Tag Archives: housework

A Treatise on Filth

Indeed there are the days when a laid-off dad has too much time on his hands even after the hours of cover-letter editing, resume-tweaking, opportunity-poring, and reading of cautionary tales on how everything you’re doing to look for a job is wrong and what today’s now and with-it hiring managers are looking for are these other things over here which will be the wrong things by this time next week. And so he cleans.

This isn’t one of those days. Or one of those weeks.

That’s because this week Noodle, Beast and She all have a week off from school – and then some because of this past winter’s complete lack of snow days. So because the kids and their friends and the three cats have been in and out of the house tracking March Mudness all over the place, I’ve come down with a thorough case of the Ah-Screw-Its, and I’ve passed it on to She, who might have some space there under that blanket on the couch where she’s watching one of the Hunger Games movies.

Or so I thought, because She read this over my shoulder and now it’s time to reacquaint myself with my old pal Mr. Hoover and his friends Sponge and Swiffer.

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Hooray For Cat Barf

Over there is Lilly. She’s 17, or just about 84 in human years.

And she’s doing well as such things go for cats of her age, but there are a number of age-related issues – one of them being that she loses track of her surroundings.IMG_0908

Which means that from time to time she loses track of where the litter boxes are (we have 3 cats, thus the plural) and does her business on anything that feels somewhat litter-like underfoot.

And she has a thyroid condition, common in older cats, that means that from time to time what she eats makes a return appearance.

The adults in the house are okay with this.

(EWW GROSS CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CALL CPS WORST PARENTS EVER EWW GROSS NASTY EWW)

Here’s why: for years we’ve been trying every tactic under the sun to get Noodle and Beast to hang up their jackets and stash their shoes away when they’re done with them, to no avail.

It turns out that waking up in the morning to discover their jacket on the floor has been decorated with reverse-peristalsis product, or the deposit from the southern end of a northbound Lilly-cat, is a far more effective organizational reminder than any parenting experts’ strategy or nagging.

And on the now-rare occasions when an item of clothing is left on the floor, the children are told, in our best cat impersonations, “Oh, thank you ever so much, children – that is a wonderful jacket for me to puke on. Let me hork something up for you right now.”

A blur of tidying-up activity follows. Works every time

And then I vacuumed the garage ceiling

Once you’ve done all the job-applyin’ you can usefully do for one day, what’s an unwillingly-housetethered housedad to do in an empty house on a rainy day…but clean?

First, the laundry – because I’ll be doggoned if anybody pigeonholes me as Another Dad Who’s Useless At Housework. Three loads: properly separated, washed, dried, folded the way She folds them, and put away.

Then, the dishes – all clean, right down to the hand-washing of the mugs with fade-prone graphics. Then, the floors – vacuum/scrub the major crud and swiffer the rest.

Scrub the countertops, polish the stovetop, change the range hood air filter, pull out the oven and vacuum up the crud that found its way down there, wipe down the fridge shelves, the BATHROOM. Release the kraken of cleanliness! Inside the toilet, outside it, behind it…heck, pop the lid off and scrub away the accumulated nasties there as well. And on to the tub and the sink and the fixtures therein. See Brian scrub. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Over under sideways down, backwards forwards square and round.

Cat has emerged from her vantage point atop the kitchen cabinets, and she has dust bunnies clinging to her, and therefore…where’s that step-stool?…and would you look at all this crud up here on top of the cabinets? Gotta clean that. And in the spring they’ll need staining.

Feel free to stop me if this is starting to sound cabin feverish, because this is the part where I figured that as long as I had the step-stool out, it was time to have a go at some of the rarely-scrutinized and even-more-rarely cleaned parts of the house.

Which is what led me out to the garage, the ceiling mentioned in the title, and the question I meant to ask  you at the start of all this…

Is this customary behavior for a recently-unemployed parent? Is it welcome behavior? useful? Or did I do too much work in the bathroom without proper ventilation?

Your comments are most welcome.

HWWT: the sequel to CTFD

By now you may have heard of the famously-effective all-purpose CTFD (Calm The F&#K Down) parenting method that took the observable universe by storm a coupla years back.

CTFD has a distant cousin that goes by a different four-letter acronym: HWWT, which I’ve decreed is to be pronounced like “hoot” in Welsh.

Like CTFD, HWWT is an ideal(ish) parenting philosophy that’s perfect for slow-witted parents like yours truly who can’t juggle more than four thoughts at once, especially since one of the four thoughts tends to be a super practical one along the lines of “boy, the Reds are going to stink it out this year” or “how staggeringly hot Rachel Ward was back in the 80’s”.

He let the kid go to school with mismatched socks? His way works, too. The socks will reunite in good time.

You load the dishwasher -this- way, and she loads it -that- way? Her way works, too.

He likes to back his car into the driveway at day’s end, but you like to pull straight in? His way works, too.

You like to cook the bacon in a frying pan, she cooks it in the oven? Her way works, too.

He made the kid’s bed, but you wanted to wash the sheets today? His way works, too – and besides, it’s an opportunity to show you appreciate he put the work in while at the same time nudging him to maybe wash the sheets tomorrow. Two wins for you!

(Three if you have cats, because they were going to barf on the freshly-washed sheets anyway.)