Thursday, April 26, 2012
The spring cleaning is urgent because my ex mother in law is coming to town to watch my kids and generally be a grandma. She lives several states away, so this is kind of a big deal. Plus she hasn't ever seen where the girls live, since the divorce. She needs this. The girls need this. I, however, don't.
She's a neat-freak. And when I mean neat-freak, she's kind of OCD. As in, she once bought a floor model fridge and then complained that there was a tiny, non-dented scratch on the BACK of the fridge even though that's against the wall. She also came over to my spotless home, not only cleaned by me, but then cleaned by Merry Maids before my daughters' birthday parties and proceeded to wash my french door, on her knees, in front of the entire family. Yeah, I was embarrassed. And who I caught crawling around my kitchen floor on hands and knees with a toothbrush and a bucket of sudsy water.
To drive her crazy (I was getting back at her for deliberately undermining me with my children several days in a row, so it was warranted, folks), I gave her gas fireplace a thoughtful look and calmly told her that the tiling above the vent was slightly uneven. That was years ago. She still frowns when she looks at it... or so the girls tell me. It was genius and also mean.
Now she's coming to my place. My place which the previous owners decided to panel the living room. My place that where it isn't paneled is burnt orange and used to have a wallpaper boarder around the chair rail but which I tore down and never pulled off the tiny pieces of paper that stayed behind (because I'm a working single mother, damn it). My place that daily has a fight against ants and where most of my furniture--while, antique--are hand me downs. Hey, I left the guy and my furniture in order to get out. I'm not picky about my "new to me" stuff. My place where I rarely intrude on my daughters' bedrooms to disapprove of their sense of order.
I think this is going to get ugly. I know I'm not messy. I'm just casual. She's not. She literally bends over every day to poke her carpet where it meets hardwood so that the pile looks right. I have peeling linoleum at the base of one of my kitchen cupboards. I also cook and she doesn't. My kitchen is used and while clean, doesn't have the never been used granite or seamless stove tops.
Can you tell where my biggest concern is? Obviously not the away camp, the long flight to the east coast, or the fact that my book deadline is breathing down my throat. Nope. It's the ex-mom.
I think I'll clean like I would usually for this time of year. If she feels compelled to keep going, at least I won't be home to witness it. Too bad they don't sell valium over the counter.