The “clean up your own damn mess” week-long challenge….

22 Jan

I haven’t had a chance to write on here in a while.  Why?  Because I’m so exhausted everyday by the time I get a moment of freedom (if I even get that moment of freedom) that I can’t see straight.  Nothing but incoherent static in my brain.  My schedule has become condensed and frantic since I had to get the day job- and my endurance level hasn’t caught up with my activity level yet.  No fun. Not fair.  But what can ya do?

Part of that exhaustion comes from the role of “the maid” that I’ve somehow been thrust into.  I didn’t notice it before when I worked solely from my house because the clean-up was spread out throughout the day, and much easier to handle.  But now that I work all day, it’s really apparent to me just how fucking messy and lazy my guys are.

I will admit that my desk and drawing table are  cluttered… but that is my personal space that doesn’t affect everyone in the house.  And I can close the doors and hide it from the world.  But Brad and Sully’s mess tears it’s way through the house on a daily basis, and stays in a state of destruction until I pick it up.  It’s rude.  And inconsiderate.  And I’m fucking tired of it.  And as much as I love my boys, it makes me want to take a hammer and slam it repeatedly into their faces.  Let me site a few examples of what is going on right now in my house.

Example #1…. our bedroom.

Brad has opted to have his desk and computer in our bedroom (even though we have a spare bedroom that could be his office… why he doesn’t grab that is a total mystery to me).  I don’t EVER touch Brad’s “stuff” because when he loses something, I’m the one who gets blamed for “moving it”.  So long ago I solved that problem by just keeping a very “hands off” approach to everything that is his.  This week, he began to notice my ever-growing stress level pertaining to the state of our bedroom.  So last night he tried to “clean it”.  This is what he considers “clean”:

See that pile of shit in the middle of the floor? Its been there since Christmas.

See that pile of shit in the middle of the floor? It's been there since Christmas.

When I open my eyes every morning, these messy piles of shit are what I see.  This is what I start my day looking at.  And where did the rest of the mountain of crap go that he “cleaned up”?  That brings us to the “guest room”.

Example #2… the guest room.

I really liked the idea of having a guest room.  We have so many friends that come in from out of town that it’s great to have a place for them to stay.  But Brad has ruined the guest room.  His closet is in there (because I claimed the bedroom closet as MINE).  So about 2 months ago he started cleaning out his closet.  This meant that he took the hundreds of articles of clothing that he no longer wears and threw them into the middle of the room.  I left that mountainous pile there for a week or so… then it drove me batty.  So I folded them all really nicely for him to box up or throw away. Where are they now?  Let me show you:

See that huge stack of clothing on the desk?  Theyve been there for 2 months.  Seriously.

See that huge stack of clothing on the desk? They've been there for 2 months. Seriously.

OH!  And all the stuff he “cleaned” out of our bedroom?… Look!  It magically appeared in here, scattered aimlessly around the room.  Fucking awesome.  How in the holy hell is anyone going to be able to stay in that room when they’re visiting?  UUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!

And lastly… our house’s entryway.

My boys have a habit of walking in the door and just throwing their stuff on the ground with the intentions of getting it later.  If this was a backpack, or a wallet, or a jacket, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But instead, it’s huge musical equipment, or boxes that were shipped to us to planning to be shipped, or giant storage boxes that are filled with what appears to be trash collected from Brad’s car.  The items in the photo below have all been sitting in those exact spots since the middle of December….

The bin by the guitar is the one filled with what appears to be the trash from Brads car.  I really want to set it on fire.

The bin by the guitar is the one filled with what appears to be the trash from Brad's car. I really want to set it on fire.

So in the morning I wake up to piles of crap that isn’t mine, and I come home from working all day to piles of crap that isn’t mine… but god forbid I touch any of it because then once either of the boys loses anything it HAS to be because I moved it.

And then there’s the ever breeding piles of mystery dishes that somehow get scattered all over the house.  And the 12 billion pairs of Brad’s dirty socks that are balled up and EVERYWHERE.  And crumbs always all over the counters even though I wipe them off every 10 minutes.  And Sully’s art supplies and books that have invaded every inch of the house, even though I’m constantly telling him to pick them up…. etc etc etc.  I could write a book about all the stuff that is a state of chaos, clutter, and shameful disarray in my home (but I’m already too embarrassed by how bad things are right now for any of you to know any more).


Brad is home all day.  There’s no excuse for this.  Sully is capable of cleaning up after himself.  There’s no excuse for this.  And with me working all day AND trying to operate my business AND make art for gallery shows AND do all the grocery shopping and errand running and gardening- I really don’t have the time or patience anymore.

