April 02, 2012

Spring cleaning


The leaves haven’t come out yet, and it’s possible that we could get more snow, but still, it’s April. I’m packing away the mittens and hats and gloves. If it gets cold, I’ll just stick my hands in my pockets. We’re having the family here for Easter dinner this weekend — that’s 22 people cramming into our living room — which means it’s time to do a little spring cleaning.

Well, actually, make that a whole lot of spring cleaning. Anyone who lives by the academic calendar can imagine what our living room looks like this time of year. My two oldest kids, who are home most weekends, are grad students who barely have time to shower, so cleaning the house is not a priority for them. Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl (his girlfriend) are both undergrads, and the loveseat where they work is piled with books and papers and crumpled hoodies. The end of the couch where With-a-Why does his homework looks like the nest of some kind of rodent who hoards chess pieces, art supplies, and sheet music.

I’m just as guilty as the rest of the family. On the days when I work at home — grading papers, doing class prep, writing, sending emails — I tend to move about the house with my laptop, leaving a trail of tea mugs behind me. My husband isn’t an academic, but April is a busy time in the financial world, which means that the red chair where he sits with his laptop is covered with fallen post-it notes and empty bottles of gatorade.

So yeah. Add a layer of cat hair (the damned creatures shed like crazy this time of year), piles of nasty-smelling Ultimate Frisbee jerseys and cleats, and disorganized piles of sheet music everywhere. That’s pretty much the scene at my house.

Finding out that we're hosting the Easter holiday has forced me to begin my end-of-the-semester cleaning binge a bit early. Well, to be honest, I haven't really done much cleaning yet, but I did give the family my “You all have to pitch and help” speech.

“We ARE helping,” Shaggy Hair Boy said, defensively, when I was done with my spiel. He and Smiley Girl had just gone through all the upstairs bookshelves and pulled out dozens of old textbooks, which were stacked in untidy piles on the floor.

“How is it helping to drag all those books down into the living room?” I asked.

“We’re going to sell them,” said Smiley Girl. She was entering the titles into some data base on the computer.

“See?” said Shaggy Hair Boy, “We make money, and we get crap out of the house.”

Boy in Black, who had ignored my whole speech, looked up from his laptop. “That works,” he said. Many of the textbooks were his – and my daughter’s – but they’d been paid for by scholarship money, so I guess that means they are fair game for a younger sibling looking to finance a summer trip to the Southwest with his girlfriend.

So far, that’s the extent of our cleaning. We’ve packed away the winter clothing, I've given a stern speech, and we’ve gotten rid of a whole bunch of textbooks. I hope when the rest of the family arrives for Easter dinner, they are suitably impressed.


Anonymous said...

You're way ahead of me! Though I did take the trash out this morning. (Score!)

(me, delagar)

Pirata said...

But what if we extras like the mess? it´s much more homey than a pristine house where you´re afraid to sit because you don´t want to mess anything up.

-Chico de Piratas

jo(e) said...

Pirate Boy: Ha! No danger of our house ever being the pristine home where you're afraid to sit.

(Nice to hear from you. I've enjoyed your photos of Spain.)

merrytait said...

This is hilarious and sounds a lot like a version of MY life! (Which when I'm telling it doesn't sound this funny!)

merrytait said...

I forgot to mention I love the photo!

YourFireAnt said...

The relatives will be happy to each hold a small pile of stuff in their laps in order to be able to sit. And put it back where they found it when they leave.


Jackie said...

I'd like to thank Pirate Boy for giving me a few year's worth of validation there--I don't need to clean the house, because I want my kids' friends to feel at home!

Teri said...

definitely avoid cleaning--it's overrated, and doesn't your family have to love you no matter what your house looks like when they arrive for easter dinner?
(of course, easy for me to say--I hire someone to clean my house before my dad visits, because I just can't take the sighs and glances. lol.)

I love love love that photo--would you be willing to send it to me? It would be completely amazing at tonight's maundy thursday service.... :-)

jo(e) said...

Teri: I just sent you the photo. I don't know if you will get it in time to use it ....

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Little Jess!

1. If you are baking anything for this dinner, be sure to take the bread out of the oven first.
2. I remember during my last visit you were in the midst of a cleaning spree and there were laundry baskets everywhere, each holding a certain category of items. Hopefully that system has been improved upon haha
3. Wish I could be there to share the Sweeney/Debaise family celebration! Happy Easter everyone!

jo(e) said...

Hey, Little Jess! So nice to get some comments from you. You need to visit us sometime soon.

Kyla said...

I asked BubTar to help me straighten the living room a couple of days ago (pick up his papers and Legos and discarded pajamas, ect) and he accused me of being a neat freak. If you were to drop by our house unexpectedly, you would know this is NOT the case. My mom and dad REALLY laughed when I told them what he said. I told him, "Sometimes it is just TOO messy and we need to pick up a bit." and he countered with, "Too messy? I'm just starting to get comfortable!" I think he would get along with Pirate Boy!