My mother is coming to visit tomorrow, and I am really excited. She's a great lady, my mom, and she doesn't get many opportunities to travel. So her visit will be a real treat for me, and hopefully for her, as well.
But there is this little issue of dirt.
My mother is the cleanest person I have ever met, with the possible exception of her mother. When my grandmother decided, late in her 70's, to hire a housekeeping service to give her apartment a weekly scrub, the housekeeper told her, "I'd be glad clean for you, Mrs. Vollweiler, but apparently I will need to bring my own dirt." My mother's cleaning service is similarly challenged. I am fairly certain that my mom chose an apartment on the 8th floor of her building because dirt cannot possibly migrate up that high. (If the dirt has met my mom, it wouldn't dare try.)
For the past week, in anticipation of my mom's visit, I have been viewing my house with a critical eye, cataloguing the dirt and disorder, triaging the domestic disarray.
First up: the cushions on my kitchen chairs:
Look at those stains! Fortunately, I caught this little outrage nearly a week in advance; plenty of time to take corrective action:
Then there is the issue of shoes. We live in a big, old Victorian which has lots of room for people but less room for stuff. I'm not sure where the Victorians stored their shoes: they are lucky it took Zappos another century to emerge. In any event, my house is pocked with shoe farms. This one, near the kitchen door, we can probably disappear before my mom arrives:
But this one, in our bedroom, is probably here to stay, simply because there is nowhere else to put these things:
I will keep the bedroom door closed.
Similarly, the duct tape has been living on my back staircase for as long as I can remember:
It lives there partly because I can no longer remember where we are actually supposed to store the duct tape; but also because duct tape is just one of those things that you want to have close at hand in case anything breaks. In January I had a little run-in with a snow bank; this very roll of duct tape kept my bumper attached to my car for the six months or more that it took me to get to a body shop.
And then there's this -- and let me warn you right now, the squeamish may want to stop reading here:
It's not just a mildewed shower curtain: it's a pharmacological experiment. Legend has it that Alexander Fleming stumbled on penicillin after a slovenly research assistant left a mess to fester on a lab bench. Here in my bathroom, I am trying to culture a vaccine for C-Diff.
Fortunately, I have a spare shower curtain on hand (taking up storage space that would otherwise be devoted to shoes or duct tape):
So it's a relatively quick matter to dispose of the old, offensive shower curtain: that MRSA antidote has been banished to the trash bin. My shower now gleams with mildew resistance.
And my mom will never know that things were ever any other way! Will you, Mom?