So here’s what I’m going to do… nothing.  I am not going to lift one finger for a week except to clean up after myself.  Sully knows how to do dishes and laundry.  Brad is almost 12 years older than me, and perfectly capable of cleaning up after himself.  So I’m going to just let it all go for 1 week starting today, and I want to see how long it takes them before THEY start to get uncomfortable in the chaos and want to know what happened to all the clean towels.  I want them to wake the fuck up and experience what it would be like if I weren’t around to clean up after their lazy asses all day.  Brad actually had the BALLS last week to refer to himself as “the maid”… and when those words came out of his mouth I had to close my eyes, stand very still, and breathe very slowly and deeply… because it’s the closest I’ve come in about a year to seriously punching him in the face.

Hopefully I’ll have a chance to babble more this week since I won’t been on full-time clean up duty.  But next Thursday, I will be giving my report on how the boys handle their own pathetic filth… or if they even fucking notice.

If they don’t notice, and continue to take for granted the work I do around here, I’m moving out.  And I’m taking the cats with me (they’re far cleaner than the boys will ever be… and much nicer to be around).


18 Responses to “The “clean up your own damn mess” week-long challenge….”

  1. butcherbaby January 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    eeek….i have to admit that i am the messy one in my house, and it’s much more cluttered than yours. unfortunately i am the one that’s home all day by default since i take care of my sister, so i am expected to clean….which is pretty much right at the top of the long list of shit i HATE to do. i am seriously the anti-housewife. i have told every guy i’ve ever dated that i do not cook or clean, so they need to either deal with it or go somewhere else. washing dishes and doing the laundry are the only household chores i’m ok with, but i still tell my husband that if it’s not in the hamper it won’t get washed, so if he forgets something? tough shit. and i only learned to do dishes regularly because i lived with my sister in law’s mom for awhile and she would not tolerate a single dirty dish in the sink, ever.
    i pretty much pray for the day i get a job making more than my husband, so i can be the working stiff and HE can do all the shit i hate.

  2. Kristen Ferrell January 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    I’m extremely OCD about my environment. My neatness really kicked in when I got to quit my day job and work from home full time. Being surrounded by a messy house completely destroys my concentration. And I think that the boys just got used to me being the one to do all the housework chores that noone else wanted to do. But since I’ve had to go back to the day job (thanks for that, shitty economy!), it’s really become apparent just how lazy I’ve let the boys get. They don’t even notice that I vacuum every other day and scrub the floors and wash the towels and change the sheets, and religiously wiped down all kitchen and bathroom surfaces, etc etc etc. I don’t cook well, but I’m certainly not going to make up for that by being the fucking maid.
    All I want is for everyone in the house to pull their own weight. I really don’t think it’s too much to ask…. right?

  3. daMamma January 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Looks like my house. Sounds like my family.

    I can’t get any of my kids to pick up a darned thing either without all kinds of bitching, moaning, whining and crying about how this one or that one does everything and how come I don’t make the other guy do it. Gosh I could just choke the life out of each and everyone of them some days.

    So in the end I usually end up doing it all or it just won’t get done.

  4. sara z January 22, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    oh lady 😦 i know your pain! i tour with gross boys and get to live in their van of filth for several months a year, but at least i get to come home and get away from it. but you live with them! ahhhh! i’m so sorry. i notice that cats are a gazillion times cleaner than men. i also notice that most women tend to understand that they are responsible for their own shit. so i have an offer: we can be girlfriends in a glorious and sparkling clean house filled with love, cats, and neil diamond.

    this might make you laugh:
    (read from the bottom up as it’s chronological)

    miss you!

  5. Kristen Ferrell January 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    Sully has a little bit of an excuse to needing some prodding to do housework… he’s 10, and the mess really doesn’t register with him. But every single day that I’m waking up to Brad’s INSANE amount of clutter and mess all over the house is one more day that I love him a little less. I have my office… that’s where my little world is. Brad has our bedroom, the guest room, AND a studio that he built in the garage. Brad, honey, if you’re going to take over the house- do it neatly.
    If I was still working at home and had more time on my hands, then I seriously wouldn’t mind so much. Because my pre-day-job days were just like yours, daMamma… I was aware that noone else was going to clean so I took over. But I’m doing the most “job” work out of everyone, AND the most housework. Not fair. At all.

    By next week, if major revelations haven’t happened, I’m taking all the boy’s stuff that isn’t where it’s supposed to be and setting it all on the front lawn. I’m not kidding. So anyone who needs new amps, pokemon cards, legos, video games, and 10,000 pairs of dirty balled up black socks… be prepared to swing by my house next Thursday. It will all be on the curb waiting for you.

