Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers Of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct and Woefully Neglectful Wives.
Here they are, flashing their dirty bits in the first of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister post.
A lot of people say to me “How exactly did the idea for this ‘simulpost’ with the Bearded Iris come about?”. Well, I reply, it all started with Iris writing to me about a photo she’d taken of a “booger” one of her children had thoughtfully placed upon one of her walls, out of harm’s reach or perhaps as a snack for later. I thought to myself: I like the cut of this lady’s gib. Most people would have just wiped the booger off but no, ol’ Iris had to take a photo of it. And it got me thinking about what kind of photos I could take around my own home…
In this age of open-plan living and antimicrobial hand wipes in a convenient purse-sized pack, there’s a lot of pressure on us housewives to live the Ikea Dream. And I’m sick and tired of pretending that I’m any good at this housekeeping lark and that having kitchen surfaces that I can see my reflection in is important to me. My home may be a pigsty but it’s a place full of love and laughter where nobody is ever told to stop busting a move in the loungeroom in case they scratch the new parquetry flooring or where scrubbing the bathtub is more important than sitting down with my children to read a book and have a hug.
So here Iris and I both are, chucking a Jamie Lee Curtis: doing the housekeeping equivalent of showing our flabby bits to the world to make a million women sigh with relief that their house is nowhere near as filthy as ours and maybe one or two others feel like they’re not alone in letting the housework get just a little bit on top of them. The subsequent photo essays are our gifts to the world on this day, the first day of the New Year, which is all about turning over new leaves and (perhaps) finding out once and for all what really lurks beneath the oven. If you’re that way inclined, that is – I personally am happy to leave it another year.
Some might call us brave. Most will call us slovenly. But here it is: the Awful Truth – in colour!
OUR EXTENDED FAMILY
In a recent school exercise, Mr Justice completed the sentence “The people in my family are…” with the following list:
MUM, DAD, [PIXIE], [TIDDLES], MY CAT, MY SPIDERS AND MY IGUANA.
And he then drew this little picture…
It doesn’t take a genius to deduct from Mr Justice’s family portrait that we have a small spider problem in our house, but here’s a photo just to underline the point:
And for the record, I chose this particular spiderweb to photograph not because it was the biggest or the best but because I liked the perilously-placed skewers a-top of the cupboard so that anyone trying to clear those cobwebs might find themselves in a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style trap. Take that, spider slayers!
Here’s a small example of how things get stored in our house:
I have often thought I’d be the perfect candidate for that TV show “My Life on the Lawn” except there ain’t no lawn big enough in these here parts to hold my junk. Not even the lawns of the White House could handle it. No, truly.
THE SMUDGE ZONE
Right through my house there is a designated “smudge zone” at toddler height where Jam Hands have left their Dreadful Mark over the last three years. As my children have grown taller, the height of the smudge zone has increased – hell, consider it a kind of organic growth chart…
And why restrict the smudge zone to just walls and doorways: check out this pane of glass on the door separating our kitchen from the front of the house…
I should add that the freakiest thing about looking at this photo is that I have the added layer of smudge on my computer screen… and then the further layer of smudge on my glasses… not to mention the blear of sleeplessness over my eyes… Layer upon layer upon layer, just like a Sara Lee danish, except not nearly half as edible.
Behold the wall next to Mr Justice’s bed!
It’s hard to tell from this distance, but I suspect a lot of those marks present a veritable smorgasbord of human excretia. But I wouldn’t get up too close if I were you – and I, as me, certainly haven’t. Quite clearly.
And then there’s the burning question about what jolly japes an unattended toddler armed with a box of Crayolas might get up to. Well, my children have kindly answered that one for us:
I love this photo because you can see the line where the book shelves used to be before I got sick to death of picking up all the books off the floor every day. Ah, good times.
WHAT LIES BENEATH
Every now and then I get the washing up and the laundry done in time to do one of the “extra” cleaning chores, such as wiping down the cupboards or dusting the mantel piece or maybe even the vacuuming. And then once in a blue moon, I do something stupid like remove the “Dust Baffle” at the bottom of the fridge…
Or think to finally hang up the sodden bathmat and find this on its underbelly:
Yes, that really is what was underneath my bathmat. Obviously my hope here is that eventually the bathmat will grow its own legs and turn itself in at the nearest washing machine. You see, there’s method in my slovenliness.
And on that lovely note, here ends the photo essay.
Of course, I’ve done this whole “flashing of our dirty bits” post with The Bearded Iris entirely on trust. I’m hoping that she’s not going to show me up by posting photos of neatly folded, freshly-laundered colour-coded towels in her linen cupboard claiming it’s a total mess because someone’s accidentally put one of the bath towels in with the beach towels. Or, worse still, this whole simultaneous post thing was part of some Department of Community Services international sting operation to get me to provide photographic evidence for their files. I wouldn’t put it past those tricksy DoCS officers.
So, just in case I’m going it alone here, I’m inviting everyone to send in photos of their secret housekeeping shames to email@example.com - all photographic material received will be treated with the strictest confidence and the anonymity of the sender preserved. Unless of course you cross me - in which case I’m going to expose your slipshod arse for All the World to see (if, that is, you consider “all the world” to be my readership-of-three, which I personally do). I’ll be waiting by my inbox, people…
In the meantime, I’d like to wish all three of you a Happy New Year – may 2009 be a good one for one and all.