My Tea Tastes Like Chili….

(And Other Reasons I’ll Never Be Featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, chances are you’ve heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” uttered a few (thousand) times – especially when one of your girlfriends tries to hook you up with a guy who “has a great personality”, but looks like Robert Carradine from the 80’s movie Revenge of the Nerds.

The face that froze a thousand vaginas

The face that froze a thousand vaginas.

I agree that we should look beyond a person’s exterior in order to discover what truly matters – like whether or not the guy wears boxers or tighty-whities.  But people aside, there is one thing in life that I believe should ONLY be judged by what’s on the surface  – my house.  I’m hoping that whoever walks in the door won’t find out that the appearances I work very hard to keep up…. well, maybe not that hard…. okay, not hard at all…. are about as superficial as Pamela Anderson’s boobs.

HEY!  Eyes up here people, I was talking about my HOUSE.  Remember?

Hey! Eyes up here people, I was talking about my HOUSE. Remember?

If you delve beneath the creamy, white surface… wait, I’m still thinking about Pamela Anderson’s boobs.  Sorry.  What I meant to say was that beneath the surface of my house’s tidy façade lies a dusty underbelly, exposed to any houseguest who dares to look too closely.

Here are my 7 deadly sins of housekeeping.  Neat freaks might want to look away….

1.  My tea tastes like Chili:  I reheated my mug of tea in the microwave this morning and when I took a sip, all I tasted was chili – not exactly the pick me up I was looking for at 7:00am.  Upon closer inspection, I could see that my microwave still contained the spattered remains of my husband’s chili dinner from the night before.   I knew when I opened the door of the microwave that it smelled like chili but I thought, “How bad could it be?”  The answer – fucking horrible.

It’s not just the microwave that looks like a graveyard for the ghost of dinners past, it’s every appliance in my kitchen.  I can handle a certain amount of gunk and grease, but I have to take action when I end up with tea that a vegetarian would find morally offensive.

Why does it look like someone tried to microwave a hamster in here??

Why does it smell like someone tried to microwave a hamster in here??

2.  Closets, they’re not just for coats anymore:  Actually, they’re almost never for coats anymore – that’s what the couch, doorknobs, and playroom floor is for.  Our closets are predominantly for housing old toys, clothes, and mementos.  I feel compelled to save useless crap like my son’s 2nd grade report card – what if he wants to know how he did in school when he’s too old and senile to remember?  He might enjoy finding out that he never followed directions and couldn’t keep his mouth shut in class.

The problem with running a sentimental storage facility is that things tend to pile up after 14-years of parenting.  So, snoopers beware – if you’re nosey enough to go poking around in my closets, expect to encounter something like this when you open the door….

Only instead of snow, you’ll probably be buried alive in macaroni art and finger paintings.

Only instead of snow,
you’ll probably be buried alive in macaroni art and finger paintings.

3.  Even Mr. Clean can’t help me now:  Cleaning the bathroom is like the pap smear of household chores (guys, you can insert prostate check into that metaphor instead…. insert is probably a bad word to use there).  It’s necessary but dreaded, and when it’s over you’re exhausted and feel like smoking a cigarette.  Or maybe that’s just me.

I procrastinate for weeks, and watch with a growing sense of dread as the dried toothpaste stains and soap scum advance and eventually gain ground.  I usually call on Mr. Clean right before they stage a coup and push conditions too close to public bathroom territory.  After I have won the disinfectant war (what’s with all the military imagery, Linda?), I make my husband and kids come into the freshly scrubbed bathroom to admire how shiny and scuzz-free it is.

“Isn’t it clean?  Look – the shower walls aren’t slimy anymore!!” I boast as I show off my sparkly-clean bathtub with all the pageantry of Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune.

They’re never quite as impressed as I think they should be.


4.  Dust bunnies – the pets you don’t have to feed:  I’m not sure dust bunnies is an accurate description of what I have in my house – by the time I get around to dusting they’re more like dust llamas.  I hate dusting almost as much as I hate cleaning the bathroom.  Wiping down tabletops is no big deal, it’s the time consuming dusting that I have a problem with – the curtains, blinds, ceiling fans, bookshelves, etc.  I usually wait until those things start to look fuzzy before I resign myself to the chore.

