Posts Tagged ‘domestic godlessness’

When I was in the Honours year of my English degree, I paid a visit to my supervisor in a flood of tears.

“For every one thing I read, I realise there’s another fifty things I haven’t read and need to read,” I sobbed. “It’s overwhelming. All that… knowledge… that I don’t know…

My supervisor was very sympathetic.

“That’s a sign of a good student,” she said. “It’s the mediocre ones who think they know everything.

She was right. I was a very good student – if by “good student” you mean one who bailed out of academia at the first opportunity and to this day remains unsure of the meaning of the word ‘discourse’ and describes Post-Modernism” as “something that sort of happened some time after Modernism”.

So yes, I pretty much took the “I’ll never know it all, so why even bother?” approach. It has served me well throughout my life and has made me the person I am today –  as opposed to some other, much more successful person.

In any case, anyone who has ever visited “The House That Ate Paris” will know this is definitely my approach to housekeeping. For one thing, I find cleaning this house much like peeling an onion, one brown layer at a time: by the time I get to the white bit, I’m weeping openly, only to then have it turn brown almost immediately (which – to stretch the metaphor somewhat – onion certainly does when you fry it. Not that I fry my house, mind. That be arson.).

My father, in stark contrast, has always had an amazing thirst for knowledge and is completely undaunted by mess – as I rediscovered during his recent interstate visit to lend a helping hand in my husband’s [absence].

The first three days, he dutifully did all the dishes and hung out (and then brought back in) all the laundry. By the last day of his visit, he was so on top of the situation, he was virtually washing the dishes before I used them.

That’s when the moment I had been dreading happened.

“Where’s your broom?” he asked, casually. “I thought I might do some sweeping.”

Oh, shit. I thought. Anyone who’s ever spent any time perusing the Gallery of Domestic Godlessness, would know that an activity such as sweeping was likely to uncover something like this:

So next thing I knew, I was desperately trying to clean up things before he started cleaning them – yes, I caught a glimpse of what it must be like to have a cleaner.

Two hours later, I found myself down on my hands and knees in the kitchen, scrubbing the bottom of the aging kitchen cupboards with methylated spirits. This was not a place I had ever thought I’d find myself, and what’s more, now that I found myself there, I wasn’t too sure that I liked myself any more.

My father walked in having just vacuumed under the loungeroom rug.

“Let’s make a pact,” I pleaded. “If you stop, I’ll stop… Please stop.

My father agreed and I immediately downed tools and took to my bed with a copy of Who Weekly to recover. My father, meanwhile, relaxed and unwound by sharpening every single pencil that the children owned. (“Mummy, why is this pencil so pointy?” The Pixie asked me later, which reminded me of the time she’d pointed at the iron and said, somewhat accusingly, “What’s that?”)

And later that afternoon, the kids and I sadly took my father to the airport and drove back through the falling darkness to our sparkling clean house. It felt good to be home.

Twenty-four hours later, of course, it was almost like his visit had never happened…


Thanks for all your help, Dad.

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I love my husband. I truly do. All this time I thought he didn’t do much about the house but now that he’s gone away on his [blah blah sex tour… blah blah blah], I’ve realised he does do quite a lot.

For one thing, he generates a lot of laundry and dishes.

Also, he can DE-declutter a freshly-decluttered surface in seconds flat simply by emptying his pockets. It’s like magic but really really annoying.

He also is very good at staying up just a little later than me and waiting until I’ve just gone to sleep before coming to bed, taking care to knock a teetering pile of CD cases onto the floor and bang his knee on the bed-end to ensure I’ve been completely woken up.

But seriously, I have missed him and his contribution to the household – and not just the piles of glittering gold coins he leaves in his wake that save me from ever having to use an ATM and keep me in coffee and cake.

