Earlier today, at pretty much any hour that ended with o’clock, Alex treated me to a symphony of screams and tears from the floor, where he lay, prostrate with grief over some unseen slight. He rolled angrily, this way and that, his back arched and head occasionally making contact with a toy carelessly tossed about.

I’d try and pick him up every couple of minutes as he thrashed about in the throes of a massive tantrum, but he’d arch his back away from me, and I’d nearly drop him from the sudden shift in weight.

In his defense, which I must remind myself of every 20 or so minutes, he’s getting approximately 4,000 teeth (give or take a few), which is standard M.O. for my poor kids who go from being toofless yokels to Jaws from Moonraker seemingly overnight.

Pleasant, it’s not. But it’s remarkably similar to how I’ve been feeling these days. The stuff I histrionically mentioned last week and then refused to elaborate on has gotten better, but not enough to ease things enough. Since it’s not something serious enough for me to blog about; it’s not cancer or a death in the family, no one is even physically sick right now, it’s hard to admit how much I’m struggling.

Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to try and rationalize away most of my upsetedness (totally not a word. Or if it is, it’s misspelled) by reminding myself that things could always be worse. And it’s the truth. No matter how hard things may be for me, someone somewhere may be dying a slow painful death by chocolate or pinto beans.

But rather than remind myself of this fact over and over and over until I feel like a shameless pile of goo for being upset about something so minor in the first place, I’m just going to go ahead and be upset. I’m not moping about the house, flopping aimlessly onto couches and sighing deeply anytime anyone talks to me or anything. I’m not crying in the shower–or anywhere else–or contemplating wording for my suicide note (although that would be a fantastic writing exercise).

No. None of those things.

Instead, of throwing things at walls or destroying box fans without mercy I am cleaning. I’m cleaning it all. Laundry that hasn’t been touched in weeks? Done. Car that hasn’t been cleaned in so long I’m too embarrassed to even write it down? Check.

It’s all clean.

When I was a kid, I could always tell when my mom wasn’t doing particularly well by the state of the carpets. The house would fall into disrepair, disgusting filth would pile up, and as a 8 year old, I would be stuck cleaning it with a bucket of hot soapy water so that my friends could come over without being disgusted.

As an adult, I associate dirtiness in my home as a sign that I am Not Doing Well. So, as a combatant to that, I clean the living fuck out of everything I can think of, when the going gets rough. I might feel sorry for myself a tad while I do it, but that’s how I handle things. Cleaning.

I wonder if my children notice. I wonder if when they grow up, they’ll become militant slobs when the going gets hard just to counteract the engrained idea that Clean House = Things Aren’t Well.

Or maybe they’ll just take after their father and be slobs no matter WHAT the state of the union is.

My carpet hasn’t looked this good since Alex was a (terrible) baby.

46 thoughts on “The State Of My Carpets

  1. uh-oh! i fall into the Not Doing Well = Dirty Carpets (whole frickin house who the hell am I trying to fool). And these last couple days the house has gone to hell in a handbasket.
    I’m sorry your having a hard time, but misery does love company…so pull up a chair and a pop and we’ll hang out awhile.

  2. i thought about cleaning today, but instead i spent the afternoon in the bed and in the grocery store…

    i’m sure cleaning will start tomorrow.

  3. Today, I started laundry. I even got a few loads folded. They now sit, not put away – on our bed. Which currently has no sheets on it. J cried for two hours straight – an ear piercing scream that made me break down in tears myself. It took every last shred of courage I had to stay there today with him and not get in the car and “run away from home.”

    So um, yeah. I understand.

  4. I like pinto beans.

    I clean clean clean like Mr. Clean was was a drill sergeant barking at my heels to “SCRUB THE FUCKING CHOCOLATE HANDPRINT THAT’S BEEN ON THAT WALL FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS, YOU LAZY, LOWLIFE CHUMBUCKET SLOB! HELL NO, YOU CAN’T USE THE MOTHEREFFIN’ MAGIC CLEAN ERASERS!!! DO YOU THINK THOSE THINGS JUST FALL OUT OF MY MR. CLEAN ASS? DO YOU!?!“…I clean like that when I’m in a bad place, too. Which is definitely a sign that Mom Has Flipped Her Lid because yo – that chocolate handprint has been on the wall for three months.

