What the World Sees...

My in-laws are here this weekend. We haven't seen them since we moved to Utah two years ago, so it's nice to be able to visit. They're going to a family reunion next weekend and took a longish detour to come up and see us. Matt's been happy to be able to see his dad and step-mom, and we've had very a nice visit so far.

Before they came, though, I spent two weeks cleaning and trying to prepare for their visit--which is totally our fault because we didn't keep up with things all that well and something we were happy to do because we wanted Matt's folks to see the best side of us. In preparation, we bought a bed for our guest room, which we needed anyway. We painted a door and a return air vent that needed work, we paid the guy who does our lawn $200 to mow the back (well worth it!). I spent three hours on my hands and knees scrubbing the very dirty grout in our kitchen, trying to bring it back to the pretty light-almost-white-gray it was when it was new. It was hardcore spring cleaning, a little late.

It's been hectic trying to make everything presentable while working full time... and Matt, well, he was helpful, but less than might have been welcome. He tries, but ultimately he couldn't seem to manage to find the time. Laughable, since I work just as much as does he and I found the time.  But, I digress... my point is, it just seems like it's a lot of work presenting yourself to, well, anyone. Usually, our house is mostly passably cleanish. It's not messy, we keep it picked up, but it's lived-in. We live here and living isn't neat and tidy. Neither of us are house-spouse, so there's no person here dedicated to the upkeep of the house. We have to make time where we can.

So, if you walk on the floor barefoot, your feet will likely get dirty. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep the floors clean. There's dust on the furniture and my dogs have probably made a mess somewhere I haven't discovered yet. If you look behind the doors, there's probably dust on the baseboards and the cat box always needs to be scooped, no matter how often I scoop it. Look under the throw blankets I have neatly draped over the arms of the sofa and you'll find that said arms are a little torn up thanks to a naughty cat. The crisper drawers in our fridge could use a scrubbing. Our master shower needs a good hard cleaning and the bedroom carpet needs shampooing... again.

But the alternative seems less than pleasant. Present to anyone the messy truth that you're busy and don't really have any sort of motivation to keep your house super-clean? Show the world that depression often keeps you from giving a damn that the house is a little grimy? Let people see the truth, you're not perfect and neither is your dwelling? That would be nice. Sadly, my anxiety won't let that happen, so while I don't have a lot of motivation thanks to depression, anxiety makes it impossible to leave it be.

So I scrubbed the place down and, well, it looks really good. We got wax warmers to hide the slight animals-live-here-too smell the house takes on when you live with critters. I'm proud of the way it looks, but it's just a facade. Something to show the world to prove that you're okay, that I'm okay, and that I function like everyone else when, in reality, everyone else doesn't and neither do I sometimes.

And, we've agreed to try to keep it clean, to try to work a little every day to make the house look good all the time. The reality? That will not happen. It won't. That's the same lie I tell myself after I've spent the whole weekend doing ten loads of dishes--I'll keep it up, now that it's clean. But, whatever underlying thing made me less-than-motivated to keep it up last time, it's still there. It's still making it impossible to keep it clean now. I can try and I certainly will, but it won't stay like this. I'm just trying to enjoy it while it does.

But, I'm thankful for having a good reason to do the cleaning in the first place. The house needed it and without something to give me the push I needed, it would likely have gone on looking a bit of a wreck. My in-laws coming has given me a good reason for some good hard spring cleaning and I'm grateful. It's been lovely seeing them, too, which makes it all the more worth it. Wish us luck keeping things this way!

5 comments

  1. Good job! It's only natural to want the first time they see the house for it to look it's very best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Phoena. They've been gone a week and it's still mostly clean-ish, so that's a good sign. Sadly, the clutter than seems to accumulate around us is back in full force. Matt using the kitchen counter as a hamper and all. Ha!

      Delete
  2. I'm starting to notice that the older I get, the more anxiety I experience regarding my house's appearance when company comes over. Maybe it's because there's a certain expectation that people in their late thirties should have their shit together (versus in the twenties, when it's more acceptable for a house to be unkempt). Luckily my in-laws are over every other day and have seen my house in ALL of its states, but my own parents rarely come over. When they do, the stress of getting my house to look spotless almost makes the visit not worth it. And it shouldn't be that way.

    I wish society, as a whole, would lower its expectations regarding clean houses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I think my stress about it is getting worse as I get older, too. Although, my stress may also come from living with two naughty dogs and a cat. Living with animals, especially not especially well trained animals, leaves your house smelling like, well, animals. I think that's the biggest part of my problem.

      I don't think I could deal with anyone being over every other day, family or not. But, I know you love and get along with your in-laws so well, so I'm sure it's not burden. :D

      Delete
  3. Nope, the in-laws aren't a burden at all, I think because they're over so often that I don't have to play "host" for them. They've seen me in my best days and my worst.

    We have baby chicks in our house right now. I feel your pain. Glade Plug-Ins are my best friend right now. (Have you tried Nature's Miracle for odor removal? It works pretty damn good).

    ReplyDelete