And dear people who think I'm throwing my MIL under the bus: (1)
As I may have briefly mentioned, while I am a germaphobe in a hardcore way, I'm not so much a clutterphobe. I mean, don't get me wrong, clutter drives me apeshit. Apeshit I tell you.
I get near panic attacks when I look around and see how much goddamn junk, trinkets, decorations, accoutrement, and useless stuff on shelves we have in the house, or how dusty things might be, but while those drive me crazy, I don't seem to have the energy to be arsed to always deep clean those things, and my OCD level only gets to about blue, maybe yellow on a bad day.
So while out countertops are practically sterile in my home and you could eat of any surface of your choosing, the kitchen table is always piled high with my daughter's art projects, or the food pantry shelves are always shoved tightly and spilling over with bags and boxes and cans of food, and there may be a fine coating of dust over the harder-to-get to areas. My house, as mentioned, is not a Stepford home, not by a longshot. I have OCD, but I am a lazy fucker.
In stark comparison is my mother-in-law's house. Her house is pristine...to the naked eye. I mean, this woman cleans the base molding, the ceilings, the underside of cabinets, everything. She has boundless energy to keep things tidy, which is admirable. But I've seen her clean, and her cleaning method is thus: Take a white washcloth and "Wipe Things Down." Everything. With that same white washcloth. The result is stunning--a gleaming white, pristine abode.
Every nook and cranny wiped, wiped, wiped. With that trusty old white washcloth damp with plain old white water. So you will have a dust- and surface- dirt-free home...but you will have germs ga-fucking-lore. You will have floor germs on your counter, and you will have sink germs on your faucet handles, and you wll have bathroom germs on your kitchen table, and you will have a small black poodle named Argus sitting next to the sink, on the food-prep countertop, at any given time, next to the dinner and dessert she's making. You think I'm kidding? Take a peek at this, amigo:
So basically, you will have bum-bum germs on every other touchable in your entire homestead. Dog bum-bum germs and otherwise.
schooch scooch, anal worms, ain't no thang, where's my trusty white washcloth?
So while her home looks positively sterile, and I'm am jealous of that fact to some degree, it is probably one of those more unsterile places you can go. There is nothing clean about taking a damp, dank washcloth to every surface in your home just to get the visible dirt off, especially in a home where no one ever washes their hands and there is never even any usable handsoap in the bathroom. You'll find fancy lotions, and decorative, unwrapped Indian imported soaps, but nothing to actually clean your got-damn hands with. I've actually been known to go into her shower and dig out some Oil of Olay Body Wash and place it passively-aggressively next to the sink and then leave nonchalantly as if to say, "Uhhh, you FORGOT something here."
No, I'd rather live in my somewhat dusty, very kids'-toy-cluttered abode, but where all the touchable surfaces have been Cloroxed clean, than her immaculate-looking white, sparse, beautiful condo with bum-bum germs all about.
No offense, honey. And please never tell your mother about this blog.
I think I mentioned this before, but while I'm burning bridges and alienating those I love, let me add that this is a lady who I witnessed wipe down a toilet and then continue on wiping down everything else in the bathroom with that same rag, including countertops. She also one time flushed a paper towel down the toilet with her bare hands (lifted the toilet seat, flushed said offending paper towel, then closed the seat and lid), and then, without washing her hands, continued straightaway--we're talking IMMED.--to finish preparing our Thanksgiving meal. Wait, not quite immed.--in between, she wanted to hold our infant daughter. My husband and I were, awkwardy, like, "Oh, did you, um, want to wash first?" and she, offended and totally obliviously, said, "Why? I didn't use the bathroom. I didn't go potty." And we, dumbfounded and sputtering, were like, "But you...the flusher...you touched the flusher and...you...the...it....fuck. never mind." We just had to bite our tongues. Because she just didn't get that she touched one of the germiest places in the home, even though, no, she didn't USE the bathroom to, say, defecate. I mean, why does she think people do this:
She just doesn't get it. There was no getting through to her that the flusher itself was full of shit-germs that we didn't care to have, say, in our cranberry sauce or stuffing or mashers and gravy or on our firstborn.
But, her house always looks lovely. It is merely a horror house of cross-contamination. Bygones.
I wish there were a happy medium. I wish my house looked at nice as hers, but was freaking DEAD STERILE like mine is.
I wish I could find a nice happy mixture of this:
Still, I'd take true cleanliness with clutter, over the mere appearance of cleanliness, anyway. If, that is, you can forage a path through the kids' toys and ignore the dust on the baseboards and the junk up on the shelves.