Go Go Gadget
Ladies, prepare to get very, very excited. Because I have discovered—yes, discovered—the secret to getting a non-cleaning husband to clean.
Are you ready?
INTEGRATE A GADGET.
That’s it. That’s the secret. See, if your husband is like mine, he may have that bizarre disease in which socks are doffed wherever said husband gets a hankering to air out his feet. Or he may have that particular disorder in which jeans or boxers land—with 100% accuracy—exactly ONE INCH away from the laundry basket . . . every single time. Of course, this same husbandly creature probably also has such excellent hand–eye coordination that he can catch a sippy cup falling from the balcony to the foyer with one hand, backwards, while doing a flip, but alas. Those boxers can’t seem to get into the laundry basket.
Or perhaps you have a husband who has a different standard of clean. Oh, sure, he LIKES a sparkling clean counter top, but hearing the crunch of a ceramic mug on coffee grounds as he sets it down? It doesn’t bother him.
Now, Chris is no slob. He’s not. He’s just . . . he’s a dude.
I’ll be honest. After more marital strife than was healthy, we caved and hired house cleaners. This drastically improved our lives, reducing our cleaning to clutter, daily messes, dishes, laundry, kid puke, kid poop, kid pee, kid experiments with the toilet, kid experiments with the length of toilet paper rolls, kid experiments with how many tissues are in each box, kid sand, kid mud, kid misuse of crayons and markers, and so on.
This means that we really have just one main area that requires constant cleaning attention: the kitchen eating area.
This area has always been a little iffy. For starters, the table-and-chairs dining set hails from my grad school days, and while it still looks pretty decent, it’s total crap. And I LOVE that it’s total crap, because my crappily mannered children have totaled it.
Charlotte is no dainty eater, and never has been. Sure, she has gotten better, but seriously. She’s FOUR. Messes are part of life. Four-year-olds have no awareness of what kind of chaos the crumbs from a graham cracker can wreak.
And then there’s Lorelei.
See, for the past 4 years, we’ve survived with a $20 Swiffer sweeper thingamabob. It kept our floors clean enough, even around the table area.
But lord have mercy, Lorelei eventually moved to finger foods and self-feeding with utensils. Oh, and she communicates via throwing food.
Aside from my bad parenting* that has caused this habit of hers to continue, which I defensively explain alongside the asterisk at the end of this post, we realized that the little Swiffer cannot handle what Lorelei dishes out.
Now, Chris is a gadget lover. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you can create a gadget for it, he wants it. HE NEEDS IT. Seriously, folks. We have an entire drawer devoted to various types of cooking thermometers.
Pot-filler faucet? Parking lasers? Weather centers? He MUST have them. And I dare you to come up with a kitchen gadget he doesn’t yet own.
So, as our beloved hardwoods looked increasingly shitty, Chris mentioned a Dyson.
“Aren’t those like a million dollars?” I reasonably asked.
“No! That’s the exciting thing!” Chris said, his eyes sparkling with that little-boy gleam. “See, they have this one that’s meant for hardwoods and it’s cordless and . . . .” Then he babbled about its engineering this and that.
Pretending to be pensive, I suggested he research it further. Oh, he did. Extensively.
After a lot of vacillating, more food-flinging, and the inability of the Swiffer to pick up 1/100th of the Cheerios on the floor, I finally gave the green light. Buy it, I told Chris.
The Dyson arrived while Charlotte and I were in Seattle, which meant I came home to . . . sparkling clean floors and the whole fancy contraption already attached to the mudroom wall. Like an excited little kid showing off his train set, Chris enthusiastically gave me a tutorial on how the sucker (heh heh) worked.
I’ll admit it: It’s a fine, fine product, capable of handling a lot of mess. But the REAL genius of the Dyson is its gadget component. Charlotte and Lorelei leave a crumbly mess? Chris blazes into the kitchen, clutching that vacuum like a machine gun. I’ve never cleaned my floors so little.
It’s freaking glorious.
And you know what else? Last night, I caught Chris using one of the attachments to vacuum part of a cupboard. I don’t even know what happened in the back of that cupboard, and I don’t care. Because apparently, it’s all cleaned up.
Obviously, my next project is to find some nifty new sponge that will delight Chris so much that he feels compelled to wash all the dishes, or a laundry sorter that uses robots to detect stains and has an automated water gun to shoot OxiClean spray onto them. Oh! Or a newspaper flinger that makes origami out of old Wall Street Journal newspapers on their way to the recycling bin, or dry cleaning bags and ties that can whip themselves into Diaper Genie liners.
A girl can dream.
*I know, I know, I KNOW. If I were a good mommy, Lorelei would throw her food on the floor and be informed by her capable mother than dinner is over, thus learning the consequence of her action. But see, I’ve always thought of her as kind of scrawny and puny, in addition to being a pickier eater than Charlotte, so I worried about her getting enough food and just gave her more. Also? When she’s hungry, SHE’S EVIL. So, I tend to make sure she EATS. HOWEVER! She’s, um, in like the 70th percentile for weight, so it seems that perhaps she won’t starve if I enforce the throwing food rule. We’ll try to do better, Cyber World of Mommy Bloggers. We’ll try to do better.