Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I thought of you while I was scrubbing my toilet this morning...

I told you my writing happens while I'm cleaning. 

It arrives unannounced and swirls around in my brain in time with the swish of my broom.

It gathers speed as I tidy and tuck, settling into a rythym with the hum of the vacuum cleaner.

Today my thoughts invariably were about the tasks my hands were performing.

Questions were banging against my skull, yammering for answers.

As I went through my routines, almost on auto pilot, I wanted to know what other people were thinking as they scrubbed and swept, mopped and washed.

What motivates you when you're cleaning?

Do you daydream, or are you totally focused on the task at hand?

What's your favourite cleaning music?

What is the one thing you have to do each day, even if you only have five minutes?

Which job can you leave for another day, and which irritates you if it's not done regularly?

Is there something your partner does or doesn't do that drives you up the wall?

What is your favourite domestic task?

I clean because I crave order. Life is crazy busy, with a 9yo, 2yo, full time working husband, me working part time, a dog, family and friends.... I'm also quick to be brought down by the overwhelming tasks ahead of me. So I'm motivated by the need to keep myself happy, and a simple way to do this is to wake up to a sparkling sink and a sense of some kind of order, so I can go about my day feeling fresh and relaxed, not dusty and grumpy.

I am a dreamer - cleaning is something I can do with my hands without having to engage my brain, leaving it free to wander and think uninterrupted. I work through my stresses, I stumble upon ideas and creativity, I write letters, blog posts, chapters of unfinished novels in my head.

I love a good dancing tune, but sometimes I need silence, with just the hum of the washing machine.

I must make my bed each day. My mum always told me to do this, but when I was younger and just out of home I was swayed by the "I'm only going to sleep in it again" school of thought. When I look back on it now I can see how much of an impact that made on my thinking and feelings during that time. I can tell when I haven't made my bed now. I can't settle to a task, or I forget important things. I make my bed every morning before I leave my room and it sets my organised brain in motion. I'm still crazily absent minded, but I achieve so much more.

I love to iron but I don't mind putting it off for a day if I don't have time. I just do some each night and don't sweat it. It seriously irritates me if I don't clean the toilet every second day. I also love a sparkling clean mirror, so I can practice my duck faces.

I hate it when WonderMan leaves whiskers on the sink. How hard is it to rinse? I know he hates the fact that my hair moults continuously and can be found in every corner of the house, but I fail to see how that affects him the same. It's not like he has to wash his face in the carpet, like I do in the sink.

The one task I don't like to hand over control of is the laundry. Washing and ironing are MY THING. I used to follow my mother around and beg her to let me help with the washing every weekend. Despite having limited time and patience she eventually gave in and let me help. I graduated from ironing hankies and tea towels to dad's work shirts before I was in high school. I love fresh sunshiney sheets. When people say "What one thing makes you feel like you're home" it's the smell of the steam from my grandmother's flat iron.

 I've often said when I grow up I want to be a cross between Hyacinth Bucket and Mrs Slocumbe...  yesterday I answered the door to some irritating energy salesmen in my best clothes plus apron, with my gloves firmly in one hand. I try not discourage these blights on the face of humanity because they give me a chance to practice my haughty voice. 

I think I might be on track for this eventuality, don't you think?

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! It does my head in that there are so many of us doing the same things, in our isolated worlds. We're kind of masters of our own ships, but its a bit lonely. Anyway, I need my kitchen to be clean - its my zone 1. And then the immediate area around the kitchen - the open plan living / dining - wiping the couch and sweeping. And then the washing (clothes). Ironing and toilets/bathrooms I am not nearly so good on. And I never make our bed. Ever. I have a 10 mo and a very difficult 3 yo, so once I get passed those areas I'm done - the kids take everything else. Anyway, I found your post really interesting - to see how someone else handled their ship, IYKWIM xx


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