Thursday, October 18, 2012
Here, Come Sit on the Floor...
My mother is coming on Saturday to spend the night, then I'm driving us both up north to spend a few days at my sister's. This will be the last time the three of us get together until Spring due to mountain passes, snowstorms and whatever the weather brings. It can get very dangerous and gnarly deep in the throes of Winter here, with people getting stranded in the sudden, unexpected mountain storms.
So, what joyful things have I been doing today, in light of my mother's visit? Cleaning. No joy, just cleaning. At least the kitchen doesn't have to be done, considering how much had to be washed and scrubbed after Tomato Paste Sunday. Unfortunately, there's still the rest of the house.
You would think, since she's only spending the night and we're leaving early Sunday morning, that I wouldn't bother. But you don't know my mother. Unless you perhaps have a mother just like her. My grandmother raised her daughters to wash floors on hands and knees, scrub toilets wearing bright marigold-yellow gloves, dust and vacuum until a person could eat off the floor. Mom tried to instill that same housework ethic into her daughters. I can't speak for my sister, but for myself? I can think of a million and one things to do besides clean. Just imagine instead how many stories I could write, how many books I could be reading...
But no. Not today. My mother is coming.
It wouldn't matter if she were just dropping in for an afternoon, the house would still need to be sorted. Last night, talking on the phone, making our plans, she said, casual and off-hand (I wasn't fooled), "And don't bother with straightening up, we'll just be leaving early on Sunday after all." Translation: "Of course your house will be spotless because it would reflect badly on my mothering skills, and imply that I didn't teach you properly."
So far I've cleaned both bathrooms--my least favorite chore, though easier without a man in the house (no offense guys, but it's truth). I've washed floors...with a mop, thank you very much. I draw the line at hands and knees. Changed the bedding in the guest room, even though it was clean. I'm going for that freshly washed effect--plus, okay, I'm hoping to divert Mom so she won't notice the Venetian blinds need to be cleaned. I've sorted through piles of magazines, put away books, organized the file basket that sits next to the phone in the kitchen.
Tomorrow is vacuuming and dusting, then cleaning out the Blazer since I'm driving. Then I'll be done. And in an odd way, it's good that I've been forced into giving the house a good scrub. When I put my feet up tomorrow evening, drink in hand, I'll be smiling with the thought that if I wanted, I could eat off the floor; my Mom will sleep on fresh-out-of-the-dryer bed linens; and Mr Clean can't compete with the sparkle in my toilet bowl.
Maybe I'm my mother's daughter after all...