Most people would enter our house and see that it was really clean and well put together. On the surface it is, more often than not, vacuumed, dusted, and organized. But if you were to open any number or drawers or closets, you would be confronted with a mess that would assault all your senses.
I love my Mom, dearly; but she is extremely disorganized beneath the surface. It matters more to her that everything look at ease and pulled together upon first glance. I would rather clean things from the inside out, creating a more thorough feeling of clean. That generally means that things will look messy while the project is being completed. But then there is longer lasting harmony and cleanliness because it's easier to keep a space tidy if it is not overcrowded and chaotic.
That being said, her refrigerator has always been a point of disagreement between us. I like my fridge to be very clean and easy to navigate. That means no dried milk flaking upon the shelving. No puddles of maple syrup. No molding food, no rotten meat. And I like to be able to see everything I have, or else it doesn't get used soon enough and goes bad, hence we wasted a bunch of money. But my Mom must figure that strangers don't generally go poking around in your fridge, so it's not one of her top priorities. Vacuuming is her thing. Since I can remember we constantly are getting on my Mom's case for vacuuming a million times a day. There will be, like, three crumbs on the floor and she has to vacuum right under your feet. She's always picking up cups of juice and coffee while you're still drinking it and dumping it in the sink and washing the cup. But she WILL NOT clean the refrigerator, ever. It's truly disgusting. So ever since I was a kid I've cleaned the fridge when she's not around. Of course, it never takes long for it to return to a state of nastiness. But maybe with me doing the bulk of the cooking and shopping these days it will stay nice and clean.
So that's what I'm doing right now. I'm taking a little break, but I'm almost done. I just have to wash out the produce drawers and put them and their contents away. Then I have the little condiment shelves that are located on the inside of the door. They usually get pretty gross. And I'm trying to wash my Mom's linens for her before she gets home because my sister slept in her bed while she was away. And then I have to admit I've begun to understand the obsession with vacuuming. With this many dogs and people, a lot of dust and dander kicks up. So I have to vacuum and clean the floors and get the trash ready for pick-up tomorrow. Man, I really believe that for every family to be really happy and comfortable, there needs to be one parent who stays home to care for the family. It doesn't necessarily have to be the woman either. Sometimes men are better at taking care of the kids and the house while the wife loves her job. Whatever works, really. It could even be a sibling or other relative or family friend. It's way too stressful to try to fit in cooking, cleaning, bill paying, yard maintenance, and everything else that comes with a home while working a full-time job. I think that a big reason the family unit has deteriorated to such a degree in this country is because there is no caretaker at home making it a happy place to be. It's no better than being at school when both parents are too tired to care about anything so there is no conversation, no family dinner, no connection or relaxation.
So anyway, those are my quick thoughts during an afternoon smoke break. A little coffee, a little bud, and slopping goop from the fridge doesn't seem so bad after all.