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On being a slob (4)

(I wrote three other blogs on this subject back in August 2011. If I coould make the link thingy work, you could read them here, here and here.)

I’ve just spent two hours cleaning my bedroom here in Hungary because it’s been six months since I did it and really, it was time. The dust bunnies under the bed, which I use for keeping things on and meditating, were becoming dust dinosaurs and looking worryingly lively. There was a lot of bicarbonate of soda under the desk, remembering the happy day when both the cats peed in the same place, under the desk, while staring straight at me. Yes, there’s now a nice litter tray there now which they have both disdained to use.

I have to do my desk tomorrow because I never tidy for more than two hours because I get too bad-tempered and bored. My back hurts from using the weird centralised hoover because I couldn’t find the attachment for doing the floor until I’d finished.

But at least it wasn’t an entire house. It’s just a room, where I sleep on a little camping mattress on the floor because my back insists on the hardest surface possible. And that’s marvellous because I’ve cleaned entire houses and if you think I’m crabby now, you don’t know what crabby is.

I know people who love tidying and live in tidy clean houses that make me feel very very nervous. I know it’s only a matter of time before I do something unforgivably slobbish. My sister in law is like this and I really admire her beautiful tidy house. Years ago I did a seriously awful thing (left behind an item of feminine hygiene balanced on the cistern because it was the middle of the night and I couldn’t find a bin and… Oh god. I’m still horribly embarrassed by this) and it took years before I could even visit them again. So you see I’m right to be worried in a tidy house.

My landlady is one of those unfortunate people who like a tidy house but don’t like tidying which I think is the worst of all worlds. At least as the mess and the dust bunnies build up, it doesn’t make me feel bad and upset, I really don’t notice it. She feels happy when it’s tidy and clean, and unhappy when it’s untidy – which is sad because she has a large house full of clutter so it’s much more often untidy than tidy.

Intellectually I know that tidy is better than untidy and clean is better still. But there’s a large part of me that can almost always find something less boring to do. So once every six months or so, I clean and tidy right down the the surfaces.

The rest of the time I’m a slob.


  1. The ideal solution for this is that the servants do it for us… 8-).

    Seriously, my family had domestic staff at one point (we were living in the 3rd world) and it’s very hard to get un-used to. Rather like going back to a slower computer.

  2. Kier Salmon says:

    I lived ex-pat a long time. And, yeah we had servants, and servant problems.
    There was the maid who’s husband was doing time for raping a 14 year old in their village. When my father found out he was out of the clink and living in the maids quarters… there were ructions; and we had to find another maid.
    My last one I offered to buy her groceries because I had a discount benefit at work. She’d say, “No.” and then steal all the food she wanted while cleaning my house. I could only order food once a month. I scheduled her for the week before that so I could figure out what she’d taken and replace it. But she couldn’t accept “charity,” only steal it. It was weird.
    I haven’t used hired cleaners since I returned to the US.
    I once mentioned to my aunt how impeccable my mother’s house was and how I was always put at fault when she visited my place. My aunt reminded me that my mother has NEVER kept house without somebody to clean at least once a week. In Mexico we had two maids, a laundry maid and a gardener.
    I’ve always found my mother’s house an uncomfortable place. You can quite easily eat off the kitchen floor and have perfectly clean, hygienic food. That level of clean creeps me out.
    I’m messy and I don’t clean a lot. My trick is to entertain. Then I pick up and put away, often behind a closed door!
    My mother told me several years ago she’ll never come to my house, even for a visit because I am filthy. Well, she raised me; I wonder what went wrong? And I am fine not having her judgmental eyes on my mess.

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