Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It’s No Sacrifice Mostly

Around noon yesterday, I was in the middle of reading a book to hopefully be able to review when I got a phone call from my dear friend, B. He tells me he’s in town on business and that he’ll have a few hours in the afternoon and can we get together for a bit. So I tell him of course of course I’d love to see you and I’ve got to pick up the Bigger Bean soon and then take her to piano later this evening how about we meet the few hours in between? So he says, sure sure give me a call when you’re ready. So I hang up the phone and my eyes do something that look sort of like this:

eyes_pop_2 

Because I was still in pajamas, wrapped snuggly in a bathrobe and torn up red slippers. And my house looked post-apocalyptic and four-year-old-terrorized and smelled a bit like boiling cabbages. I tossed a juice box and a bag of mini muffins at the Little Bean and raced into the shower. I was done in five minutes, which, okay, if you know me at ALL, you know that’s impressive. I brushed my teeth and did my hair and makeup, all at the same time, and then ran as fast as I could to do the dishes, and then ran back up the stairs immediately because I’d forgotten to put on a shirt. I threw on the shirt B had given me not long ago, and then got halfway through the dishes, on the verge of just throwing the rest away, when B called to say he was done with his task. Like, way before I expected him to be done.

Cue screeching tires, squealing brakes, and this face:

straitjacket

So, okay, here’s what happens when you surprise me with an unexpected visit: You have to spend an hour and a half at the mall waiting for me to clean my house.

You know, it’s not that I’m lazy. I actually get really anxious in messy, smelly spaces. It’s just that between my family and all of their various activities and needs, as well as volunteering and shopping and sometimes blogging and reading/reviewing and sometimes sleep and other obligations, the hours in a day get the life squeezed out of them. And somehow, the battle always falls between two options: writing or cleaning.

It’s a no-brainer. Cleaning is for unobsessive writer people.

But this means that unexpected visits are…unexpected. It’s not that they’re unwelcome. I loves me some people. It just means please give me at least a few hours notice so that I can bribe my husband to clean the house.*

I don’t know, I guess it could just be me. But as much as I hate clutter, my distaste for plates with caked-on fried egg is not as significant as my desire to keep writing. Call it a sacrifice. I can endure terrible things to keep writing. Sadly, poor B sort of had to sacrifice, too. Maybe that just comes with the territory of being friends with a writer.

Sorry, B. I hope the cookies make up for it.

*Bribery is legal and totally moral in marriage.

37 comments:

  1. I'm thinking about surprising you with an unexpected visit; it'd give me an excuse to spend an hour and half at the mall.

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  2. Sooooooo true. Though in my case my biggest worry is what a mess I AM. No make-up, horrible sweat pants and wild bed hair are NOT the way I want to let anyone else see me. And on writing days it's practically my uniform.

    If someone drops by unannounced I will hide and pretend not to be home. :)

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  3. Hehe!
    I hear you.
    I prefer it when I know it a few hours before hand so that I can at least tidy up a little bit! lol

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  4. LOL. This reminds me of when our friends from Manchester surprised us one Sunday. Bear in mind they live a good five hour drive away and only come town once or twice a year AND give us warning. We were both still in bed and being the end of the week, the house was a pit. I was mortified.

    It gives you something to laugh about!

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  5. Yeah, I'm totally with you on this one. I was such a cleaning and organization nut...before I gave birth to child #4. He was the straw that broke me. Now I'm fearful of people just popping over for a visit. My worse enemy seems to be the bathrooms. Out of my 4 kids, 3 of them are boys. 'Nuf said. lol

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  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I don't even have kids and it's hard for me to keep everything straight. Sometimes when I'm really rushed, I buy paper plates and cups and bowls and use those. It increases my carbon footprint by a kazillion, but at least I don't have to worry about dishes. If only they made disposable clothes so I wouldn't have to worry about laundry, either.

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  7. I felt for your pain. When it comes to cleaning, I aim for half and hour daily. I hate it but I hate losing huge chunks on catch up tidying.

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  8. Totally agree! I always say I have the best sort of in-laws, because they live 90 minutes away, and my mother-in-law is awesome and always polite enough to call before leaving, so I have time to screech around the house and clean it/stuff the bestt into one room and close the door.

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  9. Stuff the bestt? The mess, the MESS! Oy, time for bed.

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  10. Thanks goodness I have kids who are 9 and 14. We make them do most of the housework, which still doesn't leave much time to write since I work about 50 hours a week at this soul sucking day job (at least I can read blogs at work, shhhh)!

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  11. Awwww Bet you looked super gorgeous with your home all sparkly smelling of just baked cookies!!! And all done in five minutes!!!! Wow!! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  12. We writers are a funny group aren't we? Even though I love being in organized spaces and I have goals to get more so, writing trumps cleaning every day. :)

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  13. Ha, love this! I could picture the entire post in my head because I've rushed around the exact same way so many times. Writer Moms know how to get things done!

