Keeping Up Appearances
What is it about vacuuming up the fourth raisin from the sofa cushions that makes you start to feel like your house needs a complete overhaul?
Getting ready for a party this week – a shower for a friend whose guest list includes our regular book club and three women I don’t know. In the rational part of my brain, I know they can’t be more than mildly curious about what my house looks like. Well, probably not beyond the obvious requirements of raisin removal, in order that they not find dried fruit adhered to their bums.
But right now, we’re dealing with the crazy. It’s after 10 p.m., and I’m seriously wondering how hard it would be to use that extra paint I have left over from the hallway to spruce up the living room, if only to distract from the faint eau de needy dog.
Clearly, I’m insane. Or at the least, I’m over-thinking this.
Sometimes I think it’s because I feel a lot of pressure to live up to my mother’s standards. Remember, she has cleaned her house every Monday – or hired it done – since before I was born. My older sister can corroborate this.
And no matter where we lived, whether it was government housing overseas or post-Army accommodations, our house always proved that cleanliness goes a long way.
Okay, don’t get creeped out on me, here. My house is clean. It’s just that I give a lot of ground when it comes to breakfast in the living room, watching “Little Einsteins.” And we have an inside dog, which my mother never permitted. Sometimes I think my autobiography will be entitled The Cleaning Lady, because that’s all I ever seem to do. I clean the clothes, I clean the dishes, I clean the child, I clean the house, I clean the smelly dog…you get the idea.
But back to my house. Because it’s after 10:30, I can’t call my mother and ask her whether I’m truly crazy. I know what she would say, in any case: at some point, you have to quit worrying about your guests’ impressions of your house, and focus on their impressions of you. She would ask me what I want my daughter to learn from me in all of this. And then she would tell me to go to bed.
Anyway, thirty-six years from now, that’s what I’ll tell my daughter.
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