Orange you glad I live here?

When I first looked at this house, I was struck by a few things. A) How cute it was, 5) How cheap it was, and E1.a.9) How neat it was.

It turns out I knew the owners, or at least half of the owners. The woman is someone I work with, and she has always been impeccable. Her posture is astonishing, and her clothes were always the most ut, and it was sort of like I was working with Jackie Kennedy without the unsavory-Greek-husband period.

Once I moved in, I heard from neighbors about how exacting the husband was, and I can tell that’s true because nothing in here had a flaw. It was amazing. One afternoon The Poet was over, and we noticed that Milhous had batted one of his mice under the stove. “I’ll bet that’s where ALL his mice are going,” I kvetched, and proceded to move the bottom drawer out of the stove and look underneath.

“The Poet, look at this,” I said to The Poet. Under the STOVE, y’all, UNDER THE STOVE, there wasn’t a speck of dirt. Just clean, dust-free concrete.

As a result, I’ve aimed to be a better housekeeper. A few people have come over and exclaimed, “It’s so CLEAN in here,” which I hear about as often as I hear, “You have natural athletic abilities.”

On Saturday mornings, I sweep and I scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors. I dump out the litterbox and wash it and air it out. I clean the sinks. I vacuum. You wouldn’t even recognize me. You’d think, “That can’t be June. On Saturday mornings, June has her regular softball scrimmage.”

I have no idea what a “scrimmage” is. I just hear that word up close to athlete things.

This past weekend, I had shit to do, like read and hang out with Wedding Alex, so I didn’t do as much. I did sweep all the floors, because pet hair, but I didn’t scrub anything. Also, on Monday night, my friend from work Ryan came over unexpectedly, and I had a little flame of pride that I’d made my bed, which I try to do most days now.

But yesterday morning? I didn’t. I didn’t make the bed. And Edsel had tracked his damn muddy paws through the kitchen that morning. Usually, I spend a painstaking amount of time cleaning them when he comes in, but I hadn’t known it’d rained, so his paws being muddy was a delightful surprise.

I’m telling you all this because yesterday at lunch, there was a knock at the door and it was the tidy guy who used to live here. He’s in his 70s and he’s lived here on and off since 6th grade.

He also owned the house next door, but he’s sold it, which vexes me. The women he’d rented to was PERFECT. Friendly without being annoying, quiet, neat. And now god only knows what nightmare is moving in next door.

He wanted to ask me a few things about the logistics of that (I have this private alley and he wants to use it to get stuff out of the other garage) (I know how you all are. How you get off on TANGENTS about things. “What did he want, June?”) (“Tell us, JOOOOOOON.”) and while we stood talking on my porch, Edsel behind the storm door barking and grabbing his face and screeching like that kid in Home Alone, it dawned on me he might like to see the house. Since he lived here for, you know, 60+ years and all.

“Oh, I’ll come in for a bit,” he said.

Dudes.

In the living room, I have FOUR THROW PILLOWS piled haphazardly on a chair. I got them free when I got that loveseat I regret buying. They’re blue and tan, and I got them out this weekend to take them to Goodwill and then never did.

Also, both the couch and the chair have pet blankets on them, for the whole fur sitch, and the blankets were all…SMUSHY, and everything looked ridic.

Then I took him here into the den, my favorite room, and there was a sweater just balled on the chair. In four months of living here I’d never done that, BUT OH I DID THAT DAY. Goddammit.

Plus? There’s an orange on the side table.

An orange.

Then, of course, we meandered into The Larry Mud Melman floor in the kitchen, the Tracks of My Paws floor, and the only good thing I can say is there were no dishes in the sink. But? Also for the first time ever? I’d thrown a coat onto one of the kitchen chairs.

And for the grand finale, the unmade bed.

Here’s your house! I’ll bet you’re glad you sold it to me!

Jesus. As he drove home, probably a single tear rolled down his cheek in mourning for his once-pristine dwelling.

So that’s my latest humiliation, in my line of humiliations that make up the fabric of my life.

Tidily,
June

54 thoughts on “Orange you glad I live here?