    With my like of sandwiches and pinto beans, we clearly have differing tastes in foods. But I think lots of other things we have hugely in common. I think I love you in a non-freak, non-stalker, hetero-crush kind of way. And that’s why I do backflips when you comment on my blog, so thanks. 🙂

  5. I always admired people who cleaned when they were upset. I can’t do it — or I have to be a particular brand of upset. Along with in-laws coming to visit.

    We are generally slobs anyway, but the house has really gone to shit this year. Bad bad bad. Eventually (usually with the onset of in-laws looming) I start to look around in disgust at how we could actually live like this, cursing while cleaning.

    Sorry things are rough now. It’s hard being pg. And being a virtual-single-parent. And taking care of the house. And the pets. And all the crap life throws at you, big and small. It’s a lot. You can feel a little sorry for yourself if you want. If cleaning makes you feel better, I say go for it.

  6. Please. Cleaning as therapy is my life. I’ll even come lend a hand should you so desire (remember I have a gaping hole in my home, but my floors are sparkly!), and I even do toilets (though I think I’ll steer clear of young Ben’s toilet territory, thank you very much).

  7. I hate that you’re feeling so down. But could you come be sad and anxious at my house? My reaction to, “a hard time,” (as we’ve come to call it), is to do absolutely nothing. And it shows. I hope things improve for you soon.

  8. I am so that way. I will massively clean when I am pissed or stressed. My house looks good then. Wonder if thats why Chef annoys me so….so his house will remain spotless. LOL

  9. I wish I could find a suitable outlet for my mundane rage against the machine. Cleaning is not one of them. Sleep is good – but not while I am driving.

    Drinking helps, then I get on my shit for doing that…the occasional toke is good albeit illegal…so I am left to read about others’ rage against their own machines and that makes me ‘do better’.

  10. upside: i was sure, at the beginning of this, where alex was rolling around on the floor tantruming, that it was going to end with, and then he got up and holy hell monkeys his clothes were black from the dirt on the carpet, not that i think you’re a slob, but just, that’s where i thought you were going. and that? didn’t happen. so there’s that. child rolling around on floor didn’t end up totally dirty.

  11. I totally realte….I clean the shit out of my house everytime my life seems to be falling apart. Something about organizing my space also organizes my mind.

    Nice to hear your house is clean but hope you find some way or some time to just relax and enjoy. Hope life gets a little better soon.

  12. I’ll buy the plane ticket and I’ll watch Alex if you’ll come over:)
    Hang in there it could just be nesting….yeah right.

  13. You have no idea how with you I am on this post. Seriously. I fear that my kids will realize when they’re older that I was ape shit more days than were warranted because the only way I could function through something was to go insane cleaning the house. I have freakin’ dusted out the jewel cases of all my CDs and realphabatized them, Qtipped out the dryer vent. Yeah. I will ride this train with you.

  14. On my worst days the only thing my kids hear are “You will help me or you will get out of the way.” So yeah, there will probably be some sort of mental scarring involved.

  15. You know, whenever you’re feeling really down, and your own house is clean, I’m sure my wife would appreciate a woman to help with the cleaning since I “never do it right”.

    Although in hindsight, bringing two forces of pregnancy hormones that close together may cause some kind of nesting reaction that would turn my house into Martha Stewart’s or something, so nevermind.

  16. I think cleaning is a very healthy outlet for stress, or anguish of any kind. I also know that I’m in a better state of mind when my surroundings are in order. Hang in there, Becky.

  17. I’ve been known to single handedly lift the fridge to clean underneath when I’m having a bad day. Unless the bad day is down to cramps in which in which case I’ve been know to call in pest control. Swings and Roundabouts over here!

  18. Sounds like you need a serious chocolate fix.

    Is this possibly anxiety over having another baby with Alex giving you fits? How ’bout a Mommy pampering day. If you can’t stand to go out somewhere for it, get a sitter for the kiddos and lock yourself in the bathroom for a nice bubble bath & mini-facial or whatever floats your boat. Usually does the trick for me.

  19. I am a clean if you feel bad type too. I am also a clean if you don’t want to do that other thing you’re supposed to be doing, even if it’s on a deadline cleaner. I used to be a run if you feel bad type, but then I realized that at least if I cleaned I could see the results immediately and cut that exercise crap right the hell out.

