Housekeeping is not one of my gifts. I secretly fear the government will institute a rating system like they do for restaurants. I can imagine a huge sign on my front door announcing a grade of "D" to all that enter.
I always, however, make an effort to clean before vacation. Why? Because if I die on the trip, I want everyone that comes through the house to think, "Wow! She was an amazing housekeeper. She must have really loved her family.” So in preparation for a family vacation to the Grand Canyon, I began to clean in earnest.
First up: my daughter Zoe's room. I tried to enter, but I couldn't make it across the threshold. The floor was covered! Looking at that room made my head spin - and not in that pleasurable "I''ve just gulped a glass of chardonnay" kind of way. After a 30-minute tirade on having pride in yourself and your bedroom, I charged Zoe with helping me deep clean her room.
Out came two bags of clothes for Goodwill, three bags of garbage, and a million mismatched socks (yes, they all go under the bed…it’s physics). At the end, I realized that Zoe had carpet in her bedroom - not particularly clean carpet, but carpet nonetheless.
As I bent down to pick a little scrap of paper off the newly discovered carpet, I saw something sticking out from under the bed. And then I made a big mistake - I actually looked under there. I gasped. I literally gasped.
I began to pull out an assortment of items: stuffed animals, hair bands, used tissues. I found dirty forks, a half-eaten apple, and the cat huddling in a corner chewing on what I think was a ransom note for Jimmy Hoffa.
I moved on to her desk area and was brave enough to look underneath. I found some interesting stuff - the disposable camera from camp two summers ago, a previously undiscovered Watergate tape, and last year's Easter basket only half full of pink grass.
Hours of cleaning gave me time to gain some wisdom – I now understood why Zoe’s clothes are wrinkled and smell musty; why she can never find her cell phone or homework; and lastly, why the dog threw up pink Easter grass for two straight weeks.
There is satisfaction in knowing that, at least for a while, her bedroom is livable. The future holds promise, even if I never acknowledge that Zoe’s half-eaten apple doesn't fall far from her mother’s housekeeping tree. If I should happen to fall into the Grand Canyon or get stomped to death by an elk, well, the house is ready.
Arizona, here we come!