I can't clean like normal people. People whose houses are ready for company whenever you show up. People who have an organizational system, a handy place for everything (so jealous). Floors that are regularly swept or vacuumed. I just can't.
It's not because I don't want to or because I do not enjoy having guests. It's not because I do not enjoy organization or because I do not like waking up to a house that is immaculately clean. It's because it is an uphill battle to get to that point, because I would need a week off from work (with the kid at school each day) to be able to truly focus on what needs to be done.
I cannot clean if the Hubs is at home.
I cannot clean if Z is awake.
I have to have quiet. I have to have time.
To my husband, the living room is clean if the toys are off the floor and you can run a vacuum over the carpet. Who cares that the ceiling fan is covered in whatever-that-stuff-is-that-collects-on-the-blades-of-a-ceiling-fan? (I know that it is not dust, dust does not look like that, does it? I think it might be dead skin cells, bugs, dirt, stuff that we sneeze and cough out, hair - gross). Who cares that every picture frame is overturned or laying askew or that the top of the TV is cluttered with old bills, a hair tie, two mismatched barrettes, a sock (WTF? Why is there a sock on top of the TV? And it is not a child's. That is a grown man sock. What?), three pennies and a rock (I am not even going to ask anymore). It takes time to resize all of the books on the bookshelves, since Z has pulled every one of them off and laid them on the floor instead of using her blocks to build that castle or fortress or dollhouse or whatever. It takes time to rehouse every CD and DVD that has been pulled out of it's case and then laid haphazardly on top of the DVD player.
I leave the house at 7:30 (or so) every morning. I return home at close to 7 each evening. By the time I cook dinner, snuggle with the kid, read her a story (twice) and get her into bed, it is close to 10 PM and I am exhausted. Sometimes, it is closer to 11 before she is really asleep.
And that means that no cleaning happens for 5 days a week.
So I clean weekly. It starts on Friday night. I stay up until 2 or 3 loading and unloading the washing machine and dishwasher. I reorganize the living room, I take the trash to the porch so that the Hubs can make sure to get it to the can when he comes home from work. And when we had pets, there was never a problem.
But then my 15 year old Doberman died.
Our female cat that we could never keep inside, moved out after we fixed her. She is now an indoor cat that lives across the street. Apparently, they feed better food over there. And they don't have any preschoolers trying to dress her in doll clothes.
Her son got a girl pregnant, brought her under our porch to have the babies and then proceeded to move out when B and Z were reaching under there too often. We see him every once in awhile. He lives in the woods right down the street.
And now we have no pets.
But we do have critters.
The first one I saw was a possum that came crawling out from under the porch to open one of the bags of trash that I had left for the Hubs. He was huge, and in a very un-possum-like manner, ignored me, my broom and threats and proceeded to rip a very huge hole in the side of one of the bags of trash.
Later, the same night, after I had called the Hubs to let him know of this catastrophe, I went to the Laundry Room to unload the dryer. There were eyes peering through the back window looking in at me. A raccoon was standing on top of the bag of trash, had his little hands on our door and was peeping through the window. He also seemed rather unafraid and very unconcerned by my presence, my threats or my broom.
I cannot sleep at night now, nor can I walk out onto the back porch after dark. I hear them scratching, scurrying, squeaking. I know they are just waiting for their moment. Their moment to rip me open like a bag of trash and eat my innards.