A few months ago, I met up with some friend’s wives at a wine bar for a ‘stitch n’ bitch’, where we relaxed over cured meats and booze while our spouses stayed with the kids. I was a visitor to something they called ‘work drinks’.
We talked about Ryan Reynold’s abs, which restaurants had changing tables and why that dumb hooker got the final rose. Of all the information that I collected that night, one thing in particular resonated with me.
As we went around the table, I was teeing up to lay down some bitching and griping. I explained how it felt like some days I just ran around in circles, picking up toys between rooms.
‘There’s no point in cleaning up throughout the day’, she said.
‘You’re just killing yourself. I let the shit pile up and then thirty minutes before my husband gets home, I haul ass through the house and clean everything up, so it looks like I’m running a tight ship’.
How could I be so naive? Why had I not thought of that? Why was I out here killing myself?
She was onto something.
Today, I tried it. I let all the shit pile up. My wife called at 6pm and said she was on her way. This was my moment to shine. Let me see if I could hang with the 30-minute drill.
6:01pm – I tackled the bottom floor first. This is my office, the laundromat and home of my favorite bathroom. That only I use. A floor below the madness.
How do I do six loads of laundry in a half-hour? Maybe this wasn’t what she was talking about. Forget about it, get one load going and another in the dryer, at least it looks like you’ve got a project moving. Hang up 13 winter coats that are somehow balancing on the wooden stairwell knob. Straighten up my desk, junk mail on one pile, bills on another, empty candy wrappers molded into a trash baseball.
6:14pm – I move upstairs to the second floor. I’ve got Charlie immobilized in his bouncer, hanging from the doorjam in a bathroom. I set up a pallet on the sofa for Ava, put on ‘Cars’, made some snacks, provided favorite toys and brought them down with warm milk.
It isn’t long before Owen Wilson doesn’t matter anymore, and she turns up in the kitchen dumping 200 pieces of plastic fruit in the area I’m cleaning. Charlie is yelling and I throw him a handful of puffy things that he likes. I cut my losses and forget about the kitchen for a minute. I feel like a contestant on a game show.
6:24pm – I move to the living room, adjusting blinds, putting together an interlocking foam puzzle mat that’s covered in dog piss, trying to pick DVD’s off the floor with a match pack (otherwise it’s impossible to scoop them off the hardwood). I started separating fake food (goes in the kitchen) and rattles (they go in a bin in the living room) and folding blankets. Next I grab some wipes to clean the milk stains off the leather sofa. At this point, I’m sweaty and dehydrated.
6:34pm – I finish the living room and move to the kitchen. I’d already blown it. I still didn’t start to scrub crayon off the walls, water the plants and attack real dishes…along with starting dinner. At this point I am getting splotchy and feel faint. I don’t need an aneurysm in my kitchen.
Thirty minutes have come and gone, but I continued pushing through, trying to maintain some dignity. I’ve still had to clean the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs. I slump down on the second step leading upstairs and Ava says ‘Dada is sad. Are you okay, Dada?’
Where did I go wrong?
Hand over your shortcuts!