Friday, March 12, 2010

Shades Of Gray...

Yousuf's parents are coming to visit us this weekend, and I am frantically trying to make it look as though we are not slovenly gross people living in filth.  Yousuf can't even begin to understand my need to deep-clean because he thinks the house looks pretty much the same way it did last weekend when my brother and sister in-law came to visit.  The man simply does not get it.  There is not just kind-of-clean and disgustingly dirty, there are an infinite number of variations of clean.  Which means there are infinite levels of resulting insanity for me.  Allow me break it down for you:

Level 1 - Regular Grossness.  Where we just manage to keep our heads above the dirty dishes and laundry.  But not really.  And the floors...yuck, you don't even want to know about the floors.

Level 2 - My Best Girlfriend And Her Kids Are Coming Over.  Surely she will understand if not everything is put back neatly, especially when her children will be helping mine to destroy the place in record time anyway. Forget dusting. Laundry is shoved into a closet.  Bedroom doors are closed because who needs to see the crud in there, and the kids will keep us busy downstairs.  Bathrooms are wiped down, floors are cleared of choking hazards.  But nothing is really truly uber-clean (Sorry to my girlfriends.  Now you know.  I won't hate you if you don't want to come over anymore).

Level 3 - Childless Friends Over For Dinner.  This is a bit of a problem because although I love my childless friends, I know they secretly think we are big weirdos when they see the toys taking over my house.  Instead of Ethan Allen furniture we have Stained Ikea (with cheerios stuck in the corners, just for good measure).  Our dining table is a hand-me-down, and I don't CARE if no one uses coasters on it.  I know this bothers half of them, so I try to make more of an effort to clean up before they come over.  Usually I will vacuum instead of dust-bust, sweep, dust, clean the bathrooms with actual cleaning products (not just wipe them down) fold the laundry instead of stuffing it into a closet (because childless friends ALWAYS want to see what our entire house looks like.  Friends with kids know never to do that, because they know what's hiding behind those closed doors. STUFF NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO SEE.).  Toys are usually put away neatly and the overspillage is put into bins in the basement.  The kids are usually mad at me.  Yousuf usually comments on how great everything looks and wants us to keep it up.  Yeah RIGHT, buddy.  Oh yeah, sibling visits usually fall under Level 3, because I love them and want them to keep visiting me, and don't want them to rat us out to our parents.

Level 4 - PARENTAL VISITS.  This is serious business, folks.  It's one thing if a stray dust bunny crosses the path of your brother's toes, but when your mother or mother in-law comes to town you better BELIEVE there will be none of that happening, thankyouverymuch.  Now, I love my mom and mom in-law dearly, and know that they understand that I have two little kids and that cleaning up after them is futile at best, but still...there's this niggling little thing in the back of my mind that always says: "You are a stay-at-home-mom.  They think you have the time to keep this place habitable.  You should at least ATTEMPT to clean the microwave before they get here!".  This inevitably leads to me staring at the underside of a table, or the third shelf of the upstairs hall closet that no one ever uses and GETTING COMPLETELY STRESSED OUT.  Yousuf and I will have conversations that go like this:

Yousuf:  What are you doing, honey?

And then he shakes his head and walks away.  But at least my house is Level 4 clean.

Level 5 - NUCLEAR CLEAN. This is for extreme special-case scenarios only, like if we are having a lot of visitors (not likely, because we live in a tiny house and we are hermits.  But when Nissa was born we did have a lot of relatives come all at once, so a Level 5 has happened in the past.  I was not a nice person while cleaning up.  Sorry, family!), or if we need to get the house show-ready (which is totally going to happen because we need to find someone to take over our lease when we move.  I am probably not going to be a nice person while we clean.  Sorry again, family!).  I can't even begin to describe the intense cleaning AND organization that it takes to pull off a Level 5.  It's just nuts, and I don't like doing it, mostly because if anyone so much as breathes on what I've already cleaned then I AM NOT A HAPPY CAMPER.  And that's putting it lightly.  It's so not worth the effort.

According to my Shades Of Clean List, I would say that we are at Level 3 today and are rapidly approaching Level 4.  Things are not looking good on the Mama Nice-O-Meter.  Sorry, family.  Now start sorting those dishtowels!!!

Path Of Mass Destruction:  Couch cover and pillows pulled down, toys and blankets tossed out of the chest, ripped up magazine, and now we're crawling all over the books that haven't been put away.  Looks like a Level 1 kind of day.
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