This morning I have an appointment.
With my refrigerator.
Please admire the host of
lovely refrigeration as you
are treated to a taste
of everyday humor
I pen for parenting and women’s magazines.
THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. CLEAN
Two years have passed since I cleaned the inside of my refrigerator.
I am otherwise immaculate. I feel I have simply earned the right to a certain measure of filth in my castle.
It is true I am blessed with OCD and enjoy a beautiful uncluttered nest. Most days the place appears to be tidy, if not spare on the surface. But since I live with teenagers who lack the gene for OCD, our home’s condition today suggests Mr. and Mrs. Clean have been out of the country for months.
Exhibit A? The basement. A filthy mancave where milkshakes and mud have comingled without de-fungal interference from anyone. Tie-dye parties, bloody ultimate forts (don’t ask), and heavy metal band rehearsals with un-showered groupies contribute to the foul aroma permeating this teen dungeon. When my immune system is stronger I intend to venture “into the unclean” with Lysol and a gas mask.
Exhibits B and C? Kitchen cupboards and closets so utterly crammed with overflow we have simply ceased using them. If you require a dish, please wear the helmet located next to the liability waiver there on the crusty countertop.
I confess I could co-exist for weeks within this teen-trashed homemaker hell were it not for the occasional itch to entertain friends. It always seems like an excellent idea to invite people over for dinner. Daydreams of us cozying up to a crackling fire lift my mood in the dead of winter.
Except as soon as the invitations have been sent, the daydream turns to terror, and Mrs. Clean has a panic attack. Her contamination will soon be on display! Evidence of her lazy teens will be revealed in broad daylight! Less disturbed and more civilized souls will be poised to judge the potentially condemning condition of her abode!
She visualizes herself manually guiding horrified guests toward the one room she found time to hose down. The thought will occur that the beachy chic décor of this living room quite borders on acceptable until her gaze and that of her guests meets the empty black box. It is indeed full of soot and not the romantic crackling fire she completely forgot to build.
Mrs. Clean is 48 hours away from welcoming guests to a dinner party for which she has neither cleaned, nor planned a menu. It occurs to her that if she fakes a brain aneurism, she may avoid addressing the urine-infused magnet for scum known as her powder room. And if she accidentally drops a tube of biscuit dough on her pinky, the clumsy cast would surely preclude her ability to clean toilets and mop floors.
The tube is returned to the sludge filled frig. There will be no visit to the ER today. Today Mrs. Clean will save the world. She will pen a list of chores, assigning a few to the three RockBand addicts in the mancave. Then she will execute them (the chores, not the addicts) as she channels Ms. Stewart and Julia. After all, she has performed this dance a hundred times and should know it by heart.
Today Mrs. Clean will dig deep. And there she will discover extra reserves of strength welling from a prideful place deep within her that is terrified her friends will see her for who she truly is: a procrastinating, poorly groomed, homemaking imposter who lives with three men in filth day to day, cleaning only for visitors. And drawing from those reserves, she will rise up and toil and sweat and shop and bake until she is certain all tracks have been covered and her secret remains.
That is, until one of her guests opens the refrigerator door.
Peace to you right where you are.
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