Still, cleaning sucks

My youngest son, The Attitude, is going to turn 2 years old tomorrow, which means I’ll finally be justified when referring to his more…um…trying…behaviors as being a product of the terrible twos. It also means that in keeping with modern societal customs, we’ve invited our families over to la casa de Puddin for an afternoon birthday soiree, complete with the obligatory dips, pizza, presents, and cake.

I hate having the people over.

Well, wait, that’s not entirely true.

Actually, it’s not true at all. Mom, please put down the phone, I don’t need to be given “a good piece of your mind.”

Honestly, the Puddinette and I very much enjoy having guests in our humble abode, and wish entertaining more frequently was simpler. Unfortunately, though, when you have four kids and a fairly demanding schedule of commitments, that’s a much easier said than done, if for no other reason than the dreaded House Prep.

Everyone likes to pretend that when they have people over, their guests just show up, out of the blue, and the condition of their house at that moment is inconsequential because they live in a monument to perfect organization and cleanliness.

Of course, that’s ridiculous. At minimum, most people have a sink full of dirty dishes, a half-empty, open box of Kix on the counter, a pile consisting of at least two weeks’ worth of junk mail, and some form of hosiery, either socks, stockings, or something….else…on the floor in front of the TV.

No one wants people to see how they really live.

The Puddinette’s blood is likely just about boiling at this point, because she’s undoubtedly convinced that by suggesting that our home doesn’t exist in a permanent state of museum-like perfection readers to immediately conclude that we obviously live a lifestyle worthy of a Hoarders two-hour special.

For the record, that’s absolutely, positively, so not the case. I’m not a complete heathen, and my wife would never, ever allow it. In fact, the Puddinette maintains a marvelous household, and our only potential problems are based on the facts that a) I’m responsible for maintaining the condition of the hard flooring (because she can’t do everything herself), and b) children do not, as a rule, care terribly how deep the pile of toys in which they live grows.

In other words, while my wife would prefer I mop the floor daily, my inclination is to break out the mop and bucket when I deem that our kitchen tile has taken on a somewhat rustic appearance. For the record, my opinion has very little weight in the matter. Beyond that, we live with the constant struggle of trying to get our children to not leave shoes, toys, and/or Silly Bandz in the middle of the floor.

My mother has, in the past, given my wife the second-best compliment a mother-in-law can bestow (behind only the never-before-spoken phrase, “I think your biscuit/cake/pie/roast is better than mine”): she has said that the Puddinette keeps our home spotless. And really, she does, with very little help from any of its inhabitants.

Not that it matters; tomorrow we’re having guests. And although there’s little doubt in my mind that our families and friends would be happy to visit regardless of the state of our home, this evening’s schedule reads “House Prep for Party”. Just as it would have read for my Mom if it was my 10th birthday. When people come over, House Prep is what you do.

Looks like I’m doing some floors.

The thing is, that’s okay, even if they weren’t too terribly dirty to start. A clean floor makes the Puddinette happy. If all it takes to make one’s wife smile a bit is the judicious application of a mop-head and a little elbow-grease, well, show me the bucket.

Rumor has it I don’t mind a little clean floor, myself.