  1. Wait.. was there more to this story? Because all I got out of it was that the man who used to live there wants to get in your private alley.

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  2. My husband just told me, “You’re not a hoarder, you’re a horizontal surface filler-upper”. I think your place at its worst is better than mine at its best.
    Lovely post, Joon.

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  3. It never fails: Any time my house is clean and tidy, no one stops by. But the very second it looks like a glitter bomb went off in the living room, my mother-in-law shows up (she lives next door). It is nearly impossible to keep the house uncluttered and tidy with 2 young kids and a puppy. Her house looks like a museum–nothing out of place. Meanwhile, I didn’t make my bed that day, there are kid socks and coats littering the floor, blankets and pillows strewn about, at least 2 full laundry baskets to trip over, and an inch of grass/dirt/dust/crumbs/whatever on my front door mat. Oh well…we are definitely living in our house, and at the very least, we’re giving her something to talk about. Lovely post, June!

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  4. I agree absolutely with Dawn, that a lived-in house looks better. I have a magazine-cover un-lived-in living room image in my head, and it has a polished glass coffee table with three gently fanned magazines on it and a precisely centered Single Perfect Green Apple.

    Whereas an orange on the side table, that has character.

    I do like the way you pronounce my full name in dialogue.

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  5. I am a messy person. Like Oscar the Grouch. Okay, maybe not at the”Oscar” level, but… Anyway. I totally feel your pain! I hate the drop by people. I am always embarrassed!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  6. I’m one of those weird people who wash out their trash can but that’s because it sits inside the attached garage and if I don’t it makes the whole garage stink, especially in our hot summers. For those of you who are just dying to know how to wash out a huge rolling bin it takes a hose, an old broom, and something like vinegar or pine sol, whatever kind of gal you are, and Bob’s your uncle.

    So that I don’t have to neat-freak clean the garbage bin very often I put dry trash in the bin but anything that will rot goes in a plastic bag in the freezer and is put out on garbage day.

    For the recycling bin, nothing goes in there that isn’t clean. Nothing to stink it up.

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    • OMG! You are my anal sister Diane for sure! lol! She scrubs the big rolly garbage can too! Monthly! (I think I did mine once in the past 10 years) Her not-so-anal neighbor shares the same waste company, and the driver accidentally swapped Diane’s rolly can with said neighbor. And…yes she did! She marched right next door and swapped her pristine can with the neighbor’s, in broad daylight! I could tell you people stories about Diane and I think it would be a bestseller!

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  7. I used to be an obsessive neat freak when I lived alone. I actually watched the movie Sleeping with the Enemy with Julia Roberts and was like, this guy makes sense…. I still have a drink fridge that I keep nice and organized and face all the drinks forward. But I have a husband and step-kids now so my house is never what I would call tidy. This week while we are getting burred in snow I plan on taking everything out of my kitchen cupboards and giving them a good scrubbing.

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  8. I agree with Pam.
    Also, I think that’s a Category One/minor items slightly out of place on the Grand Cleaning Scale.
    The orange on the table cracked me up and I’m still laughing at the Larry Mud Melman Tracks Of My Paws floor.
    I had a brother who was a neat freak. His “excuse the mess” moment was having the ironing board out when I was over. Freak is right.

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  9. Here’s my excuse: I needed (OK, wanted) to replace my ratty old patio furniture. And they have great sales on that stuff after summer is over. So I found what I wanted in a catalog and it was 70% off. 70% I tell ya! So I ordered a new table, 4 chairs, a shelving unit, a side hutch, and 2 lounge chairs. And it was delivered. In 9 ginormous boxes. Unassembled. I got the 6 chairs and shelving unit unboxed and assembled before the weather turned cold and snowy. I had unpacked the side hutch, but the pieces are still propped up all over the dining and living rooms. And the table is still in its box on the front patio.

    It’s supposed to inch up into the low 50s the next few days so, if the wind dies down . . . and it doesn’t rain . . . and I’m not too busy with work. . . . I’m aiming for Easter at the latest.

