Friday, March 13, 2009

The new, low standard for housekeeping

By the time Laura gets home tomorrow, she will have been gone for three weeks. That's long enough that it's giving me a glimpse of what my lifestyle would be like if I were left to my own devices. A single week isn't long enough to tell. If she's out of town for a week, for instance, I won't do laundry when she's gone. I will have generally done a bunch of pre-departure packing laundry, and I won't need to wash anything for at least a week. But in three weeks, I'm noticing that I determine my wardrobe choices based on what will let me avoid laundry for a few more days. Ditto, housekeeping. After a week, I'm still keeping to Laura standards of cleanliness. But in three weeks, I've got enough time that my standards start showing. And they're low. It turns out that, left on my own, I've got a fairly high tolerance for dirt. Since Laura left, I've made chili, mac-n-cheese, several varieties of beans-n-rice, and a host of breakfast foods at all hours of the day, but I haven't cleaned the stove yet. The splotched tomato sauce and that one piece of macaroni baked onto the stovetop aren't messing with my sense of order, except for the lingering I'll-have-to-clean-that-up-before-Laura-gets-home vibe. I'm not a complete slob; I keep up with about half of the housework. But I've completely ignored the other half. I'm still religious about vacuuming the kitty hair from the carpets, for instance, but I haven't cleaned the sink. I don't let dirty dishes pile up, but I haven't changed the sheets on the bed. I'm religious about cleaning the cats' litter boxes, but I haven't washed the towels. I water the plants every three days, but I haven't dusted. I'm good about taking care of anything that looks like maintenance, like changing light bulbs. But I haven't put any of the newspapers in the recycle bin.

All this means that I've got to do a lot of housework before I pick Laura up at the airport tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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