Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dusting Off Some "Me Time"

The weekend here was positively glorious. Sunny, with a gentle warm breeze, sapphire blue skies dotted with whipped cream clouds, and my favorite temperature. 82 degrees. Surely you're not surprised that I have a favorite temperature?

Mac Daddy took the boys to the park to play some baseball Saturday morning. They gathered their gear, a cooler of snacks (that I admit to checking on the sly to ensure Mac Daddy packed the right stuff), and sunblock, thanks to my nagging (no word on if that was actually applied). Hugs and kisses, smooch smooch goodbye. Off they went, downright dancing down the sidewalk. My three boys, to whom I owe all this dirt and noise.

And then I clutched the powder room pedestal sink to keep from falling to my knees onto the cheap plastic stool and wept. Fat monsoon tears that I didn't even bother to wipe away. I gripped the sink to keep myself from giving in to whim and bashing the weathered pewter mirror in front of me. I stifled the bellowing scream bubbling up in my gut and let a snarl escape instead, a rather unfulfilling impostor.

No park for me. No breeze was to grace my face. I stayed behind at home.

Ah, the house to myself. Just me. Unplugged and Twitter free. Illicit, decidedly un-kid-friendly lyrics cranking at rock star decibels on the iPod, hot, strong coffee in my favorite travel mug and another full pot in the French press.

And me, hair swept back in a blue bandanna fished out of the dress up box, tattered purple tank tank top, supremely comfortable baggy jersey knit shorts, not a lick of mascara. Just me.

And a dustpan.
Murphy's oil.
Toilet bowl brush.
Stainless steel polish.
Method cleaner.
And those damned yellow rubber gloves.

You see, the only "me time" I get in my house is when I'm cleaning. Forget what I said before, now I regret firing my cleaning lady. First of all, cleaning my house makes me utterly irascible, while having a clean house makes me deliriously jubilant. The stream of pee around the bathrooms, thanks to two little boys and one big man, with poor aim, is enough to make me gag. You should hear me yell when I catch Bird leaning back to pee so he can (somewhat) aim and watch Kim Possible at the same time. He misses. Every. Single. Time.

And then there's all the dust bunnies.
Crunched leaves, twigs, and other signs of nature.
Sticky floors.
Hand prints in the least expected spots.
Toothpaste goop.
And all the usual suspects.

I. HATE. To. Clean.

The proverbial silver lining is this: I am all by myself when I am cleaning. That alone makes it more bearable.

No one is there to tug on me. I can pee in peace, whether the door is shut or not (and for the record, I have no issues with aim). I can eat three popsicles in one sitting, one in every flavor. I don't mentally tally up the constant chorus of "Hey, Mommy" in my exploding head. I don't have to endure knock-knock jokes or the Dragon Tales theme song. I don't have lunches to prepare or LEGO fights to mediate or bottoms to wipe or time outs to impose. There is no whining, bickering, yelling. The banshees have left the building.

And I am alone.

Me time.

Problem is, me time is not the same as time for me.

I suddenly don't feel so guilty about ignoring my family all day Monday while I curled up in the rocking chair on the front porch, with the ceiling fans on so I too could feel a breeze in my hair, to indulge in Twilight.

Sometimes I miss my little one bedroom apartment on Excelsior Boulevard. The one where I had a God awful floral wallpaper border in my nauseously girly bedroom, battenburg lace curtains, umpteem throw pillows on my bed, two walk-in closets, a tiny balcony covered in AstroTurf, a wall of mirrors in the bathroom, my very own stereo, even though it was just a little Bose shelf unit, and wall-to-wall carpeting. The same apartment where my Sunday paper was stolen on a regular basis. The same apartment that smelled ever so faintly of a potion of cat piss, stale Swisher Sweets, and bleach. The same apartment where doing laundry in the basement required a chaperon. The same apartment where I was alone but never lonely. Alone. By myself. Doing whatever the hell I wanted.

When time was all about me.
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Justice Fergie said...

love this post! it rings so true to me too. i find i can't wait until the kids are on their way to home depot with hubby so that i can have 1 hour to myself...to CLEAN.

sad, isn't it?

Kim Moldofsky said...

Love it and I can relate!

Kim Moldofsky said...

hey, how did Justice Fergie get here before me? She's quick!

Mary said...

You are such a wonderful writer. I can see your surroundings, feel the breeze of the fans on my face, and smell that cat piss/cigar scent. But mostly I can feel the emotions that I myself have felt a million times!

Jen L. said...

YES!YEEEEESSSS! I taped a "vlog" about me time a couple of months ago and Hey! I've never had any time to post it. Ugh. Funny how my husband can play on the internet for hours and then still have the balls to "ask" me if I mind if he "sneaks out" to go fishing while the baby naps. I guess he thinks that kitchen floor mops itself while he's gone.

Magpie said...

I totally hate cleaning, and I never do, but I secretly like staying home and paying bills and doing laundry in an EMPTY house.

colby said...

I can handle cleaning or spot cleaning on a almost daily basis, but the bathroom, I HATE to clean that room. No matter what I do it is just never clean enough. To top it off the dog now uses that spot as her hideout, black dog hair on the floor too, yuck!!

Anonymous said...

I know this sounds horrible, but sometimes I miss living alone. I love my husband, but I love my time to myself, when no one is bugging me, no one is yelling for me from the other side of the house. I miss hanging out in my PJs all day if that's what I want to do, reading a book if I feel like it. Everything was clean and where I left it. *Sigh* Oh well, I guess that's the trade off...!

Anonymous said...

totally true. sometimes I drive by tiny houses and fantasize about living in one alone.

dadshouse said...

I hate cleaning too. And I fired my cleaning lady ages ago. The kids helped for a while (for pay), and they'll help every now and then (out of guilt), but I pretty much have to do it solo.

Which means it usually doesn't get done.

Ilina said...

I drive by all the condos being built downtown and secretly wish that I had one to myself sometimes. All I'd need are a comfy couch, TV with Food Network and Bravo, big bookcase, stocked kitchen and liquor cabinet, and my iPod. Oh, and a cleaning lady!

Shannon said...

I fantasize about a smaller house to clean - and less people to clean up after! Oh wait, having a cleaning lady, too.

Sandra said...

I read the NYTimes real estate section and fantasize about looking for a small stylish apartment to move into.