It depends on what you mean by ‘clean’

My husband came home from work the other night and the
very first thing he said when he walked in the door
was, “What’s that smell?”
“Clean,” I told him. I’d just wrestled with the sofas
for five hours, vacuuming and foo-fooing them. The
floors were swept and washed. Even the cats and
children looked saintly and smelled soapy fresh.

He took another deep breath, this time without any
hesitation. Slowly a smile spread across his face and
I could just read his thoughts: “I could get used to
this.”

Drat! My plan was backfiring. I thought that if I
spent more time chasing annoying little dust bunnies
rather than surfing the Internet, I’d get my creaking,
protesting, gluttonous body back in shape. It was a
covert plan. To the world I’d appear to be an
industrious homemaker…so if I took a day or two off,
who’d ever guess I was cheating on my diet and
exercise regime?

Now my husband will be hoping for a clean house
everyday. And I won’t want to disappoint him, so a
few days will turn into a few weeks, and then I’ll
really be stuck because then he’ll expect it everyday.
I’ll never get out of chores again.

I was desperate. I needed a plan. I’d get pregnant.
There’s only one way a woman can eat all she wants
and no matter how big she gets people will tell her
she is absolutely radiant and glowing. She never has
to lift a finger. People swoop in to do the chores
for her. She always gets a seat on the bus. For a
few short months, life is rosey.

And then she trades in a few hours of brutal labor for
a three-day stay at the hospital, complete with bed
rest and meals served to her around the clock.

Oh, how I pine for those precious moments.

No, not the wiggly little thing with the diapers and
odor. I’m too old for that. I’m getting ready to be
a grandmother by the end of this decade but there’s no
foreseeable break in this endless housecleaning. Do
they let you eat all you want through menopause? Do
they think you radiate joy at that time and rush to
help with chores? No, siree. I watched my mother
suffer.

While we were bundled in winter coats because she was
sweating in forty-degree temperatures, she tore
through our home cleaning and fuming. It’s pregnancy
without the happy hormones.

I goofed. I really goofed. I should have never
resurrected that vacuum cleaner in the first place.
There’s no getting around it. I’m just going to have
to wreck the house tomorrow and make my husband think
it was an odd, but pleasant dream and do it fast
before he realizes what happened.

Me clean? Surely, you jest!

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