cleaning house

I haven't been writing here very much because I've been cleaning my house instead.

Just for shits and giggles, I thought I'd see what it felt like to have a clean kitchen instead of a rich inner life. I'm not gonna lie... a clean kitchen is a PRETTY GOOD high. Like sniffing glue.

ride the purple cow

it's so smooth

and they can't piss test you for it
because
it dries clear

I want to be clear that I'm not saying that people who have clean kitchens DON'T have a rich inner life. I know lots of incredibly impressive women who do all kinds of amazing shit AND keep their kitchens clean. It speaks to my deficiency and my deficiency alone when I say that I really do have to prioritize my day by choosing only two major commitments, and one of them is always, "Keep the children from murdering each other."

(I'm not kidding - the boys were playing quietly in the garden together and I went inside to warm up my coffee. When I came back out, barefoot onto the smooth deck with a warm mug in my hand, Chicken (5) was as I'd left him, sitting in the cool grass, picking through blades in search of roly-polies. And Buster (3) was standing behind Chicken, holding a 4-inch-thick log that I've never seen before in his puppy paw hands. He cocked the slab of wood over his head as he watched the wind tousle his brother's dark hair.)

So if I want to keep the children from becoming the subjects of the Cohen brothers first Lifetime movie, that leaves me with one other thing I can do. Today and every day. Usually, that one thing is "write." Or, if I'm being honest, "drink."

That thing is almost never "wipe baseboards." And it shows. My home is covered in spatter and you could eat off my kitchen floor. Four courses, in fact. My kitchen floor is like a tasting flight of shaped crackers. You've got your bunnies, your fishies, your zoo animals, your letters... and a shitload of dried peas that I thought were a slam dunk until the children began to scream. I tasted them; they were wasabi peas. In other news, the children will never eat peas again.

It's nice to give yourself a problem with a solution, from time to time. Just to keep things spicy. Most of the problems that I have to navigate are infinite and unsolvable. You know, like death. The probability of nuclear war. And laundry.

And to be honest, I needed a break from thinking about the world, and my place in it. I needed a palate cleanser. The world is a clown car spinning out and I feel like I'm sitting in the bitch seat with malice and mayhem on my left and right, and despair sitting in my lap. And let me tell you, despair has pointy butt-bones. I'd like to get off this ride.

So lately, rather than,"write about socializing Buster," I've been asking myself to "clean the baseboards." I did it. It took ten minutes to clean every baseboard in the house and when it was done I felt like Viggo at the end of Lord of the Rings.

ryan was like
"my king"
and i was like
"yes"
and he was like
"the baseboards"
and i was like
"shhh...
it has been
quite a journey
has it not"


Conversely, when I try to write about socializing Buster it takes ten years off my life and when it's done I feel Viggo in The Road. Yes, I survived. But at what cost? AT WHAT COST???

after eleven minutes of screaming
i finally brushed his teeth
so
that's something

that's something
that will not get any easier
when i'll have to do again tomorrow
and tomorrow
and tomorrow again
until i walk into the fire

I am a parent of 2 little boys who scare the shit out of people. Just by how they eat apples. Seriously, it's like a scene from Contagion.

A critical element of my sanity is the acceptance that my children are in process. They're not COOKED yet, people. Don't taste the stew. It's not seasoned.

"I know, they seem totally unglued. But this is a process. They are learning about the world, and they, like all mammals, mastered command of their functioning limbs long before they developed good manners. So. This is just part of it. OK? Be patient. They're learning and growing."

The process mindset gives me a way to defend my children (and yes, myself) from the judgment of the world. But there's only so many places in her life that a girl can apply this logic before friends start to nod too hard and say "sure, sure, sure," as soon as you start talking.

"I know, my house seems filthy. But this is a process."

"I know, my pants are tight and I'm winded from climbing the stairs. But this is a process."

"I know, I haven't blogged in like 2 weeks. But this is a process."

Not everything can be in flux, as children must be in order to keep our hope alive. Some questions have to have answers that end in periods, not question marks or ellipses.

Suddenly the world's insatiable hunger for sudoku and Law and Order episodes makes so much more sense. In a world with no destinations and no guarantees, it's a comfort to live within a 9 by 9 grid, to be able to literally count to 9 a hundred times in a row, and solve a riddle that was inscrutable 10 minutes ago. It's a comfort to know that Benson is going to wrap this one up in 40 minutes flat. 39 now.

And I've been cleaning my kitchen lately because it's a comfort to know that even if my kids are in process and my writing is in process and my pants are in process and the world is in process, at least the dishes are fucking done.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister. I've never read anything that made me want to clean my kitchen more.

    ReplyDelete