Tuesday, 13 October 2009

In which I'm inspired to have a tidier house...

I am all in favour of living by oneself. Sure, there’s no one to have last-minute, late-night chats with, and you have to rely on a complex system of Post Its and alarms to remind you to buy milk. But there are no crumbs in the butter, little black hairs in the plughole or cults in the sitting room. (Oh, and there’s no one to tell you that you’re not allowed a kitten. Colin arrives in about four weeks’ time.)

And, of course, one of the great advantages is that one’s bad behaviour needn’t necessarily be admitted to. Coughing up to Best Mate and The Cynic over Saturday lunch is one thing – and, much as there might be well-deserved mockery, the confession was wholly voluntary. If you don’t want anyone else to know about the lapses in concentration, there’s nothing like living by oneself.

There’s no one around to keep an ear out for the sex jeans, or get crabby if you don’t come home alone. Which, given my recent indiscretion, was just as well, as Speckled Lad and I didn’t even make it to the bedroom when he came to stay for the weekend. Whether we would have done had there been other people in the house, I don’t know. But, as it was, I was rather glad there was no one to wander in and catch us at it on the sofa.

Of course, living by oneself also makes one slightly less inclined to remove the detritus that lands in life’s wake. The Saturday papers sprawl over the coffee table, coffee paraphernalia litters the kitchen side, and a pair of exorbitant heels that one kicked off as soon as one got home from a bar opening during the week discarded in the hall.

But, as I have now learnt, it’s not always such a fabulous idea to be so sluttish in one’s tidying habits.

It was the post-Speckled Sunday, and I was padding round the house in t-shirt and jogging bottoms, making tea and brunch. Having sloped straight back to bed once I’d packed SL off to his chemical gas test at ungodly o’clock (heaven knows what the neighbours thought), I’d only just got up, and was contemplating an afternoon on the sofa with a novel when the doorbell rang. A little bleary, I opened the door with one hand, a bucket of Earl Grey in the other.

“Hello, darling. Gosh, are you all right? You look a little… crumpled.” The Mother blitzed through the door, arms laden with homemade pumpkin soup, a fleece blanket for the kitten, and a pot plant.

“Eh? Oh, just got up,” I muttered, following her through the hall into the sitting room. She stopped. I followed her gaze as it landed on the sofa. My heart sank.

Strewn over the cushions and surrounding floor area, and which I hadn’t yet got round to picking up, were a couple of shoes, a haphazard arrangement of several items of clothing – and, over the back of the sofa, a decidedly male-looking sock.

“You and Speckled Lad had a nice evening, I hope?” She said as she whirled through and landed the soup and the plant on the kitchen side with a thud.

“Great, thanks,” I said, dying inwardly.

“Good,” she said, folding the blanket and draping it over the back of one of the kitchen chairs. “Well, darling, I’ll leave you to it. It looks like you have a touch of clearing up to do. Have a lovely afternoon.” She kissed me on the cheek and reeled out at the same speed she’d whirled in at.

As I rescued my bagel from the toaster, I resolved that there was only one thing for it. If one is to live by oneself, there has to be a plan for the detritus: hail the advent of the cleaner.


14 comments:

LizSara said...

Oh how i wish that i could afford a cleaner! Luckily i have a 3 monthly weekend of my mother in which time she buys me tons of stuff and cleans my kitchen to within an inch of its life. I have also discovered the less things you have to put stuff on the tidier you have to be, so no tables for me, oh no.

Plus, dog will eat anything left hanging around and cat will chase it under furniture never to be seen again so you soon get out of the habit of leaving things...exorbitant heels with scratch marks; no thanks

L x

Brennig said...

I have two cleaners. Me and Soph. I'm a little OCD she's majorly so. The house is always spotless and tidy but, strangely, always the source of great fun.

nuttycow said...

Amazing - I was just thinking about how I must get round to cleaning the house. You're right though - there is such a tendancy to just leave things because you can.

Of course now I'm one-handed, it's going to make cleaning a little more difficult. Thankfully I have the impetus of people coming round on Thursday so I just *have* to do some cleaning.

coffeesnob said...

how pooterish.

Blue soup said...

I haven't done any cleaning since I moved in in the last week of August. I am generally a clean and tidy person so my place is still pretty clean. Sure, it could do with a wipe over, but it's nothing like it used to get within a week of living with The Meerkat. I keep meaning to just take half an hour and get it gleaming again, but I can't be bothered amd I know that I won't be bothered until it actually NEEDS a clean and then I will bust it all in one go. I don't even own a hoover (am waiting to get access to Dad's house so that I can nick the Dyson now that he doesn't need it).

As for bad habits. I can drink milk from the carton as much as I like and turn the pizza box inside out to use as a plate rather than getting any crockery dirty to my heart's content and nobody is there to look at me funny or comment on it (apart from Dad in his urn on the lounge sideboard and he hasn't got a face so I can't see any funny looks and he doesn't speak to me so no funny comments either).

Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

And you thought living outside London within striking distance of your parents was a good thing...

Blonde said...

LizSara: All those sound like pretty good tips. Esp the one where you keep your mother at bay.

Brennig: I could do with a little more OCD in my life, I think.

NC: It does get to that stage, doesn't it?! Only the thought of someone else seeing the layer of crap is enough to make one clean...

Coffeesnob: Charming!

BS: I think you've probably got enough to be going on with at the moment without worrying about cleaning, somehow. (And the pizza box thing - doesn't everyone do that?)

RATDOTL: I know. It seemed like it at the time. Hmm.

The Pedant said...

Did I miss something or has 10 years gone by since you were a student? I could have sworn it was just a few months.

A house in the sticks seemed strange enough, but a cleaner as well? I do hope you don't wake up in 20 years time and wonder what happened.

Hamish said...

Bet Blondie gets one of those male cleaners wearing just a thong.......

CoatMan said...

You're getting a cleaner and a kitten?! You are very lucky! Do we get pictures of the kitten?

And what the Dickens are "sex jeans"?

Blonde said...

The Pedant: I know. Odd to think that just 18 months after graduating, I have a full-time job and a full-time social life, as well as a house out of town, which I own, where I can escape after a long day. I don't think the concern is merited, but thanks anyway.

Hamish: Now THERE'S an idea...

CoatMan: I imagine something could be rustled up! Sex jeans: a phrased coined by Terminal Romantic. The concept surrounding the fact that when you undo a guy's jeans (preceding sex, obviously) and push 'em to the floor, the buckle hits the floor with a thud (possibly heard by housemates).

Brennig said...

Aren't jeans just the most unromantic thing to remove from another person in a hurry?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Brennig: Skinny jeans? Yes.

I'm loving having my own place this week. You got your house remarkably quickly! It's taking ages for my friend to get the all clear for her place.

Huw said...

"and, over the back of the sofa... a sock."

Apologies for my smut, but I was anticipating that sentence ending with something much more cringeworthy.

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