Deep cleaning: Is that even a thing?

Our son, James, has shown some disturbing qualities, and I blame my husband, Patrick, who has been his stepfather since 1991.

Let me explain.

The other day we were talking with James, and he mentioned that he and his wife were hiring someone to do some ‘deep cleaning’ for them.

My reaction was, “Deep cleaning? Is that even a thing?”

James explained that with parenting two small children and busy schedules, they couldn’t get to all the sticky smudges and hidden crevices during routine cleaning.

I was baffled, but Patrick nodded, and joined the conversation with animation. “You mean like under the couch? And the overhead fans? And the shower?”

James got excited. “Yes, and cupboards, the refrigerator, and the baseboards!”

I responded, “Wait a minute. I can’t see the overhead fans because they are too high. I don’t look under the couch unless I can’t find my corkscrew. And if I splatter something on the cupboard or refrigerator, I wipe it off. As for baseboards, they are always slightly blurry, since they are just at the right angle to view through that sweet spot in my progressive lenses known as ‘blissful denial.’

I never wear my glasses in the shower, so I can’t see mold or soap scum. And who am I to disturb this delicate eco-environment? My priority is getting in and out of that hygienic death trap without breaking a hip.”

When I realized I was talking to myself, and Patrick and James had moved on to a discourse about vacuuming radiators, I saw the magnitude of the issue.

How could a son, born to a mother bearing the title “Queen of Superficial Cleaning,” concern himself with deep cleaning and dust free radiators?

Where did I go wrong?

My version of a wall growth chart was measuring how high the handprints and boogers were from the floor. And I named our dust bunnies so they were like family pets.

I thought back on times when Patrick had shown James the proper way to remove stains from the coffeepot, the value of running the toothbrush cup through a dishwasher cycle, and moving furniture when vacuuming.

That’s when it hit me.

It’s all Patrick’s fault. He’s passed his neatness and thorough cleaning habits on to the next generation, solving the mystery once and for all.

Much to my deep chagrin, I finally realize it is nurture not nature that determines the clean ‘gene.’

Deep that even a thing?


*Note: this post was my entry in the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Competition. I didn’t win but I did qualify for the final round.
©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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22 thoughts on “Deep cleaning: Is that even a thing?

  1. Haha! But I don’t know how you would explain me & my sister, both experiencing the same nature AND nurture, & with very different views on cleaning & tidying!

    • Hmmmm….that is a topic for another blog I suppose. I think there may be a ‘set point’ of cleaning and tidying that we are born with. I know one of my sisters was completely opposite me in that department too.

    • If I’m honest, it appeals to me too Laurie. I’ve overcome it so far, but you never know. I can always call my son to get the name and number of someone he recommends. *wink,wink*

  2. Love it! I’m so with you, thankfully my eyesight isn’t too clear these days so I too can’t see much of the soap scum and what not in the shower. Ignorance is bliss in my book!

  3. Ha ha! I love the “hand print and booger” growth chart reference here. Boy can I relate — and that’s because I have boys! My youngest is a teen now and I do believe there’s an unintentional science project festering in his bedroom…

    • Oh-oh! My meticulous son who signs up for deep cleaning as an adult was a dreadfully messy teen, so I can relate to your dilemma, but there is hope for change in the future. I would have to shut his door to keep my sanity when he was a teen. To show you how I’ve changed as a grandmother, I have placed an empty picture frame around the boogers my grandsons smeared on the wall in the room designated as their playroom.

  4. I have to admit that deep cleaning is a thing at our place…. And I use the same excuse as James! Three young kids, too busy, yada, yada. It works for us. Once a month “deep clean” and I do the rest (which largely involves kicking the mess under beds and couches until the “deep cleaners” come).

    • If I’m honest, Faye, I am a little jealous of the regular deep cleaning. But I keep getting my husband to do a little more all the time and he is much more thorough than I am. I’m holding off on washing windows this spring. I’ll casually mention occasionally how hard it is to see out of them, then leave the cleaning supplies out on the table for a few days. I’ll let you know how that works out. I may be calling James for the phone number for his person. 🙂

  5. I just started chuckling out loud at my work desk. I’m sure my co workers are wondering why I’m sitting by myself, laughing, alone at my desk. Oh well!

    This. Was. Hilarious!!

    I try to pretend that what I can’t see simply cannot exist. That is how I get through life by skimming over these things when I clean. I absolutely despise cleaning!! It takes such time out of our lives! Now, imagine if you cleaned the shower and under the couch…our lives would be nearly over before we knew it!

    • Such wisdom, Amanda! You are so right about wasting our lives cleaning invisible areas. Let’s hope for your sake Mark takes on the cleaning tasks like Patrick has for me. Then you can have a clean house and a life, like I do. Hahaha! Thanks for reading, laughing, and leaving a comment.

  6. Totally a deep cleaner — as long as I can remember. My daughter started doing it when she was two years old, now has 6 dogs in her house and a baby and a toddler and you could eat off her floor or ceiling.

    • Wow! I’d like to eat off her ceiling Carol. I think that would be a blast! I don’t look up at mine much unless a cobweb falls down in my face. You and your daughter are amazing and I admire your cleaning habits. Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

    • I do too, Anne! I’ve slowly pulled back from cleaning, waiting it out to see if Patrick will notice and plunge in. My latest victory is that he cleaned the bathroom, which was the last hold out. I think we will make it to our 25th anniversary later this year. I might even consent to renewing our vows.

  7. Ha! Having men talking about cleaning in the first place is funny. Okay, my husband is a great cleaner, but in my childhood my mom simply closed my brothers’ doors because she couldn’t stand the clutter and dust that they wouldn’t allow her to touch. I think they may have found Jimmy Hoffa in one of the rooms.

    Very funny post, Molly. You should have won Erma!

    • Thank you Cathy! This post is based on an actual conversation that took place…with a few embellishments of course! My son used to be pretty messy as a child and teenager, so his transformation is pretty amazing. I have to credit my daughter-in-law,as she taught him about thorough cleaning, too. Glad your husband is a good cleaner. What a treasure!

  8. Brilliant as always, Molly! Deep cleaning has never been a thing at my house, ever! Just look under my couch cushions! Could probably feed small birds ???

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