Many years ago, after we had lived in our first home for a few years, my parents came for Sunday dinner. I don’t remember any of the details of the day; it wasn’t unusual for the folks to visit, so I don’t think that there was any big event or anything.
All I remember is that as they were leaving, my Dad was talking to Paul about some home repair item. My Dad could build, fix, create, take apart and reassemble anything on earth. Literally anything. So Paul always asked his advice about household problems. I guess Paul and I had failed to notice whatever issue it was that Dad was talking about that day, because he said to me, “It’s OK, honey. I know you guys just aren’t house people.”
The phrase really struck me, because not only had it never occurred to me that I wasn’t a “house person”, it had never occurred to me that there were “house people”. What was a “house person”, and how could I become one?
I wasn’t sure whether or not I felt a little hurt by the comment, but I sure did spend some time ruminating about it.
You see, I grew up in a house where everything was neat and clean and the colors generally matched. My Mom is a natural decorator. She once completely redecorated the upstairs of our house after winning a huge oil painting at a church fair. (It was a giant orange and gold Conquistador. Seriously. Hey, it was the 70’s).
And my mother is a supremely organized housecleaner, too. You could actually sit down and eat off her kitchen floor. Her windows have never had a smudge. When we were kids, she made us strip and remake our beds every Thursday, whether we had peed in them or not. Saturday mornings were for vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the bathrooms. Like clockwork. She washed the kitchen floor every single week.
Now I have inherited many of my parent’s traits and qualities. I am a good cook like my Momma. Like her, I am good with words. I inherited her math phobia, her emotional nature and her complete lack of anything resembling a sense of direction. From my Dad I got big brown eyes, a round chin and a strong sense of fair play.
But I guess I didn’t get the “house person” gene.
As the years have gone by, I guess I have become a little better at home decorating. I started using a table cloth a while ago, and my curtains don’t actually clash with the walls anymore. I’m pretty good about keeping the bathrooms clean, and I wash the floors whenever people start to stick to them. Sometimes I change the sheets.
But I found out today, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my Dad was right.
I am so not a house person.
It all started when I decided to clean my leather sofa. It’s mud season here in Massachusetts, and my two big dogs are bringing in all kinds of goop and gunk. I grabbed some leather wipes and set to work trying to erase the dirt print of Sadie’s body from the sofa cushions. As I scrubbed, I reached down behind the cushion, trying to get all the dirt off.
My hand slipped into the corner, where the cushion meets the sofa arm and back. I pulled out what can only be described as a bulging blob of dog hair. Yikes! Somehow, it hadn’t been part of my cleaning routine to dig the fur out of the sofa cushions. Maybe I should try to get it out right now!
So I started digging, and scraping and yanking. Pretty soon I had a pile of fur that was bigger than my 90 pound pups. I kept digging, the fur kept piling up. As I got lower down into the crevasse, I started coming up with little pebbles, a couple of twigs and even a beer bottle cap.
Holy Dirt Ball, Batman, this was BAD!! If only the cushions could be removed, I mused, If only I could somehow actually see back there………
My fingers suddenly found a small metal clip, attached to an elastic band. A band that connected the sofa cushion to the sofa back.
Oh! Hey, look at that…..if you unclip the little clip, you can actually remove the cushions! Who knew?
So I unclipped, lifted off and recoiled in absolute horror.
There was enough soil in there to plant tomatoes.
There was enough dust, hair and dog fur to fill a mattress. This was no mere dust bunny, my friends; this was a dust Chupacabra. A dust, dirt, hair Yeti. A filthy Bigfoot.
This was roughly 14 years worth of accumulated crap, staring me in the face, telling me in no uncertain terms, “You are just not a house person.”
I spent the next three hours with a canister vac, a fur roller, a wet cloth, two trash bags and a whole container of leather wipes.
I found a comb, two pens, an iPad stylus, a sock, a petrified jelly bean and a penny. I pulled muscles in my hand, shoulder and lower back.
I heard the sound of my Dad, laughing as only he could laugh.
I pushed the sofa back where it belongs, and noticed that it’s a whole lot lighter than it was this morning.
And I am left with two burning questions:
What the hell else am I failing to do that I never figured out I am supposed to be doing?
And would a “house person” reward herself for an afternoon like this with a nice cold martini?
