On Being a Domestic Goddess – yeah, right.
The song says, ‘Money is the root of all evil,’ but for me housework is right up there with it. Nothing puts me closer to transforming from a mild-mannered grandmother to a raving homicidal manic quicker than housework. I have friends who must do cleaning every day or they start to suffer from withdrawal symptoms – luckily, I have never suffered from this affliction.
My sister can attest to this. For several years of our childhood we had to share a bedroom. I caused her a great deal of mental anguish as her side of the room was neat, tidy, everything in its place, my side was more . . . relaxed. I always, however, knew where everything was and which pile to attack to find the article I was looking for. She never saw the advantage that she had far more room in the shared wardrobe than she would have got if I was also neat and tidy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a slob. My house, while not always sparkling clean and tidy, is comfortable and has a lived-in appearance. I like to think it is welcoming – but a show-home it will never be.
Some forms of housework are worse torture than others. Vacuuming and dusting are almost bearable, especially when the dog needs grooming and he leaves clumps of white hair artistically spread over the carpets in all rooms, and I have friends arriving soon, (family don’t count – they learned to live with it years ago.) I know I’m not alone in this, as I have a friend who says the test for whether vacuuming should be considered is when you walk across the carpets barefoot and it feels almost like walking over a sandy beach.
Have you noticed, though, not being paranoid or anything, but the closer you get to thinking, I really must do some housework, the more likely it is that friends will drop round unexpectedly. If I have a pristinely clean house no-one comes near my door, if the dust has settled on the wooden furniture so thickly you itch to draw pictures on the surfaces like a five-year-old, the doorbell doesn’t stop ringing. I swear someone in the ether hates me enough to set it up – I repeat, not that I’m paranoid, but it happens so often I really think something is going on.
The worst tortures that must be avoided at all costs are window cleaning, and, I’m sorry I have to say it, cleaning the oven. The oven is much easier to avoid as once the door is shut, as long as you keep the window so you can vaguely see what’s cooking inside, nobody knows how bad it is. That is unless you’re a meat eater and the fat from roasts has splattered, collected at the bottom of the oven and when it heats up smokes so much that the smoke alarm is set off. It really is a good job that facing a blank page part way through a novel and not having the foggiest idea where to go next has a tendency to instigate wild bouts of oven cleaning. Also, I do not cook a lot of meat so I am saved from the embarrassment of the fire department arriving to put out a filthy oven.
So, domestic goddess I am not, but visitors always get a welcome, even if I am cringing inside at how much housework I should have done yesterday.
There’s always tomorrow.