Friday, June 1, 2012

Irony, Thy Name is Mess

It's a bit... painful... to admit this. Time was when I had a certain, shall we say, aggressive indifference to keeping the house clean. It started from childhood where my room would get to the point that paths among the toys had to be pushed through the knee-deep clutter to allow me to reach my bed and dresser. Cleaning my room was a day long event, from sun up to sun down, that would usually see me finding half-eaten snacks and about five or six books that I was in the middle of reading, but had lost in the heaps. My carpet was vacuumed maybe two or three times a year at best.

Said indifference wasn't just confined to my bedroom. Much to my mother's despair, the household chores would remain undone with heaps of toys, garbage, papers, and whatnot left in the living room, trailing down the hallway, crudding up the bathroom, and choking the kitchen (The table itself was so piled up on to the point that only one person at a time was able to eat in the one cleared space).

Our backyard was a dense jungle of uncut grass and long forgotten toys mixed in with dog droppings and various other odds and ends that were dragged in by myself or my sister while playing.

Now, I'm not trying to suggest that my mother was somehow lazy, but being a single mother and working full time AND trying to raise us full time meant that my sister and I were, after a suitable age, were more or less left to our own devices between school's end and her coming home. Add in the need for cooking after that, actually eating and the cleaning of the food prep areas in the kitchen and she just didn't have a lot of time to clean herself and thus relied on her children to try and maintain order in the house.

My sister and I just had... other priorities. After school TV, or playing with friends, or just about anything that didn't involve cleaning (And believe you, me, we were champs when it came to finding some kind of excuse). So cleaning was a matter of waiting till Mom blew a fuse and issued some kind of ULTIMATUM that would get us up and going (The worst was the dreaded sight of Mom heading towards one of our rooms with a box of trash bags in hand. If we didn't start cleaning on our own post haste we would very quickly see things being tossed into the garbage with no thought to if we wanted it or not).

Sadly, what has been said about how the habits formed in childhood keep going into adulthood proved somewhat true for me. As a college student, the cleaning of my apartment happened rarely. Admittedly, I was a full time student and worked full time, but once again I found more interesting things to do than clean. Moving to cleanliness obsessed Japan didn't alter matters much. The old house wasn't exactly kept clean regularly. I had a tendency to just leave things to pile up and around my desk and Beloved was usually too busy with the boys to really attend to any DEEP cleaning.

The floors were cleaned up, but the lack of storage in the old house and our multiplying possessions, especially in terms of children's toys, meant that we had more piles of stuff stacked in multiple areas in the old house.

I wish I could say the dust bunnies were this cute...
Our new house however... It's new, I would like to keep it that way. We finally have more storage than stuff for once, meaning we CAN put things away (Though I admit my desk is still somewhat overwhelmed with papers and teaching materials), and I am trying very hard to show my sons that men not only CAN clean, but should, regularly. Without even really talking about it, Beloved and I have divided up the household chores. She keeps the kitchen spic and span, I do the vacuuming and dusting on the weekends. She does the laundry, I fold it. I clean the bathtub, she cleans the toilet. It works for the most part and the house has managed to stay without the rampant dust-bunnies that inhabited our old house.

See, I'd like to get this mess cleaned up. The boys however...
But the boys truly are their father's sons. Makoto and Hikaru have a rather grand indifference to cleaning. Hikaru of course get excused because of his age, but Makoto... who is supposed to clean up his toys... Every weekend is now a bit of a battle to pick up wandering Thomas engines and bits of papercrafts. Various baby toys must also be fished out from under wherever Hikaru stuffed them. Meanwhile, Daddy must thunder around the house trying to get Makoto to stop playing with the toys and clean them, just to hear him come up with a good excuse as to why he needs to take a break ("I gotta go to the toilet, Daddy").

Somewhere, far away in America, my mother is laughing at me as she finally gets her revenge!

No comments:

Post a Comment