Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Housewife's Tale

It's the same old subject: clutter. I spent a precious half day Sunday clearing up and cleaning the room of the number one hoarder in this house—Mr. Hubby. By the time I finished, I was too exhausted to do what I had really planned to do: make a batch of butter cookies for baby and me.

 I began as soon as Mr. Hubby had left for his favourite pastime which is spending a day at the races—because the only time I can work in peace, and without getting all worked up, is when he’s not standing around and breathing down my neck. Or watching me with eagle eyes and arms akimbo but never lifting a finger to help. Just watching like a boss. It must give him great satisfaction and pleasure to assume the position of the 'mandor' and to see me as the 'coolie'. Some folks think they have been created to lord over other people... so this smart mouse works when the cat is away.

First, there's that dust-laden, 8-foot two-piece lacy curtains to take care of. While they were in the washer being 'super-cleaned', I wiped the window ledge with a damp cloth to remove the kilos of black dust that has migrated from the road below. (I'll have to tackle the glass panels another race day.)

Then there's the bathroom to clean and scrub. It's the most spacious bathroom in the house but somehow the space just translates into a bigger area to conveniently let rubbish accumulate. I found two empty 'tulang' (the inner cardboard cylinder of toilet tissue) on the floor; an empty package which had once housed a shaver; crumpled pieces of silver foil; a bunch of unidentifiable objects and enough dust to stuff a floor cushion. I scrubbed the floor and poured bleach into and all over the toilet bowl. Btw, only Mr. Hubby uses this bathroom and he's the only one who uses all the three bathrooms in the house. Maybe I shouldn't grudge him the pleasure of seeing me cleaning after him as he's the house owner while I'm just a lowly penumpang.

Next, I removed the bedsheet and all the pillow cases... Mr. Hubby uses four big pillows and still needs the two cushions I happened to put in his room. The pillow cases and his two blankets went into the wash. The bedsheet I judged to be beyond saving or would take too much time and effort to clean and repair so I threw it away. I removed a single bed mattress lying on the floor because I thought Mr. Hubby shouldn't feel the need for this when he has a spacious double bed all to himself.

After rearranging a few more things and taking away some of my precious books, the room looked more spacious and airy. When I’ve mopped the floor and all the dusty surfaces, the bedroom looked clean and the stale air smell was gone. By late afternoon I have hung up the clean curtains, put a new sheet on the mattress and slipped the pillows into fresh pillow cases.

What did Mr. Hubby say when he came home to a clean, fresh-smelling bedroom? If he had noticed any difference, he didn't say anything. I didn't expect him to say thank you and he didn't. It is sad when the effort goes unnoticed and unappreciated but that is my life.

Dear reader, Mr. Hubby chastises me for being fussy... cerewet, he says... when I insist on 'rubbish in the rubbish basket, toasts on plates and not on parked on bare table, pee aimed into the toilet bowl and not sprayed all over, clothes not hung on backs of chairs, etc' Although my cerewet-ness has helped to prevent us from drowning in clutter and dirt, I sometimes wish I could turn a blind eye to all the mess and learn to live with it… and not feel I have to ‘put things right’. 

Some people have a major house cleaning once a year, around this time (Chinese New Year). Maybe it's something I should consider!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Runaway Time

There was a time when I had to wash my hair every other day. On the rare occasions I was too tired, too lazy, too something, to shampoo my hair, I'd be punished with a sleepless night, turning and tossing in bed and scratching an extremely itchy scalp. The remedy was simple enough...

I'd roll out of bed and drag myself to the bathroom to wash my hair. Never mind if the water was cold or it was 2 a.m. After the shampoo I'd get back to bed and would sleep like a baby. Now, that was long past long ago.

These days I can't remember when I have last washed my hair. I can go for days without touching the shampoo bottle—seven days, ten days—hey, I must have gone two whole weeks with stinking, filthy hair. But surprisingly, no itchy scalp keeps me awake at night! My scalp must be so used to the dirt and grime that it has become immune to the muck and the living critters that nest in unwashed hair.

Google Image

Why don't I wash my hair more often? Time is a luxury these days, a precious commodity I can't afford to spend on myself. My clock runs too fast so I do everything in a hurry. In fact, I tackle a number of things at the same time. I have my breakfast while washing the dirty dishes/pots from the previous night and at the same time I am preparing the next meal and tidying up the kitchen and keeping an eye on the toddler so she won’t disturb Mr Hubby who is playing a game on his computer. I gobble up my lunch/dinner—meals that have taken me one hour to prepare—in five minutes.

My breakfast table on a typical day

If I'm quick at gulping down my food, I'm even faster in the bathroom. It's surprising how quick you can finish showering (and postpone your hair wash day) when you're convinced the house turns up-side-down when you’re not in the thick of things.

I've mentioned in an old post about keeping my things in designated places so that even in the dark I could get the items I need and I'd get very upset if anyone used my stuff and misplaced items. Well, this ‘making do’ in the dark has even extended to dressing. Everything is done by touch... like the visually impaired.

One evening we had to rush out to the supermarket so we would be safe at home before the downpour. As usual, Mr Hubby started the car and kept the engine running all ready to go before I was even out of the shower. I had to dress and get myself ready as well as  get the grandkid decent and help her with her shoes. I grabbed the T-shirt I had left on a hanger, got everything else by feeling and touching and got dressed in the dark. I didn’t want to waste two precious seconds to switch on the light. There was no need to glance into a mirror. Mr Hubby was waiting with smoke coming out of his nostrils. Hurry up! Hurry up!

The rain was just starting when we parked the car in front of the supermarket. We paused at the entrance to close the umbrella. There and then, under the bright lights, I noticed I had worn my T-shirt wrong-side out. I went ‘OMG!’ followed silently with ‘Lucky I haven’t stepped into the supermarket!’ I was vain enough to think that people would notice.

Dear reader, what would you have done if you had been me?

I walked back to the car, of course, shielded by the big umbrella, so I could turn my shirt right-side out. Oh, I could have done that right in front of the supermarket but I didn't want to be remembered for the wrong reason.

Slow down and relax,” I tell myself. “Wash your hair and take time to make moments special and memorable. And sometimes it's better to have the lights switched on!” Easier said than done.