On those occasions when my wife has left for the house for an extended period of time, I find that I express the feelings of separation anxiety by doing house cleaning.
This weekend Tweety Bird and her girlfriends are having a girl’s get together in the Carolinas. I imagine that they’re spending their time getting caught up on all the news of home, shopping for shoes, complaining about husbands and work, drinking wine and eating chocolate. Well Tweety is on a diet, so the chocolate is probably out, but that would mean more wine.
So this morning, in a fit of depression brought on by spousal separation, I got out the vacuum cleaner, the mop, and the bucket I keep filled with cleaning supplies and got to work.
If bathrooms can be sexy, this bathroom, when clean, has some definite sex appeal. It was one of the main reasons we bought this house. It’s probably close to 130 square feet in size, with a glass enclosed walk in shower, whirlpool tub, heated floors, dual sinks, and lots of counter space. If I had a complaint, besides the time it takes to clean it, would be that there are too few electrical outlets.
Three hours later I had cleaned it wall to wall, floor to ceiling. On top of that several of the drawers needed to be organized, but it was done.
I stood in the doorway and examined my handiwork and felt a sense of relief, a kind of calm.
It was such an odd feeling and stood there contemplating it for a minute. It was strange that cleaning a bathroom, mind you I’ve cleaned this bathroom plenty of times and haven’t experienced this before, would produce this reaction. Then it dawned on me what was going on. This time it wasn’t just cleaning the bathroom, this time it felt like a ritual, like an exorcism.
It’s been a rough couple of years for us. Okay, I know, it’s been a rough couple of years for a lot of people. And our problems aren’t worse than anyone else’s. In fact, I’d say that in many ways we had it better than a lot. We’ve both got jobs, we have our health, and that is a lot to be thankful for. But lately, especially in the past couple of months, we’ve had to swallow too much of the same crap and it’s just getting old.
I think the cleaning of the bathroom became a metaphor for me. Even if it was just a modicum, it was a way for me to exert control over the universe.