Thursday, 28 June 2012

Top 5 Floor Filth: Why I Need to Vacuum Every Day

It's no secret that I am not a neat freak.  Most people seem to emerge from their teenage years of filth and squalor with a newly acquired need for cleanliness.  This level of this need varies from person to person but it for some reason it often seems that females are more needy in this sense - they require a level of 'clean and tidy' - a Level of Cleanliness - to feel comfortable that exceeds that of their male counterparts.  This Level increases with certain milestones in one's life, for example, when you buy your first house.  There's something about suddenly being financially wholly responsible for a property that makes a person want to keep it spick and span.  Another Level changer seems to be having a child.  Suddenly you're aware that your pride and joy can't be rolling round in what might previously have been an acceptable Level of mess.  The sad oxymoron to this is that the child creates whole new layers of mess and dirt that you suddenly have lower tolerance for.
It has been the subject of much envy and conversation amongst my friends that I struck it lucky with Phil.  Not only is he neat and clean-aware, he is proactive and requires things to be tidy before he can relax.  I don't think blokes really talk about this sort of thing, but if they did, Phil would experience the opposite reaction from his mates - they would feel sorry for him that he ended up with a wife who is, honestly, a crap housekeeper and who leaves the majority of the housework to him.  It's not that I don't have any Level of Cleanliness and I want to sit amidst empty pizza boxes and dust bunnies, it's just that my Level isn't as high as is commonly acceptable.
Now as mentioned, there are life events that have escalated my Level of Cleanliness but it seems that in the last few months one of two things has happened.
a) My Level of Cleanliness has suddenly had a massive growth-spurt and I am finally hitting my post-adolescent need for clean (my Mum will be so relieved); or
b) There has been an on-going, almighty shit storm in and around my house that suddenly means that I am dealing with an unprecedented level of filth on our carpets and lino, resulting in the need for vigorous vacuuming.

I find it hard to believe that it's taken until my 30s to discover 'clean', so below I outline the Top 5 things that have come together to form the perfect floor maelstrom.

1. Cat fur.  This is not new, Albert has lived with us for over 5 years now.  In fact, we're down to one cat from two, so in theory there should be less cat fluff.  And it's winter so surely he wants all the fluff he can hold onto.  But I think the cat has formulated a cunning plan.  A silent protest if you will.  He is staging a fluff-in.  What is a fluff-in?  A fluff-in is Bertie objecting to the invasion of his domain by a two legged, grabby thing.  Namely Edie.  I think it's a domestic cat evolutionary development - they can shed at will just to really piss you off.

2. Bird Feathers and Mouse Poo.  Not content with restricting the protest to fur, Albert also brings in a stream of innocent small creatures.  This serves two purposes.  The first is to really piss me off by having to chase the creatures out, or pick up the remnants left in the hallway, or track down their petrified bodies behind appliances.  The second is to scare the creature into roaming around the house as much as possible, leaving their filth behind them (Bertie's probably dropping fur as this happens just get double coverage).  Yesterday I had two birds in the one day.  That was a lot of feathers.  There also may or may not be a rodent of some sort living under our dishwasher.  Or is it behind the entertainment centre? Either way, it's probably spreading filth on the floor.

3. Rice Crackers.  Why is it that snacks designed for babies and children are so freaking messy?  If you don't have kids, you've probably never seen a rice cracker half masticated and spat up again so let me tell you aaaall about about.  They are like gooey snot when they're still wet, all thick and gluggy.  Then when they dry they're like concrete.  So I stopped giving Edie those and buy her those little rice cake things.  Problem solved.  Though now I have a new problem.  These crackers crumble.  It's like she's worried she'll get lost from the kitchen to the bedroom so leaves a trail of rice crumbs.  On the plus side, I can always find her.

4. Paper.  Ah, kids and paper.  Today Edie got a late 1st birthday present.  It was lovely.  She barely registered what it was but she did clock the wrapping paper.  She almost burst out of her skin trying to bust free of the high chair so she could attack the paper.  She proceeded to tear said wrapping paper into a multitude of tiny paper pieces (perhaps she wants to wrap some small gifts for the mouse under the dishwasher?).  Let her at a circular, an old envelope, a magazine... anything that is paper, and she will destroy it.  She rips until the pieces are so small, it's not worth picking up by hand, the vacuum is needed.  We could make a nice nest for rats or gerbils at our house.

5. Onion Skins and Dirt (that one took you by surprise didn't it?).  At least that's what it was today but really I mean any number of things that you didn't intend for the floor but somehow ended up there.  Like the rolled oats I mentioned in Baking - an Expose.  Things that you foolishly leave somewhere small hands can reach.  Or maybe you knew they were in reach and you watched the small hands sprinkle the filth all over the house with gay abandon but were too apathetic about what was going on to disrupt their enjoyment.  Edie found the bucket of shallots that Phil had harvested from the garden.  It was about half full but a lot of the contents was dirt, onion skins, and other garden material.  Edie began by scattering the odd onion skin around the house (she kindly took some to our bedroom and left it beside our bed), then slowly extended her distribution until the whole bucket was upended and she was literally rolling in the dirt and shallots.  It looked quite fun actually so I left her to it.  But clearly I needed to address the chaos at some stage and in another Top Mum moment, left the vacuuming until she was over-tired and just followed me and the vacuum cleaner around the house grizzling, periodically lying in front of the machine like she was sacrificing herself to the gods of vacuuming.

I have not even begun to talk about all the 'things' that litter the filthy floor and must be picked up several times a day.

So really, I think it's clear that a quick vacuum every day is the least one could do with all this foulness around them.  And I don't even achieve that most days.  Sorry Mum (and Phil), it would seem I still have a very low Level of Cleanliness, it's just that I live in a whole lot more filth.
Edie in shallot and dirt nirvana

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