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November 30th, 1999

"Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean..."

What a wonderful far. ::crosses fingers, knocks on wood and tosses salt over one shoulder::

I can't keep up. I really can't. I need someone to press a "pause" button on life so I can get things back in order. And I think that when they restart it, I want Spanish subtitles. Somewhere along the way people quit understanding me.

I just came off of a four day Holiday weekend. I had big plans. I did. I
loafed around for three days and carefully coordinated my big plans for
Sunday. I got sick Sunday. Now I have all of these big plans and nowhere to store them. Maybe if I got rid of that crib in the spareroom I could put them there? That way I wouldn't have an extra item to dust.

My energy level is gone. I actually paid my older daughter to clean the
babies' room tonight. Yes, I am hanging my head in shame even as I type. By the time I crawled in after work I just couldn't do it. In my defense, however, no matter how often I clean in there those babies still have way too much stuff. Way too much. I'm an emotional cleaner. I remember a connection with every toy.

"Awwwww. She wore these socks when she took her first step."

"That first night she threw up in our bed she was sleeping with this doll."

See what I mean? I keep everything. I can't help it.

It would be nice if I could get folks to pitch in on a regular basis without
the pleading and threatening that normally goes with it. Instead, I am just making plans for my lotto winnings. I know that's going to come first.

I have no idea how my husband and I ever got together. We have nothing in common. I prefer to be neat and orderly. He prefers to live everyday as if he survived a tsunami and just hasn't gotten around to putting things in order again. I am constantly cleaning -- on eternal rotation -- moving from one end of our house to the other and then back to where I started.

"Honey? Honey, where are you?"

"In here. Cleaning the babie's room."

"Oh, there you are. What are all these garbage pails doing in here?"

"I'm cleaning things out. These kids have way too many toys."

"Wow! You are cleaning. Just look at all that stuff your getting rid of."

"Oh, no. That's the keep pile. The garbage can by the door is the one I'm tossing."

He peers within it.

"Honey, you have a Lego, a slice of dried up bologna and an empty shoebox."

"What do you want from me! It's only been four hours!"

"You know, you let these kids push you around too much. You have to show them who's boss."

At this point the boss comes into the room and struggles to take the piece of bologna out of the trash. My husband reaches in and hands it to her.

As if he knows anything about cleaning.

I once came home from a trip to the grocery store and found him standing in the living room dusting off our overhead fan. My shock could not have been greater had I come home to find twenty naked escapees from an Old Folk's home dancing the Lambada in my living room. Okay, I take that back. Just the visual alone is disturbing me.

"Oh, my God! What on earth are you doing?"

"These are dusty. I was cleaning them off."

I turned, opened the door and scanned the porch. Hmmm..nope. No three wisemen, no donkey, no manger. Well, someone would have been pretty hard pressed to gather three smart guys together and wrestle them away from their remotes long enough to get them on my porch, but I do think they could have come up with the ass. I looked again carefully. Nothing.

"What are you doing? Are there more groceries out there?

"No, I am looking for the Christ Child or evidence of some other type of

"That's an awful thing to say, woman. I work really, really hard. I
shouldn't have to do some much around the house when I get home. I made an effort today. So I picked up."

Moving into the kitchen with my groceries, I looked around me at an explosion of toys, empty macaroni boxes, and dried up cookie mix clinging to the counter like a second skin. My smallest child appeared to be a Jell-O paint-by-number, the four-year-old had stuck playdough to her face and was running about tormenting the cat, and the older two were hiding in the refuse bins they called their bedrooms.

"The only thing you managed to pick up today was your ass off our toilet. I can see that. So should you."

Later as I climbed a stepstool to finish dusting my fan off I began to think I should have kept my mouth shut. Some people do not appreciate my honesty. I am just going to quit trying to help.

Unless otherwise specified, all material
Copyright 1999 by
Marijke Hildreth



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