Monday, September 29, 2008

The Dreaded List

I am making a list this morning.

It's a list in addition to the other five lists
that I have tucked away in my purse,
clipped on the fridge
or lost in an old notebook somewhere.

It's a Things To Do List.
And it just keeps getting bigger...

You know, I am really quite content with
the way my house looks most times.
I ignore the dog hair under the kitchen table,
the toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror,
the single wispy cobweb that has waved like
a dusty flag over the hallway for months now.

But, I am trying to get ready for company that
is arriving in a few weeks.
I am desperately trying to see my house
through their eyes.

Do you think they'll notice the pile
of old magazines in the bathroom,
the crayon marks on the closet door,
the layer of dust on my picture frames,
or the crumbs in my silverware drawer?

Do you think they will smell yesterday's trash,
survey the pantry
or check the hand towels for fabric softener?
Will they see the baited mouse trap,
the dead fly,
the dirty windows?

It is all so overwhelming at this point.
And the problem is,
I don't really want to do any more
than is necessary.

I am certainly not going to clean the oven,
wax the car,
or paint the junk room.

But I do need to mop, dust, vacuum,
wash rugs, sheets, curtains...
Scrub the toilet, the counters,
and the fridge.

The Fridge.
That big scary monster that houses
horrible surprises!
There is something quite intimidating
about cleaning the refrigerator.

I would rather scour the toilet bowl
than open Tupperware bowls
full of unknown substances.
I would rather get on my hands and knees
to rid the tub of soap scum
than to sort through jars of salad dressing
and pickles and old jelly.

I try to be thrifty and save leftovers.
But they always seem to get pushed to the
back of the fridge.
I have had quite a science lesson
from them, actually.
Week old chili grows white mold,
aged cheese grows green mold
and cottage cheese kept beyond the sell date
will sprout black mold.

If kept long enough,
fresh carrots will wilt into dead fingers,
green peppers will melt into pulp,
and old apples will bounce.

I see all of you making faces-
looking disgusted and nauseated.
But unless you are suffering from
Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder-
I know you all have faced the
same dreaded refrigerator episode
that I've described.
Face it.

The refrigerator is my top priority now
because I know that everyone
who reads this
and is coming to visit soon-
will be peeking into the fridge
to see if I've cleaned it.

So, I guess I should get started now.

Gas mask?
Rubber Gloves?
Garbage disposal and trash can ready?
List handy?

Where's my list?
I can't start cleaning without a list.

I am making a list this morning....