May 13, 2009

Spectrum

I have two friends, Karen and Mir, who are POLAR opposites, but both make me laugh my butt off. Here is a conversation I had with Karen Abbott yesterday:

Me: Wow. I hate that picture of me. It looks like four whales got mushed up together into a whale wad and then someone stuffed the wad into pants and cut/pasted my head on top.

Karen: Hi! You have TOTAL BODY DYSMORPHIA, did you know that?

Me: *as if she had not spoken* Luckily, I hear fat is the new hot.

Karen: Yeah. And crazy is the new fat.

Mir is that way, too. She can hit the conversational ball back over the net. BLAM! And I LOVE her blog.

Today I went to read her entry on spring cleaning, and I laughed my BUTT off, both with her and AT her. I started to write a comment that got SO LONG I just brought it back here…

Dear Mir,

Excuse me, but you are SO silly. I HAVE SEEN YOUR HOUSE and this OH THE MESS. LOOK AWAY LOOK AWAY thing will not fly. Your standards are extremely high...when your house is at the level of mess that YOU would call an untenable pig sty? That is what we call FRESHLY CLEANED AND PERFECT at my house.

Like, your WORST CASE SCENARIO --- some toys and shoes scattered about, couch cushions unplumped, the throw unfolded and slung over a chair, a smear of jam on the kitchen floor---that's my BEST case scenario. Except I have a convenient dog-vacuum who will replace the jam on the floor with a slick coat of dog suck. If only I could find a way to make my dog;s suck smell like PineSol I would just spray jam all over the floor, let him loose, and call it mopped. I may do that ANYWAY, and when he is done put a Christmas Pine Scented Plug In from 1997 in the wall socket.

My standards are, granted, a bit TOO low. They are, in fact, SO LOW that a TINY BEETLE recently failed to limbo under them, and went off to sulk himself to DEATH in a corner of my basement. By the time I noticed him, he was nobbut a husk of former beetle, and there he lay, entombed, completely unmolested, for WEEKS. I would go downstairs, see the dead beetle husk in the corner, think, “I should vacuum that dead beetle up, or get a paper towel and…HEY! LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY!” and then forget about him. One assumes that EVENTUALLY someone else noticed him and gave him a pomp-n-circumstance filled funereal walk to a trashcan, or perhaps from dust he came, and now to dust he has returned.

Either way, I feel certain your house is fine, and I am scared to let you come visit again until I hire BLEACHWEILDING GERM MURDERING CLUTTER ANNIHILATING professionals to splash down my house.

DO NOT JUDGE ME.
Love,
Joshilyn

It is worth noting that SEVERAL months ago, Karen had MICE living in her oven, and her response was to fill the oven with poison, seal it shut, and NEVER OPEN IT AGAIN. So. I may have negative number standards, but I am not alone.

It is also worth noting that after reading this, the next time Karen or I invite Mir to dinner, she is likely to bring her own meal in a hermetically sealed bag. Or just come in a bubble like baby John Travolta.

Posted by joshilyn at May 13, 2009 9:34 AM
Comments

So, clearly, even though I lack the kids and the dog, I am just in training to be you when I grow up. I am fine with this. Do you think my cat would wear swiffer slippers? Or at least run around long enough with them on her feet to clean up some of the cat hair?

Posted by: RandomRanter at May 13, 2009 10:00 AM

We're supposed to clean our basements? Ours has been cleaned exactly twice - when it flooded.

Posted by: Brigitte at May 13, 2009 10:03 AM

Random, I think you have a marvelous idea with the whole Swiffer wearing pets thing. And Joshilyn, authors like YOU are the reason my house doesn't get all sparkly clean 'cause now really, who wants to engage in household chores when you can be reading a really good book?

Posted by: Kim at May 13, 2009 10:09 AM

I have happily eaten at your house without so much as a hand sanitizer in my purse. You are silly.

Also, I think I assume that everyone can either SEE or just somehow GROK the fact that I've put all the clutter into my bedroom in a large mound. It's part of my personal Mental Illness, I know.

Not sure I'm gonna ever eat at Karen's apartment now that I've read this. (Sorry, Karen! But really... the mice... sorry, I feel faint.)

Posted by: Mir at May 13, 2009 10:14 AM

I don't even have a basement, and I have a dead bug currently waiting for me to get around to disposing of it. Someday. I swear.

