A Hot Not-Date (aka: Spring Cleaning)

I have a hot date this weekend.

But first, let me explain. You see, spring is about to spring. And spring, with its warm, sweet weather and flower-tipped trees, has a way of turning one’s thoughts toward love, and frolicking in meadows, and sunshiny fresh air.

And so, I have a date this weekend, with this tall, well-built, bald man. You’ve probably heard his name before: Mr. Clean.

Irresitible Mr Clean

That’s right. What can I say? Thanks to a super-busy schedule of work and college classes and kids’ activities and sports, I have had very little time or energy to devote to cleaning house. And so, my not-quite-Martha-Stewart but still passable housekeeping levels have slipped to a not-quite-reality-TV-hoarder but still-needs-major-improvement levels.  When I saw Mr. Clean in the store, I fell hard. I couldn’t resist his twinkling eyes, or his promise to turn our messy house into a shining, spotless home. Mr. Clean is just the guy to turn my spring-cleaning dreams into reality.

Wait –you thought I was talking about going out on an actual date? What, me, leave behind my cozy cave of Netflix and books and computers? Me, venture out alone into the real world and try to make sense of human relationships? Very funny. It’s nice to know that my readers have a sense of humor.

Okay, I get it. No one expects a smart, talented, and fairly attractive 40 year-old woman to stay single for very long. The world expects me to get out there, place an advertisement the way one sells a used car. Join a dating site! Flirt with real, live men who are not cartoon models for cleaning products! Start a romantic relationship that doesn’t happen only in your imagination!

zodiac killersBut here’s the big problem: that whole world of mean and dating and relationships is frightening. Like, scarier than Children of the Corn frightening (and let me tell you – those were some creepy little kids). I’m more the type of woman who avoids eye contact or conversation with strange men than the type who looks forward to going out on dates with total strangers, all of whom are probably the Zodiac Killer (no offense to Ted Cruz).

How ridiculous! You say. Cleaning house is far more nerve-wracking than dating. Just think of what fuzzy blue horrors await you at the back of the refrigerator!

Ahh, this is true. Cleaning out my fridge is a frightening challenge. It’s…um…been a while. And yes, the food in the back has probably become an entire new species of living things. But hey – I have Mr. Clean to tackle the dirty work, and even cleaning out my icky fridge seems far less daunting and much more fun than dating.

online-dating no way

See, here’s another big problem: I am bad at romantic relationships. After a failed 17-year marriage and one attachment-free post-divorce fling, I am convinced that I was not made for relationships. Men apparently have these expectations of what a woman should be like, or how we should perform or behave or respond, and I tend to do everything the opposite. Blame it on my alien roots, I guess. But there was nothing rewarding to me about any of it, and a lot of messy emotions and expectations and drama that don’t mesh well with my INTJ personality.

Ugh.

And so, I am spending one of my kid-free weekends cleaning my house, because scrubbing toilets is a lot less confusing than dating. Vacuuming floors is a lot less stressful than the reality of romantic relationships. Organizing my closet is a lot more gratifying than sex ever was. And teaming up with Mr. Clean is far more rewarding than searching for Mr. Probably-Doesn’t-Exist-Single-Guy-Who’s-Right-for-Me. Because after all my effort, my kids and I will get to enjoy a cozy, clean home that smells like fresh, sunshiny air.

Happy (Almost) Spring!

Pulizie di primavera - Spring Cleaning

 

Riding the Soul Train (aka Saturday Mornings)

Today, I was the meanest mom in the world. Why? Because just like I do every weekend, I insisted that my three kids pitch in and clean the house. To my kids, telling them to clean is comparable to sending them to a prison, where Mr. Clean teams up with the Scrubbing Bubbles to torture my poor kids with the smells of April Fresh chemicals.

“Cleaning up is not fun,” my kids whined.

“Just because it isn’t fun, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it,” I told them. “Life is not a Disney fairy tale with magical singing birds to clean the house for you. Deal with it.”

(Okay, so maybe I was a little too hard-nosed. But compared to my mom, I am Mary Poppins).

When I was a girl, my mother and stepfather and four brothers and sisters always pitched in to give the house a good cleaning each weekend. With the exception of Little League baseball season, Saturday mornings in our house meant cleaning up. And no one grumbled. No one complained. We didn’t dare. Let’s just say that my mother had a broom and was not afraid to use it.

Saturday mornings were tough work. But you know what? In my memories, they were also pretty great. Because those were times of togetherness for the seven of us, helping each other to dust and vaccuum and fold the sheets. There was always music playing throughout the house — Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Prince, Chaka Khan, Kool & the Gang, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson…our house was a 1980’s R&B jukebox. It was not Saturday morning without the smells of Comet and Clorox, and the sound of Joe Cobb on the television, announcing the SOOOOOOUUUULLLLL TRAIN! My brother, sisters and I did not just clean the house together. We danced as we vaccumed the carpet. We grooved as we scrubbed the toilets. We wiggled our hips and sang songs like Let’s Go Crazy and Isn’t She Lovely? at the top of our lungs while washing dishes. We rode the Soul Train until every inch of our house sparkled, ready for another week of family life.

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So this morning, of course I turned on Pandora and tortured my kids with awful R&B music while forcing them to pick up their toys and vaccuum the floors.

“You’re already making us work like slaves,” my daughter said, rolling her eyes. “Can’t you at least play some good music?”

I sighed and switched to Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, feeling as though the Soul Train had just pulled out of the station without me. Oh well. At least we managed to get the house clean this morning, and more importantly, we did it together.

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