  6. Kararararalyn January 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    hmmmmm….here’s a mental note. one time, my mother was tired of my clothes being everywhere when i was in college. she got tired of it and threw them all out. well, i took it as she ‘threw them all out’ and was like, oh mom’s gotten all crazy and she’ll return them to me. nope, the lady threw them all out. i never fucked with her again. it was awesome. in terms of the situation you’re faced with, i’m in the middle of reading this fucking stupid, yet inspirational book called apartment therapy. dumb dumb. dumb. yet inspiring. what ABOUT the rule if you haven’t touched it in 2 years, throw it out….


  7. whitney January 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    i really don’t get the logic men have that moving an object from one location to another location that still isnt it’s proper spot is “cleaning”. james can be that way. luckily he;s a pretty neat guy (as far as the inside of the house goes) and he cleans and fold and hangs the laundry and cleans the litter box. but when you go in the garage, heeeeeelllooooooo, a massive pile of god know’s what in the middle of the garage! it’s amazing 5 people can fit in there to practice. and praise the fucking lord we are actually going to go in there on sunday and clean that shit out. i’m sick of looking at it and having to squeeze by.

    as far as your boys go, just throw everything into a give away box… i’m sure they won’t even notice it’s gone. or you can always set it on fire… that might be more amusing! 🙂

    good luck and can’t wait for the update!
    (and thanks for writing again, i was getting a bit concerned as well as going through kristen ferrell withdrawls, hehe).

    ps- this is pretty random….. but james and i were talking about the watchmen today and he asked “doesnt kristen like the watchmen?” which made me say “yes and she likes x-men and harry potter too” and then jokingly he says “harry potter is for the devil!” and i said “well, kristen hates god, haha” and then he goes “kristen ferrell is for the devil!”
    i dunno… pretty random and stupid, but i thought maybe you’d think it was funny. wheeeeeee!
    oh and then we went on talking about how we love your smile 🙂

  8. Kristen Ferrell January 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    Kararararararararararalyn (that was really fun to type)…. The blogs slowed down because of my mind numbing exhaustion every day. By the time I get home from work and get Sully and then do all my “mom stuff” until Sully goes to bed, and THEN I do all the work that I normally would have done during the day on my own business, and THEN try to paint for upcoming shows… it’s usually around 2am, and I’m dead to the world with nothing interesting or inspiring to say. I’m trying to get a healthy balance going so I have more “me time”… but it’s slow in the making.

    When we moved to California, everything in our basement that I hadn’t touched in a year went in the garbage. There were boxes that I didn’t even open to see what was inside. I just knew that I hadn’t touched them in years- so in the trash they went. I purged a massive dumpsters worth of stuff, and never looked back. I’m thinking that needs to happen again. But this time, just with Sully and Brad’s stuff.

    And Whitney…. that conversation that you and James had about me TOTALLY made my month!!! The two of you are so adorable!!!! I promise I’ll write more. The fact that I was missed makes me warm all over!!!!
    😀 😀 😀

  9. Cassie January 23, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    I’m glad you had time to finally write! Even if it was to rant about boys and their lack of cleaning skills.

    I am the maid in my house as well. My roommate is a sweet sweet lady but her house cleaning skills and ability to pick up after herself leave something to be desired. Is it terribly sad that I get all excited when I come home to find her washing dishes?? (this only happens every 3 months or so) The bonus to her leaving her shoes all over is that she has fab shoes and we wear the same size. Go me!

    I hope your trial run of not picking up after them works for you!!
    I tried it with Lily and my roomie and it blew up in my face like a firework with a short fuse. = (

    Hugs Hugs Hugs and Luck Luck Luck to you lady!!!!!!

  10. christine January 23, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    Ugh I feel your pain I get super claustrophobic in messy rooms, I’m OCD with clearing spaces. I attribute that to growing up in a house with 5 other people, 4 of them men, and having to wake up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning because my father insisted me all clean the house and was rough. I remember cleaning the bathroom with a fucking TOOTHBRUSH. So growing up, I was always ‘super clean and organized friend’, who would go to her best friends house and clean her room!! Start doing a ‘clean sweep’, toss out whatever is not important and you never use, donate old clothes that sit around, etc. and if anyone leaves things laying around, toss it!!!! it may help 🙂

  11. Michelle January 23, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    I completely feel your pain. I get so pissed off that my weekends are solely devoted to cleaning up after Matt and the two kiddos. It wouldn’t bug me so much except that Matt works from home. I’m constantly amazed that he doesn’t pick up ANYTHING during the day or clean or wash dishes and then on the weekends while I’m cleaning has the gall to complain that he’s bored and going to go out and photograph. Crap, I’m making myself angry again just writing this.

