When I leave town, if even for one night, I have to clean the house before I depart. Must. I am sure a therapist could launch a diatribe on how this stems from my anxiety or some sort of OCD but the simple reason I think I do this is because… I like my house clean. And when I leave the house I want to come home to order, not to add unpacking and the inevitable piles of mail on top of a living room that looks like a group of frat boys were here Airbnb’ing in my absence.
(Oh, and I am also pretty OCD and anal about cleanliness and don’t believe that anything is truly clean unless the stench of bleach knocks you out from the front door but that is another story.)
The other day I was prepping for some travel without my husband and I wanted to make sure he came home to a spotless house while I was gone. So you know, I did the usual: laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaned the windows, dusted the baseboards by hand, cleaned the kitchen with Q-Tips and bleach, etc. A typical Monday.
I was just about finished when I realized I was going to be late if I didn’t leave right that second. But sadly (yes, this type of thing IS sad to me) I didn’t have time to take out the kitchen garbage. After skirting a near-panic attack caused by visions of the filth I was leaving behind I made peace with the situation, wrote my husband a note AND left a new garbage bag on top of the trash can for him (he still doesn’t know where I keep them, even though I have showed him TWELVE times).
I came home and was pleased at how lovely the house still looked. Aside from a few pillows being out of place, everything was pretty much in order… until I went into the kitchen. The garbage can was exactly how I left it, complete with the new garbage bag sitting atop the can. Oh, you must be thinking, he just didn’t accumulate any garbage while she was gone. That would have been fine. I would have understood that, a little “out of sight, out of mind” as far as the garbage is concerned. But no. Not even a little. Not only had he not taken out the garbage, he did indeed have more trash… he simply threw it in grocery bags he placed around the now-filled garbage can. And then peppered the whole scene with some empty Amazon boxes for good measure.
When I asked him why he didn’t take out the garbage he answered, completely unfazed, that “it wasn’t ready to go out yet.” When is “ready?” When the entire kitchen floor is littered with garbage-filled Safeway bags? I suppose it is kind of brilliant: you don’t want to take out the trash but it is filled and you need to put the new trash somewhere else… so just create a little village of garbage bags on our kitchen floor!
Either we’ve been together too long and I just “get” how his brain works or maybe his logic actually makes sense. The end result is still the same… I took the garbage out.