    Hope you feel better.

  20. When I’m upset, I just shut down…the house turns into a big filthy mess because nobody else thinks they can clean anything. (got to work on that)

    I hope things get resolved for you soon and you can go back to being a relative slob.

  21. Oh my. You write from my brain sometimes. I do the same thing (clean clean clean) whenever I’m bothered by something. Which has led to my husband (quite annoyingly) asking me multiple times, “What’s wrong?” whenever I start scrubbing the floors, haha.

  22. Sadly, my house is usually dirty whether or not I Am Doing Well.. 😛

    Hope the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that are assailing you piss off in the very near future!

  23. I am sorry that you are having a hard time, I think that you are right to allow yourself to accept that rather than trying to compare your trouble to others. And thereby making your trouble small. I know people keep telling me that in my comments:)
    And know that, yes, at least one of your kids will rebel by being a slob. I did. (not all the time, but on my worst days I just nap. Unless I am angry then I can be crazy cleaning gal.)

  24. I’ve often heard that one’s environment is a reflection of one’s internal state.

    Obviously, I’m a mess.

    You know this is YOUR blog, right? And you can write anything you want, even if it isn’t cancer, right? I may be a bit presumptuous, here, but you’re writing for YOU, right? So go ahead and dump what’s eating you out on your blog – from the looks of it, you’ve got a heckuva good community out here in Blogopolis.

    Meanwhile, I think I’ll go do some laundry…

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  25. I hate housework, whether I’m sick or down or not. I am one of those people who feels like there are more important things to do and if the laundry piles up and the mail takes over the table, then oh well. (Not talking filth here though, spills get cleaned, dishes get washed, etc.) I am the only one in my immediate family who is like that. My siblings are all neat freaks. I wish I got that gene instead.

  26. Take heart, Aunt Becky….The ‘dust bunnies’ at my house have been eaten by the bowling ball size balls of cat hair under my furniture and in the corners of the room. Mr. Farty doesn’t allow housework. I have to get a sitter every Tuesday night just to clean the cat litter box.

  27. Bean is also getting 40,000 teeth right now, and Monday I was about was the worst set of tantrums I have ever ever seen. Nothing was right in the world and she screamed for hours. Literally. Without stopping.

  28. The cleanliness of my house is in indirect proportion to how stressed out I am. Mellow and things are cool? Laundry’s piling up, dishes are in the sink. Stressed out and irritated over every little thing? The toilet is clean, carpet has been spot cleaned and vacuumed, and there’s not a piece of dirty laundry to be found in the house. Oh, and the dogs have their bark collars on.

  29. I clean when I feel like shit, too. It just seems like the thing to do. I crank up the music, pull out the goods and clean as if I was getting paid to do it.

    I hope you feel better soon, love. Hormones fuck with everything, that’s for sure.

  30. I wish I cleaned as reliably. Most of my cleaning is directly related to my sex drive. NOTHING gets my trucker hubby going like seeing a clean house! You’d think after a couple of weeks maybe a woman, or her naked body, could inspire a man, but not so much.. not if the kitchen table is cluttered.

    I do have the odd burst of rage-based cleaning, accompanied by rage-based, adolescent male type music blaring loudly. All of this sends the kiddies scurrying for cover, and I encourage them to find a happy place and STAY THERE, because on days like that I am IN NO MOOD.

    I wish I could harness that energy in a more postive way.

    I also love to clean when I’m alone. Since I was a child, I have loved that. Totawwy Awone. That never really happens though. *sigh*

    Do what you must to get through the rough spots… maybe a bit of willful, intentional wallowing in your aggravation will help it sort itself out. Eat chocolate and scrub floors and walk in a lazy, rambling fasion.

  31. Go ahead – be upset. Nothing wrong with that. We could all say something to rationalize our problems down to nothing, but they’re our problems, they’re our reality, and being upset about them is our prerogative. I’m with you on the cleaning thing – I cleaned my parents’ entire house the night my mom died. I suppose she would have appreciated it more when she was alive, but it helped me cope.

    I hope whatever is making you upset resolves soon – do I need to come out there and bitch-slap someone? I could use a vacation, so happy to act as your advocate. 🙂

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