If you ever want to see it snow in July, just come on over to my house and I’ll turn on my ceiling fans for you.  If we get drunk enough, we can have fun dancing around in the “snow” like Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands.  It’ll be magical.

5.  A place for everything…. but dammed if I know where it is:  Where can you find a staple gun, fruitcake and lint roller all living in harmony together?  The answer is on my kitchen countertop.  In any other house, this area might be used as an eat-in counter, equipped with some hip bar stools and matching placemats.  Like this….

Why can’t I live in a house where my mugs match my chairs??

Why can’t I live in a house where my mugs match my chairs??

But instead, this counter (and pretty much every other flat surface in the house) acts like a landing strip for all the crap nobody knows what to do with.  I’m sure if I thought long and hard about where all this stuff belongs, I could find a proper home for all of it (in the garbage).  But who has the time?  The past four seasons of Modern Family aren’t just going to watch themselves.

This is the Christmas version of my crap collector –  doesn’t the nutcracker make it festive?

I don’t have time to clean AND decorate for the holidays –
don’t you think the nutcracker make my crap look really festive?

6.  Martha Stewart can kiss my ass:  The beds in my house are never made.  Well, that’s not entirely true – when it comes time to put on clean sheets, I make the bed. But the other 29 days of the month, my bed looks like it fell victim to a dozen chimpanzees with restless leg syndrome.  And yes, I only wash my sheets once a month – but that shouldn’t gross out anyone reading this because the neat freaks were already warned to look away.  Remember?  You might want to heed my warning this time because it only gets worse from here.

I had high hopes when I finally bought the four-poster bed of my dreams.  I bought a pretty comforter set with matching throw pillows to complete the Martha Stewart vision I had created in my head.  But after about a week, the bed stopped being made and the throw pillows found their way into a corner of the room; and there they stayed in a decorative pile, giving the dust bunnies yet another place to hide.

The Martha Stewart fantasy….

The Martha Stewart fantasy….

The Oscar Madison reality.

The Oscar Madison reality.

7.  My recipe for homemade raisins:  Chances are, if I have to get down on my hands and knees to clean it, it doesn’t get cleaned.  Who am I, Cinderella?   The areas under the couch (and any other piece of furniture) are usually neglected unless one of the kids loses a favorite toy (read that as an iPod or Nintendo DS) and we have to turn the whole house upside down to find it.  That’s when science-project-level grossness is discovered.  Stuff like this….

Homemade raisins – easy to make and you’ll never need to take penicillin again!

Homemade raisins – easy to make and you’ll never need to take penicillin again!

I know you’re jealous, and want to find out how you can make your own homemade couch raisins,

so I’ll share the recipe with you:

  1. Give child a bag of grapes as a snack.
  2. Assume child eats bag of grapes.
  3. Assume child properly disposes of bag instead of shoving it under the couch.
  4. Discover that all your assumptions were really, really WRONG.

I warned you it got worse, but you didn’t want to listen.

33 thoughts on “My Tea Tastes Like Chili….

    • Do you feel better because you now possess the secret recipe for homemade couch raisins or because my crappy housekeeping skills makes you feel better about yourself? It’s the raisins… right?

  1. You made my day!! I was looking at the pile of dust on every surface in my house and dreading the cleaning of said surfaces. But now all I have to think of is that I have not found couch raisins, yet……

    • How many kids do you have? With every child you have in the house, your chances of eventually finding couch raisins increases…. it’s only a matter of time. Scared? You should be. I’m going to have you checking under your couch the way a little kid checks under their bed for monsters before they go to sleep at night. MUWHAHahaHaha!!

  2. Oh man! I’m totally going to be writing a post (any second now, I swear) about how I can only complete housework if I do “Before” and “After” photos. I feel like you will totally understand me and my need for gimmicks when it comes to house work.

