Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's In It For Me?

Sunday morning I made an announcement on the loudspeaker:

All species will be bathed today.

All right, I admit we don’t have a loudspeaker but what fun if we did. I would announce things all of the time like:

The kitchen is closed.
Clean up by the fireplace.
Refill on the coffee.
There has been a sighting of a strange man walking around the house without pants on.
All humans and canines report to the laundry room for bath time.

After announcments, Boss got a bath. He doesn’t mind the bath because afterwards he gets a bone. And I sing to him the whole time. Thanks to my mom who years ago made up a washy-wash song with her dog, I sing a song to Boss. About washy wash. And being a good dog. To get clean and ‘guapo’ for all of the girls.

I told Chris he was next. Report to the laundry room basin for a scrubbing. All species get washed, brushed and nails clipped. At first Chris looked confused, then seemed almost interested in the idea. Chris this is not the bath you are looking for with bubbles and candlelight and a buxom Swedish woman to wash your back. This is business.

Report to the laundry room either naked for the bath or ready to work. Everything must get clean. Today.

Because Beth arrives on Monday. I cannot have her sleeping in my dirty house. It’s not that I don’t like a clean house, it’s just that lately I’ve had other things to do that don’t involve scrubbing floors on my knees or vacuuming the carpet for the 100th time in a day after Boss has torn apart another toy. Yes, I have put it off put it off put if off and now it shows.

My subconscious knows. I woke up thinking I had a dream last night that I got up at 4 am to pee in Chris’ bathroom and there was this nasty black line around the bowl. Except when I went into his bathroom after I woke up I realized it was no dream. It was true.

It took nearly 3 hours. It started with the refrigerator and ended with the floors. I even had Chris make a list of things for him to do. He unclogged a sink, replaced some light bulbs, took some blankets to the laundromat and then disappeared. A few hours later as I was shampooing the carpet upstairs I noticed him riding a bike up and down the street. Somehow cleaning the house turned into standing outside the house working on bikes.

When I confronted him about this and asked for me help he said:

What’s in it for me?

Wait a minute. Wait a M-I-N-U-T-E, cowboy. It’s not like I woke up today absolutely DYING to clean the house (really, I did though). It’s not like I remember daydreaming as a little girl that one day I can’t wait to get married and clean house. I’ve got a million other things I’d rather be doing with 3 hours on a Sunday. But alas here I am cleaning the house. Not so much for my friends for both the love and hygiene of everything that lives in this house. And when I am done I get nothing for it. NOTHING but a clean house.

So answer me this – what is in this for me?

It’s something I ask myself all the time. Why am I cleaning the house? How did the draw the lucky card here? It’s not that Chris can’t clean house. He had a house once of his own. I was a manly man house. I’m not kidding. There were bullhorns that hung above the fireplace. When he moved and wanted to bring the bull horns along I was like…uh, no. No dice. The horns are not going above our fireplace. He tried to pull the but they are my animal symbol – I am an ox. Ox or ass I really don’t care – no bull horns in our house. The horns, in fact, returned to Chris’ parent’s basement along with the rattan furniture with flamboyant magenta cushions screaming with flowers. And about half the other furniture. In fact the only thing I think that Chris brought (by permission only) into our new place was the king sized bed.

Occasionally Chris would clean his house. But not really. One of the first things I did for Chris was clean his house because his idea of clean along with mine was not really the same. For example, you do not clean a toilet by taking an industrial mop, dipping it into a bucket of water and wiping the entire thing down top to bottom and letting it drip dry (seriously). That is not clean. That is a mess.

I realize I have somewhat high standards – but this applies only to certain things. It does not apply to pots and pans, showers and bikes. Those are all things I do not enjoy cleaning so I leave the task for someone else – Chris. Usually Chris does the showers. I was so surprised to see him doing this one day I took a picture. So there is a picture floating around our house of Chris bare butted in the shower with a scouring pad. He takes his work seriously plus thinks if the shower is getting clean he might as well get himself clean too.

What’s in that for me? At least a good show.

