Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Clean Queen Throws in her Towel

I am a self-proclaimed clean freak with OCD tendencies. Which is why it was difficult for me this week to allow strangers to come into my home and clean it, top to bottom. While I love the end result, (they cleaned areas I have unintentionally ignored like my ceiling fans and the window above my front door) there's a sort of guilt and failure that I feel for resigning to maids to clean my 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home. I mean it's not that big, I can do it myself right?

Well, I could...and that was before October 2010 when the Vik moved in. Not that I'm blaming him, but when I lived alone, I didn't even step foot in three of the rooms. Automatically less mess. And the only reason I went to the basement was to do laundry - now he uses it as a workspace, storage space and bar.

When I lived alone, cleaning the house was a chore I embraced. I blasted my music, danced around and had fun with it. It was the one thing I felt I could control - take what's dirty, use a little elbow grease and make it clean. There was an end result. One I felt proud of.

But after the Vik moved in, the mess became more than I could handle. And it's not that he's messy, he's just a guy - and a simple act of making a sandwich would turn into a crumb fest on my counters and floor. (I should state that he does clean up after himself. But I have high standards when it comes to cleaning, and rarely anyone meets them).

My cleaning cache
I also found it too easy to make an excuse to be lazy with him or do other fun things on the weekends then clean. But, I found that I couldn't really enjoy myself when all I could think of was the dust piling up in the corners or the ring forming around my toilets. The neglect was turning to guilt and the guilt to stress.

Why should I stress about a household chore when I have enough stress in my life? That was the question I asked myself earlier this month and the one that changed my mind. In an effort to lessen my stress, I gave in and you know what? I'm happy I did. The Merry Maids met my cleaning standards - cleaning places I couldn't (my ceiling vents for one) and I'm happy to break my weekends free from scrubbing the tub and polishing the stainless steel. This isn't to say I'm going to let the house go. I can't do that. I'm too manic about being clean, but I'm okay letting go of the control, (I think).

So, I ask you. Do you have a maid? What's been the most rewarding thing about having one? If you don't have one, would you consider it?

Better yet...do you think I'm a) crazy b) lazy or c) wise.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Blog I've Been Dreading

"I've spent the last 6 months doing whatever it takes to keep my dog alive. There isn't a day, or a moment that I'm not concerned with how she is doing, what she is doing and how she could be doing. Since being diagnosed with cancer, all of my strength, passion and love has been."
Those were the words to the last post I was typing on February 4th. It was also the night I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my love, my Indi. I find it ironic that today, after 5 months, and on what would have been her 11th birthday, that I chose to write again.

Indi, 5 days before she died. 
I think it's taken me so long to write this because I was afraid to read what I wrote. I remember trying to describe how difficult it was to care for a family member on borrowed time. I ignored my blog because I knew those words still lived there. Opening the draft would be like opening up memories to a night I wan't ready to face again.

While I'm not about to rehash the anguish of losing Indi, (thanks to Stephanie for lending me this book, - it helped get me through the stages of grief), what her death has taught me is the precious value of time. I've learned what is and what is not a priority and while I'll never stop sweating all the small stuff, I've learned to let go of some of the things I can't control. Cancer may have beat us in the end, but the three of us gave it one hell of a fight.

As I finish this blog, I keep thinking of this lyric in Glenn Frey's 80s hit, You Belong to the City: "so much has happened but nothing's changed." This may seem odd, but when it comes to love, nothing has changed. We still love Indi, that indeed will never change, but we've also found room to love another dog. As I type this Dublin, a 5 month old mystery mut, vies for my attention, sitting on the same couch I shared with Indi, wrapped in the same blue blanket.
Dublin, 5 months

I expected to share our home with a dog again, but not for at least a year. I gave myself a timeframe that wasn't necessary and I'm happy I didn't stick to it. Dublin has brought us so much laughter and joy -  more in this last month than I've probably experienced in a very long time. And while I wish I didn't worry so much about her (I guess I'll never stop worrying) it's been so wonderful to love and care for an animal again.

I'd like to think Indi had a hand in bringing Dublin to us, but knowing Indi, she would have no part of sharing her house with another dog! So, I think we just got lucky.

My hopes for Dublin are many. My main hope is that she knows I will do everything I can for her to make sure she is safe, happy and loved. The love she has given to us is overwhelming and is slowly mending my heart.