On Cleaning, Cats, and Root Beer

This article was originally posted on the blog "I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness" on April 17, 2014. To see it in it's original habitat, complete with cat pictures, go here.


Do you ever look around your home, your yard, and/or your car and think, “I should really do this, and that, and this other thing, oh, and that too…” only to then think… “meh”. I do. In fact, that is a lot of my day. I realize I should just suck it up and get some things done – vacuum, wipe down the bathroom counters, pour some bleach in a toilet (the ultimate lazy, but effective, way to make sure that your toilet doesn’t look all gross), wash some of that laundry, put away those plastic food storage containers that I left out to dry after running through the dishwasher… etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. (In my head, more than one “etcetera” is always said with Yul Brenner’s voice. If you don’t know why, your life has sadly been bereft of Rogers and Hammerstein.)
 
My list goes on and on, but my motivation often shorts out sometime after I have made the bed – which happens pretty much immediately after I accept that I am not going to be able to sleep anymore today. (So it can be a pretty sad ritual some days.)
 
Honestly, though, I have had other people tell me that I am a pretty clean person. This might be true. I am somewhat of a recluse these days so I don’t spend a ton of time in other people’s homes. I do, however, have a “clean for company” mentality that will never go away. I make sure that my house is cleaned whenever I know anyone is coming over, from friends and family to the PermaTreat guy who makes sure that I don’t have a basement overrun by black crickets (alas, there are some small structural details of my home that I have no control over… when I someday own my own home then I will have that thing sealed better than Fort Knox). I also clean before I go out of town, a habit I picked up from my sister-in-law. The idea is that when I come home I’ll only have to worry about the mess I bring home with me (like laundry), which is great. In practice, though, I sometimes think that it is really just making it easier for a thief to find the valuable stuff…
 
… but then I realize that there isn’t really any valuable stuff and feel better. They should be able to walk right in and see that, nope, nothing super valuable here.
 
Is it weird that I am tempted to leave a note in my home that says, “Dear Thieves, take what you want but please make sure that you leave the door to the rooms with the litter boxes open… I can live without my TV but cleaning up cat urine is just a miserable experience. Also, please close all doors to the outside securely upon leaving, Fuzzy doesn’t always make the best life choices when nervous.”
 
I probably wouldn’t tell them that the alarm system is real and active – why take away the surprise?
 
Cats are funny creatures, aren’t they? I think part of what is funniest is the fact that no matter how clean my home is before I leave, they only need about a day (complete with two visits from a cat sitter) before they make the whole place smell like meat pate and poop. No particular reason – they are eating in the same way in the same places (Buddy has his own people-sized table so that he can free feed – don’t judge me, Fuzzy has a food addiction and you haven’t had to listen to Buddy sing you the song of his people when he is hungry), and they have someone come clean their litter boxes (complete with total removal of all urine and fecal matter) twice a day. There isn’t really a good reason for the place to smell like a room of two [furry] teenage boys who don’t know how to open a window. I am convinced that the moment they see the cat sitter they decide, “I know, I will hold it until right after they leave at night so that my stench has the maximum amount of time to penetrate the whole dwelling – and then I will challenge the other cat to a fart fest… She’ll never want to leave again!”
 
My worst nightmare is cleaning the house for company and then having to be away for a couple of days. “Yes, welcome to our h—Wait! Umm! Please, let me take your bags while John takes you on a tour of the yard/neighborhood/metro area! Fresh air and tourism, what a lovely time!” Followed by me having to open all of the windows in the house, scrub some floors, and maybe cook something so that the house can be filled with a less offensive smell – you know, like garlic and onions.
 
Luckily there is only one person who has entered my home immediately after we’ve been away for a few days – our nephew. Luckier still, he is a young man who will probably be living in a dorm in the nearish future… he must prepare himself for far worse smells. (I don’t know which is worse, boys dorms, which smell like after workout body odor, bad diet choices, and an inability to clean up after ones self… or girls dorms, which smell like thousands of different types of perfumes, lotions, and hair sprays all melded together into one lung-burning, chemical hyper-scent that you are afraid may have become self-aware.)
 
I’m not going to lie to you… there is no real point to this post. No thoughtful ideas about happiness, or gratitude. Nope, truthfully I am just stalling before I have to make a decision between cleaning my kitchen floor or grabbing a Sprecher’s Root Beer and trying to find shows on Hulu that John won’t mind if I watch without him.
 
Oh, wait! There is one happiness takeaway! I found it!
 
Sprecher’s Root Beer is the best root beer. It’s from Milwaukee, so it’s harder to get where I am on the east coast. It is so good, though, that I buy it by the case and have it shipped to me. If you have access to Sprecher’s at your local grocery store or eatery (like in wonderful places like Wisconsin and Minnesota… and Taste in Virginia Beach), then you have reason to rejoice. Otherwise, save up your money and have it shipped to you by the case – it is totally worth it. (Dear Sprecher’s, I am not above taking kickbacks for recommending your soda. I am willing to be paid in root beer.)

 Oh, and feel free to show you're a kind soul (who doesn't like to leave their blogger hanging) by leaving a comment. Writing this is sort of like throwing my hand up for a high five... and your lack of comments is like leaving me hanging, all alone, with no high fivery. (Cue sad Charlie Brown music.) 

 

I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness: http://www.theadditivepropertyofhappiness.com

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