impressing the repairman

This is not my kitchen. My kitchen is used several times a day and I have better things to do than clean it several times a day.

There’s a repairman coming to my house this week to fix my oven, so he’s going to see my kitchen, living room, and dining room, and I really want to impress him with how clean and organized my house is. Well, except I don’t. But apparently I should. Supposedly. I don’t know. I mean, the house isn’t trashed or filthy — it just looks like a couple of young kids live here with parents who are too busy with life to keep the house spotless. Ironically, that’s true because it’s true. Well, I reckon that’s unironically, since the situation and explanation should be normal and okay. (What is it called when irony is ironic? Or if a lack of irony is actually irony? Are there terms for such confusion? But that’s a rabbit trail for another day… or not.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, making a good impression with the repairman. I don’t know him. I’ve seen him once before, when he diagnosed the problem with my oven and had to order parts. I think I’d still classify him as a visitor, since I don’t even know his name. Maybe I should get to know him. After all, his opinion of my house is apparently really important and valuable, such that it causes stress and we need to clean a lot. So should I invite him over for dinner sometime? Although, on second thought, that might be awkward. Actually, this whole idea is awkward.

So what’s going on here? Basically, the post is satire but is based on actual events. The confusion is real. The awkwardness is unfortunately real. But here is the dramatic twist in the narrative — you can be the hero! Yes, you! Wait, before you click away, I’m not dragging you into this quagmire. There’s no further need to judge my house or repair my oven. Where you can help is by explaining what’s going on here. Why should I care what the repairman thinks of how clean and organized my house is? Are there legitimate reasons, or is this a load of malarkey? I report, you decide. If you understand, please leave a comment.

the game of housekeeping

I was explaining to one of my single guy friends the other day how having guests come over to your house is a lot different when you’re married than when you’re single.  It’s not enough to just toss the piles of mail and other clutter into your bedroom.  No, it’s time for a whole-house cleaning and makeover!  This is usually difficult (read: impossible) for men to understand, so I will try to explain.  Imagine you’re on a TV game show and every time someone comes over, your house is judged in the categories of how well you decorate, organize, and clean.  Forget the practical aspect of your guests understanding that people actually live in the house.  Sure, that seems like a valid excuse, and it is, but it only works with men.  If I go to a friend’s house and it’s cluttered, I don’t judge him, nor do I really care.  As long as my life is not endangered by the clutter and dust, it doesn’t matter.  I understand houses get messy sometimes and that there are many things you’d rather do than clean your house every single day.  And if you have children, it’s advisable to give up that dream of a house that always looks like a show home in a magazine or on certain TV shows, or you’re going to be frustrated a lot.

Anyway, back to my analogy before I go into rant mode.  Imagine you’re on a game show.  You and your wife are the contestants, and your guests are the panel of non-celebrity judges (even if their opinions get treated like they’re celebrities).  You might as well pretend it’s Martha Stewart showing up to judge you for how your house looks.  And that’s a critical aspect here — you are being judged, not just your house.  If it looks like people live there, you are obviously a poor housekeeper, and your life priorities must be all wrong.  And the categories you’re judged in include much more than just how clean your house is.  Even if you dust everything, vacuum, sweep, mop, do all the dishes, clean the bathrooms, etc., you can still receive a poor score.  See, it also matters how your furniture looks, and what art you have hanging on the walls, and what curtains you have, and how recently you’ve painted, and what your “theme” is, and so on.  I could not possibly list everything on the list because I am male.  I just don’t get it.

So let’s get to the next part of the game show — the prizes.  Well, there are no prizes.  It is theoretically possible to pass through this test unscathed, but unless you enjoy the process of all this housework, it’s not going to feel like winning.  And notice I said it’s possible to win in theory.  Realize that the difference between theory and practice is a lot bigger in practice than in theory.  Most likely you will lose miserably.  In some cases, even if you do all you know to do, you still lose regardless, even if the house is spotless and clutter-free, because you should’ve done more stuff, like hanging new curtains and pictures.

There are also some special complications that are bonus during this ordeal.  If your guests are your parents or in-laws, you may automatically lose.  But don’t let that faze you — you still must try your absolute best or you lose in more ways than one!  Sometimes it is a no-win situation, so you may not feel like trying at all, but there are definitely different levels of losing.

Well, there’s my perspective on the game of housekeeping.  I would enjoy hearing other perspectives.  And if anyone knows how to explain this to wives, to make the situation better, please share.  (And if it works, you should probably write a book and go around the country teaching at marriage enrichment seminars.)  Also, know that you can leave comments under an alias so your spouse won’t know it’s you.  So feel free to speak the unbridled truth.

How often should you clean your house?

Here at Buffet o’ Blog, we endorse marriage.  But through “research”, we’ve discovered that there are sometimes unrealistic expectations placed on various aspects of the marriage relationship.   (With that intro, you could probably fill a blog for years with content.)

One thing I want to address here today is the appearance of the interior of your house.   Both sides would agree that it should be kept fairly clean, even if no one wants to do the chores.  Things like dusting, vacuuming, and straightening up / removing clutter have to be done from time to time.  However, the needed frequency of such things is likely to be disputed.  So to help aid in that debate, I will present this bit of information to help clarify things:

It’s okay if your house looks like someone actually lives there.

Just that phrase, when applied properly, can help a lot.  It’s simply unreasonable to have your house always look like it’s a show home for a magazine.

But the application doesn’t stop there.  When you visit someone’s house, this concept also applies.  So if you go to someone’s house, and they have mail on the coffee table or dining table, and/or there’s kids toys in the floor, don’t judge them — it just means people live there, and that kind of thing is part of living.   Just because someone’s house doesn’t look like a magazine photo, it doesn’t mean they’re a slob or they don’t care.  Life’s too short to spend most of the time cleaning unnecessarily.

So there’s your free relationship advice.  It didn’t even cost you a trip to the Important Psychiatrist or a marriage counselor.  It’s free (and hopefully it’s worth more than what you paid).  But let’s be clear that you are liable for the response you get when presenting this info to your spouse.  🙂