Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Fleas, dust, time and the river...


Quite apart from dealing with broken hearts, I am in a tailspin. My lovely in-laws are coming to stay on Thursday. Suddenly I am seeing the house in a whole new – deeply unflattering – light.  Ye gods, what the feck am I going to do?  Their house is pristine. Everything is in its place; everything matches.  Yeah, sure, that’s just a taste thing – and I like the mismatched Bohemian mess of this place.  But, for pity’s sake, their house gleams.  And for sure, I couldn’t ever aspire to gleaming.  But…clean?  Clean would be good, right?  I’d even settle for not filthy at a pinch. 

Seriously, I don’t know where to start. Adrian is away at another beer festival, James is surfing at the beach. I am walking round the house with wild staring eyes wondering how it ever got quite this bad.  There isn’t just dust, there are dust armies. Dust sculptures. Dust installations. I suppose I could apply to the Arts Council for a grant? There are festoons of cobwebs punctuated by dead things. More to the point there are fleas.

Yes, the house has fleas.  The dogs have fleas. I have fecking fleas.  Everything scratches. The dogs scratch. James and I scratch.  The dust probably scratches too. Weirdly Adrian doesn’t scratch but then he just sneezes instead. 
‘Bloody hay fever,’ he says. Bless him.

Yes, I’ve doused the dogs with Frontline. It doesn’t work.  

The last time they came to stay (the inlaws, not the fleas) was over ten years ago.  The house we lived in then was relatively normal (just stuck on a hill in the middle of Deliverance country – honestly, families round there were seriously…familiar). I had a cleaner; I had a gardener. The sheets were new, things were polished.  I was still functioning in a vaguely acceptable way and cooked vaguely edible food. I was house proud. I subscribed to interiors magazines, for pity’s sake. 

This is the first time they will see the house. It’s high summer, the sun is shining fit to burst and yet the mould is still playing at a series of variations on the Turin shroud on the bathroom walls. I have given up on the Loo of Doom, Cellar of Despond etc – and just shut the door firmly and put up a sign saying ‘Danger – Beyond Here Lie the Kind of Life Forms that Dr House Says Lead to Definite Death’. 

The spare bedroom is now in what was my erstwhile office, hence packed floor to ceiling with books with titles like ‘Demonology’, ‘Psychic Self-Defence’, ‘The Sin Eater’s Last Confessions’, The Demon Lover’ and ‘How to Turn your Ex-Boyfriend into a Toad’. It is also the repository for all furniture which will not fit anywhere else so – apart from my mother’s old bed (antique, with suitably antique squeaking springs), it also contains a large sofa, a small weird wardrobe, a kitchen table and six chairs, a homeopathic medicine cabinet, a few occasional tables and an unconnected wood burning stove.  Frankly, it’s a mess. 

But hey. What can I do?  Unless a small army fancies popping over and blitzing the place – or someone sends over a crack troupe of industrial cleaners, there’s no way I can get it fixed. So I may as well not bother.  It is what it is. There are worse things in life than dust and fleas, right?  In the scheme of things, who gives a shit?
I have friends, good friends, the best, who are going through real shit right now. Nothing I can do about it and yeah, that sucks out loud.

So, yes, I could clean like a skivvy on speed.  Then again, I could sit at my PC and try a bit harder to get myself out of the total utter mess I’ve got myself into. But hey…who knows eh?

Who knows how long any of us have got?  That interstellar highway could be coming through any second now. The Grim Reaper, bless him, could be readying his pointy finger just millimetres away from your or my shoulder.  Soooo... I take me a bag of cherries and me dawg and I go…

…down to the river…

14 comments:

Midlife Singlemum said...

Sorry there's no way out of this. You'll just have to get cleaning. Nothing else for it.

Sessha Batto said...

After 20+ years in mid-renovation I apparently had a nervous breakdown 2 weeks ago and went and actually purchased new matching furniture for the family room. This is, I admit, a first in my adult life, no burn holes, vaguely disreputable stains, poking springs or escaping stuffing. Then, of course, I panicked, swearing to finally hang the walllpaper and lay down the hardwood floor that I've had since we moved in (again, over 20 years ago). Alas, the mastic had gone bad, then we couldn't find it anywhere, then we did but it is far too precious and I needed new glasses. . . Needless to say, I will continue to employ misdirection, candlelight and hermithood.

Anonymous said...

Once you have fleas in the house, it's no use just treating the dogs. You will have to use a spray from the vet - everywhere the dogs have been, reading the instructions on the can first!!!
I sometimes stay with someone whose housekeeping sounds a bit like yours. I find that as long as the toilet, washbasin, kitchen sink and crockery and cutlery are squeaky clean, I can ignore the rest, so that's where I'd start, for what it's worth!

Frances said...

Jane, I am going to send you an email. Not about fleas!

xo

Greta said...

We invite friends and relos to stay every now and then so we'll get up and clean properly. And mow the lawn, do the edges and such. But like another person, the important bits are toilet, bathroom and kitchen. Everything else can be put down to eccentricity.

Rob-bear said...

I sense the aura of doom and disaster about your place. I feel sorry for you. Not everyone understands your form of "creative" housekeeping.

If it is of any assistance, there is a marvellous book which may help you in your difficulties. It is called, Spirit of the Home. I recommend it highly. It has helped me considerably.

janerowena said...

Kitchen and bathrooms and their bedroom. And vacuum everywhere. Get the Boy to help. Bribery works, I find. Use the vacuum cleaner to get rid of the worst of the cobwebs and dust - he can do all that. It's the only way I cope with yearly invasions by outlaws and my own family.

Bridge Oliver said...

As it says on this 'ere beermat "A clean house is the sign of a wasted life"

Nicola Vincent-Abnett said...

The marvelous thing about housework is that it WILL STILL BE THERE when you get around to doing it!

Relax! I'll be happy to visit whenever you choose to invite me.

Best love,

Addy

thegirlfromthevillage said...

Clean house = dull woman. But things like loos/baths even I, as non domestic goddess, get cranky about. And sitting room must have clear path to sofa/armchairs (the fact the clear path is actually a trail through dust is neither here nor there). A pal came to stay last week. All lovely, having not seen her for decades: day before I bashed an already injured knee and could hardly move: she had to make up her bed which involved fighting through cobwebs. Such a star "I've come to see you, not a pristine house".

Tyson said...

As long as the bathroom and their bed is clean, it's all good. And besides, don't they know you? :D

Everything czyli wszystko said...

Damp? There's all ways damp, for sake's sake, where a pump operates now and then. Like wood she no.

Kneazle1 said...

Yeah Frontline no longer seems to work, we (including the cat) got fleas last year whilst she (the cat not we) were on Frontline. Vet switched her (cat again) to Advantage (cheaper on Amazon) and we bought cheapo spray from Wilkinsons to douse the house and have been flea free since (all including cat).

Lemon scent make you think it's clean...

Monalisa said...

I love when someone comes to stay. The house gets a good (enough) clean. Thank goodness for visitors.