The fact is I’ve been doing *everything* in his absence. Every dish, every item of clothing, every tooth in each child’s head is only clean thanks to my hard efforts and mine alone. And I’ve helped my mood considerably by muttering “Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here??” as I’ve done it. God knows how single parents cope. They must be saints or on valium. Or both.

Anyway, in the spirit of doing EVERYTHING, I’ve done some other things.

Firstly, I’ve posted a poëm that I wrote especially for my other blog site Poëgatory while completely drunk (see my post “Poëgatory” for an account of how-the-hell this site came into being and “O Geisha Moon” for the poëm itself). Yes, it’s come to that. I mean, what is wrong with you people? Don’t you want to relive the agony and humiliation of adolescence by sending in your highschool poetry for me to publish on the internet? Honestly.

Secondly, I’ve had to post photos of my own domestic squalor in a Special Autumn Edition of the Gallery of Godlessness because the only person who has responded to my repeated calls for contributions (by “repeated” here I mean “two”) was the mysterious NotYourMother. And even then she sent me a photo of a mess that she herself had no part in creating. Sheesh.

Finally, I drew my own goddamn Box Ted cartoon and published it on my so-called husband’s so-called blog. I mean, I’ve been railing at him for months about updating the thing because abandoned blogs make me feel really sad and lonely (in the same way DVD menus make my husband feel sad and lonely). I’m sure I’ve crossed some boundaries there by publishing my own content on another person’s blog, but really: Whoopy Fucking Shit.

So there you go. I’ve done it all. ALL OF IT. Oh, except leave comments on this post. Surely I don’t need to do that too… or do I?

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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 yet again in the third (and final) of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister post.


On a recent visit to my aunt and uncle’s home, I slept like a Queen in a bed that was a little something like this:


Your boudoir awaits, m'lady.

Well, it wasn’t quite like that but let’s just say it may as well have been, considering my husband slept on the floor like this:



Yes. Yes, it’s true. I made my husband sleep in with the kids. On the floor. Like a dog.

And for the record, he said he slept okay, except for the three times Tiddles McGee woke up him and when Mr Justice dropped a bionicle on his head some time around the dawn. (An aside: have you ever stepped on a piece of Bionicle weaponry? And how many stitches did you require? Is it no surprise that Lego is behind all this Bionicles madness? Watch out, Lego. That class action of mine is a steam-train a’coming… see “Unwrapped” for more details).

Now, let’s consider the clothes storage arrangements in our household:


For the Imelda Marcos of Jackets



Knock yourself out, hubby!

And hang on on dog garn moment, Mr Important City Gent: what’s going on with those socks? 

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other...

Could it have something to do with this impressive assortment of odd-socks that I had AFTER I’d done the bi-annual Big Sort?  

The Joy of Odd Socks

The Joy of Odd Socks

And as for this common household appliance that I literally have not used in over three years:

Sorry. Have we met?

Sorry. Have we met?

Are you getting the picture here? In case I have to spell it out for you: my husband is a second class citizen in his own home. And that home is a sock-eating slum, run by a slovenly witch who merrily exposes her décolletage in country pubs but wears neck-to-knee nightgowns to bed at night. Who not only blogs instead of reuniting his odd socks or ironing his shirts, but blogs about about his Ultimate Sacrifice (that pissy little day-surgery procedure also known as the vasectomy) and every single time he enters his own Private Hangover Hell, and then posts photos of her Gross Domestic Neglect for all the world to see. And all with the full knowledge that People From His Work will read it (even if he, himself, will not). 

Yes, my husband has himself a wife who got Decidedly Grumpy with him when he a) slipped a disc in his lower spine instead of resettling the baby; and b) tried to get out of reading books to his firstborn by lying on the ground with a dislocated arm. A wife who will only kick the cat when he’s not around to Take The Brunt of it All. Who will not let him slurp his tea within a 100m radius of the house. A wife who, time and time again, puts him at the very bottom of her list of priorities because he is the least likely to throw a tantrum or shit his pants. Who gets set off by the smallest thing and raves and rants because That’s How She Really Feels and then the next day is sheepishly “raising the Japanese Flag” and reaching for the tampons. Who stands between him and his Other Woman, the motorbike, by rolling her eyes and stamping her pudgy little foot. Who tells him she loves him but yawns mid-sentence. Who. Can. Not. Make. Yorkshire. Puddings. Like. His. Nana. Used. To. Make. 