    Good luck with your plan & keep us updated. If it works, I may be doing the same thing in 2 weeks!

  12. chelsea rae January 23, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Bryce & I are both crazy clean-freaks, which you might think would really make for a clean, happy, peaceful homelife. You would be horribly mistaken. Turns out that we’re both OCD about entirely different things.
    Bryce dislikes visual clutter, i obsessively organize. He can’t look at a pile of anything without squirreling it away in a drawer or hiding it in some area i’ve already organized, whereas i can leave something & come back to it, because i would much rather fastidiously clean the whole house from top to bottom the next day.
    It leads to countless screaming fights, & constant tension around the house.
    As i type this, i’m looking at my immaculately organized art supplies (which live in a closet on wheeled AV carts so they are both accessible & easy to hide,) that are buried under months worth of ‘clutter’ that Bryce has ‘put away’.
    (And by ‘clutter’ i mean unopened mail, old newspapers, jeans that were supposed to go to the tailor, packages from christmas, the leftover plastic to winterize the windows, a rain poncho, & a bag of dog treats. All of which have homes, none of which belong in this closet.)
    [Le sigh.]

  13. Kristen Ferrell January 24, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    I wrote this on January 22nd… it’s now the 24th. Sully has been pretty good about cleaning up all his stuff without any prompting from me. But our sink right now is surrounded and filled with Brad’s dirty dishes, the counters are covered with crumbs, there’s cheerios all over the floor in the kitchen and the dining room, and somehow there are 5 dirty towels in the bathroom. This is going to be a long and disgusting week.

  14. myshinyhell January 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Ooooooh, you have my hugest sympathy on this one, K. It is *not* too much to ask that they clean up after themselves. I’m ALWAYS the clean one, no matter whom I live with, and I always lose the battles when I take a stand and decide to stop cleaning up after everyone else. It sucks. And I break every time. I look around me at the dishes with molding food and the messes everywhere, and I snap, give up and clean it up. This is because the person who cares the least in any relationship has all the power. Sooooooo… I will keep my fingers crossed that your boys are grossed out enough by their own filth really quickly, and don’t make you live with it for too long. Be strong, sister! You can do it! Good luck to you! xoxoxoxoxxo. 🙂

  15. roo January 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    I totally feel your pain.

    I went on “strike” recently.

    My husband and kids are ridiculously lazy and totally take my efforts for granted. When I tell my husband “You don’t do anything!!!” I get a response similar to “Anything???” As if he expects credit for wiping his ass.

    So I just stopped cleaning and cooking. After about a week, the dishes were to the sky and they were eating spaghetti out of Tupperware. The cats had taken over the house and our fish was about dead. Everything was so disgusting yet they all seemed completely cool with it.

    My cause had obviously gone unnoticed. So, I blew up and said my peace but in the end, I cleaned it all myself.
    I’m so fed up =(

  16. butcherbaby January 29, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    you’re right, everybody should pull their weight! especially guys, because they are usually so socialized into letting a woman do it all. i’m just a woman that wants that same male privilege even if it really is just reverse sexism.
    i have my weird OCD issues too- dishes, towels, and clothing all have to put away in just the right spot/order, or it flips me out (my husband unloaded the dishwasher and when i opened the cupboard i had to bit my tongue and turn away quickly before i went manic and rearranged everything. and i can’t get dressed if the bed isn’t made.
    i suppose, though, that i should take the time to clean the bath room tomorrow, it IS looking a bit raunchy.

  17. butcherbaby January 29, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    oh yah records, books, cd’s, and tapes/dvd’s, sewing supplies, and the contents of ALL cupboards & cabinets get the same micromanagement as all the above. i am the dirtiest neat freak ever!

  18. Kristen Ferrell February 1, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    *Final Report on dirty week*
    The boys didn’t even fucking notice. At the end of the week, I freaked out and did my “pacing and talking in my forced-calm” voice (you know the one I’m talking about… the one where you know the person is about to start laughing and slicing everyone in the house up with an exacto-knife) about how if I have to look at one more thing in the middle of the floor I’m going to set the house on fire. So Brad moved everything out of the middle of our bedroom. But the stuff in the front hallway is still there. The mess in the guest room is still there. But I manically cleaned up all the weeks worth of grime all over the rest of the house.
    And they didn’t learn a lesson at all.
    I fucking give up.

    Brad just walked into the guest room, informed me that one of the cats puked, and then walked out… leaving the puke- apparently for me.
    It will never end.

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