Monday, January 21, 2013

Is Anyone Watching?

Today is a work holiday for me and I've spent all morning doing virtually nothing. I swept bathrooms, hallway and kitchen. I'll vacuum the rugs soon. I also cleaned toilets. But that's it.

No one noticed my efforts but Sarah, my 6 year old granddaughter. She's been with me for the weekend. She asked me why I was sweeping floors and cleaning the toilets. Sarah's a bit messy for a 6 year old so maybe she didn't understand the need... or health concerns.

I find it odd that she didn't notice the toilet was very dirty but she did notice last night that her dad left the sink dirty. I took a Clorox (c) wipe and quickly cleaned that up. She said, "You shouldn't be cleaning up after him." I just looked at her and thought carefully about my response. One side of my brain wanted to agree with her. Thankfully, the more intelligent side responded. "Well, he's paying rent and helps with other things. That's how people are supposed to do it. They work together." I know for a fact that this was a bone of contention before her parents' divorce in Sarah's home with her non-working Mom and working Dad. I've heard it more than once. Obviously, Sarah did, too.

Does anyone but me see the dirty toilet and sink? Did anyone but me notice the floors needed sweeping? Probably not since no one comes to my home but my family. My sons are blind to dirt. Really. Probably because they never saw it growing up. I was a stay at home mom for about 15 years. I noticed but the male contingent never saw a dirty house. Would I have noticed had it been someone else's home? Um... I'd have noticed that toilet, let me tell you, but it took me days before I noticed it last night. I think I would have noticed the sink, too. So, yes, I think, if a stranger had come to my home, they'd have noticed.

For me that's the problem. I'm overly sensitive to all this stuff. I see all the details of a messy house and it completely disrupts my ability to cope. I think everyone could see it. I know everyone would see it. So, it needs to be dealt with and disposed of quickly. Sometimes, though, I look past obvious things.

I didn't see what a six year old noticed. She didn't really see the dirt in the sink but she noticed a female household member cleaning up after a male household member. She immediately parroted a response with which I happen to disagree. It is a response based on twisted relationships. I have a problem with that kind of mentality. If there's a mess and you see it, you don't leave it for someone else, no matter who made the mess. Should people clean up their own mess? Yes. But in real life they often don't. I've had people clean up messes I made. If I see trash in the floor at my office, I simply bend down and pick it up. I didn't drop it. There are 12 other people there who could have but ignoring it won't make it go away. We work together. I am sure someone in that office has picked up my mess. In fact, I know it.

Is anyone watching? I think so. It is why I hate the house getting dirty. I'm tired a lot when I get home so cleaning lives up to the word "chore" for me. It is difficult for me to do more than 4 hours of housework. But I do it. Now there's two of us but actually, David is only mildly messy. His problem is in the follow up.

It is hard to live with someone else after years alone. I've talked to David about various things I'd like him to do, for himself and for me. He may or may not do them. I work to not get annoyed because the reality is, he hasn't got anywhere else to go. We discuss it and he tries a bit harder but he's not there yet. Surprising since he is pretty OCD and used to have the cleanest room in the house. What happened to him, I wonder? And then I listen to Sarah give orders to her father as if he were her servant rather than her parent. Where did she learn that behavior? What kind of relationship is it that demands all from one and none from the one demanding?

Sarah was playing with a couple dolls not too long ago and was heard to say, "My friends matter more and if you don't like it you can leave." Maybe when you become invisible, you don't notice the dirt.

I mean, is anyone really watching? Yes, they are.


  1. What a shame that Sarah has learned those lessons so early in life, before she knows how to reason and cope. How blessed that she is with you for periods of time.

    I think men just don't see the dirt (most men). Whether it's genetic or a learned thing, I don't know, but men just don't notice things that need to be done. Or if they do, they figure mom/wife/girl-anyone will take care of it, so it is ignored.

    I love your answer to Sarah. Good response.

  2. Housework is a grind--somebody has to do it. Join the weary, hasseled homemakers club.

  3. I sympathise about having to live with someone after years on your own, its not easy and it doesn’t matter who the person is. Before Christmas I had my daughter and grandson for a month, they were between houses and they needed somewhere to stay for a while. I love her dearly, and she was no bother at all, but I still enjoyed having my own space again. So I do understand, its not easy.