Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible Adult

That's what a magnet on our fridge says, and it feels pretty true. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the things we're supposed to do, as dishes and dust pile up around us. Isn't there some cleaning gene that kicks in when you reach a certain age? I don't seem to be any better about it now than when I was a teenager with a messy bedroom. But it seems to come naturally for the adults I know. The real ones, that is, not like me. Maybe it's a generational thing. All I know is that we'll finally get so frustrated (or the smell gets bad enough) that it motivates us to spic'n'span the place, and then there's this optimism that it will stay that way, and it does for a few days, and suddenly the mess creeps back in. Then we swear we'll never cook again, and that will fix it! I hold on to a notion that if everything just had a proper spot, it would end up there and stay clean. But it expands to fit the place, filling whatever surface area is available; we're equally messy in a 1600-square-foot house as we were in a tiny campervan. Actually, I think we were better about it in the van, so maybe we need to downsize again. I also thought moving into a new house would make it easier to keep it clean - you can't blame the crud in the corners of the bathtub on the last residents - but no. I'm reminded of the argument I used to use against making my bed: it's just going to get messed up when I sleep in it tonight, so why bother? I just swept - how is there dog fur all over again? Why bother? Well, actually, unless we want to star in a Hitchcock film about deadly dust bunnies, that's worth doing. Especially now that the boy is starting to scootch around and get his face in it.

I'm looking at a pile a foot high of newspapers that I haven't (or have) read. Why is that still there? And the bag of outgrown baby clothes to take to the consignment store that's been sitting there for a few weeks? Who even knew that you had to dust your window blinds and stair railings? And your plants?!

One of my students tried to sell me a plant for a fundraiser, and I told her I have enough things to keep alive these days. Ice cream for breakfast, anyone?

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