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Spring Cleaning

When I married Capt’n Clean almost 18 years ago, everyone, including me, considered it a perfect match. He is 6 months older than me so we both know the words to all the Beatles songs. He has an adventurous spirit and enjoys trying new things, so I’ll never be bored. And, he reads and he loves Jeopardy! almost last much as I do. Woo hoo! Yay us!

Even though the “biggies” (like Jeopardy!) are covered, there are a few things that don’t exactly line up for us. For example, I love to greet the day and do my best work early in the morning while the good Capt’n is a night owl. It’s really no big deal as long as we end up in the same bed at the same time for at least a few hours each day.

However, when it comes to cleaning we are polar opposites. I’m sure you can guess which one of us is the neatnik. Hint: it’s not me.

I wasn’t born to slob parents, although my dad has always been a bit of a hoarder. Our house was always fairly clean, or at least picked up. When we had a party or guests, my mom gave my brother and me each a list of things to clean, and they had to be done perfectly. But, on a day-to-day basis, my room…well, my room pretty much looked like a grenade had been pitched into it. When my grandmother came to visit us she always insisted that we do something really fun, like cleaning out junk from under my bed. Since my family, early on, labeled me as a creative child, they let a lot slide as far as my housecleaning habits.

But I’m not a complete slob. My computer organization and file system are impeccable. So is the top of my desk. Unfortunately, it’s the one area of our home that I feel compelled to keep immaculately clean.

The first few years after Capt’n Clean and I were together, the clashes in our housekeeping styles were not apparent because he traveled all the time. He would be gone for a few weeks and the day before or most likely the day that he returned, I’d clean like a madwoman to have things shining when he returned. It worked like a charm until we retired to a life of adventure and travel. There were a few blips, but they were almost unnoticeable because we generally had help when it came to cleaning the house or hotel room.

But when we moved to Morelia, Mexico, we knew we had found our ideal place to nest. We had finally landed. We could relax, kick off our traveling shoes and truly enjoy life and each other.

And then…

KA-BOOM! <—What it sounded like when our ideas about housecleaning clashed. You may have felt the tremor where you live. Here in Mexico, we certainly did.

We have had some of our fiercest disagreements about the use of vinegar and my inability to see grime in places that no one else can. We discovered that his tolerance fuse for keeping things tidy is much shorter than mine.

So how have we overcome the fact that the cleaning fairy blessed my husband but left me off the list?

Here’s how:

He has finally come to realize that I don’t see dirt the same way he does.

I have come to realize that even if it doesn’t smell like Pine-sol, or here in Mexico Fabuloso, a room can be clean.

He has learned not to touch my desk or computer unless it’s to write love notes in the dust.

I have learned to just let him “have at it” and not get offended when he feels the need to clean.

We have both learned to appreciate and understand that we are opposites when it comes to cleaning. We know even though we are an odd couple, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are still perfect for each other. Getting frustrated, getting upset, and getting bent out of shape about cleaning is pointless. Getting a housekeeper is right on target!

So whether you are a clean fiend or a hob slob, spring is finally here! Happy Cleaning!

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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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