No Sugar Added: I’ll clean when I’m dead

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I think I’ve seen the bottom of my kitchen sink for a total of three hours in the past decade. And I’ve given up any hope of reaching for a spatula while cooking, and actually finding it in the utensil drawer. I already know its location: under the baking sheet under the pot under the pyramid of cereal bowls.

In the sink.

Clutter is not my friend. Neither is cleaning.

The cleaning gene somehow failed to be passed down to me.

I would rather do just about anything than clean my house. I love having parties and inviting company over; company is merely a vehicle for getting my house clean.

I can only clean when under pressure. And even then, I have my limitations.

I once had a friend come to town, and threw a party to coincide with her visit. Sixteen minutes before my guests were due to arrive, I found her in my bathroom, cleaning the toilet. I, meanwhile, had no problem with the state of my toilet and was flitting around lighting candles and making sure the cloth napkins were artfully folded.

I never notice anyone’s toilet when I’m at a party. I do however, notice whether the hors d’oeuvres are presented in an eye-pleasing, color-coordinated manner.

Thankfully, I’ve given birth to three children – one of whom was clearly the result of an immaculate conception, because there’s simply no way he could be the product of any egg and sperm combination from my late husband and myself. Since a young age, it’s been apparent that my oldest son is a miracle – everything in his room is perpendicular, parallel, folded, straightened, arranged, dusted and Windexed.

He loves to clean.

Drew and I used to look at one another, perplexed, and thank the stork for bringing this wonder of nature into our lives.

And now that Harold is a teenager, I’m even more awe-struck.

How many mothers are awakened at midnight by the sound of their teenage son vacuuming his room? Without any prompting? How many mothers return from a long car journey, desperate to pee — only to be greeted by a roll of toilet tissue whose end has been folded into a neat little point? Much like at The Four Seasons. Or The Ritz.

The last time this happened, I obtained photographic evidence because no one would ever believe me.

Unfortunately, Harold’s God-given propensity toward neatness is a gift bestowed upon neither of his siblings.

Ophelia’s bedroom can best be described this way: take the contents of a Goodwill store, an antique store, a Sephora store, an art supply store, Barnes and Nobel, and possibly one wing of New York’s Museum of Natural History. Stuff into a cannon and fire into a space the size of a large dog kennel. And there you have it. Disaster.

Harold’s room is positioned diagonally from hers and if both doors are open, there’s a clean line of vision. This is a rare occurrence, since it causes him to break out in hives.

Charles’ room is similar in flavor to Ophelia’s, except the contents of his particular cannon comes from a guitar store, GameStop, the CIA’s weaponry arsenal, Dick’s Sporting Goods and a Las Vegas lounge singer’s dressing room.

My own room is part cannon fire, part Buddhist monk sanctuary. Depending upon the day of the week. And the phase of the moon.

There have been times when I’ve budgeted money for a housekeeper. And truthfully, someone cleaning my home on a weekly basis remains in my top three fantasies.

But for someone to clean, you must first unearth the surfaces in need of attention. And that’s too dismal a task on most days.

I have a dwarf Belgian bunny renting space in my living room, and three children who are not moving out in the foreseeable future. When they do, I will surely miss them. And perhaps then I might be inspired to clean.

But really, I’m thinking just seeing the bottom of the sink will be enough.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at [email protected].