Friday, April 17, 2009

On cleaning manias.

Tomorrow I have a studio visit with the Art in General members. I think it will be fun, although I always get really worried about cleaning before studio visits and end up going a little nuts. I keep looking around at bits of dog hair that have gathered here and there, weird little sticky spots on the floor and table, shreds of aspen from the guinea pig's cage that are embedded in the carpet, dust along the top of the radiator, clutter, piles of tax forms that need to be filed. I know that no matter how much of this I clean up, I will still spot more things that I find unacceptable. It's not that it's really all that bad in here... it's just that all of the grime comes into focus when guests are scheduled to arrive.

I inherited this particular mania from my mother, who will spend a solid 3 days and nights deep cleaning before having dinner guests over. When I was little, it was always my job to dust during these cleaning frenzies. I always thought it was the silliest job, because, after all, the dust will just be back in a few days. But now that I'm a grown-up, I think dusting is of the utmost importance. In fact, dust drives me to distraction if I know someone will be coming over. I am looking at dust in 7 separate places right now, thinking about how horrid it is.

But it's not that I'm a neat freak. I admit it, I get incredibly grumpy when my living space is cluttered, and I feel like I can't do anything. I like order, and I like items to be in their place. But for the most part, filth I can live with. Icky inside of microwave? OK. Dirty dishes in sink? No problem, as long as they are IN THE SINK AND NOWHERE ELSE. Big pile of dog hair? OK, as long as it stays under the stairs where it belongs. Mildew? Well, actually, I hate mildew, but I've been known to let my shower curtain turn into a real monster.

If I think someone else might see the filth, though, I go a little insane. In fact, it's time to bust out the broom, vacuum, rags and gallons of vinegar and go to town.

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