Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

It was at the checkout in Sainsbury’s when I said to my mother in my loud voice: ‘Do you want me to get a mop so you can mop my floors?’ that I realised some people might not get my mother’s relationship with cleaning things. The checkout girl looked at me incredulously, to judge the spoiled little brat that I surely was. But the thing is, Mum happens to thoroughly enjoy cleaning. It’s a trait I wish I had inherited, but instead I’m lumbered with my dad’s cleanliness blindness and penchant for leaving more clothes on the floor than in the wardrobe.

When I was little Mum used to come to tuck me in and things would be spilling out of all my drawers. ‘Hurty,’ she’d say as she folded it all away and closed the drawers and doors, trying to instil in me the idea that clothes had feelings and didn’t want to spend the night clinging on to their shelf for dear life. Sweet, isn’t it.

And when I was little, Dad tidied his room once. I thought we’d moved house, I so didn’t recognise the room when I walked in.

My elder sister got Mum’s genes, I got Dad’s. Which is a shame, as it means I live in a constant state of bedlam, while Tammi’s flat is really rather lovely.

While it’s a pity for Gareth that he doesn’t get to live with someone who enjoys cleaning, the lucky charm is that I don’t get to live with someone who enjoys cleaning either, and so we live in a mess together, happily begging Mum to come and stay in the hopes she might pick up a J cloth. She doesn’t disappoint. She’d been here eight seconds this weekend when she started cleaning, and within an hour the bathroom looked so sparkly we could have been in a showroom, and the kitchen drawers were so tidy Gareth thought we’d been robbed.

I could be accused of taking advantage of Mum’s kind nature - you’d think she doesn’t actually want to come here and Mr Sheen my home. But I have it on good authority that she’s entirely in her element when cleaning, and who am I to deny her one of life’s little pleasures? To stop Mum cleaning would be akin to taking sweets from a child.  

We had a party on Saturday night to celebrate my birth, and usually when we have parties, I crawl out of bed the next day to witness the carnage of the night before. Dirty plates queuing up for the dishwasher, a sticky floor and a mountain of glass for the recycling.

On Sunday morning I got out of bed to see Mum had already tidied the entire party remnants away. She’d even laid out the bottles that needed recycling in height order. It was something of a miracle to see my house looking so good when it really ought to have been suffering from a hangover with me.

As usual, Mum has left the house in a better state than she found it. And as usual, Gareth and I have made each other promise we’ll keep it this way. And as usual, we’ll slowly slip back into the pigsty with which we are familiar. But about that time, Mum will be due another visit, and everything will shine again. I’m sorry to my future children that I won’t be able to give them a mother as tidy as my mother, but at least I can give them a grandmother as tidy as my mother. And maybe she’ll rub off on them better than she has on me.


Sue Willis said...

I probably shouldn't comment seeing as I am the main character in this blog, but it really made me laugh out loud and I'm proud that my abilities with a J cloth are appreciated! By the way, when things are clean I can really be quite normal.

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