Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Adventures into a Brave New World

on July 26, 2015

On Friday I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet, removing burnt-out candles, packets of Gavison which expired in 2011, emptied tubes of stuff, baby nail-scissors, plasters which are no longer sticky and baby shampoo we no longer use.  Into the space I managed to fit all the things which were lurking untidily on the shelf behind the toilet (apart from a few months’ back-copies of the Saturday Guardian magazine.  I recycled those), making my bathroom an almost-pleasant place to be.

Yesterday I tidied and cleaned all the work-tops in the kitchen – washing all the bits and pieces which can’t go in the dishwasher and therefore pile up on the side, and all the recycling which was waiting to be washed and thrown away, and tidying away toys and felt-tipped pens and bits of plastic wrapping which was hidden under the felt-tips.  My kitchen now looks quite peculiar: if you stand in exactly the right spot it looks shiny; if you stand anywhere else you see an oasis of tidiness in a desert of mess.

And today I sorted through all the things attached to my notice-board, removing party-invitations from two summers ago and Small Girl’s hospital wristband from when she broke her leg aged 11 months (now aged 4 years old) and a pile of letters from school, and vouchers and coupons dating back to 2011 and recipes I haven’t cooked since I cut them out of a magazine two years ago, and can therefore probably assume I never will.

I’m not sure quite what has sparked this fit of tidiness, but it feels almost like nesting.  In late pregnancy with Big Girl, I decided I couldn’t give birth until I had cleaned all the skirting boards in my house, my reasoning being that lots of people would come to my house and might judge it not fit to keep a baby in, and that I would probably not have chance to clean them again for a while.  I don’t know about the first point, but I’ve definitely not cleaned most of them since.

I’ve not been hiding a third pregnancy, no matter how much my children would like me to provide them with a baby.  But it does feel like there are new things coming.  It’s the start of the summer holidays, so much more time at home with my children for the next few weeks, and opportunities to potter around tidying (while my children create mess in other parts of the house).  And in September Small Girl starts school, which means I will have child-free Fridays at home. I have romanticised visions of myself using this time to create a clean, calm, well-organised home, shopping for the food we need for the week ahead, changing sheets, hoovering and tidying and sorting laundry, trailing domestic bliss in my wake.  I want to get ready for that, even if we all know I’ll really be binge-watching West Wing for the six hours between dropping the girls off and picking them up.

And I’ve recently been doing some more dating.  I went on three dates with someone who turned out to be a local councillor for a party I have spent my entire life viewing as the source of all – well, most – evil.  Despite this, I liked him very much.  I also went on a date with a single dad who had far more compatible political views and had a very pleasant evening, but nothing more.  It’s been interesting to see what a range of people are out there, and try to work out what I’m looking for.  And comparing how I feel now to how I felt last time I tried dating, 18 months ago, I feel ready for a relationship.  I feel slightly more able to trust people, and willing to give up some of my free time to spend with a boy if I like them (apparently these things are crucial to having a successful relationship).  So while I’m not planning on changing my domestic habits to appear more attractive to a men (and let’s be honest, no-one with a real thing about tidiness is likely to go out with me), I would like my home to reflect the best of myself rather than the worst.

I am realistic about this.  I will get bored.  I will make a mess. I will end up shoving everything in bags and putting it in the cellar, until I am unable to get into the cellar to read the meter, find the car seats or get out the barbecue.  Eventually I will just brick up the door to the cellar, like Henry being shut up in a tunnel because he didn’t want to get his shiny paint wet, and in a hundred years’ time it will be discovered by a future owner of my house, who just thought there was something peculiar about the shape of the kitchen.

But until I get to that point, I’ll see how tidy I can be.

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