For sale: A really, really, really, really, really clean house
I hate housecleaning. I never bother with spring cleaning. The concept is about as archaic as rotary phones and soap operas. So, why have we been cleaning our condo twice a week this summer? For the answer, we have to ask Barbara, a.k.a. Lady Baba.
“I feel too confined in this condo,” she reminds me. “We need a bigger house.”
And just like that, my empty-nester partner and I are on the hunt for a bigger place, making me really regret having sold my snow blower and lawnmower five years ago.
In that time, I may have polished the wood floors once. I’ve shined ’em up four times since mid-June. And whoever decided that wood floors are a good idea for kitchens? I can see evidence of every spec of grease I’ve ever dropped while cooking.
I’ve concluded that there are three reasons people clean their houses: 1. They are putting it on the market to sell and total strangers will be evaluating their housekeeping skills. 2. When company comes over. 3. Just before a professional housecleaner arrives to … clean your house.
How do housecleaners even stay in business? “I have to scrub the toilets before the cleaners get here,” Barb said recently.
“No, you don’t,” I countered. “Just flush and let them worry about the five-year build-up of water scaling stains.” It’s like going to the dentist. Who scrapes tartar from their own teeth before the hygienist digs in with her tools of torture? In fact, I always loved hearing comedian Steven Wright deadpan, “I eat a box of Oreos just before going to the dentist.” Bahahaha.
I don’t even recognize the place anymore. I think we moved into the display window of Pier 1 Imports on the Daniel Webster Highway. Professional home stagers coach sellers on how to decorate for potential buyers.
“Who wants to live in a home decorating store?” I ask myself rhetorically at least 25 times a day. I’d rather live at Home Depot, where I can at least watch my pet sparrows building nests in the rafters over the plumbing aisle. And what if hoarders find our clean place unappealing? That could be an overlooked segment of the home-buying market.
The biggest drawback of maintaining a clean, boring neutral living space is that it’s put a crimp on my cooking. You know I love to cook. To avoid stinking up the place, about all I’m allowed to do in the kitchen is fill a bowl with cereal and make toast without burning it.
“Shouldn’t we fry some bacon to mask the unnatural smell of Windex with ammonia?” Barb disagrees as she yanks the package of bacon from my hand. “We have a showing in two hours. Please empty the kitchen trash. There may be a Doritos bag in there that will start to smell soon,” she instructs me.
As I navigate my condo filled with fancy soaps and spotless toilets, it occurs to me. This place looks pretty good. Why are we moving again?
Contact Mike Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MikeMorinMedia. His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.