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  10. I agree with Mother. I am retired and busy all the time, maybe more so than when I was working. I want my home in order and tidy all the time, but my husband is not quite as, uh shall I say, a perfectionist as me (I identify a lot with Paula) and it drives me crazy. At thr moment he has gas grill parts stacked in the bay window until he can gather all he needs to rebuild the grill because of a freak a accident that caused it to catch on fire and melted all the inside parts. Then there are little gibbets of paper with notes scribbled on them from the kitchen to his closet and that just pushes me right over the edge!!! Then there are the ball caps from the back door to his closet. Okay I’ll shut up. The clutter drives me nuts but obviously the dust, not so much.
    Tee

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    • Ohemgee! I suffer from male pattern messiness. My husband has a side table next to his recliner (ask me how much I love the recliner) and it is always cram packed with stuff, then he extends it out to the coffee table and onto the kitchen table I have screen material in my office because he still needs to build a screen for the back window. He has parts for the dryer on the kitchen table and most maddeningly he has used toothpicks everywhere. All that said, I would miss him terribly if he wasn’t here. I just wish he were a little neater.

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    • My husband has the paper gibbet thing, too! (Did you mean gibbet? Because that’s a gallows. But I’ll go with it!) He scribbles things all over old envelopes and napkins and junk mail and then expects everyone to recognize that THESE ARE IMPORTANT. Then why not TREAT them like they’re important? I tried to convert him to a note book or a calendar book a few times, but no go. He just continues scribbling. And his desk? It’s worse than the bottom of my garbage can. He knows that the minute he shuffles off this mortal coil, I will grab a trash bag and just scoop the whole mess off his desk and out it goes. I will not spend one second of my widowhood sorting through that mess.

      I may not wash my trash cans, but I know how to organize a desk!

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  11. I love it when my house is actually clean. It doesn’t happen very often and when it does the three males always piss me off by making some kind of mess. Once again, I envy your living alone.

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  12. You are a busy woman, you have a busy life. You LIVE . Not just for your house, and you are not retired with nothing to do, but keep it model. Good for him for being so fastidious…but we don’t read his blog.

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  13. I feel for ya. After being a filthy slimeball for most of my life, I became a tidy person somewhere in the vicinity of 34. It would never fail, though, any time I slacked even a little, that would be the day my mother would “pop in”. I rented my house from her, so she felt inclined to “pop in” whenever she felt like it thank you very much. Can I tell you how glad I am I don’t live there anymore?

    She’s so compulsively clean, she often accuses her neighbors – to their faces – of trying to steal her clean recycling bins because, “Unlike SOME PEOPLE, I actually scrub mine out once a week. What kind of an animal doesn’t scrub out their recycling bins once a week?”

    Then I have to remind her that *nobody* does that.

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  14. I have a neighbor who puts me to shame. One day I realized that my outside trash can stunk of dog poop. Probably because I’m always tossing dog poop in there without using a bag. But whatever. I think to myself “I should get the hose and wash that trash can out!” Then I thought “Oh, whatever. No one does that.” I glance across the street and there’s persnickety ole Tom, HOSING DOWN HIS TRASH CAN. He probably does it every week. The man is particular. But he’s a dream neighbor who will do just ANYTHING for you, so I haven’t yet murdered him. But I do NOT let him inside my house. God knows what horrors he would uncover. He had a young, gorgeous slut of a wife when they first moved in. She soon left him for another man (another neighbor. Destroyed two families. Another story.) and he raised their two little girls all by himself for the last 20 years. I often wonder why another woman hasn’t snatched him up. But maybe that level of finicky takes an equally finicky woman.

    Lovely story lovely June! You’ll get your cleaning groove back. And anyway, we’ve stood by you through your messy years. We won’t abandon you now.

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      • A poopie scooper of course! I mean, I may not wash my trash can but I don’t pick up dog poop with my hands! Usually I grab a paper grocery sack and fill that up and toss it in the trash. But some days that’s just too much effort. Or there’s just not that much poop. So I just open the lid and dump it in. And regret it later.

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