Monday, July 07, 2008


Wall Street goes through a correction from time to time.

Martha is all about her spring cleaning.

I guess we all need to take time to clear the cobwebs every once in a while.

Me? I am a self-professed slob. I suppose it's to be expected after being raised by a woman who has more than a streak of Mommie Dearest in her. My dad used to joke that we needed to erect velvet ropes outside the living room - a room we were lucky to inhabit once or twice a year. Even my mother tells a story about a two-year-old Kate the Great walking by the living room, my index finger wagging while whispering, "No-no touch. No-no touch."

Yeah. Sometimes it was like growing up in a museum.

These days, I will get a slap on the wrist if I don't open the kitchen cupboards by grasping the brass knobs -just so-.

The rules are quite different in my own apartment. Hell, there are no rules. I suppose it's a subconscious effort to buck the trends of my childhood. Clothes strewn about the floor? Check. Dirty dishes piled up on the floor, within reaching distance of my prized spot on the couch? Check. Overflowing garbage cans in the bathroom/kitchen/family room? Check.

Yeah. Home maintenance is not my forte.

I am great at making messes, but usually I am able to prioritize my way around putting things back in their place. Work, meetings, a busy social life - they all come before cleaning up the chaos in my home life. Usually that chaos at home translates to little bouts of chaos in other arenas of my life.

Sometimes my neglect leads me to run out of clean clothes to wear. Sometimes my apathy for domesticity bars me from inviting friends inside.

On several occasions, friends of mine have asked if they could just run inside for a moment to use the bathroom. On several occasions, I have refused.

I certainly hope my friends don't take the refusal as an affront to their friendship. The fact of the matter is, on each occasion my home was in complete disarray, and I knew they would find a bathroom in worse shape than the most disgusting trucker rest stop.

I'm not kidding.

And that's when I do a little soul searching and realize it's time for me to suck up and buckle down - spending hours cleaning a three-room apartment.

I put my nose to the grindstone this weekend, knowing full well I had invited Rusty and The Divine Ms. M over for cocktails before heading to a party at GOP Big Wig's house.

I am a journalist by trade, and so I am no stranger to deadlines. Fact of the matter is, deadlines (and the related pressure) get my blood boiling. I like the looming date and the challenge of finishing a project, paper, whatever by a specific time frame.

And I had a massive chore ahead of a looming Saturday Night deadline.

It was just me, my iTunes and a bottle of Ivory soap. I think I soaked and scrubbed something like 20 glasses, 40 pieces of silverware, a dozen bowls, plates, pans and other cooking accoutrements. I scooped up a whole wardrobe of clothing covering a love seat in my living room, uncovering old bills, junk mail and other pieces of paper. I fired up a new-to-me vacuum cleaner, making sure I created those lovely lines I liked leaving behind when I had to do chores as a girl.

I think I spent six hours getting that place spic-and-span. It looks dynamite. You all should stop by and check out the digs...

But here's the best thing about all the cleaning.

I've uncovered a Zen-like sense of order, peace and simplicity.

We'll see how long this lasts.


Denae said...

That is wonderful darling! I bet the place looks fab. I also finally got off my lazy duff and did laundry last night. Miss u!

Donald said...

This is why I read this blog. It's so comforting to know that I'm not the only person who has refused friends admission to the apartment for housekeeping reasons. I'm also a deadline-driven person. So every once in a while, I have to either (a) invite some friends over for poker, or (b) invite my parents over. That'll prompt a cleaning frenzy. (Last time, it prompted a cleaning all-nighter. It felt like I was back in school again studying for an exam or writing a paper.)

I'm pretty sure as soon as I get the place cleaned up this time (parents coming soon), I'm going to finally break down and hire a once-monthly cleaning service.

Me! said...

Wow. It's almost as if I could have written this myself. I've turned down friends or family coming over so many times I can't count anymore. But the funniest part is that I'm the total opposite at work and people think I'm a neat freak. Boy have I got people fooled! People just aren't invited over when my place isn't feeling zen-like. Great confession! :-)

Rusty said...

Here here. Kate the Great.

You succeeded brilliantly in your mission.

Brilliant evening...hosted masterfully in your very kept apartment.

The Divine Ms. M was impressed.

WestEnder said...

friends of mine have asked if they could just run inside for a moment to use the bathroom. On several occasions, I have refused.

It's not just me! Praise the Lord!

I used to joke that I never cleaned up my place. When it got too messy I just moved.

Jason Kichline said...

OMG. You are definitely not alone in this department! Maybe that's why I'm such a slob. I've found the looming deadline of someone visiting helps the place cleanup. But hey, piles are great ways to organize things right?