Most folks who know me well know well that I’m a little bit of a clean freak, not a germaphobe, at all, no, but a little bit of a clean freak, and a whole whole lot of a neat freak. Female friends, particularly those married with children, or partnered with children, it is a new world now, but women with children often hate housework, and so throughout my life my female friends have looked at me with something akin to dumb amazement when I’ve spoken that truth about myself, out loud, and I’ve spoken it often.
I love housework. Yard work, too. I’m a total nester.
While it’s true that now that I’m half blind and don’t much care for artificial lighting, that the dust and dirt and funky stuff that appears magically out of the cosmos to settle in our lives is often invisible to me these days, that things aren’t quite as magazine picture of a house clean as they once were in my dwelling place, still, neatness reigns, there’s a place for everything and everything is usually in its place.
Except my reading glasses, but they’re different. They herd, and hide.
Organizational skills have always been a strength. The cleanliness thing probably comes from my years as a med tech, but who knows? The mystery of AIDS came to be as I sat there eating at the bench, so wariness did grow during those years as readily as a plated E. coli, but one thing is clear, I didn’t learn it at home.
For the decade or so that I visited Mom from afar, my time at her place was spent cleaning, the annual or biennial cleaning of the bathrooms and kitchen, moving all that junk off the kitchen counters and actually wiping them down, dusting and vacuuming, sorting through the piles and throwing stuff out, getting down to the place where dusting and vacuuming could actually occur.
Mom wasn’t much of a housekeeper in her old age, nor any age past forty, the only age I ever knew her. Five kids will do that to a person, or at least to a woman. Somehow I can’t imagine that Dad did anything, ever, not with inside the house work, not a thing men of his era did, at all. He putzed around out in the yard.
Went off to work every day, brought home the paycheck. Mom did the rest, but not all that much, at least not compared to some other moms, but that's cool. Mom was cool, at least compared to most other moms.
Me, I like both. Genetic recombination I guess; maybe some epigenetic thrown in too.
But germaphobia has never been a thing in my world, it’s not about desiring to live in a sterile environment, at all. Heck, I play in compost. In fact, doing housework is kind of just another way to play with prokaryotes.
I’m sure as hell not at war with them. That would be like, the ultimate in futility. And it’s not just the prokaryotes, the fungi, too, those little mildewy dudes. Now, there’s not much of it around, I’ll grant you that. Well, the kitchen compost bin has lots of fuzz of various and sundry sorts, bacteria too, even some anaerobes sometimes, down at the bottom, and there is that one little spot on that one bathroom sink, that inch or two of caulk where mildew always shows up, but really not much.
And really, I don’t even put up that much of a battle. It’s more like a game of chess. Or checkers maybe, the little dudes mostly take it easy with the lumbering beasts of the cosmos. They like me, for the most part, because I’m pretty well colonized with all sorts of stuff, they recognize their own in me, and on me. Why, back in the day, I used to take my meals at the bench in the micro lab, kind of had to snarf something down wherever, whenever, when it got busy.
This morning I’ll do some more work on the compost piles, feed my little friends. This afternoon, when it starts getting a little too hot for outside work, I’ll come back in and go back at getting the inside of this place ready to sell, and I’ll slay billions and billions of 'em, kind of even things out. And that’s okay.
They’ll be back.