Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friends With Benefits.

When I adopt something, it takes awhile before it really feels like "mine."

When I was 14 and in the beginning stages of a new disorder, specifically obsessive-compulsive, we had just adopted a stray dog from Hooterville Pets. He was filthy when we got him, being a stray and all. It took several days and several baths, but eventually he became Mine. Once he was clean enough.

Oscar, wearing grey, and Kevin, the one-eyed Pekingese. Yes, one-eyed. 
He thought he was Tough Stuff and he got in a fight with a bigger dog one time. I'll spare you the details.

When I was 22, I moved out of the home I'd lived in since I was born. I was in some of the deepest darkest throes of OCD, and it was crucial to me that my new homestead be positively STERILE, a wild departure from the digs I had grown up in. Well, my apartment had had dozens of denizens before me, and it was hardly sterile. But I took my bleach in hand and Had At It. At first, the place was foreign to me. It felt unclean, it felt strange, it didn't feel like home. But perhaps a couple of weeks into living there, it finally became Mine. Once it was clean enough.

When I was newly 27, I was newly engaged. My fiance and I bought the house together, but I didn't move in until we were married, because I was such a good little girl. I didn't move in, but I did clean it. Oh did I clean it. I remember cleaning it so furiously that anyone who entered the room I was currently sterilizing would utter an incoherent "GUH!" in shock at the sheer amount of fumes present. I was cleaning with a tub & tile cleanser that almost took the paint off the walls. I am positive I did permanent damage to my alveoli. But the lady who lived in this house before us was a--choke--Cat Lady, and we found cat hair in the most foul surprising of places. Including INSIDE THE REFRIGERATOR. What. So you know this here OCDer was just freaking out. I killed this place with fire before I would allow my husband to move in. And once it was bleached, tub & tiled, Cloroxed, and Lysoled to within an inch of its very life, it felt like home. It was Ours. Well, it was His, but you know, Ours.


I mention all of this because last Saturday was my friend S's moving day. (S is becoming quite a fixture in this here blog!) Now, S isn't anything like me. A germaphobe she is not. In fact, she couldn't care less about such things. I've witnessed her child eat something off the floor of Starbucks. (And if she ever read this, she would have to concede this fact.) :-)  But she was moving into a new place on Saturday, and she had wrangled a bunch of friends to help her do it. She had the requisite beefy men to do the heavy lifting, and a gaggle of girls to to the packing and unpacking and arranging and so forth. But I was the only friend who volunteered, and energetically so, for the disinfecting.

See, I was the one who would go along and really truly clean. Yes, to clean ALL THE THINGS. Oh, sure, Kim was there before I was, and she had run a vacuum through the joint, and Rachel had put up some trinkets and doodads and made the place look homey, but I came along with my Clorox and my Lysol and my scrubby sponges and my clinical OCD eye for detail and really de-germed the fucker. I Lysoled down faucets. I Lysoled down handles. I Lysoled down doorknobs. I Cloroxed the inside of cabinets. The inside of cupboards. The inside of closets. I disinfected the countertops. The inside and outside of the microwave. The inside and outside of the refrigerator and freezer. The tops and knobs of the washer/dryer and dishwasher. I scrubbed and sprayed down the toilets and the showers and the bathtubs. I attacked the really grody gently used shabby-chic bedroom set that S had gotten off Craigslist for her daughter, and did so with a ferocity that would have pleased even the most OC of Ders.

All this, for my beloved S...who truly probably couldn't have cared less. :-)

But I did it because love S, and I care about where she lives and how she lives, and I wanted her home to feel like Hers. And I know what it takes for a home to feel like mine, so I did what I could for her. This was my contribution: Wet knees and dishpan hands and a sweaty brow and chemical burns fumes from here to right over there. I did it because cleaning and sterilizing and attention to nooks and crannies is my curse gift and sometimes it can actually come in useful instead of burdening me and everyone around me.

Love ya S! Hope you like your haven of purity! I did what I could for you, 'cos I lurve you.


  1. i wish someone would come clean my house for me when i next move! i go further than vacuuming, but quite as far as you apparently do with your fumigation. such lung-burning love!

  2. Exactly. I love her so much I'm willing to part with a lung. I mean I've got two, after all.

  3. And your right lung has 3 lobes. Left only has 2. Left is obvs. the slacker lung.

  4. Whew,I was exhausted reading what all you cleaned. How do you have the energy??
    I have the mental energy to do a good clean down but not the physical to back it up.

  5. Mandi: GET WITH IT, LEFT LUNG!!

    Chelle: I dunno, girl, somehow it was different when (1) it wasn't MY place and (2) it was a brand-new place, very tidy and clean to begin with, with almost nothing in it. It's hard to want to clean my own house when my own house is all cluttered and overwhelming, but S's house was so empty to begin with that I just went around like a Tasmanian devil with my Clorox wipes and just did it. I don't generally have that same energy to clean my own place. :)

  6. WOW! Where do you get your energy! I HATE housework but have a fixation for clean floors that I mop daily! Other than that, my tolerance for dust is quite high! So you can imagine the state of my house!

  7. I wish I had that kind of energy to clean my own home. :) I clean the kitchen 9835029 times a day, but the rest of this place suffers.

  8. Hi there, coming over from FNF Blog Hop. I absolutely love your blog!! I'm following now via GFC!!! I would really love a follow back!! :)

    Jessica Rose - Beauty and The Bookaholic