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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

We’re hosting a friend’s birthday dinner this Friday. I’ve put together the menu. Planned the cake. Made the shopping list. I’ve got it under control.

The only problem is that I have to clean the apartment. AGAIN.

One might think this would be relatively simple and rote. After all, I just scrubbed the bathroom spotless four days ago. And did my Suzy Homemaker routine on the kitchen three days ago. How bad could it be?

Yet here we are on Tuesday, and I’m sitting here up to my eyeballs in dishes, with a stack of recycling in the hallway to the ceiling, and somewhere under all that is a dining table, but I’ve been looking all day and it still hasn’t turned up.

So I have to ask this question: how is it possible for two people to turn everything into an inexplicable, relentless disaster within 24 hours?

It seems that even making a cup of tea results in the kitchen deteriorating into a war zone. There’s the pot, and the water that spilled from the pot because somehow it always shoots out of the spout instead of pouring into the mug. There’s the towel that sopped up the water, and the other towel because you still need one for your hands. There are two mugs and two tea strainers, and the smattering of tea that landed on the counter, and, not being satisfied to stay there, scattered to the floor, too. There’s the honey, and the spoon for the honey, and the drizzle of honey that draped itself across the cabinet handle.

And tea should come with a cookie or a muffin, so don’t even get me started on the number of plates, napkins and crumbs that entails.

Who wants to clean all that up after drinking tea and eating a cookie? After drinking tea and eating a cookie all I want to do is sit in my crater. Which means I wake up to all that the next day and who wants to clean all that up before even making breakfast?

And so it continues.

I guess, after all, I’ve answered my own question.

Here’s a related question: why are inanimate objects so spiteful? What devilish little imps have invaded their soulless matter?

Last week my kitchen was so clean you wouldn’t have known anyone lived here. For a full five minutes it was spectacular.

Then I tried to scoop ice cream.

The ice cream was Arctic-frozen and there was no getting a spoon in there. So I ran the scoop under hot water and tried again. Instead of scooping, the hot metal skated across the frozen surface of the ice cream, and the force I exerted trying to get it to penetrate resulted in melted ice cream flying across the room.

I’m telling you this without a bit of hyperbole.

Ice cream went everywhere. Everywhere.

It splattered on every single one of the cabinets in front of me. It splattered on every single one of the cabinets behind me. It splattered all over the refrigerator, all over the dishwasher. It showered the floor. It speckled the sink. It actually flew to the opposite side of the room and splattered all over the appliances that I keep on the “desk” area, the blender and air fryer and stand mixer.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still couldn’t actually get the scoop INTO the ice cream. But I did have to mop and clean the entire kitchen again.

So there’s that.

Still, I can Tasmanian-Devil my way through the place and get it in order – or at least shoved into a closet – by Friday.

But before I leave to deal with three days of dishes and the flour that exploded out of the bag when I tried to pour it into a container, I have one more question.

Can someone please explain what has happened to mold?

One Saturday within the past couple of weeks I scrubbed the bathroom to grandma-levels of clean. You could have eaten an ice cream sundae out of the tub.

By Thursday everything was covered in a ring of the blackest mold.

It’s not summer. It’s not humid. But there it was. Even the guest bathroom, the one we don’t use, was a mold-infested science experiment. It grows in the tubs. It adorns the toilets. It creeps into the sink drain and drops out of the faucets unless you get in there with a toothbrush and enough chemicals to take out the population of a small country.

I’ll be honest, it’s making me start to worry what’s in the water. When you bleach the bathroom and all the mold does is invite the bleach for dinner then eat it and ask for more, you know there has to be a problem, right?

I take full responsibility for the fact that I keep misplacing the dining table, but the mold is next-level and no amount of effort on my part seems to keep it at bay.

My brother Kevin asked me why I seem to be so busy when I’ve done most of my client work for the month and should be feeling more relaxed. I said I had no idea, but I’m starting to have an idea.

At any rate, the good news is that people occasionally come over, which means one way or another I’m going to put order to the madness again.

Photo: can someone please explain why there is an empty tomato can in the closet with my sneakers?