30 thoughts on “Dad was right”
Your mom was making me feel really bad about my floors, but you made me feel much better about my sofa!
I know, I know!!! Seriously, I would never wash a floor unless I could see the nice white clean trail behind the mop….I think I may have been adopted!
I’d rather be a comfortable person than a house person.
Hmm…perhaps a shade tree growing from the sofa…
Yeah, but…..can’t you be a “house person” and a “comfortable person”, too?? I really would love to be both…
Although that shade tree idea has some merit…!
Well ya!!! I hope it was delicious! Now…do I really need to move those couch cushions??? 😉
Yes, Yes you do; right away!!!!!
It is absolutely TERRIFYING to find out what lurks under there……!
I bet you don’t want to come over for dinner any time soon, huh?
I’m afraid to look behind my cushions! The dogs don’t go on the leather couch (not because I care, but because they just use their dog beds in the family room), but the three cats sure do!
Do. Not. Go. In. There.
Let the junk live its own quiet life……
I’m so sorry that I ever discovered all that stuff!
So, the potted plants have some nice new soil, yes? :>)
Indeed! And lots of lovely organic dog hair, too!!
You know what they say — boring women have immaculate homes. I can honestly say that I am never boring.
Wow, I love that!
I am apparently absolutely fascinating…..!
That you are, Moms. That you are.
But I come about my messiness naturally. My mother was a worse housekeeper than I am. And I have a very understanding mother-in-law.
Whenever I need comforting, I come to your page. Today I needed a laugh, and here it was. Of course, now I’m worried about stuff growing under my Lazyboy, but that’s another issue altogether…
Aw, what a sweet thing to say!
I’m glad that you found a nice comforting laugh here! But please…..don’t look under the Lazyboy!
I’m so glad I’m not the only housekeeper from hell. Yesterday I decided to pack up our rarely used dining room for our move and found the Christmas centrepiece still on the table. My motto is: If I can’t see it (or smell it), it doesn’t exist.
Great motto! I love it! My theory is something along the lines of, “as long as the dust bunnies are smaller than I am, all is well.”
Right with ya’, Sister. My mom never did the kitchen floor til it reached the Mop It or Plant It stage…yet it doesn’t stop her from making comments about my (lack of) housekeeping skills.
Thanks for the laugh this morning!
You’re welcome! Glad you liked it!
I’m really lucky; my Mom never passes judgement (at least not to me!) Once I even had a mushroom growing on my bathroom floor, and she barely blinked.
You are hilarious! This was a fantastic post. I feel for you — I try not to look behind the furniture at the dust dinosaurs lurking there. There are things I don’t want to know. Having a house is a lot of work. Some of us are a bit casual about it, some are extremists. It’s so very hard to find some middle ground so that you can be comfortable and have guests over who won’t run screaming from your house.
I guess its a good thing that my total lack of housecleaning is hilarious, huh? Seriously, though, I was thinking last night about how we were searching for sand to throw on the driveway a few weeks ago: I could have used what was in that sofa and still had a truck load to spare!
Scares me to think of what else is lurking around here…..
Oh thank goodness my husband IS a “house” person, or I would be in trouble. I hope that you had two martinis after that, and now you should be good to go for a long time, right? Thanks for the smile this morning!
I actually had two glasses of Prosecco and strawberries; I knew I’d collapse with an actual martini!
You can’t believe how sore all my muscles are this morning, though…….Never mind “Zumba”, I’m going to market “Extreme Cleaning”!!
Hmmm.. I can certainly relate!!!!
Have the martini! Have two!
This post made me laugh out loud and spill my martini 😉 Your house sounds just perfect to me oh and your dog is very cute.
Did you REALLY have a martini?! Oh, we do so need to get together one of these days, my dear!
Many times of reaching my hand into the sofa cushion crevices to find the remote control or Brian’s glasses have taught me that you never know what else will come out with that lost item. My car is your sofa. At any given time it seems that I can find the entire components to a Happy Meal even though I can’t recall the last time I ordered one, much less had anyone eat one in the car. Spilled drinks have been known to morph into petri dishes for unknown experiments in the cup holders, and candies have melted onto the fabric seats. But I’m trying to get better, really I am. Maybe I’m not a car person???
Hahaha! What is so funny about this is that my car is incredibly clean (now that the kids have grown up!) I clean it so often!
But I swear, I never knew the cushions were removable, seriously……