And yes, I am that slovenly witch, that bitch of a wife, that woman he has vowed to have and to hold (no easy task in itself considering my rapidly increasing girth) for the term of his natural life. And yet, somehow he still loves me. Or so he claims. And actually, now that I think about it, it’s a good thing he will never read this blog because I’ve just put together a far more convincing Dossier of Evidence than George Double-Ya and Mr Blair ever could. So if you ever happen to meet him on the street, don’t mention this post, okay? Just pat him on the back and tell him he’s one hellavu lucky son of a gun. Because he is, right?

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The more observant of my readers may have already noticed I’ve created a Brand New Section to my blog called “The Gallery of Domestic Godlessness”. Since my first “simulpost” with the Bearded Iris (“The Booger Heard ‘Round the World“) where I called for readers to send in photographic evidence of their own domestic squalor, the photos have been coming in thick and fast. All two of them. And yes, okay, one of them I sent in myself. Although I didn’t actually send it *to* myself because that would have just been sad. Kind of like commenting on your own blog under an assumed name. Sad, sad, sad. 

ANYWAY, I created the “Gallery of Domestic Godlessness” as a repository for these photos, which will always be available for your viewing pleasure by clicking on the tab at the top of the page. Until I get bored of the whole thing and take it down, that is. 

Now, I have a confession. I was going to try and totally Rickroll you all just now by linking that tab to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video instead, but according to my cousin L-Beer (who is more tapped into the zeitgeist than I am), that’s soooooo five months ago. 

Interestingly enough, an estimated 18 million people across America have been Rickroll’d so far. So I got thinking… Perhaps I could start my own internet meme to drum up a bit more traffic to my blog…  If one or two of my readership-of-three sent a link to my Gallery of Godlessness by, perhaps, pretending it’s a way of getting Free Champagne, I could increase my readership to, say, five. Or maybe even six. Imagine the possibilities!

And so I urge you all to email a friend with the following message as soon as it is humanly possible:

Dear Friend,

Spend a minute filling in the online form at  https://notdrowning.wordpress.com/free-champagne/ and you’ll get sent a box of free champagne – no strings attached!! It really is that easy!!!  

(No really. Click on the link, okay? I’m under quite some pressure here from this mad blogger in Australia – I think she may even know where I live. Just please click on the URL before she gets violent again – there have been balloon stabbings and everything.)

Hope you enjoy that free fizz!

Love from [insert your name].

And of course when that someone clicks on that URL, they will have the extreme pleasure of being “Haus-Frau’d” (like it?). I ask you: what greater gift could you possibly give? Can’t think of anything? Didn’t think so. 

Go on. “Haus-Frau” someone you love today. You know you want to. Or at least you know that I want you to.

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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!



In a recent school exercise, Mr Justice completed the sentence “The people in my family are…” with the following list:


And he then drew this little picture…


Exhibit A: Check out Mummy's club foot!

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: 


Exhibit B: Web-tastic!

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:


Exhibit C: Ikea, eat your heart out!

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.


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…  


Exhibit D: It's almost Monet-esque in its dappled beauty

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…


Exhibit E: Looking at the world through smudge-covered glass

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!


Exhibit F: The Wall of Mysteries

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:


Exhibit G: My budding Michaelangelos (as in the artist and not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle)

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. 


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…


Exhibit H: Where fridge magnets crawl off to die...

Or think to finally hang up the sodden bathmat and find this on its underbelly:


Exhibit I: Leave all bathmats unturned...

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 notdrowningmother@gmail.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.

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