After this many years of marriage you would think I’d have a clue. But here’s a clue: I don’t. I don’t have one clue about when the deep clean is about to happen in our house until I walk into the middle of it. This usually means I walk into a room on a Saturday morning to discover my wife has morphed into a Tasmanian devil and is vigorously scrubbing each cat with Pine-Sol while yelling something about cleansing our home of germs with fire.
I think my wife, when she’s in the cleaning mood, could be declared legally insane. I’ve often considered recording her actions and showing them to mental health professionals for future legal use when she eventually decides my innards are germ-encrusted disease factories (If you’ve ever smelled my post beer-binge farts you might agree.), and she fixes that problem by knocking me out and administering an ammonia enema or something.
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You think I’m kidding?
Let me explain a few of her maniacal cleaning antics.
Our house is strewn with rugs. Not carpet — rugs — the kind that can be flipped upside down. During these psychotic cleaning sessions not only does she vacuum the tops of the rugs, she turns the rugs over and vacuums the underside. Now, I can hear you say, “That’s a good idea, there’s dirt there and vacuuming both sides of the rug is a great way to ensure it’s clean.”
To which I say, you’re a fucking mess and are probably just as dangerous as she is.
There’s one thing I want to be clear about here. I’m not just some husband who is bitching about cleaning the house.
We clean our house basically every weekend. It’s not the kind of cleaning where we rip apart our entire house and ruin our weekend in search of dirt.
It’s a pretty normal kind of cleaning. Vacuum, mop, dust, laundry, wipe down the kitchen and “sanitize” the old internet history (if you know what I mean), kind of clean the house.
I do that with her every weekend. I’ve learned a lot by doing it. I know I can’t run a vacuum for shit, but I can fucking mop like a pro. I know not to clean the countertop with Windex if the wife is looking. I’ve learned I’m better and faster at changing the sheets on the bed. I’ve learned I suck at the washing of the laundry but rock at folding it, and I’ve learned I’ve gone on too long now about my household cleaning abilities.
I’m not talking about a husband who hates cleaning the house. I don’t like it, but hell, I helped dirty it, so I don’t mind helping to clean it up. What I’m talking about is when she has the desire to strip a room of everything and absolutely create a cleaningpalooza atmosphere that will take exactly the entire weekend to finish. That’s today’s topic: Those odd moods when she gets to just go all Rambo on the house and fires off disinfectant like a commando.
I get that cleaning the house to within an inch of its life is a needed and valuable thing on occasion. We humans are filthy beasts. We’re constantly shedding skin flakes, we urinate and defecate, we prepare food that can be thriving with germs and viruses and I fart a lot.
What I don’t get is why the decision to clean the hell out of the house has to commence with the secrecy of a military operation. She has never given me any warning that she’s decided she’s going to do it some particular weekend.
Never once has she said, “This weekend we are going to napalm the fuck out of all the germs in the house.”
Not once has she ever turned to me on any weekday and said, “Hey this weekend — I’m going to work you like a rented mule cleaning every nook and cranny come Saturday.”
That’s the part that drives me nuts. Why? Why would that be so hard to do? Just fucking say, “Hey honey, here’s the plan for the weekend.”
Why the secrecy? Are the germs on guard, tucked down in bunkers waiting for an invasion? Dagmar launches these attacks seemingly out of the blue. After all these years I have nary a clue when the weekend is about to be consumed in pursuit of germocide. One minute it’s Friday night and I’m swilling beer, and the next it’s Saturday morning and I’m hungover holding a mop. It’s like I went on a bender and was drafted into some weird cleaning crew army while blacked out.
It could even be OK if she made an announcement that very morning over coffee.
“Enjoy this rare moment of calm, honey, because I’m about to go ape shit on some full-fucking house cleaning, so strap the fuck in,” she could say as I flicked the sleep boogers from my eyes.
But nope, it just happens.
The signs are clear once they appear. Every room is systematically stripped of anything she’s strong enough to move, which is most of it. The last time it happened I came up from the basement (where the man cave is located) and discovered a heap of living room rugs on the stair landing. I knew it was game on. I’ve played this game before, I’d seen this movie a thousand time and I was just as terrified as the first time I experienced it.
The best move I can make on “kill all germs in the house” day is too listen to orders and when possible, escape. I valiantly volunteer for missions I would normally balk at.
Need me to run to the store to return 25 items you bought but lost the receipts for honey? Not a problem. Need me to pick up feminine hygiene products that won’t scan correctly at the check out? I’m your man. Need me to stab myself in the eyes while driving away from this crazy, crazy scene? Hell honey, let me start a list, because I am going to do all these things for you if it gets me out of insane clean the house day.
Here’s some things about “kill all the germs in the house” day that I’ll never understand:
1: Vacuuming both sides of the rugs. But we’ve already covered that.
2: The lifting of TVs, DVD players and assorted electronic devices so the area under them can be dusted.
3: Removing the ceiling fastened lighting domes from every room and washing them in the sink.
4: Using toothbrushes that are dedicated to getting to the bottom of who knows what. I’m too terrified to look. I think it involves plumping though.
5: Routinely moving major appliances to clean under them.
She used to scrub all the floors on her hands and knees, because, I don’t know. One of the greatest accomplishments of my marriage was the introduction of the mop. It was like showing an undiscovered primitive tribe in the Amazon a Bic lighter.
She once instructed me to move a stack of firewood in the garage to the other side of the garage so she could sweep where the pile of firewood once was. I’m not joking at all. That was literally the request. This is the same woman who will sweep the dirt up from a patio into a trashcan and not into the grass.
This is the level of weird cleaning I’m dealing with.
There were warning signs in the beginning that this would happen to me, sure. But I ignored them all because who the fuck as a newlywed notices shit like that?
“Sure honey, I’ll scrub the tile with a toothbrush with you because hell, we’re naked together,” was my reaction back then, but now it’s just like, “Why the fuck are we scrubbing anything with a toothbrush? This is just fucking weird and we’re wearing clothes for fuck’s sake.”
As I was writing this, I learned a lot by talking to you all on Facebook.
I learned that most of you reading this are either lazy as fuck or filthy animals. In some cases probably both. How many of you fucks are billionaires or some shit.
“Well, Todd, I don’t do a deep-clean or clean at all. I have a person who does that for me, it’s called the cleaning lady.”
What the fuck? You have people come clean your house? Seriously and shit? That thread is like 80 responses deep and I went way off the chain in it, but seriously, a lot of you either just don’t clean or have a house cleaner? That’s amazing.
OK, I wanted a house cleaning person too and joked with Dagmar for years in the military that when I was promoted to master sergeant we were hiring a cleaning person. Then, when I found out I made master sergeant and I called and told her about my promotion, she said something like, “Great, but we’re not getting a fucking cleaning lady.”
And here’s the weird shit to toss around in your brain. While she fucking cleans like a maniac, other shit in the house that you think would bug a clean freak doesn’t seem too. Our bath towels aren’t fit to dry a homeless dog. Most of them are threadbare, frayed fucking antiques that predate our marriage. They don’t so much as dry you off post shower as sandpaper the water off of your skin. I wouldn’t use one to apply pressure if either of us were ever bleeding from a knife wound. They’re that sketchy. Yet I’m expected to dry my balls with them. A shitty fucking towel tucked into a spotless cabinet. What the fuck sense does that make? I’ve suggested more than once we just replace all of them and I always get a look from her that makes me think I’m the weirdo.