Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cleaning Therapy

Have I mentioned lately how much I loathe housework?  I don't like to do it -- really.  And I like it even less if I'm cleaning up after a perfectly able-bodied adult (ahem, my dear husband.)  Now that we have a precious wildflower who has blossomed into a toddler, I have even more messes to clean up...and growl at.  Living on an island, which is basically just an enormous ant mound, adds to my 'chores.'  Howling winds fire sand through any cracks, however small, in our doors and windows.  Ants and we are constantly engaged in a turf war.  You get the picture, right?  I don't like housework, and ironically I live in a terribly inhospitable place that actually ramps up housekeeping obligations.  Also ironically I live in a family where I am the only person who will do the dreaded work.  I growl under my breath...A LOT.

I don't like to live in a dirty place, though.  It just happens that way because one day I finally give up the constant battle and let the place go to hell for a few days.  Then I get right back to the tasks at-hand.  Yes, I resent my husband a lot on these days when I'm scrubbing and wiping and rinsing and scrubbing some more.  The funny thing is, he doesn't expect me to do it.  In his world, neither of us should have to do it.  We should be paying someone to clean our house!  Argh!  As if we could afford that, I remind him.  For the record, I do not resent my baby girl when I'm cleaning house.  She actually helps out a lot with things she is capable of doing.  And, to be fair, all my growling is beginning to pay off; David has been helping out a lot MORE.

Usually the thought of cleaning our entire house -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling, and everywhere in between -- usually overwhelms me.  Completely.  I give up after a few minutes, or I plow through angrily.  Either way, let's just say it's always an unpleasant experience.  That is, until this weekend.

Saturday I ran the Beach2Bay relay marathon.  We had a lot of events planned the rest of that day, so by Sunday morning I was exhausted.  OK, and a little sore.  Had I just run the 4.08mi in deep DEEP sand, I would have been fine.  Add to it the 1.7mi bike ride to the start line and another 1.7mi from the finish line.  Then I attended a wedding and held a nearly-30lb sleeping toddler on my shoulder throughout the ceremony. Finally, I ran and played on the beach with her.  I was swinging her around and around in circles.  The next morning, I felt pretty bad.  I felt like maybe it was just a lack of water.  Then I worried maybe I had injured my back?  And then the worst thought occurred to me...maybe I really am getting older?  The latter made me shudder, made me angrier and more resentful than...than...HOUSEWORK.  I kept feeling like I'm not ready for this process to happen...

God I'm vain.

Still clinging to my initial diagnosis (minor dehydration), I started drinking my weight in water.  I started cleaning my house and felt even worse, at first.  Then, suddenly, it was as if I had reached the minimum water requirement.  I felt immensely better.  Did I jump up and celebrate?  Sort-of.  I cleaned!  It actually felt terrific!  It went much faster than usual, and I felt physically and mentally in-sync.  I didn't hate the experience and I didn't resent anybody.  And I didn't shake my fist at the Aging Gods, either.  I mean, I know I'm aging.  We all are.  But I just don't want to feel feeble yet.  (or ever, to be quite honest.)  For some reason, I was happy (could that be it?) about getting our home a little more organized, a little more sanitary.

I still won't venture into the office.

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