29 June 2006

Parent Clean

There are many kinds of clean, as we all know. My most consistent is the sort of clean that's attained by tidying up on weekends if I'm home. (A big "if," I'll grant you.) I guess that's my Baseline Clean. If the basket is full, the laundry gets done; the trash gets collected and taken out; the carpet gets vacuumed; clean clothes get put away; stray papers (I seem to be a magnet for stray papers) get collected and put .... oh, somewhere; maybe the sheets get changed; Pekoe gets brushed; plants get watered; the patio gets weeded; the compost gets emptied; the recyclables get taken to the bin; the bathrooms get cleaned; etc. If I'm feeling extra energetic, the kitchen, bathroom, and entryway floors gets washed. I can do a pretty good Baseline Clean in a couple of hours, which is one of the things I like about living in a smaller place.

The other two extremes that I am likely to encounter are Tech Week Dirty and Parent Clean. Tech Week Dirty means that things (clothes, shoes, junk) got dumped onto the nearest flat surface when I came in; mail has piled up but dishes haven't because if I'm living at a theater, I'm certainly not cooking at home; Pekoe feels neglected; and - a given - somewhere in my condo is a half cup of tea that has gone moldy. (Tea is possibly an even better growing medium for mold than PDA.)

Parent Clean, on the other hand, is that blessed state where even the dusting is done. Clutter has been dealt with. Surfaces sparkle or gleam as appropriate. The condo is largier, arier, smells good, and somehow has its own Mozart-y Haydn-y maybe even Bach-y sound design*. Absolutely nothing in the home makes one's parents suspect that they've raised a slattern.

On the morning of a Sunday matinee for The Winslow Boy, I had to try to take the condo from Tech Week Dirty to Parent Clean. I didn't completely succeed, but at least we got to Baseline Clean and when you consider that I was already rehearsing another show and had recently taken a third show out of town, that's no small feat. No dusting happened and precious little vacuuming, but the flat surfaces were clear and my folks could be taken on the tour. You see, this was Dad and Audrey's first visit chez moi. They live about 80 miles from me and have a dog that is pretty old, so what with one thing and another, they'd never been here.

I gave them the big tour (wear comfy shoes!) which can take as long as 3 minutes if there's a big crowd, showing off my favorite bits of the condo, like the pantry (where my washer-dryer lives) that is actually pantry sized, so that my canned goods have more elbow room that I have, and the nice view of the soccer field across the road, and my patio.

Audrey and I discussed how my putting the dining table and chairs in the alcove instead of the "dining room" made sense (there is enough room for either the table & chairs or the china cabinet & buffet). We also discussed the bent wood rocker that I keep in the dining room so that someone visiting me can sit comfortably while I do food prep. The caned seat had separated from the frame and Audrey suggested that I show it to Dad to see if he could fix it. I did and, after a pause, he told me that it was beyond repair and said, "You know, if you really like this chair, I'd throw it out and buy one that looks like it."

Then we had a lovely - if hastily prepared - dinner and the folks headed back to West By-God Virginia to let the dog out. (Who lets the dog out? My parents, that's who.)

Audrey mentioned during dinner that in my efforts to manage their expectations, I had led them to believe that I lived in a scary hovel. So they probably would have loved my place even if I had not gotten it as pretty as Baseline Clean merely because they didn't have to run in to the building through a rain of bullets or dodge collapsing walls during dessert.

And now that I'm not working on a show, perhaps I can maintain something between Baseline Clean and Parent Clean for a while. Wouldn't that be nice.

* But no Chopin, lest the folks worry about my serotonin levels.


Jim A said...

The term "parent clean" immediately reminded me of the 30 something episode where Michael says after dinner at the Westins' "Houses with kids are always...sticky." Of course after the time I blew up a can of Dulche de Leche that I was making, resulting in an AMAZING amount of caramel stuck to everything above waist level in the kitchen, my roomate, Mark "Quasi" Petty changed it to "Houses with Simons are always....sticky."

MacDurk said...

Leave it to Leta (wouldn't that be a fun title for a takeoff on a 50's era sitcom). I had always thought PDA stood for Public Display of Affection, or Personal Digital Assistant. In fact, when a policy came out in my office regarding handheld PDAs, a colleague complained that she saw no reason to stop holding hands at work with her boyfriend. Thanks for expanding my consciousness to include mold....

Rosellen said...

This reminds me of what my Parent Clean used to be. Many years ago when my parents would visit me, I'd have to hide all of the liquor. My mother was an obsessive Christian Science convert from a Methodist Circuit Rider background, and probably never had one sip of alcohol in her life.

Anyway, when she arrived, she'd have grocery bags and coolers full of food, ready to take over the kitchen during their stay. (This was fine with me, but something my ex-husband could never understand.) The drawback to her unlimited access to the kitchen and fridge, though, was that the liquor had to go underground.

Seems to me we hid it under our bed.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh they got to see your condo! That must be spiffy. Someday I hope to be in that exalted status. If I work real hard, eat my vegetables, I just know I can get there!

Or maybe a map and an invitation will do ... :D

Anonymous said...

*sigh* and divulging my identity. Yeesh, I'm tired ... LOL