DIRT – Marilyn Armstrong

My cleaning person was here yesterday.

It was floor and shower day and right now, the house looks as good as it gets. I’ve been explaining to the dogs that they can’t be messy. If I’m going to pay for cleaning, they need to be a lot tidier.

So all the floors are clean. Kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. AND she got all the dirt that gets into the corner under the seat in the shower. I can clean it, but afterward, I can’t get back up.

While she was working, I commented that my husband does not see dirt. She laughed.

“No,” she said. “You show them the house and it’s a mess and they say, ‘It looks fine to me.'” I laughed. Because it’s true. Garry has improved over the years, though he will never be a natural homemaker. The baseball game will always be more important than the rug.

Now, when I point out the dirt, he squints, puts on his bifocals and nods. He has acknowledged dirt. This is a valiant change on his part and I acknowledged it by finding someone to come and clean every few weeks. This works out for both of us. She is very busy and has another part-time (5-day-a-week) job in the afternoon, so she calls me when she has a free morning, which seems to be about every three weeks.

We aren’t messy these days. The dogs are messy. We (the people) are quite tidy. We just can’t bend or lift much and finally, I realized no matter how I looked at it, we needed help. If Garry were 20 years younger, I could enlist his help — except he’d still be working and so would I, so it still wouldn’t get done.

This leads me to realize that when we were both working, I didn’t notice the dirt as much because I wasn’t home. Retirement leaves one in the house many more hours. I have much more time to contemplate the dust and grimy floors.

I still haven’t figured out whether men don’t SEE dirt. Do they really not see it or are they not alarmed by it? I guess they didn’t grow up with toy vacuum cleaners and pretend kitchens.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

19 thoughts on “DIRT – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. It does seem to be a thing with men, at least some of them of the Boomer generation and earlier. David was the same. He just didn’t see dirt. I don’t think he cleaned a toilet in his life. It was always the first thing I did when I came back from a trip.
    I long ago decided that if our pets were going to live in the house with us there was going to be a mess and just accepted it because they are part of the family. Still, as we get older it is harder to do things like cleaning the bath or really anything that involves kneeling so I’m sure I miss things in corners sometimes.
    I would rather be blogging, taking photos or doing doll stuff than cleaning but I do what’s necessary to the best of my ability. It does look nice when everything is clean. Too bad it doesn’t stay that way.

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  2. My kids (both daughter and son) had chores as we all did, and they changed weekly so everyone learned how to clean sweep Vaccum dust etc. I wanted them to know how to take care of themselves plus it was a stab at a little responsibility. It worked out well. However I have to agree, most men either don’t see dirt or don’t acknowledge it lest they have to do something about it, lol. I like you can’t get down to clean anything and my eyes are really bad at the moment so I can’t see it. So if I can, it’s gotta be bad! I’m at that point too. Might have to look at hiring someone to come in once every three weeks to do a really good job, the kind of job I would do if I could.

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  3. It’s mud and snow season. I totally gave up on that kitchen floor, at least until May. I did scrub and wax it right before Thanksgiving (and boy, did it look great!), but trying to keep muddy pawprints off is too much of a challenge. We used to Swifter more, but became concerned that the solution might be toxic to Puppy Cody, so now we just wipe up with a water-soaked sponge mop. It’s going to have to do.

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  4. Naturally they don’t see dirt. mom always picked it up before they could see what that brown or gray stuff was, so they never learned to process it as dirt.

    I hate housework myself, especially after I’ve been sick and weak and can’t clean as well as I need to. I’ve got blonde and gray tumbleweeds of hair all over the place that I have to sweep up or vacuum, but that’s probably the best part. A little exercise without overdoing it on bad days. The shower, on the other hand…ugh.

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      1. ah, so true. No matter how busy mom was, the corner of her eye could see the missed dirt before she walked out the door, the badly made bed, the unfolded laundry,… Boys had to at least give it a shot eventually.

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        1. I helped at home because I wasn’t given a choice. She needed help and I could give it. So I did a lot of ironing, dusting, vacuuming before I even made it to high school. I was always proud that I could do my whole 10 room house in about 3 hours (I needed music to keep me going). Not being able to do it is infuriating. But I really can’t. My back just won’t bend that way anymore.

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  5. Men not only don’t see the dirt, they don’t realize if you wear your outdoor boots inside and your bedroom slippers outside you a major contributor to that dirt. Glad to get that off my chest.
    Leslie

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    1. Garry notices shoes … probably because he spent so many years mucking through mud to cover stories. He wore a suit — and heavy work boots. But he doesn’t notice whether or not I wore makeup or even if I had just done my hair. MUD — THAT he noticed.

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