Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Clean your room!

I am not a particularly neat person. I consider it one of my greatest faults.

I used to be neat - sort of. I had to be. My mother insisted. All of the beds had to be made, our rooms had to be tidy, and we had to stick to a daily chore schedule. The mantra from us kids growing up was, "We aren't your slaves!" My parents' mantra was "Why do you think we had kids?"

But my default is not to be tidy. And so the minute I left home, my natural state of slovenliness emerged. I spent four years of university hiding under a pile of laundry (clean and dirty), text books, dust, and crusty dishes. I knew that I should at least set aside my Saturday morning to clean the apartment, but I was either (a) too hungover from Friday night shenanigans or (b) simply didn't want to.

Now that I own a house of my own, I have a serious internal conflict about the state of cleanliness of my home. On the one hand, I want to be proud of the house that I have worked so hard to afford, and part of that means keeping it clean. On the other hand, I am a hedonist, and feel that my life should be full of things that make me happy. Cleaning does not make me happy. And so I don't want to do it. And often times, I don't.

What does any of this have to do with the Beast? you are surely and most justifiably asking yourselves.

Well, dogs can be very messy creatures. Especially mine. He is a downright pig.

First of all, there is the shedding. It's a 365-day-a-year phenomenon. You'd think the Beast would cut me some slack in the winter by holding on to his precious fur. But no, on any given day of the year, I am apt to find his hair in any corner of any room in my house. And not just one or two strands here or there. No - I'm talking piles of hair. Piles. I've never seen a dog lose so much of his fur when it is -30 outside. Ever.

Then there are his messy, messy paws. He tracks all matter of stuff through this house. From pebbles to dirt to mud to snow to ice pellets to water, to actual dog poop one time that made me gag as I was cleaning it up. And we have dark grey floors that show every single paw print. I've given up walking with no shoes in my house because I am sick of having all that gunk collect between my own toes, and because, frankly, it is sometimes gross to think of what my bare feet might be stepping on.

And the front window sill is a mess. It bears black marks from all the jumping up and down he does at the front window whenever he hears a sound outside our door. I've tried wiping it a million times, but short of repainting the sill, I am quite convinced that it will never be white again.

Finally, he has never seen a slimy duck pond that he wouldn't love to dive into, nor a pile of dirty snow/slush/grass that he would love to roll around in. All of which he tracks into the house, along with the not-so-nice smells that go along with these outdoor joys. All I can say is thank god for waterless dog shampoo, because this place would smell like a hobby farm otherwise.

I'm sure it is no surprise that my house is just a little bit messier than it used to be before the Beast came into my life. In fact, it's quite a bit messier. Which you would think would amp up my inner guilt over the fact that I am not the housekeeper that my mother hoped I would be. But it's quite the opposite, actually. Instead of beating myself up for having a messy house, I have embraced the fact that I have a dog. Which means that I now have an excuse to have a messy house.

Yes, that's right. I mask my natural untidy tendencies behind the thin veil of dog ownership. 

But I mean, really, how can a professional woman with a full-time-plus job keep a happy marriage, a rich social life, a fit mind and body, and an active dog, if all she ever did was clean up after said dog? She couldn't!!! In fact, it would be downright selfish to worry about the multiple paw prints all over the front hall floor when I could be spending my time training the Beast or snuggling with my hubby.

And so, my mother will just have to accept that her daughter's house will never grace the pages of a home decor magazine. Maybe it will make her feel better to know that my house may be messy, but it is the home to a wonderfully handsome, albeit dirty, Beast!

Or maybe she'll ask me to hire a maid before her next visit.

That's not such a bad idea either...