23 June 2017

Garbage. All I've Been Thinkin' About All Week Is Garbage. I Mean, I Just Can't Stop Thinkin' About It

Raise your hand if you’re a woman from North America and you clean prior to your housekeeper’s arrival. I clean, including use of the vacuum. On her best day my housekeeper could not reach things that I can with the long tubes of the canister vacuum. She is shorter than I am. Furthermore, our housekeeper doesn't adhere to strict rules of recycling; and when she empties bathroom trash it is often co-mingled with the recycle bin in the kitchen. So I empty bathroom trash.

We live in a very tidy environment for health and aesthetic reasons. A few weeks ago I removed and laundered all draperies in our kitchen, living, and dining areas. And then . . . sit down for this. . .  I ironed them. I’d never really objected to our unpressed draperies. They adequately draped from their rods; but the newly ironed draperies are a huge improvement and make me happy. I thought of my adopted Aunt Sance as I pressed. Sance, who’d be horrified to discover that her husband left the house without a pressed T-shirt. Old school.

Anyway, even in the tidy environment where we live (though somewhat less tidy now that we have a new puppy), dust accumulates . . . not to mention fur-tufts from our 19-year-old cat. A tidy home is not necessarily a clean home . . . just as swimming in the pool does not equate to a hot shower, though it often feels that way. Genuine cleaning is required, with soap. I’ve adopted the Bissell slogan: Bissell . . . We Mean Clean®. Our housekeeper just popped out her third child. This means that I’ve not seen her since April and don’t expect her return until autumn, if ever. You see where this is going.

My father was the most kind and gentle soul who ever lived. I miss him and, sadly, own few keepsakes of his. That my father ever owned an undershirt known colloquially as a wife-beater isn’t wrong, simply incongruous. Nevertheless, the style was daddy’s preference.  I own one of daddy’s white undershirts, and though it is too big I often wear it over a swimsuit or bra-top when I know that I’m going to be wet or glistening with perspiration . . . most often during my We Mean Clean® attacks . . . attacks that no longer involve my housekeeper.

In a prior life I had a no drop-in rule. I’m confident that this rule has been discussed previously at this site. My U.S. family and friends knew this rule only too well. For decades I’ve accepted telephone calls to ascertain whether I was receiving. Without a call, I’ve been known to refuse to answer the doorbell. Fact. After all, there could be trash on the floor (not likely) or dog toys scattered about the house (quite likely).

If I had my way I’d revive the ancient tradition of the calling card and, being without a butler, place a tray on the front patio onto which drop-in visitors could drop-in their calling cards while I lounged in bed binge watching Breaking Bad or floated naked in the pool. 

While living in West Africa I completely abandoned my no drop-in rule. It was culturally appropriate, if somewhat inconvenient. People from across my little village came to visit. . . often! It was a genuine compliment in the Burkinabé culture. . . though I always needed some mental advance warning before preparing to speak French, even more before I was required to speak Kassem or Mooré. Still, at least my little mud hut was always clean - I mean clean; and I was appropriately dressed.

Yesterday the world’s best realtor dropped in, unannounced, with two nice folks moving to Sámara from Colorado. And there I was, in daddy’s wife-beater undershirt . . . inside-out no less, as Bill so kindly observed aloud. So with bed unmade, vacuum in the center of the living room, kitchen smelling like bacon (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing . . . but I find most lingering cooking smells a tad off-putting), a terrace full of debris and paw prints from seven-month-old Penny the puppy, and not one but two cat boxes indoors, Rusty and I greeted and welcomed three of the nicest people in Guanacaste. True, I later swooned thinking of the cat boxes . . . but it was nothing that a Xanax wouldn't solve.

In making the decision to leave North Texas, whether for West Africa or Central America, I totally abandoned my no drop-in rule. I’ve learned to embrace the drop-in. I now accept the compliment of being paid a visit, regardless of any prior announcement. No one cares whether there is a dish in the sink or a bag of recycling items in the garage. No one cares that my toothbrush remains on the bathroom counter (yes, I store it out of sight with the toothpaste in the cabinet when not in use . . . that’s how tidy our home is). And evidently no one cares whether I’ve donned an inside-out, wet wife-beater undershirt worn to pressure-wash the pool deck. And frankly, no one wants or expects to hear explanations for either my appearance or the appearance of the home. This is my neurosis. Okay . . . one of many.

So what did I do last night? I dropped-in unannounced on Kat, Dave, and Wanda . . . and was warmly greeted with zero excuses for anyone’s or anything’s appearance. Except for that no-bra-thing (sorry Kat). I was tempted to return this morning, just to say howdy to our wonderful neighbors from Texas. The drop-in . . . accept the compliment, Kathy. Lo que hay.