When I tell people (and I often don't!) that our house is messy, they don't get it. They either tell me I'm neat, and I must be talking about just a tad bit of clutter, or they laugh and say something like "Oh tell me about it! My house..." But if they saw the inside of the house I live in, they'd run for cover.
Hunky is a pack rat. And he has a shopping obsession. Almost every day, we receive one or two packages from UPS, mostly from Amazon, but also a few packages from Sit Stay, Wysong, and Raspberry Fields thrown in. Since he knows what is in the packages, he often doesn't open them. Instead, he stacks them in the entryway until it becomes difficult to even walk through the front door.
But, and I hate to admit it, he's not the only problem. I, too, have some stuff that is problematic. The main thing is that when I first moved here, hunky let it be known that he wasn't really a fan of my decorating style ("too kitschy!"), so he didn't want me to start decorating the house with the stuff I brought from my own home. So, it pretty much stayed in the boxes it was packed in, which we stacked along the dining room wall.
And then there was the cottage...a disaster I don't like to think about much. My parents were excited that I was going to have my own place, and even though I had plenty of stuff to decorate my cottage with, they bought me more. Much more. So, when I would come back from a visit with my parents laden with stuff meant for the cottage, I would pack it lovingly into boxes and put those boxes in the dining room, and eventually the living room, waiting for the day I would be able to move it all into the cottage. A day that never came.
Add my boxes to his boxes and throw in hunky's slovenly ways (for instance, leaving piles of receipts where ever he emptied out his wallet, and other piles of stuff, like bags he never emptied from stores) and you've got one heck of a mess.
When I first moved here, I wasn't working, so I used Fly Lady's techniques to keep the place pretty neat and tidy, despite the pack rat tendencies. I employed the 27-Fling Boogie weekly, and that got rid of magazines and other things I simply didn't need. However, once I started working ten hour days, Fly Lady slowly slipped away from me.
After about two years, I wasn't following Fly Lady at all, except for the occasional Hot Spot attack and 27-Fling Boogie. So, eventually we ended up with piles of stuff all around the house (and I'll admit, some of it is mine, because I simply didn't know where to put my stuff). And the state of the house stressed me out so much that it caused a strain in our relationship.
I became uninterested in sex or in spending time with hunky. Because, just sitting around the house lounging together left me feeling piggish. How could I just sit and watch TV with hunky when there were piles of stuff to attack? The stress also took away my desire for sex (well, that and the onset of perimenopause, but it was actually both things that ate away at my libido). Soon, we were in big trouble.
In the last month, the state of the house has finally gotten to Todd as well. So, when a friend of his said "I really need some money for rent; can you put me to work until my job starts next month?" he said yes. Yesterday was her first day here, and already there has been a huge dent made in the family room.
I am so ashamed of the way we live. If my mom saw it, she would just shake her head and say "You didn't learn this from me!" And I know that. However, at some point it became too overwhelming to clean up after myself AND Todd AND still manage to have a bit of free time. The times that I did manage to clean up areas, like the front entryway, it would all go to hell after a week or so, because Todd would just populate the area back up with his many boxes from Amazon. After awhile, it just didn't seem worth it to try.
When I got home from work yesterday, Todd's friend Elaine was cleaning (in a slinky skirt, slit up to the thighs, but I'm trying not to go there!), and I felt so ashamed. Because, if she thinks any bit like I would expect a woman to, she probably thinks I am the main problem. After all, we are conditioned to clean up after our men. To keep home and hearth joyful and clean. And I have failed miserably.
So, I did what I do best: I hid upstairs until she left.
When I finally went downstairs, we had room to breathe. Oh don't get me wrong; there is so much more to be done. So. Much. More. But it feels good to know we can get on top of it.
About two months ago, Todd said "What happened, honey? Your place in Milpitas was always so neat." Well, yes it was. But I also only cleaned up after myself, and I normally didn't make too big of a mess in the first place. Trying to keep on top of someone like Todd, along with six animals and my own messes, while working full time, has become quite a challenge.
After we get this mess under control, I am going back to Fly Lady. I know it works, and I have no idea why I gave up on it. Well, wait. I just wrote a whole entry on why I gave up on it. But maybe this time it'll actually work, as hunky as said once we get the place under control, he is going to hire another friend of his to come in and clean (once a week? twice a month?), so we can keep on top of it.
Well. So, here I am, a failure at cleaning and apparently a failure as a girlfriend. But that's another entry for another time...At least the family room is kind of clean, and that's a start.