One of the reasons my husband fell out of love with me is that I couldn’t be a June Cleaver to his Ward. No Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for this gal. More like the Seal of Disapproval if you want to know the truth. If Martha Stewart ever showed up at my home unexpectedly, a highly unlikely scenario, she would throw up her arms in disgust and run screaming from the place.
But I just can’t get excited about cleaning my house and keeping everything in its place. It’s a full time job and not an inspiring one. It’s not that I don’t dream about a Martha perfect home. I do. But the distance between the vision and the actual doing is daunting. Besides, I have more important things to do than spit and polish, dust and iron.
In this respect, I can see why my ex-husband was disappointed when he married me. To him the term “wife” still congers a Donna Reed clone that devotes her life to keeping the home fires burning and it’s tough to be living in a 1960’s world in your head while occupying space in the 21st century.
But he managed to achieve this mighty feat and expected me to jump in with both feet, donning the apron and never ending smile while simultaneously holding down a full-time job and keeping him entertained in the bedroom. Given the fact that we had been together for seven years by the time we tied the knot, I still think this expectation was highly unwarranted but I never could convince him otherwise.
We’ve been apart for almost three years now and I can still hear his voice nagging me about my horrifying housekeeping; like it was my fault that I missed out on the cleaning gene. After all, aren’t all women born with one? Don’t we fly out of the womb with a feather duster in our tiny fists ready to go to work on some man’s castle? Honestly, I think my ex took this imagined fact for granted, so his shock and horror at discovering the truth about me had to be revisited on a daily basis.
It was as if he thought I might get conked on the head by the cleaning fairy in the middle of the night while he slumbered peacefully. Like the tale of the Cobbler and the Elves, where elves finish all the cobbler’s work at night, so too did hubby hope our home would be magically transformed.
He was a neat freak, but not terribly concerned about deep cleaning. Am I the only one that’s grossed out by tri-color mold forming in the corners of the shower? When he was single, this was a regular feature in his bathroom. The food in his fridge was so old, it was lining up to vote! This didn’t faze the man, but let a dust bunny appear and look out world it’s time to alert the media. I, on the other hand, like a clean house and clutter can be damned. I guess this incompatibility was just too much for him to bear.
Still, I would like to have a Martha perfect house, if only for a day, and I am working on it, despite my hatred of housework. Like monthly bills, the dirt just keeps reappearing and it seems like a futile exercise, somehow. But I would like to be ready and able to welcome unexpected company, maybe even a date, into my home and be proud of how it looks, although at best, it will probably only be the neighbors that come to call. Still, I think about it all the time.
Maybe, if I think harder, I’ll actually be motivated to make my house homier and all will be right with the world. If that day ever comes, it will be too bad my ex won’t be there to see it. But I will and that’s all that really matters. Maybe I’ll send him a picture.