The good houseboy

14Nov10

I cleaned today.

You can call me the red-headed Cinderella, but I call it earning my keep.

Lisa was at a seminar all day, from 8 to 4. I slept in til 10:30. It was a beautiful day outside for November; in the 60s. I needed an excuse to stay indoors to watch the Hawkeye game, so I decided the apartment needed a good scrub down.

That isn’t the only reason. I’ve been planning to do this all week, but watching sports is a necessary component of my housecleaning process. Ideally when I clean, there has to be a sporting event on the TV, on mute, and the radio a-blasting. This makes cleaning bearable.

If you ever had the pleasure of seeing my last apartment, you know that I hate cleaning. It sucks. I would rather go to a Ke$ha concert with the Russian chess team than clean house.

But I wanted to surprise Lisa when she got home from her seminar. She has had a long, rough week, and she deserved something special.

Now, she and I have two uniquely different styles of cleaning. She has rubber gloves. She has a bottle of spray for counters, a bottle of spray for toilets, a bottle of spray for windows. She uses all of the attachments on the vacuum cleaner.

I use a sponge. One sponge for everything: the shower, the stove, the kitchen table. It’s got soap on it right? The sponge has gotta be clean!

Sorry that was an exaggeration on both parts. Lisa doesn’t have that many spray bottles (but don’t get me started on bottles of lotion) and I do use more than one sponge.

But I coordinate my cleaning schedule with the Hawkeye game. I start with the area closest to the TV – folding the blankets that hang over the couch, wiping off the coffee table. Then when there is a commercial break, I go to clean other parts of the apartment, one step at a time. For instance, during the first commercial break, I sprayed the bathroom counter and shower with 409 and squirted the toilet cleaner around the rim. It needs to soak after all. I will actually scrub the bathroom during the next commercial break. With each consecutive commercial break, one small chore will get done, such as switching laundry, filling the dishwasher, making the bed.

And if a killer song comes on my radio, I might stop to do my dance for a little while.

Once halftime hits, it is on. I vacuum the bedroom and hallway. Sweep the kitchen. Dust. Like a whirling dervish or a tasmanian devil.

By the time the game is over, the apartment is clean. I might as well leave a mint on the pillow.

Now, most guys will follow me on this next bit. They know exactly what I am talking about.

See, when dudes clean the entire house or apartment, we consider it a feat close to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. And we require to be praised as such.

Women clean just to clean. They for some reason have this need to spend every day in a sterile, germ-free environment. Like bacteria could hurt you or something.

Dudes have a different standard of living. I knew a guy whose toilet sunk into the floor, and he still kept using it.

So when guys clean, we expect recognition. But when we clean as a surprise, we have to find a way to let you know that we cleaned. The problem with cleaning an abode inhabited by a girl, is that you can never tell when it has actually been cleaned. The place is always clean, so if you vacuum – who can tell?

That is why we have to place clues here and there. For instance, if you move a chair to vacuum, you never put it back in the exact same spot. You want the old indents in the carpet to be seen. Or for instance, you don’t put the vacuum cleaner back in its correct  place.

Or my personal favorite, Lisa keeps a bottle of lotion (they are freakin everywhere) on the floor next to the bed. In order to vacuum, I placed it on the shelf. So later, when she says, “Did you move my lotion.” I can nonchalantly respond, “Oh yeah, I had to move it so I could vacuum.”

Of course when it came down to it, in order to really make sure Lisa knew that I cleaned, I sent her a text message: “Where is the broom?”

I knew perfectly well where she keeps the broom. I just wanted to guarantee that she knew that I was cleaning.

And sure enough, when Lisa got home from her seminar, the first thing she said when she walked through the door was, “Oh, you cleaned! It looks so nice!”

And she planted a big one on my cheek.

Mission accomplished.

The only problem is I am probably going to have to do it again.

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