February 26, 2011

Admiration and Links

I was making dinner last night and fretting about how, when the mother of one of William's friends came to pick her (the friend) up, she (the mother) and I stood in our (Paul's and mine) INCREDIBLY CLUTTERED AND MESSY dining room (messiness marker for reference: extras of the photos we sent out in our Christmas cards, scattered across the floor under the table) and she DEFINITELY saw the room, because WE WERE IN IT. And there was no way she'd think it was some FLUKE, because she has been here probably a dozen times before, and if anything it has looked WORSE on previous occasions, because at least THIS time I picked up the used washcloths and some of the winter outerwear and scraps of paper and barrettes and paperclips and cat kibbles---at least the ones right inside the door---and I also straightened the runner carpet (carpet runner?) which had been akimbo as usual.

So anyway, I was fretting, and I was also kind of praising myself for standing there talking to her like nothing was messy instead of dissolving into fretfulness and drawing her attention via detailed apology to each thing that was messy, and I was reassuring myself by thinking how, really, when someone else's house is messy, I admire them if they brazen it out instead of acting freaked about it as if I were the sort of person who would like them less for it and maybe snicker about it to other people, rather than the sort of person who thinks, "WHEW, her house is messy, maybe we can be friends!" And so I was glad that the nonchalance approach was what I'D done in that situation, in case it would impress that other child's mother the way it impresses me.

So THEN I was thinking how, on the other hand, I also admire it when I go to someone's house and it's really tidy and clean. I'm always impressed, even though I also make a mental note to not let that person see MY house until they love me so much it's too late for them to be shocked, and then they have to instead justify their love of me by redefining what they consider a mark of good character and upbringing.

And they don't have to personally clean it themselves, either: if they hire someone else to clean it for them, I admire their courage (because that involves phone calls AND having someone else in their house AND having someone get all personal with their possessions), and I also admire the sensible idea that we let the professionals do what they do best while we spend our time doing what WE do best---whatever that is.

So THEN I thought, "I seem to be saying I admire EVERYONE'S housecleaning situation, no matter WHAT. Is that possible?" and I thought, "Yes. That seems to be the situation here."

Okay, now I have a bunch of links and stuff to show you, in case you are someone who laments the lack of action in the blogging community on weekends.

First, here's another of those videos Paul finds and blows our household's collective mind with. You will have it stuck in your head AND YOU WILL SAY THANK YOU:

Paul says the guy who sings that song is the same guy who sang that "Peaches" song from a few years ago ("millions of peaches, peaches for free"), and you are very welcome for getting THAT stuck in your head TOO.

Next, The Bloggess on dealing with bullies. It's her usual combination of "making you laugh until you might actually barf" + "actual issue that needs to be addressed" + "something kind of touching that makes you feel all emotional especially because you're all primed for it by the laughing/barfing" + "actual advice for dealing amusingly with troll commenters, which starts the laugh-barf cycle all over again."

Next, Mir on making sure your contract is right before you write for money, lest you find yourself looking at your own book on the bestseller list, but with all the profits going to someone else.

Review blog stuff: GE Ecomagination for a chance to win a light bulb that lasts TWENTY YEARS (and costs FIFTY DOLLARS) (for ONE light bulb) (I am not EVEN kidding). Through February 28.

Over at Milk and Cookies, perhaps you would like to help me choose a travel mug?


Nowheymama said...

This is *exactly* how I feel about people's houses! I think it's great that one friend has a housecleaner, I admire my friend who keeps her house spotless by herself, and I feel included by my friend who says, "I wouldn't let Other Friend see my upstairs right now, but you can!"

StephLove said...

You make me want to invite you over to my messy house.

Bethtastic said...

As someone who keeps a crazy-tidy house, and who has friends who apologize when I enter their front door because tidyness isn't a big deal to them...
I can honestly say, I don't care one bit what other people's houses look like. Really. No apologies are necessary. I don't care if your house is tidy or messy, or somewhere in between.
My obsession is with MY house alone. Your house is yours.

So, yes. I'm on the tidy end of the spectrum and I, too, admire all levels of housekeeping. Well written Swistle!

Nik-Nak said...

I agree completely with Bethtastic! I like my house tidy but I have absolutely no preference when it comes to other people's houses. My cousin is the type who starts apologizing the second you walk in her door and I always say, "Honestly I would not have even noticed had you not said anything."

Sarah said...

I'm like that TOO about the housekeeping situation, so I guess what I'm seeing here is that maybe all of us are judging less than we all assume we do.

Kathy said...

i'm at work this morning (2nd work, at the studio, so not REAL work thank goodness) and i am now singing "googly eyes" in my head and dancing in my chair a little bit. in other words: THANK YOU. also paul. (i've got goo-gl-y eyes!)

Kathy said...

uh. apparently i am also logged IN as my studio. this is actually AliceWonderland0.

Lauren said...

Re: the video

Thank you. :)

P.S. I am Bethtastic's friend and can attest to the crazy-tidiness of her house.

Doing my best said...

Thanks for posting! Blogland seems so much like a ghost town on the weekends =)!
And I love your thoughts on the state of people's houses!

Sam and Harper said...

I am a pretty (ok, very!) tidy housekeeper... so I will admit to being a bit surprised at the clutter some people live in. It's my own personal hang-up and I can't get past imagining myself living in it and that makes me feel a little nuts.

I don't think I am judging- I'm just glad I don't live in it!! I also dream of organizing and throwing their 'clutter' away!

Lisa said...

my theory is if you have kids you get a free pass for housekeeping. With each additional kid the bar gets lower and lower. I've only got three but I put the bar somewhere around my ankles.

I clean every day, but I find that I am drowning in paper. Bills, magazines, junk mail, homework, artwork...I just can't keep up with it. I just did a blog post on Friday about our new furniture, so I cleaned up the living/dining room by taking all the paper and putting it into a laundry basket. The laundry basket is FULL. And I generally do this about once a week or so. Sometimes I have more than one laundry basket sitting on my floor, full of paper crap that I need to sort. Why??? Why does this much paper enter my house?? I throw junk mail away upon receiving it and have a special drawer right inside the front drawer where I put credit card offers, etc that I want to shred before throwing out, so that's not even included in the giant piles of paper. Le sigh.

Doing my best said...

Oh! I just remembered! In a previous conversation somewhere, similar to this one, someone posted this poem. I printed it out and hung it on my front door; people can't say that they haven't been warned =)! But really, people tend to read it before I answer the door and then comment on how true it is.


Come in. But don't expect to find all the dishes done; all floors ashine.

Observe the crumpled rug, the toys galore, the smudgy fingerprinted door.

The little ones we shelter here don't thrive on spotless

They're more inclined to disarray and carefree, even messy

Their needs are great, their patience small. All day I'm at their beck and call.

It's "Mommie come" "Mommie see!" Wiggly worms and red-scraped knee.

Painted pictures, blocks piled high, my floors unshined, the days go by.

Some future day they'll flee this nest, and I, at last, will have a rest.

And which really matters more? A happy child or a polished floor?

Author Unknown

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I love your take on apologizing for a messy house. It has encouraged me to stop apologizing for my house when it's messy. If it's really so bad that I stress out about it, I don't invite people in. But mostly I just take a deep breath, remember that I don't EVER judge someone for a messy house, kick toys to the side, and welcome them in.

Partly, I think about the example I am setting for my kids (who are both GIRLS). When I don't disparage my own, or anyone else's appearance, I am teaching them what I value. When I don't disparage our home, our love-filled, fun-filled home, I am teaching the same thing.