I have a lot of education. None of it is in housework. For some reason, I figured since I was going to work outside the home, I wouldn’t actually need to know how to clean. I’m not sure just who I thought was going to be doing the cleaning. Maybe cleaning fairies. Or perhaps I’d buy a self-cleaning house. Degrees in the arts certainly don’t give you the money to hire maids, that’s for certain.
For a short time I was only a housewife. I stayed home with two small children. I had a four-year-old and an infant. When you never get enough sleep and you’re dealing what amounts to a furless screeching cat and a short, insane, drunk person, you just kind of try to survive. Or at least I did.
I knew women whose houses always sparkled, at least when I was there. I couldn’t figure out what she did with the children while cleaning. Kennels? And what about after? Did they just stay in the kennels all day? Does Baby Bjorn make one of those? Wait, no, you shouldn’t treat your child like a dog no matter how much it acts like one, because, you know, illegal.
Anyway, I no longer have little creatures, but a thirteen-year-old and a nine-year-old. Conceivably, these kids should not only know how not to make messes, but be able to clean them up at least part of the time. This hasn’t happened yet. It might be because I haven’t taught them properly because, and I am ashamed to admit this as part of womankind, but I don’t know how to really clean either.
Oh, sure, I get the concept behind putting dishes in a dishwasher and taking out trash and doing laundry and not simply throwing said trash or dishes or laundry on the floor (something that has escaped the children entirely) but as far as real, honest to goodness cleaning with a capital “C”, I don’t have a clue. I am trying to learn, though, not to get my Martha Stewart I am a real woman badge, but to get healthy.
I have horrible allergies. I am allergic to anything green including most trees, bushes, weeds, grasses, etc. I’m also allergic to mold. I can’t tolerate cigarette smoke and dust, well, do you know what’s in those cute dust bunnies? Dust MITES which are disgusting little bugs who not only hang out in your pillow (sleep tight) but have the audacity to just poop all over everything. Even the children now know how to go poop in the toilet. But these mites just consider the world their toilet and all of us get to breathe in their feces.
That was your science lesson for today. You are welcome.
So since I’m allergic to life inside and out, I figured I would start trying to combat it. Um, the allergies, not life, since the allergies are already doing a swell job of combating my life. I get sick all the time, and it’s starting to not be fun anymore. Last year, as anyone who has read my blog for a long period of time knows, I had pneumonia. I wrote, under the influence of fever and various pharmaceuticals, about my journey to mucusland, starting with this (LINK DROP) post, which caused me to miss an entire month of work and weakened me for some time after that. That kind of sucked.
All this to say I’m trying to clean my house and I don’t know how. I decided to get natural cleaners like vinegar (not on chips, although it’s in the food aisle turns out) and bleach added to water. But how much bleach or vinegar to water? I wasted a good chunk of time today trying to figure that out. If it’s ¾ cup to one gallon, and I have a bottle that is 32 ounces, and the train is coming at 80 miles per hour, how long until I say I give up and go eat salt and vinegar chips? Not long.
I also bought a steam vacuum. It has a million attachments and blows out steam all over the place. You can burn yourself on this if you’re stupid, or you know, me. Also I have a vacuum cleaner with fun attachments on order since I’m not too keen on dragging the a50 year old, 200 pound Kirby my husband loves like a family member with me all over the house. I spent a LOT of time picking out vacuums. I even employed friends to help, friends who thought it couldn’t get worse than the yoga obsession I had a few months back.
So I have cleaning supplies and contraptions, if I can figure out how to work them. But I’m so tired just from all the research and from looking at my house which has at least 5 years worth of deep cleaning needed due to my utter lack of a Martha Stewart gene. Maybe I’ll just go take a nap.
So, guys, how do you clean?
|The flowers are plotting
`Didn’t you know that?’ cried another Daisy, and here they all began shouting together, till the air seemed quite full of little shrill voices. `Silence, every one of you!’ cried the Tiger- lily, waving itself passionately from side to side, and trembling with excitement. `They know I can’t get at them!’ it panted, bending its quivering head towards Alice, `or they wouldn’t dare to do it!’
`Never mind!’ Alice said in a soothing tone, and stooping down to the daisies, who were just beginning again, she whispered, `If you don’t hold your tongues, I’ll pick you!‘
-Through the Looking Glass
My husband and I looked out over a lush field one day. He said, “How beautiful.” I said, “Look, goldenrod.” I admit that I’m not a big nature freak. The great outdoors is fine, as long as there’s a working bathroom and some electrical outlets nearby. (Roughing it is staying in a tent in my backyard.) So it’s not that I don’t like nature. It’s that I’m allergic to nature. All of it.
I had my allergies tested recently. I am allergic to almost every tree, grass, or weed in existence. Green and I don’t get along. Also, I’ve got allergies to those cute little fluffy kitties and puppies. And birds. Don’t get me started on how much I hate birds. Even if their feathers didn’t make me cough and weeze, I’d want to strangle the chirp out of them.
When I go into a garden, I can’t stop and smell the roses, unless I want lots of sneezing followed by a possible sinus infection. I feel like Alice in the garden of live flowers – as if every flower were sneering at me and making rude comments. “Haha, you think your Zyrtec will protect you, eh? Eat pollen, evil flower-picking human!”
I could try to hide indoors, but well-meaning people are always bringing nature indoors. “Look at this beautiful house plant with the lovely mold growing in the soil!” (I also have a mold allergy. Shocked, aren’t you?) Or, “See my cute widdle poodle Snookums – he likes you, awwww.” Of course he llikes me, the little devil. I really can’t figure out the concept of animals indoors anyway. They shed, so you’ve got hair to rub off your clothes all the time. I don’t even like my own hair once it’s left my body.
|This is waiting under your covers.|
I am also allergic to cows and horses, which means I can never realize my one, true dream of owning my own ranch . . . cough, cough, okay the sarcasm hurts. But while I am not interested in gardening, farming, or ranching, I am interested in being able to breathe. I want to go outdoors and not be worried about breathing in pollen. I want to be indoors and not worry about the mold, or the dust mites (Never heard of dust mites? They are teeny, tiny disgusting bugs that leave their feces all over the place. In your carpet, your drapes, on your bed where you sleep. Think of that when you go to bed tonight.)
There are treatments for allergies and asthma. I’m on allergy shots, where they perversely expose you to stuff you are allergic to on purpose in hopes that eventually your body will quit reacting to it, or you’ll die, whichever’s first. Also, I take antihistimines and decongestants – you’ve probably seen them advertised by that bee with the sexy Spanish accent. (By the way, bees can also cause major, life-threatening allergic reactions and can hide deep in plants. Think about that next time you garden.) There are cases to keep your mattresses and pillows in that supposedly repell the bad guys, and filters you can buy to get the stuff out of the air – although how would one know if they really work, seeing as how no one can actually see the microscopic particles? “Just trust us,” the over priced allergy products people say.
Otherwise, about all I can do is avoid the triggers as much as I can. But they’re everywhere, so this can easily lead to paranoia which can lead to murderous thoughts toward your husband for leaving the window open AGAIN even though you’ve been married to him for twelve years and he knows how sick the outdoors makes you. He just likes the fresh air, ya know. Well, he’s not going to have ANY air if he . . . well, you get the drift. Allergies make you testy, and sick. They aren’t usually life threatening. (Unless it’s like peanuts. People have actually died from kissing a person who ate a pack of peanuts. Remember, protection people. Ask your partner to wear a mouth guard). They are, however, a daily hindrance, and can lead to frequent minor, but costly illnesses. So that’s one reason why I’m not a nature lover. Nature hated me first.
Also, there are no natural electrical outlets.