Monday, June 21, 2010

Pick Up Artist

Our house is still on the market. I'd love, love, love to move into a home that would be a better fit for our family of five, but I am also at peace with staying in the city for another year. Que sera, sera or something like that. As I've said over and over the past few months, "We'll just see what happens . . ."

We will see what happens and in the meantime I will continue to prepare the house for showings as necessary. It's not all that fun cleaning and tidying a home with the "help" of Bub, Little Bit, and Sweet P. I have a system in place that involves staying up until midnight so I can clean the main floor uninterrupted, scurrying around the upstairs before hubby leaves for work, trying to keep the kids out of the basement pretty much all the time, and putting various items in their hiding spots (i.e., dirty laundry and clean-unfolded laundry in back of van). Cleaning kind of sucks, but I try to make the best of it by listening to audiobooks as I work and imagining that back and cleavage sweat are signs of baby weight melting away.
My cleaning system is a bit exhausting, but I have it down. I really enjoy the feeling of order and calm that washes over me as I finish tidying up and hop into the air-conditioned van to make a getaway with the kids. I enjoy entering our home after the "coast is clear" and seeing debris-free surfaces and a toy-free floor.
I can't clean and tidy like this forever, but I'm doing okay with it all.
Here's what I'm not okay with . . . What is killing me is not the cleaning itself but how quickly the house goes from show-ready to disaster zone. At 10:50 a.m., I stepped into order and calm. It's 9:40 p.m. now and the house is completely messy again, messy in a "I'd be embarrassed even if close friends stopped by right now" way. It's kind of heartbreaking.*
I know it's the reality of life with young children and too much stuff and no big suburban basement to keep it all in. It's my own real estate version of The Outsiders where "nothing clean can stay."
When evening comes and the kids are asleep what I really want to do is relax in a tidy home -- read a novel, write a blog post, watch a little television, maybe sit on the deck and enjoy a summer breeze. Instead, I spend my evenings picking all the junk back up again.
It's not the cleaning that's getting to me. It's the way it never lasts.


*Another heartbreaking story is how many of our closest friends have moved out of the city so the chances of anyone stopping by are slim to none.






19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm tired for you. FYI - we have a suburban basement but that doesn't keep the rest of the house from being cluttered.
I love how you breezily worked in The Outsiders quote.
LAP

Miss Welcome said...

I was in the same position as you while we were selling our apartment - baby about the same age as Sweet Pea. It is exhausting.

Here's the trick. Don those fabulous hats from the photo below while you're working and you'll think you're at a party.

Mrs.Mayhem said...

It is amazing how fast a house can go from clean to trashed with kids. Crossing my fingers that your house sells quickly!

Enjoy that beautiful baby! I wish I could rewind time and cuddle my babies once more.

Actchy said...

Similar feelings of exhaustion Chez Actchy these days; know that you have a sisterhood that shares your sweat and sleepiness. I have learned to cope by skipping nonessential tasks. Acey hasn't brushed his teeth (read: sucked on a toothbrush) for a good solid week.

By the way, as one on the verge of purchasing a mini-van, it's good to know of all the ways it will come to good use, e.g., hiding space for clean, folded laundry.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

To me, this is a great case against ever moving out of my house. :)

Stacia said...

A close friend is coming to visit this weekend, and I flat-out told her I did not have the energy to clean my disaster of a house and if that bothered her (which was fine if it did) she might want to postpone her trip until later. Guess that won't work with potential buyers though.

I am AMAZED by your routine and that you find the time and energy to clean every night. Here's hoping for a good offer fast!

Anonymous said...

Look at the brightside...you are having lots of showings. One of them is bound to come through as a buyer. Also, LOVE that you hide laundry in the van.

Anonymous said...

I like that you haven't lost your sense of humor through out the "house for sale" process. I love your attitude because you could pretty much make yourself crazy otherwise. Even though I knew your hiding place for laundry, it still makes me laugh to read it. m

CaraBee said...

I can't imagine trying to keep a house in show-worthy shape with three young kids. I can't even keep my house in halfway decent shape with one toddler.

No one stops by our house and we live by all kinds of our friends. Sigh.

mep said...

Just to clarify, I only stay up until midnight if there's a showing the next day!

Heather said...

Sending all kinds of prayers your way that the right buyer will come along very soon!

All that cleaning sounds exhausting. And even though you have every right to be whiny about it, the vision I have in my head of you is like Snow White, whistling while you work :)

Maggie said...

I can relate somewhat, I'm sure you're doing great and it will all work out for the best in the end. You are such a great Mom!!!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Hmmmm... Never done it with a newborn, but I have sold houses with preschoolers and babies. The best advice I have is to close off rooms. Blockade those kids from as many rooms as possible. Clean their room after they wake up and lock the door behind them. Gate off all but one room and don't let them out of jail until the room they are in is clean...

That's about it, babe. My only advice is to jail your kids, apparently. I'm a sweetheart, I know.

Mashuga Mom said...

I can TOTALLY relate. Our condo is just recently under contract and I am exhausted from showing it myself (did a FSBO sale) crazy. I cleaned it each night and again in the morning, i'd be up til midnight mopping floors from sticky dropped fruit and sweeping up after my crawling 1-yr-old. It was nuts, I was becoming an insane person-seriously. The cleaning for showings is ALL CONSUMING and I was beyond excited and even was willing to negotiate for less money to sell our condo to NOT have to clean for a showing ever again.
I also have 2 little boys and the cleaning from them was insane, just when I'd fluff the couch pillows they'd be on the floor and made into a fort. Ugh! I empathize with you.
Praying for your perfect buyer soon.
High fives from another Lakeview friend.
Mashuga

dusty earth mother said...

Mep, I would come visit you even if I couldn't find you underneath the debris.

But loved the "Outsiders" quote in relation to a messy house. Perfect.

The Empress said...

A messy house is fine. It's the clean house that stays clean for days--the one in my not too distant future, my sons are teens--it's those days that give me the willies.

I'll take the mess. Anytime.

I am in LOVE with that hat!!

(pssst...thanks for your sweet comment over at my place...)

E... said...

Yes, yes yes, it is the futility of the cleaning up that gets to me. I think I've actually started to prefer cleaning toilets, because at least you don't have to do it again a half hour later.
Here is the silver lining, though: aren't you glad that it is cleaning up that is occupying your thoughts with sweet baby #3, not obsessing about sleeping and eating, and feeling like you may never emerge from a fog??
(I still feel really bad for you and wish you could be sitting on the deck all those evenings. Still keep visualizing that house in the suburbs for you!)

Melissa Walters said...

You are a saint :) I think you're doing great. I also love a clean clutter free house, but am too tired to do it (unless like you, I have to). Can't imagine adding 2 more kids into the mix. and you didn't even mention your husband, because as awesome as they can be, we still clean up after them :)

my problem is hair...dog hair and my hair. I need to vacuum like every day or every other day, at least once a week (brady is crawling everywhere) but when? Too hard if Brady is awake, and too loud if he's asleep. When hubby comes home, I just want to relax and enjoy family time, not clean!

Melissa Walters said...

You are a saint :) I think you're doing great. I also love a clean clutter free house, but am too tired to do it (unless like you, I have to). Can't imagine adding 2 more kids into the mix. and you didn't even mention your husband, because as awesome as they can be, we still clean up after them :)

my problem is hair...dog hair and my hair. I need to vacuum like every day or every other day, at least once a week (brady is crawling everywhere) but when? Too hard if Brady is awake, and too loud if he's asleep. When hubby comes home, I just want to relax and enjoy family time, not clean!

 
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