My apartment turned on me yesterday like milk: all at once and gag-reflex levels of sour.
You see, for the past several weeks I’ve been trying to work on that switch in my brain that goes off without warning and sends me into a frenzy of I CAN’T LIVE IN THIS MESS IT’S DISGUSTING I’M DISGUSTING I HAVE TO FIX IT ALL RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes this will happen when the house is truly messy. Sometimes it will happen because there is a sock on the floor in the kitchen and I can’t explain how or why. The attacks come from nowhere and there’s been little that has proven helpful in confronting it.
Lately, I’ve been working on it by trying to ease into the filth. Not nasty filth, but a general lived-in filth. It’s been difficult, but it’s all part of the trying task of not being a crazy person. The plan was to get comfortable with a shelf undusted, cat litter unscooped, a dish unrinsed. You know, like a well-adjusted human being might do. So as part of training over the course of a week, I had been letting a few things accumulate to which I’m typically quite attentive. Like the garbage. And the dishes. And, well, lots of things.
Remember: there’s no judging on The Jackie Blog.
Anyway, I had decided my training session was over and that I would clean the house thoroughly this past Monday evening after work. Unfortunately, we were faced with a bit of a family emergency that needed tending to and left at 6pm for a five hour drive to address it and then turned around at 4am for a five hour drive back. Which was fine. It was good. The problem was that while we were gone, the house turned.
It appears I had come up right to the brink of disgust. At the time I’d committed to cleaning the place, I had a 24 hour clock counting down to the moment when milk gone undrunk would turn sour, vegetables uneaten would transform from overly ripe to rotten, and all hell would break loose. Dave and I returned from our overnight voyage and went straight to work without returning to the house. All day, my house was left to fester. By the time I got home, I was almost certain I’d need a priest to exorcise the unholy demon of nasty.
There was a plague of fruit flies in my kitchen, feeding off what appeared to be several thick pockets of stench and grossness.
The most obvious culprit was the trash, which had swelled past its max capacity and as I recalled, was a glorious feast for flies since it had scraps of last week’s corn on the cob, watermelon rind, and other epic bits of festery awful. I tended to it and moved to the next cluster, which was gathered around my banana keeper.
Yes, we have a banana keeper. We eat a lot of bananas. We also apparently don’t bother to throw away the top of the bunch from which the bananas hang sometimes. So there, in the awkward half-pieces that were torn from the dislodged fruit, lay nesting several fruit flies. But that still wasn’t the worst part.
I realized the dishes needed to be done so I cleaned out the sink and washed the basin thoroughly and remembered that the last time I did that, I promised myself I would rinse my dishes so I would never again have to stare curdled milk in the face. It was chunky. And smelly. But that, too, was not the worst part.
I continued to move about the kitchen, darting from one pocket of air to another, eyes alert for any resettling of tiny black dots outside of my wine glass trap and incense sacrifice. Suddenly, I spotted it.
There, below the banana keeper, I followed a cloud of little black specks to something I tucked away in the far recesses of my brain several months ago: a brand new bag of potatoes.
I remembered it vaguely, the day Dave proudly told me he was going to “do some rearranging in the kitchen”. For the most part, his changes were upgrades. I was left with more counter space and more room at the bar and was quite pleased. In the process, however, the potatoes I usually house right on the counter so I remember to use them (a bag of potatoes for 2 people is just unreasonable) were moved to the bottom rack of the bar beside the cookie jar I’ve never once used.
Cookies don’t need jars. They need bellies.
There, beside my unloved bastard of a pastry basin, was a bag of what …used to be potatoes. It had grown and shrank and oozed and leaked its putrid juices into the cracks and crevices of the bar and into the drawer below it, where my once-peaceful collection of teas dwelt.
Apparently I don’t have tea very often either.
Needless to say, I spent last evening whipping the house back into shape. I’m still trying not be crazy about it though so my bedroom and the living room and the kitchen are squeaky clean, but the 6 square feet that is the bathroom closet leaves something to be desired.
If I clean everything, I won’t learn anything, now will I?
Seriously though. Those potatoes had eyes. *Shudder*
So here I am, staring down the barrel of 27 years old (Friday, to be specific) and still finding myself in situations where things are so absolutely disgusting in my living situation that I can’t recognize a bag of root crops even when a fly swarm leads me to it.
I won’t post again until I’m an entire year older than I am today so I should take this moment to reflect. But I do a lot of reflecting around here so do me a birthday solid instead and join me in finishing these statements at whatever point you find yourself in life. I’d be tickled to read the answers. Also, there are four and it’s fill in the blank and what kind of strangers are we if you can’t write four words for my birthday?
Probably the kind of stranger who stopped reading once they realized the whole post was about the depth of my filth. So a tip of my hat to both those who bowed out early (mad respect) and those who made it this far (troopers, all).
May you all always find the bag of potatoes while it still holds actual potatoes. ♣
Please leave a comment with whatever answer is appropriate for this time and juncture in your life or for your mood on this particular day. Try to forget about the flies and potatoes. And thanks. Happy Birthday to you too.
Right now I’m trying to be at ease with imperfections
I find myself eating a lot of buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar
I’m kind of hoping to win the lottery for my birthday
I’m feeling pretty good about my mostly clean home