After cleaning I had a stomachache. Too much cleaning, not enough coffee is what I thought. The cure - a 2 hour run. It poured rain on me three times. At this point all I could do is laugh. There comes a point where there is no point in fighting it or worrying about it anymore. And what's in the run for me? I realized at mile 12.85 why I do this all. Because when you endure distance, obstacles, weather and pain you realize that you can endure just about anything - anything you've ever lost in life, situationms you have suffered, any type of pain. That was one of those a-ha moments you only find on a long run when your stomach is wrecked and your feet start to ache. Towards the end the run felt so good I didn't even want to stop. That’s really because when you stop running after running that long it hurts really bad and then your stomach gets the cue to unload itself about 1000 times.

After running I was supposed to swim. I had my swim stuff in the car and had every intention to swim but then I realized by the time I finished running the quarry was closed. Besides I really just wanted to go home and eat chicken n’ waffles. My husband makes the best (fried) chicken and waffles. I poured about half the bottle of (high fructose corn) syrup all over them and for nutritional value added some greek yogurt and strawberries. My waffles swimming in syrup had to count for a few laps, eh? Then I ate 4 waffles (2 barns and 2 cows) while watching the swimming Olympic trials (again, this counts for swim workout time).

We finished our day with a trip to Target - there was a lot of stuff in this trip for me. Lots. We bought a new garbage can for the kitchen AND the garage. This is VERY BIG HUGE EXCITING NEWS. You know I’ve even blogged about both cans before. I’m so excited I keep throwing stuff away in the kitchen just to look at the new can. We also bought four new dishes. Chris has decided he does not like the dishes anymore. I’m afraid one night he will get so frustrated with our current dishes he will throw them across the house and I’ll have to clean up yet another thing (he doesn't like the way they hold food). So we decided to start with four new ones to see if they were more ergonomically designed to hold his food. If this doesn’t work I’m buying him an Elmo-themed divided plate.

So the house is clean, Boss is bathed, Chris is well on his way to eating from children’s plasticware and I’m ready for bed. It's been a long day but there have been a lot of good things in it for me - running, a clean Boss, chicken n' waffles, talking with Jennifer about why I should have been in the women's heat of 100 fly (she said I'm too small, I said but an elf can dream), getting the house ready for my friends. Looking back I see that all sorts of good things were in there. I guess that is what life is about - realizing you don't have to ask where the good is in there or when it will arrive. You just have to do your usual things and let the good come your way.


Beth said...

I gotta tell you - I love the loudspeaker idea. :)

Your advice is great Elizabeth! It's hard sometimes to figure out why we have to do certain things and how in the world it will ever pay off. WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?! But it will...eventually...I guess we just have to wait and see!

Ness said...

If you'd planned this a little better, you could have had us clean your house as camp cross-training. I know if you had told us it would make us faster triathletes we both would have done it without any questions.

Wes said...

I was wondering what Chris' reaction was to the news he was going to get bathed :-) Wha? Me?? LOL!!

With Dee Dee working so much, we have a serious cleaning issue in our house. I guess a man's definition of clean is just... different :-)

Flatman said...

Hurray for divided Elmo plates!!! (are sippy cups next???)

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Fiesta is great - fun colors AND it holds food well. Different sizes and shapes - ready for all sorts of culinary adventures.

You should have had your campers clean the house for you. "Cross training". :)

And for the record - watching swimming totally counts. But don't tell Jen.

TriGirl Kate O said...

In my world, cleaning the house counts as a workout. Let's face it, scrubbing floors and vacuuming works up a sweat, and anything that makes me break a sweat falls into "workout" category. Will you help me convince coach Jen?

Bob Mitera said...

Back in the day...I swam against Peter Williams from South Africa - he is all of 5'4" and a former world record holder in events that most guys were considered "short" at 6'6" -> right up until the time he kicked their tookas. (sp?)

Size matters not in swimming. It helps...but doesn't matter.

How about the 400 IM? Jeez! My best (which was really good 20 years ago) was almost one minute slower...holy cats!

Anonymous said...

Are you still talking about damn garbage cans, Fedofsky?!!!? See you tomorrow. I know you are SO excited you can barely sleep at night. Jen H.

Kim said...

THANK you for making me laugh out loud today. Nice blog and good job on the run after cleaning. I can never seem to get up energy to do ANYTHING after cleaning the house.

Alicia Parr said...

I could say so many things here, but I'll just leave you with the knowledge that your blog posts start some very interesting conversations in the Crumpler/Parr household.