Tuesday was a productive day. I took care of two items that had been on my to-do list for quite some time: Get a flu shot and have the minivan’s oil changed. With those tasks done, I felt a sense of accomplishment. My “to-do” list was now a “done” list. I was free to sit back, relax, and simply coast through life for the next week or so.
Then I remembered that I’m an adult, and things don’t work that way.
I was reminded of a post on the blog Hyperbole and a Half in which the author laments about the never-ending responsibilities of life. You can have the most productive day ever, and you know what that earns you? A chance to do it all over again the next day.
Mrs. Cutter and I feel this non-stop cycle of responsibility most noticeably in our attempts to keep our house clean. And by “clean,” I mean “not a complete disaster.” Every night, there are dishes to be washed, high chairs to be cleaned, pots to be put away, and random toys to be picked up off the floor and put in a place where we hopefully won’t step on them. If there’s any additional time after that, maybe we’ll even try to clean the mess off the floor.
The twins are going through a fun phase where they are semi-capable of feeding themselves, and eminently capable of throwing their bottles and food on the floor. Their reasoning seems to be simple: “I don’t like this food item as much as some of the others. It goes away now!” and “I was drinking this bottle, but I don’t want it at this particular moment in time. Be gone from my sight!”
The result is that the floor surrounding their high chairs is a mix of spilled milk, pieces of food, and other unidentified substances that we assume might have been food at one point in time. (We’ve learned that those food items that were rejected earlier apparently become irresistible to them when they find it on the floor.)
This past Saturday, while the Cutlet and I were out, Mrs. Cutter went on a bit of a cleaning frenzy during the twins’ nap. She washed dishes, she vacuumed, she even straightened up their playroom. Instead of just repeatedly shuffling random papers from one table to another, she threw them out or put them away.
The house actually looked good. She sent me a text message saying that she was going to take a picture so that she’d have proof that there was a time – brief as it may have been – when our house actually looked clean.
As expected, the state of cleanliness did not endure. Within a day, the efforts of our three children (and to be fair, their parents aren’t innocent in the mess-making) had returned the house to its usual state of havoc. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.
On the bright side, I probably won’t need to get the oil changed in the van for another nine months or so. That frees up my time to clean out the garage, put away the grill, rake the leaves, and about a thousand other things that need to be done. But once I’m done all that, THEN I’ll finally be free to sit back and relax! I can’t wait!