Monday, August 22, 2011

One of Life's Best Lessons

I once had a bowl
of two week old macaroni and cheese under my bed,
a bird's nest with an unhatched smelly brown egg in my closet,
and enough Snicker's wrappers in my underwear drawer
to wallpaper my bedroom.
And I didn't care who knew it.
That was who I was at the age of 13.
Just ask my Dad.

I don't remember anything significant in my life
that changed me from Grody Girl to OCD Lady.

I just know that at some point, I liked a clean house.
I liked my floors clean.
And my bathrooms spotless.

I would spend hours each day cleaning,
waiting for someone to make toast so I could wipe up the crumbs.
Vacuuming my carpet over and over again,
and making sure the vacuum lines made a pretty pattern on my floor.

There were nights that I couldn't fall asleep knowing
that the dishwasher needed to be unloaded.

The thought of entertaining would throw me into a tailspin.
Sleepless nights prior to people arriving.
Worry some more.
Everything had to be perfect.

And then something happened.

I went to Indiana to visit a friend I hadn't seen in several years.
Her home was beautiful.
But it was much more than that.
It was homey, and comfortable, and slightly messy.
There were a few dishes in the sink.
She was in the middle of folding laundry in the living room
when I got there.

Nothing was pristine,
yet it was just so perfect.
She didn't apologize for the mess.
She ignored it and paid attention to me.

Instead of feeling like I'd made some grand arrival as a house guest
it felt more like she was my next door neighbor.
The kind of house where you walk in through the back door
without knocking.
And help yourself to something in the fridge.

And everything changed for me then.
I still like a clean house,
always will,
but my house is now comfortably messy.
I don't worry about it any more.

I'm comfortable with people coming over without calling first.
I'm fine with people seeing how we really live.
We're messy at times.
It just doesn't matter.
Truly, it doesn't matter.

If you want to come to my house,
just come.

I may run the dust mop over the kitchen floor,
I may wipe the dog hair off the couch,
and I'll definately make sure there are
no short curlies on the toilet seat.

Other than that, what ya see is what ya get.
And isn't that refreshing?



Bethany said...

Well that sounds like a happy medium to me!

Kris said...

We are gonna get along just fine!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lmao as usual "no short curlies on the toilet seat" lol!!!

It is refreshing, life is too short to be cleaning all the time.

connie said...

I couldn't agree more. (and I just finished steam cleaning the bedroom carpet and its only 9am LOL

Mikalah said...

Oh yes, I have gone through the same type of transformation. I love having a clean house, but it's nice to be a little more relaxed about it. =)

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

First I love your colorful photo in this post and second I totally agree. I have never been OCD (though at times I wish I were) and don't loose sleep over dishes but I do like a picked up house though it isn't always that way. I agree though that living is messy and it is better to be relaxed and enjoy it. I wish my kids were more OCD about their rooms. I only have one that is neat. The others, not so much.

ain't for city gals said...

Heaven knows I am not the most perfect housekeeper...and the less estrogen I have (I'm about at zero now) the less care...what I really need to do is buy some of the cheap degreaser and power wash the whole inside...maybe next weekend...xoxo

Anonymous said...

I work on the principal of clean enough to be healthy, dirty enought to be happy!!

Anonymous said...

well I think thats a wonderful attitude, I 'm still thinking about that egg in the nest,, yikes!! I'm trying and have made progress, I still get up and finish dishes, can't sit until pictures are straight, won't leave until bed is made,, I'm working on this,, its not something I'm proud of,, I hate being like this!

Laraine Eddington said...

I'm hoping for a similar journey for my still at home daughter. She's still in the snickers in the underwear drawer stage, but improving.

just call me jo said...

I admire your moderation and comfort. I cannot emulate it. I still am a slippery mess when things aren't tidy--in my life and in my house. I'm sort of a failing OCDer. I strive to be perfect. I fall short. And the short curlies--I'm speechless. (And you know that's difficult for me.) If I knew where you lived I would drop on over.

BrownFamily said...

I love this! I definitely do my best to keep a clean house, but with 2 toddlers in tow it's nearly impossible and much more fun (and important) to play!

Anonymous said...

Seems it's HONEST DAY on Blogger. This is the second post I've read about the subject (Jo) and it got me to thinkin' (ooooo skeery)....

I'm tidy ~ except for certain areas like my studio, shoes, and underwear. Oh, and those plastic lids in the drawer. BUT, I got over the 'must clean' thing awhile ago. Dusting? I detest it and will put it off as long as possible. Vacuum the carpet? Well, once a week is good enough. Baths? Same as vacuum (I have a neat husband and no children at home).
Visitors? Come on! We don't have a 'proper' guest room, but a nice sofa-bed and a plethora of blow up ones. And I promise I won't vacuum or dust while you are here.
Your invite? I just may take you up on that sooner than you think!

Sue said...

Yep, schmelly.


Linda said...

That is refreshing!! I love a clean house too...but I'm trying not to be compulsive!!

Dina said...

Amen sister! There is a big difference between a house and a home. I've had both, and much prefer a home.

Genn said...

Love your post hol!
So true.
And I won't mind a few dishes in the sink, or laundry strewn about if I stop by, but please, whatever happens,
make sure there are NO short curlies on the toilet seat!! LOL!!!

lifeinredshoes said...

Been there, done that, never going back :)

Ann said...

I think it comes with age. I, too, was a pain-in-the-butt neatnik but now accept that the house is for me and family to live in. It's not perfect and it doesn't have to be. What a relief ... why didn't I know this sooner? Blessings, Ann

Pat MacKenzie said...

You could definitely say that my house is more comfortable and homey than Better Homes and Gardens clean. I like it that way but can clean it up in a jiffy if the occasion warrants.There's too many other things in life to worry about than invisible dust bunnies under the couch.

Melynda said...

There are times when enjoyment is the task, but if we treat it like a task, it just goes away and we are lost. (good job!)

Amy said...

I spent the weekend with at a friend's house and not once did she say anything about her house. It wasn't messy just a lived in. She paid more attention to her guest than the guest bathroom and for that I am thankful. I need to learn these lessons myself. I am with you though, I will always make sure the toilet seat is clean.

Mom of 12 said...

Sounds like my house. I don't love cleaning! There are always way to many other things that want my attention first.

Speedy Lady said...

You are in a great place in your life, as am I. It has freeing for me to not obsess over housework anymore. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I'm glad it happened. My house is not dirty but it sure is dusty most of the time.

corners of my life said...

Ahhhh . . . .
My new mantra is now comfortably messy and I'm ok with that.