And I sometimes tell myself that if the cat hair gets thick enough on the floor, people will just think I have carpet... except it has a tendency to drift, so that hasn't worked so well so far.

Oh well. I'd rather read your blog than vacuum any day!

Posted by: Julie G at May 13, 2009 10:26 AM

I think Karen's response to her mouse problem was perfectly reasonable. I mean, it's not as though you're EVER going to EAT anything that comes out of an oven which has housed mice, right? So, really. Poison, close, never open again is just how I would've handled it.

Clearly although I love Mir to pieces I should never invite her to my home. At least, not without a blindfold. Karen and Joss, however - pop by anytime! ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at May 13, 2009 10:27 AM

My basement? Um lets just hang around upstairs. That is a project for Summer rainy days. It's also the place of the dreaded mannequin that lost it's hand, that looks nothing like Santa, yet is dressed in a Santa suit. Did I tell you I have a creep fear of porcelain dolls...well the mannequin isn't far off and he lives in my basement and...I'm afraid if I put him out in the trash he'll come back to haunt my ass....

Basement? Like I said we'll just hang around upstairs with live dust bunnies. (Hugs)Indigo

Posted by: Indigo at May 13, 2009 10:38 AM

Mir, no offense taken... I don't eat at my apartment, either.

Posted by: Karen Abbott at May 13, 2009 11:21 AM

Swiffer feet? Too expensive. Try pantiliners-- built in adhesive to attach to bottom of feet.

Posted by: Dory at May 13, 2009 12:26 PM

1. Karen is a woman after my own heart. I would have been tempted to move, instead, but quarantining the oven works for me.

2. Joshilyn, you may be the cause of my divorce. My husband keeps saying "Stop that infernal snickering!" Just now, though, I had been stifling my snickers, to the effect that my eyes overflowed, so when he turned to look at me, he said "Are you all right?" "Yes," I said, "I was just laughing," "Well, stop that infernal laughing." I think he's kidding, but you never know.

Posted by: Sandra Leigh at May 13, 2009 12:34 PM

the solution to never cleaning your house is kids - because even when you have just cleaned it they destroy it within minutes, so you can always just say "oh I just finished cleaning but they have already messed it up again" and people will believe you. Also, the kids can provide distractions in the form of dancing and showing off so people don't notice the dust rhinos living under the couch. So when ever people are coming over, just get some kids from around the neighborhood (if you haven't grown your own) and blame everything on them. This works best before they learn to speak, but can be employed at any time since they really don't listen anyway.

Posted by: lonek8 at May 13, 2009 1:44 PM

This post reminds me of the old joke:

Little Boy: Mommy, is it true like it says in the Bible, that "from dust we come and to dust we return"?

Mommy: Yes, son, that is true. Why?

Little Boy: Because, under the sofa, someone is either coming or going!

Um. Someone is either coming or going ALL OVER MY HOME.

Jennifer

Posted by: JMixx at May 13, 2009 2:00 PM

Okay, NOT like THAT! I can HEAR some of you thinking!!

Posted by: JMixx at May 13, 2009 2:02 PM

We don't have a basement, we have a dungeon. With a water feature. If the sump pump dies (or the power goes out) the tide comes in and floats the chest freezer to a new location. I occasionally shovel out the muck and often leave the outside door open to help dry things. We do not entertain down there.
We also do not entertain anywhere but the main floor -- we can make that space presentable. The chaos gets whisked upstairs before company arrives. Or at least, most of it does - hard to whisk the remodelling project out of the living room before it's done...

Posted by: Lulu at May 13, 2009 2:25 PM

Amen Kim - I would SO much rather read a good book than clean the spit/toothpaste from my 5 year old out of the sink. As for the worthless bassetts that possess my house - they are only good for 1 thing - tracking thick black Flagstaff dirt in everywhere. Don't believe me - try watching TV on my sepia toned TV - dirt sepia that is.

Posted by: Les at May 13, 2009 6:00 PM

I was just excited that my dog's hair was the same shade as our carpet. The last dog we had was black and white and clashed with the carpet. Our current dog is the same lovely beige and we can weeks without vacuuming!

