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!

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