    You’re the best!

    • And when the person you’re living with says stuff like, “You never do anything to help out around the house!”, you’ll have the before and after pictures to show as proof of all your hard work. 🙂

  3. You see, I AM a neat freak. I like order and for everything to have its place. HOWEVER. I can completely relate to every part of this post! Because that’s my house too. On the surface, it looks clean. Just don’t open the shower curtain, my bedroom door, or look under the sofa. ;o)

    • Better watch out, with admissions like that, they might revoke your neat freak membership card 😉 But if you can relate to what I wrote, I’m not sure you’re a card-carrying member anyway…. maybe you’re more of a “tidy freak”. I have high hopes of one day becoming a tidy freak. Obviously that day isn’t today 🙂

  4. It’s almost like you crawled into my head and spent a month living my life. God help our husbands if we ever wife-swapped. Laughed until I snorted, cried, and almost wet my Pajama bottoms.

    • Sounds like our husbands wouldn’t notice the difference 🙂

      And hearing that my writing brought you dangerously close to incontinence was the highlight of my day – now I have something to shoot for next time!

      • Linda, I’ve had four children. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but everything brings me close to incontinence. However, your post was funny enough to elicit the other two, which is quite the feat of humor! I cannot say that I have found homemade raisins under the sofa, but I am wary of opening food-storage containers (aka, Tupperware) around my house. I actually stopped being friends with someone because every time I went to her house I came home mad at me, my husband, my kids, and my life in general. She’s like a real-life Martha Stewart with a nanny, even though she’s a SAHM. It makes me vomit in my own mouth just a smidge.

        • Ah, pregnancy – the gift that keeps on giving. First we are blessed with beautiful children, then stretch marks, hormonal imbalances, and the need for adult diapers at 40-years old.

          I think it was a good decision to kick your Martha-wannabe friend to the curb. She must keep her husband’s penis in a decorative, hand-woven basket underneath her kitchen sink because there’s no WAY a guy would agree to pay for a nanny when his wife is a SAHM unless she was holding something valuable for ransom.

          P.S. – I fear used tupperware even more than couch raisins.

          • LMAO. A hand-woven basket indeed! My ego was just too fragile to try to keep up with her. Especially when she *le sighed* at me because her immaculate house (which she renovated and was the general contractor for) was being put on a holiday home tour and she had to endure hundreds of decorators swinging by her house for three weeks prior to Christmas, and then she had to stay in a hotel the weekend of the tour so thousands of tourists could view her home in all it’s splendor. I don’t know if I could hide the sneer on my face as she told me. I tired, though. (The worst thing about it is that she is really a nice woman, and I would be wonderful friends with her if I were a fraction of the woman she is.)

    • Thanks, Maggie! I know I took a bit of a blog hiatus – I think you were the only one who noticed 🙂 The holidays coupled with a BAD case of writer’s block made sitting down at my computer unappealing. I eventually broke through whatever mental blockade my brain had set up. What a relief – I thought that was going to be the end of my blog for awhile.

      • L,
        I am so glad you are back! I was thinking of this post yesterday while staring at the last 6 months of food that is now resting around the burners on my stove.

        Welcome back again! mag

  5. My mother: the towels should be washed every other day. Me: the towels will be washed when I no longer remember when I put them in the bathroom or when they start to smell; whichever comes first.

  6. Pingback: Minimal Housekeeping « Becoming a Minimalist

  7. Yeah, it’s amazing the things that can be found between the cushions on the sofa. Heck, with our new sofa, I had no idea there was an actual gap between the cushion and the arm/back until my daughter lost a pen for one of her doodle gizmos and asked me to help look for it. When I found the things they’d already crammed into the sides of the sofa, I nearly exploded. “What did I just put my hand in?!”

    • Mamma always said life is like the crevices of your couch – you never know what you’re gonna get 🙂

      My daughter used to use the spaces inside the couch to store personal belongings, like it was one gigantic purse. Need lip balm while you’re watching TV? BAM, right there inside the couch and you don’t even have to get up!

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