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  14. Ha ha ha! You totally sound like me! (well, the old me, my house is for sale, so I have to have my house somewhat clean at a moment's notice)

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  15. A messy house is a sign of great writing progress. Yup, we need to make our out line of doormats so guests will know what's what. ;-)

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  16. our OWN line.

    One day I will learn to be a better typist. :-/

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  17. oh man, you are not alone in this. I have a huge amount of people coming over on Sunday and i know i should be cleaning the house because it is a sty, but instead, i finished my WIP. Then i gave it a read through. i'll probably give it another too, before i start to clean

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  18. You crack me up! This is sooo funny! Our house doesn't get dirty so much as cluttered...and there's nothing like a visitor to get us to tackle all that little stuff we got used to seeing lying around here there and everywhere!

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  19. Why oh why did you have to post a picture of the eyes...those EYES!!! It like, actually hurts my eyes to see this picture. And please explain to me how a kid can smell like boiling cabbage??!!

    I like to tease my serioso whenever she gets make up on to go out to the store to get milk. I find it endlessly fascinating how women have to throw on their game face for something as simple as an errand - although this isn't really that relevant to these comments...I'll be quiet now.

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  20. Cleaning is for people who are not notorious bookworms. That's all I have to say. Also, how the heck can I asnwer to people's comments on my blog with a mail????? Tell me how???

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  21. Holly molly, I trully admire you. If its hard for me to clean the house in one hour without kids, imagine with!
    Kudos for you Carol!

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  22. It's very strange with me ... I can be both messy and manic. I can leave my room in mess for weeks and suddenly have the imperative need to put everything away and clean thoroughly!

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  23. Lol, that first picture cracks me up. I can just picture you looking like that! *snort*

    I feel ya about the house. I try to keep toys and other stuff from straying into my living room, but it's a fight I can't win. I usually end up shoving the stuff in one corner because the kids will drag the stuff out again just as soon as they get home from school.

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  24. lol. Although I'm the same. I get into a writing mode and things seem to spread themselves across the floor without me knowing. I usually end up cleaning up once a week. lol.

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  25. Heh, I hear you! I will even keep myself from fueling raging hunger just to keep writing (or maybe that's just me being lazy?) And I can't have people coming over unexpectedly before I've cleaned up. Drives me nuts.

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  26. I'm typing this on my iPhone as I drive, so if it suddenly cuts off, please call emergency services. Anyway, I'm about 45 minutes away, and kinda hungry, so I'm just going to drop in, cool? It's all right, though, cuz I don't mind boiled cabbage. Please have Tabasco sauce on-hand, though.

    Oh, and could you make a quick run to the liquor store? I could use some vod

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  27. I've been there!

    I'm a clean freak too but only to a certain extent.

    Cleaning is something I do in-between all the other stuff. And I only do it so no one gets an infection. Can't afford infections. And that's just in the kitchen because that room's kind of important.

    Other places in the house I keep tidy enough to look clean. Untidy places give me a headache and then I can't write and that's a problem. So need to keep things tidy.

    Hope you had fun meeting your friend eventually.

    Jai

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  28. At least he called first.

    My house is always spotless (I clean it every morning from 6-7 am M-F) BUT, I look like a hot mess (sweats, hair up in a ratty bun, no make-up) on any given writing day. I'm doing good if I have a bra on...a shower is a major bonus. ;)

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  29. Lola, REALLY?? Spotless? Wow.

    Yeah, not me. I'm definitely a choose writing type of girl when it comes to cleaning vs. writing. Otherwise, I'd never get any writing done. ;) Loved the post. I think I owe you an email, I'm just a lame friend right now. I'm so sorry. I hope you're doing well!!

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  30. I hate unexpected visits. Actually, when people ring my doorbell I never answer. So there are no unexpected visits for me. :)

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  31. I really don't understand a womans compulsion to represent their home in a way that is no where near the way they actually live. I feel more welcome in a friends home that looks comfortably lived in.

    On the other hand, if the growth in the corner of the kitchen isn't a house plant, then maybe a little domestic diligence is in order. :)

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  32. That first picture is very freaky! I don't have my own house yet so I've always been okay if my friends dropped by and the place was messy but I know it used to bother my mom. She's gotten better about it though as time has passed.

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  33. It would be the same situation here. You are not alone! Except I might give up and offer to just meet him at the mall and buy him a coffee. :)

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  34. LOL. I've got dishes sitting on the counter and laundry piling up and I'm online trying to get caught up with my blog reading. I prefer a 24 - 48 hour notice for visits, so I have plenty of time to get the house cleaned up.
    : )

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  35. I don't think Hemingway was too concerned with how clean his house was. He was all like let's go get drunk and watch the bull fights. You're on the right track for the writer stuff by my logic. Possibly need more wine.

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  36. I feel you about house cleaning... between work and kids, what little free time I have is either going to go to writing or cleaning. Writing almost always wins :)

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