Tag Archives: visiting relatives

It’s Genetic

Must be in the genes.

What incites us to clean with such zeal when we expect company? The closer the kin, the deeper the level of “clean” is required.

The “us” to whom I refer are individuals of the female gender.  None of the males I know seem to be infected with the super-clean bug.

I saw the cutest cartoon, I’ll paraphrase here.

A father directs his two girls’ attention to their rooms. “We need to clean up the house, it’s pretty bad.”

The more precocious of the two girls asked, “What level of clean are we talking about, Dad? She listed out the possibilities; “Mom-Clean or Hospital ICU clean?” The father shook his head to each query.

His expression took on a more serious composure and he spoke in a hushed tone. “Grandma-Clean.”  His girls scurried off with brooms and rags.

I joke about this and yet as I type I sit here in a sweat soaked tee shirt. I spent a good deal of this week, which reached a climax today, in Grandma-Clean mode. My little sister is coming for a visit tomorrow.

I’m not as obsessed as some members of my husband’s family, who for sake of embarrassment shall remain anonymous here. They’ve been known to not only clean the house, but paint the house. Not just the interior. On one such visit, I recall we drove right past my in-laws home. The exterior sported a new hue, rendered necessary by the impending arrival of relatives from back East.

I plead insanity due to family genetics. My grandmother, on my mom’s side, was said to clean her house to a standard that enabled one to “eat off of the floor in any room.”

Why do we care? Does anyone, besides my own mother, rest in peace, look at the quality of housekeeping when they come to visit you and your family?

My own mother, infected with that same genetic disorder I described earlier, saw every visit as an opportunity for a white glove inspection. Mom’s other obsession, to arrive “on time.” Mom was always early, a good hour early.  Way before the designated time the events were scheduled to begin. Each time, Mom seemed to be surprised when greeted at the door, by me, with a sweeper attached to my other hand. Mind you, not an early arrival to help out, just more time to poke around.

On a past visit, she emerged from my guest bathroom and announced to all seated at the dining room table; “Kathy, there is some black, gunky stuff in your sink. I’d spent the previous hour in preparation. I scrubbed every surface and decked out the racks with fresh, color coordinated towels.

All I could muster was, “Thanks so much, Mom.”

OK, back to the mop and broom or I won’t be ready. My sister’s plane lands at nine, tomorrow morning.

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