Posted by: Jo at May 13, 2009 6:08 PM

I must say I love Jo's strategy of matching carpet to pets. Unfortunately this would give me orange carpet, which would probably be too ugly to let guests into my home anyway. If pets could clean with swiffer feet, that would make my life a lot simpler.

And I must take after Joshilyn in the cleaning department. The last time I dusted was a very, very long time ago. And I've done the let-the-dead-bug-lie thing countless times, believe me.

Posted by: Haley at May 13, 2009 7:37 PM

Thanks for some perspective.

I went on an absolute, "Oh, God, we're Rednecks, AREN'T we? We are and I'm in denial. Tell me. I can take it!" jag the other day because our perfectly working, but unattractive kitchen has been 'in the midst' of a remodeling project for two years and our hedge looks like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors AND all the paint has washed off our garage. Our GARAGE IS NAKED.

Meanwhile, every single everything in my house is picked up and put in its rightful place. It ain't clean (thanks to dog suck and hair, cat puke and hair, The Incredible Shedding Husband and gazillions of lady bug husks). I totally lost perspective.

Mice living in her oven! Every time I have an Ugly House Day for the REST OF MY LIFE I will remember that! :o)

Posted by: CityGirl at May 13, 2009 9:23 PM

Oh, mi I've not laughed like that in a while. Bless you. Thank you. Swiffer, liners, dog suck. Too much.

Posted by: Cele at May 14, 2009 2:16 AM

I *thought* that when your children got old enough to go to college - let's pause here because my youngest princess-child is about to go - you would eliminate clutter in your household - NOT!

What happens? Why you carefully help them pack up LOADS of gunk and junk that is HONEST TO GOD essential for college life as we know it. Then four years latter, it returns. And it returns in hunks and boxes, and plastic bins and stacks. Why? Because they have jobs that pay almost nothing and can not afford to store this essential to life crap that now sits in my basement in towers like skyscrappers.

I will pack it away with all of my essential to life crap in mystery boxes that will NEVER be opened unless and untill I die. THat's why I am so healthy. The thought of my friends and family coming in and going through my crap stored in the basement may indeed keep me going for YEARS.

I'm just not a clean/organized person. I've accepted my fate and unless and until Sears or Lowes invents a riding vacum cleaner, that's the way it is going to be.

Posted by: Gin at May 14, 2009 4:02 PM

Right after I moved into my first home, a really old home, I found a mouse carcass in the oven. I screeched several expletives as I ran into the livingroom, called the Salvation Army, and them come take the oven away. (I didn't tell them about the mouse).

Posted by: Laird at May 15, 2009 12:41 AM

I LOVE this post--maybe because we are slobs, er, housekeeping challenged too. Swiffer pantiliners and riding vacuum cleaners has me staying up when I told hubby I was going to bed 30 minutes ago!

You all must read this blog posting by Julie Kang about friendship across variable housekeeping standards: http://kimchimamas.typepad.com/kimchi_mamas/2009/04/two-houses-both-alike-in-dignity.html

And Mir, we once had college friends come visit us, and we cleaned like crazy. They said they felt awkward all weekend seeing how neatly we lived, since their place was always a mess. We smiled at each other, and then let them see our bedroom which had been closed off all weekend. PILES and PILES of junk we had shoved in there during our cleaning frenzy. They visibly relaxed the rest of the visit.

Posted by: Jomama at May 15, 2009 2:08 AM

I feel so much better after reading this blog and all the comments from such like-minded souls. Some of us just were not born to spend our days cleaning, such an antiquated notion! There are blogs to read, scrapbooks to produce, books to be devoured....I emptied the dishwasher and everyone has clean underwear, get off my back!

Posted by: Susanvl at May 16, 2009 9:21 AM

OMG you crack me up!!!
"...Except I have a convenient dog-vacuum who will replace the jam on the floor with a slick coat of dog suck..."
Now I know what to call the myriad drops of slobber that fall out of one of my Labs' mouth as he impatiently waits for me to put down his dinner bowl! That stuff is lethal if you don't know it's there and go sliding across it in your shoes (thank God for shoes!). LOLOLOL

Posted by: Jill Cooper at May 16, 2009 4:22 PM

Gin - a riding vacuum cleaner? YOU COULD MAKE A FORTUNE - go for it girl!!! LOLOLOL

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