Death By Spring Cleaning

Me. Lists. We have a thing. I love lists. I live for them. Give me a pen, paper, and an opportunity to itemize things and I can sit in a corner happy as a clam for a good couple o’ harvest seasons. I can trick myself into thinking a really arduous task is significantly less arduous simply by starting the job with making a list. And crossing things off a list? Pure rapture. I can only think of one thing I like better. Okay, two.

Yes, I am easily amused. Lists. Shiny things. Chocolate.

Yet I’m outrageously high maintenance. Go figure.

I may have mentioned in passing that my mother-in-law is coming to stay with us next week. For a week. And that is because Child B is graduating from high-school. (And we’re sure that the driver’s license can’t be far behind.)

Since my mother-in-law is coming, the house is being scrubbed to within an inch of its life.

Note: This is not because my mother-in-law is critical, snobby, demeaning or any other bad thing. She is lovely. But my mother-in-law keeps a spotless house. And by spotless, I mean spotless, speckless, stainless, streakless, splotchless and sparkling. And it’s not that she’ll come down here and criticize my housekeeping efforts, smack me upside the head with my own Martha Points blog or otherwise emotionally berate me for the questionable conditions under which I am keeping her son and grandchildren hostage. It’s that she will clean and I don’t want her to. She’s supposed to come down here to visit and relax. Not dust under my refrigerator.

So to the massive joy of my three teenagers, today was Spring Cleaning Day (insert fanfare, no confetti please).

And so that I could enjoy the day more, last night I made a list.

But the most amusing parts of this were when something got added on, Himself or the kids felt compelled to add it to the list JUST so they could cross it off. And then, if someone crossed off a job done by another member of the household, the worker-bee in question threw something of a conniption for having been denied the satisfaction of crossing the chore off the list.

There was actually MORE complaining over having your check-box checked for you than being coerced into cleaning toilets on a Saturday morning.

I am either winning huge or raising crazy people.

Maybe both? Hard to say.


Filed under Humor

31 Responses to Death By Spring Cleaning

  1. I am laughing too hard to leave an intelligent comment.
    Will totally copy this idea when my kids are old enough to read.

  2. Your house monkeys/kids can come clean my house ANY TIME.

    • Ok, you can have the house monkeys OR the kids, but both requires a reservation at least two weeks in advance.

      Otherwise I’d be minion-free, and I can’t have that.

  3. I love lists, too. I’ve also been known to complete a task that wasn’t on the list, then add it just so I can have the pleasure of crossing it off. Kinda wacked.

    Lists and I have a long history! Thanks for making me giggle!

  4. KLZ

    Best reason for a fight ever.

  5. liz

    May I ask about vacuuming sheep???

  6. We post lists too for cleaning although my family members don’t get as excited about crossing off as I do. And yes, sign me up for the club for people who add things they’ve done that weren’t on the list to the list just to cross them off. It’s an illness. Perhaps it should be a support group and not a club. You can come up with the perfect name. It could be a support group for chocoholics who are listmaking maniacs.

  7. I was so happy I stumbled across your site. I make lists as well. I esp love that the first the on the list was to make a list. Now that’s true dedication – I’m proud of you. Love the blog and thanks for the chuckle.

    • My personal feeling is that if the first thing that happens is a success (by way of getting to check a box) then that’s a good start!

      And glad you found me too! (I need to fix that first step, though, too much stumbling!)

  8. Oh, I’m so sorry to read that you also are sticken with MILCC (Mother In Law Cleaning Compulsion). Like yours, my MIL is sweet, gracious, wonderful but delisionally clean. I am totally mortified to think of her cleaning my filth and must eliminate it before she is allowed to set foot here. In slightly less than three weeks my daughter will be graduating from college and the after-party will be here so that means having to let in-laws in the house. You can imagine the amount of lists that have already been written! Unfortunately, I do not have minions and my lists must all be completed alone. Family members will comment on how well I am or am not progressing on these lists without offering to help. Could you please write a post giving tips on how to get help from them? Best wishes on Child B’s graduation and make MIL a nice, big cocktail to help her forget to want to clean.

    • Can I have a nice big cocktail, too?

      And we’re just going to need to craft a plan to get you some minions. EVERY mom deserves minions.

      And congrats on your daughter, too!

  9. Lisa

    My friend used to make lists every day. The first thing on the list was…..get up, get dressed. This cracked me up!!

    • Ok, I am happy to say that I do not actually need to put “Get up” on a list to motivate me to do that. But you never know…someday…

  10. Lori — Does it really matter if you’re raising crazy people if their apartments are clean when the cops show up to cart them off to the looney bin for obssessive-compulsive list making? I thought not. However, just to calm your fears, I think it’s safe to say they are totally sane but becoming impeccably trained. And that’s the goal, after all, isn’t it? Nice job. You should at some point get a lovely thank you note from a future daughter-in-law…crafted from handmade die-cut daisies, of course 😉

    • Umm…police cart you off to the looney bin for obsessive-compulsive list making? I see.

      If you’ll excuse me, I have to find my passport. Because I’m going to Mexico. Or Bolivia. Or Uzbekistan. Just don’t look for me!

  11. You forgot behind the radiators. I’ve got a special stick for that I can lend you.
    Crossing things off lists is great therapy- we’re flying to the sea side in 3 weeks time and the only way we can keep or son from throwing a tantrum because he wants to go now is to get him to cross days off a calendar we made him!

    • I don’t actually have radiators, I have heater vents. Which I actually didn’t clean. Might you also have a fuzzy duster for that I could borrow?

      And that’s a brilliant strategy for a little one desperate for the seaside. It might also work for, oh I dunno, 42-year-old moms who are desperate for the same. : )

  12. Kaira

    I suggest +20 Martha Points for wrangling in Stonehenge for use as a paperweight (or is it a magnet?). Harnessing the power of Druids in the name of Spring Cleaning? There has to be some kind of fantastical rite of passage earned for that one, or at least a lunar phase that can be named in your honor. Nice!

    • LOL…it’s a magnet. Stonehenge was my favorite place when I lived in the UK, and we gladly took US visitors there over and over.

      But I’m pretty sure there was NO mystical assistance. Otherwise my arms wouldn’t hurt so bloody much.

  13. I just want to say that if my MIL came to stay for an entire week. . . well, it wouldn’t be pretty. Would NOT be pretty. Ho man I can’t even imagine . . ..

    I too suggest mega amounts of points. Mega.

  14. Pingback: And it’s Potluck Day! « In Pursuit of Martha Points

  15. Heather

    You only think that you have an obsession with lists. I have at least 15 spiral notebooks whose sole purposes are to house lists. Example conversation with DH on YIM:

    Me: You’ll never guess what I am doing…
    Hubby: Writing a list?
    Me: NO! Having a convo with the lady from King Arthur Flour, but I started the convo because I wanted to know when they were adding wish list functionality… so points for you!

  16. I wandered in from somewhere on the internet – a comment link on, I think and have added your site to my google reader. 🙂
    I love that the first line is ‘Make list’. I aspire to be organised. I’m good at making lists. I used to joke that the first item on my to-do list was ‘Find the old list’ 😉

    • I love the Bloggess. I love the comments on the Bloggess. Leaving comments there makes me feel like I’m in the cool/funny club. As long as no one looks at me TOO hard. ; )

      And it never occurred to me to start the new list with “Find the old list.” But now that you’ve made the suggestion I’m feeling totally list-dysfunctional for not thinking of it before! And it’ll be a whole new thing to check off!


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