors her company. She cleans her toilets. Wipes her counters. Vacuums her rugs.

I'm pretty sure that mljdgulley354 and those like her are the examples that I, and the rest of us, should follow.

My hat is off!


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I died laughing ... thanks for sharing!

    • Brett Winn profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Winn 

      6 years ago from US

      Melovy, that is so cute ... I love the artless associations and words of children ... always so precious. I remember one of my kids learning about someone who had pneumonia, and he wanted to know why they didn't get the same "old" 'monia as everyone else, lol .... Thanks for your comment!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Very funny hub. I particularly laughed at your children asking “Who’s coming over?” when you set them to tidying. When my kids were little, we had our house up for sale and for weeks we had people come to view it. In the middle of this, we went to visit a friend for a few days. Our things were soon scattered around her house, and I said we needed to tidy up. My 3 year old asked, "Is someone coming to look round the house?”

      Thanks for the laugh.

    • Brett Winn profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Winn 

      6 years ago from US

      tipoage, wordmasher, rgspruill and Lynn ... thank you so much for such kind comments! It is a relief sometimes to laugh at the effort we sometimes put into keeping up appearances! Thanks so much for the support and the laugh!

    • profile image

      Lynn Reagan-Hull 

      6 years ago

      I am dying laughing! Yes, I've been to your house and wondered, while sitting on the john, looking about for toilet paper why so much random clutter found its way into the bathroom. My dog-filled house tends more to the opposite end of the spectrum, yet your house -- clutter, dust, muddy paw print and all--never failed to make me feel welcome. Dirt is alright if the friendship is warm. :D

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wordmasher...I totally agree.

    • wordmasher profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Brett, if we ever decide to hire a "cleaning woman", I hope you would consider being a canidate. That way, we could have you sitting at our table sipping jo and enriching our lives with your stories and insights. Whether the house got cleaned or not would be immaterial. We could get entertained, inspired, and taught first hand at a bargain price. Seriouisly, glad you are not backing off from the transparency. It's a rare calling card in these days where one would think "image" is everything.

    • tlpoague profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      What a terrific story, Brett! As a daughter of mljdgulley, I can tell you that those were interesting days trying to help clean up after five children. I don't think I had a "clean" toilet till after my children graduated. Sure the kids helped me, but I think they just swirled the brush around to look good instead of giving it a thorough scrub. I am horrible about storing my cast iron in my stove. Note to self: Those are very hot when you forget they are in there and start the oven to bake! LOL!

      I have to add though, when it comes to cleaning, I can't just do a quick job. I end up looking like it is time to spring clean. Hmm, I must have took after my mom.

      Thanks for sharing you story! I enjoyed reading it.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for using my story as your springboard.I have to tell you that visiting my daughters, I find the same things you mention. When mom comes to visit the oven has to be unloaded before we can do any baking. Hmm, maybe I will do another hub. Voted up and funny.


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