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Okay, fellas, we all know the drill; company is coming over and the house needs to be cleaned. Ideally, our wives will do it, or even better, we would hire a service. However, there are times when we have to roll up our sleeves and pitch in.
Here’s the problem: as I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a huge difference between guy clean (what a guy considers a respectable level of cleanliness) and girl clean (what the girls will accept as clean). Read about that here. Cleaning for company showcases this striking contrast in crystal clear detail. Let me give you a few examples from around the house:
The Living Room and Dining Room:
These are the two places where guests spend most of their time, so I give them my best effort. I mean, I go all out! I make sure everything is picked up off the floors and they are swept and vacuumed. I’ll even move the big furniture and sweep out the dust bunnies, lost goldfish crackers, and toys from a forgotten time long ago. The dining table and end tables are all cleared off and wiped down. I will even go ahead with that four letter word – dust! When I’m done, I feel like it is as clean as the day we moved in.
After I’m completely finished, my wife will come in and say, “Thanks for getting started!” Started? STARTED??? I don’t see how these rooms could be any cleaner. I’m convinced I have achieved that elusive level of girl clean, but I give her time to see if she can do any better. When I come back, the rooms look… cleaner. I can’t explain it, but it is amazing! I don’t know how she does it. She either possesses some dark art magic, or she has a squadron of cleaning fairies at her beck and call.
There really isn’t a reason to be in the kitchen very much during a get together, but I can acknowledge that people will float in and out, so I put in an honest effort. When I clean the kitchen for company, I make sure all the clean dishes are put away, the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher, the counters are wiped off, and the floor is swept.
My wife, on the other hand, washes, dries, and puts away every dish. She wipes down the counters, then uses some sort of magical cleaning solution (probably provided by the cleaning fairies) that makes them sparkle like rare gems. She not only sweeps the floor, she then mops it, and finally gets down on her hands and knees and scrubs them until the end result is something so smooth and shiny you could eat off of it. In addition to doing the same three tasks I do (only better), she also scrubs the stove, oven, microwave, and refrigerator both inside and out. She wipes down every small appliance and even puts a few of them away. Things come off the fridge, walls are wiped with that same magical sparkle solution, and there is a fresh trash bag in the can. As a final touch there are candles burning with a hint of cinnamon floating in the air. The whole thing is like a picture straight out of Better Homes and Gardens.
Me, I close the doors, because no one should be in those rooms anyway.
My wife will put all the laundry away (including washing any loads necessary to make sure the hampers are empty). The floors will be picked up, swept, and will have this glow as if they’re radiating some holy aura. The beds will be made and those decorative throw pillows will finally fulfill their destiny. The only thing left on the dressers are family pictures. Again, there are candles and pleasing aromas lingering in the air.
Here is where I have learned that nothing I do will ever be clean enough. When it comes to cleaning the bathrooms for company, I don’t even bother. The bathroom is her domain. There are cleaners that I don’t even know their purpose. The level of sparkle in that room when my wife is done makes the kitchen counters look like she left them dull and faded by comparison. I can’t begin to describe how beautiful the bathroom looks when she walks out. It’s a sight for sore eyes, and pictures wouldn’t do justice. I don’t think they even get hospital surgical rooms that clean.
To sum up, I get the cleaning started; that’s my lot in life. My wife takes it to the next level. By the time company arrives, our house is of such show quality that magazines and tv stations would clamor for the rights to the images.
But this is the part I don’t get: Because we have little kids, most of the people we have over have little kids. This means that ten minutes after the company arrives, the counters will be covered with a multitude of desserts and side dishes (because everyone brings way too much food to these get togethers, not that I’m complaining), the floors are covered with toys, there is a pile of paper towels on top of the spilled juice and the candles have all been extinguished so we won’t have a fire. Oh, and that beautiful bathroom? One of the kids already peed on the floor. But for ten wonderful minutes, my house was the most awe inspiring thing on the planet. My wife was happy with how clean the house was, and we get credit for pitching in. Ultimately, that’s all that matters.
How do you pitch in to clean up for company?