One of the nice things about our book club is that it is pretty small with only eight of us. This means that everyone gets to pick a book at least once a year (or twice depending upon the rotation) and you only have to host book club every eight months. Not that I mind hosting at all, but with hosting comes the responsibility of cleaning the house.
The first time I ever hosted book club for this group I was so nervous that my house wouldn’t fit the bill that I spent days cleaning, organizing, and sanitizing every square inch of my castle, figuring they would surely be looking at the baseboards behind my microwave cart and the top of my ceiling fan blades. I’m going on year three with these ladies and I’m so over that. Now when book club is here, I clean, organize, and sanitize only the room we’ll be using and the accompanying bathroom. The other rooms in the house become storage for piles of crap that were laying in my clean-room-of-choice, or for placing anything I don’t have time to put away before company comes. Like clean laundry, backpacks, miscellaneous people, and anything lining the upstairs hallway.
For this evening’s soiree I chose to be upstairs; the fire was going, there is a tad more seating, and it’s just generally a cozier room. I cleaned the hallway bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, and even finally washed the hardwood floors on my hands and knees with an SOS pad. It was the only way to get the dried-on, stuck-on popsicle drizzle, jelly chunks, hard macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti sauce off the floor. There is a good chance the last time I washed my floors like that was the last time I had book club here. So wash the floors I did, along with about four loads of dishes so nothing would be on the counter. My middle daughter showered before company came, and everyone was instructed to please remain downstairs during mommy’s event. Please.
Things were going along swimmingly-there was laughter and joking, wine and gingerale (for the wimps in our group) and we were all pontificating on Zafon’s literary masterpiece when one of the ladies said, “Rachel, do you have a bathroom downstairs I could use?”
At first I’m thinking, Well, I lit a candle in there, really, she needs to go downstairs? When she replies, “Someone’s in the shower.”
WHAT? No one is supposed to be in the shower. Everyone, I repeat everyone is supposed to be downstairs, messing up the rooms that are already messed up, NOT, I repeat NOT using the CLEAN bathroom for the guests.
“Ummm,” I stammer. “I only cleaned these two rooms! I didn’t clean the downstairs bathroom. Can’t you wait?”
I know. Emily Post is rolling over in her grave that I asked a guest to hold her bladder all because I am too lazy (read defunct stay-at-home mother) to do my job and keep the bathrooms clean, not just one mind you, but all of them. What a lazy ass I am. How rude, rude, rude.
While everyone was laughing at the absurdity of the situation, I ran to knock on the door of the bathroom and tell my son ever-so-nicely (because everyone could hear me) “Honey, could you please hurry up in there?” but what I was really thinking was, Get your sorry 9 year-old ass out of that shower and the bathroom I cleaned for the GUESTS take your dirty clothes wipe up the drippy floor what the hell were you thinking you knew I had book club why couldn’t you have taken a shower in DAD’s shower because that room is already messy and now someone needs to use ANOTHER BATHROOM and I didn’t clean any other ones….
That’s what I wanted to say but didn’t. Like I said, book club was listening. So I slink back to the couch and apologize to my friend—not for making her hold her urine mind you, but that my son was in the shower. Another book club member chimes in “Rachel, I thought with your thing about germs and cleanliness that all your rooms would look like this.” And the only thought that comes to my head is,
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
(Thank you Sir Walter Scott for penning the perfect saying for my predicament.)
I wish all my rooms looked clean all the time. They did when I was able to hire someone to clean my house every two weeks. I do hate germs, especially bathroom germs, but oddly enough I’m comfortable with my own family germs so much that our own germs aren’t really catalyst enough for me to clean my house on a regular basis. And honestly it's not the cleaning so much that bothers me, but the futility in it that prevents me from performing my stay-at-home-don't-having-a-paying-job-duties. I can clean my ass off and 15 minutes later some kid comes along and effs it up. Instead of laying hand on them everytime those oh-so-cute children of mine un-clean my rooms, I've learned to live alongside the blessed children and the ensuing mess. It's how I cope.
Well, finally my friend decides to go downstairs and use the bathroom anyway, mostly so she can report back to everyone how horrible it might in fact be. The last time I was down in that bathroom it wasn’t clean, but it wasn’t gas station either, but of course I’m envisioning the worst. Toilet paper littering the floor, dried skid marks down the side of the bowl, those explosive little brown spots that look like someone spit tobacco just under the rim, dried puddles of urine from boys…I drank a little more wine and tried not to sweat.
When she came back upstairs, her verdict was, “Just a little bit of boy pee here and there. Nothing I haven’t seen before.” Thank you Jesus that she has a boy. Thank you that there was only pee. Thank you that she’s a good liar. Ugh.
I have learned my lesson. The next time I have book club I will make doubly sure that everyone has showered before my guests arrive. And that everyone, I repeat everyone stays downstairs.