As I prepare to leave town – and only for one day, mind you – I’m reminded of how my mother always insisted that the house be thoroughly cleaned before we left for any length of time.
Now – what she told us was that if (God forbid, of course!) we were in a terrible accident and died, we wouldn’t want anyone coming into the house and thinking “what a mess!” And for years, I thought – when you’re dead, it really doesn’t make any difference what people think, does it?
Of course, this is the same woman who told me she made marks on the walls before I cleaned them, just so she could make sure I had thoroughly cleaned them. Washing down the walls was a regular chore for my sister and I, and one that I hated (and loudly complained about doing). At the tender age of 7, I told her if she had to mark them up in order to make sure they’d been done, then they probably didn’t need to be done at all. It was a sign of things to come.
Another thing that fell in the category of “things you do in case you die” was clean underwear with no holes in it. As an adult and a parent, I now wonder – why did we even HAVE underwear with holes in it? If she didn’t want us wearing holey underwear, all she had to do was remove them from our wardrobe. She controlled just about everything else in our lives – why not the holey underwear? And that completely ignores what happens to your clothes if you’re in a terrible accident (and with my mother, the implication was always that if you died before you made it home again, it would be in a terrible accident!).
Anyway, back to the clean house thing…
As an adult, I suspect the real reason my mother wanted a clean house before leaving town was so she could come back to a clean house. Oh, and because she was OCD about cleaning. Don’t ask why she didn’t just say that – that would be a topic for a year’s worth of blogging, or possibly even a novel. I appreciate coming home to a clean house, which is why I’m leaving a clean house. Unfortunately, I’m also leaving my husband and son, which means it won’t be as clean when I get back as it is when I left. But at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that my house was clean. And if I am in a terrible accident and people come to my home – I could give a rat’s ass what they think of my housekeeping skills!