Regular readers know that the Matron suffers from a serious psychological 'condition': Incurable Clutter Brain Suck. She of this delicate condition resides in a house with a MAN, a teenage MAN-in-the-making, a teenage girl, a nine-year old boy, two dogs and a hamster. These creatures do not share her affliction. Indeed, they aggravate it.
Can she ask: who do you think, during those exhausting years of early childhood when children outgrew clothes every ten seconds, sorted and cleaned and organized every drawer? Who has spent hours gutting bedrooms once or a twice a year, switching out toys broken or discarded, the chewed up shoes, the outgrown clothing, digging under beds, in each drawer crevice, shaking out rugs and overhauling closets, washing walls and swiping windows, scraping the gum and scouring the stale food found in the far corners? Dusted and stacked the music, the books, the shoes, the sports gear, clothing, school supplies and holiday decor?
Got the picture?
Last weekend, when He Who Cannot Be Named (HWCBN) vacated his bedroom for a weekend away, John decided to clean it! This made the Matron happy. Very.
John: "No -- I mean really CLEAN the room. While he's gone. Like sort all the drawers, organize stuff, wash the walls, vacuum under the bed."
He went on at some length, explaining 'cleaning' to the Matron. Then looked at her expectantly.
That man spent two days up to his adorable elbows in HWCBN's muck -- a cesspool that, outside the rudimentary teenage swipe, had not been tidied, dusted or otherwise cleaned in over a year. He sorted clothing, washed windows, stacked and dusted CDs. He went through every single inch of that bedroom. It was beautiful.
Accompanied by . . . .
"Wow. Can you believe how dirty this? Come here -- look at this layer of dust!"
"Mary, this is the dirtiest room the house has ever had."
"Oh my God. Did you know he had a glass of milk on that dresser? How long?"
"I think the plant can't be saved."
"But really, this is the worst room anyone has ever cleaned."
"No -- just look. Nothing has ever been this bad."
"Oh my GOD. There are spiders!"
"No really -- this is the worst it's ever been. Nobody has ever cleaned a room this bad."
In the three weeks leading up to this edifying discourse, the Matron had gutted the basement laundry room, cleaned and organized three large closets (including washing walls), and by herself moved semi-permanent radiator fixtures in order to effectively vacuum and mop behind radiators in the three rooms she cleaned from head to toe -- on top of the regular stuff.
Matron: " I wouldn't say the WORST. No, I definitely wouldn't say it was the WORST I've ever seen. Bad, yes. But not the worst."
And so the games began.
Now, the Matron knew what her husband -- beloved, even -- wanted to hear: yes, YOU are cleaning the worst room ever in the history of this house and probably the history of Humanity and this should totally get two million views on youtube.
She could not say it.
But she did nod and smile for the next 48 hours as John provided evidence and verbal documentation of his every move: each speck of dust, that little corner, the pile of discarded clothes.
John: "Look at this! Can you believe it? This is the worst . I mean, can't you see that this is the worst room ever?"
The Matron smiled and nodded until, not long before the Humanity's Worst Room was restored, she found herself on her belly, mopping underneath a bed. She was just finishing dusting, sweeping and mopping the three bedrooms, bathroom and hallway on the second floor. All done without explanatory narrative.
Mopping under the bed was messy! The Matron sneezed just as John was walking by. Probably looking for his Super Hero Cleaning Cape.
John: "Bless you!"
Matron: "It's so dusty under here. Just what my dust mite allergy needs."
And that man paused on the gleaming freshly washed wooden floors, espresso in hand, to gaze upon his wife on her belly mopping under the bed and said, as God-Buddha-Allah-Oprah-Universe is her witness:
"You're lucky that you didn't have to do Stryker's room."
The Matron found herself uncharacteristically speechless. Lucky was not the first word that came to her mind later.
But -- the worst room in the history of households is now in order. That Super Hero Cleaning Cape? Clogging certain airways.