Cleanliness and Godliness and Drunkeness.

Growing up, there was a girl in my class whose house was full of garbage.  She didn’t have a ton of friends, and my mother, being the bleeding heart that she was, often volunteered me at summer day camp to stay the night at her house.

The first time I slept over, we watched scary movies on the couch in her living room, and when I reached between the cushions to grab the remote, I found a slice of old pizza.

I never peed there because there were fruit flies in the toilet and I was deathly afraid they fly up inside my vagina and lay eggs.

By the time I woke each morning, my bladder was bursting and I was 90% sure there were mouse bites on my leg and something stole my left shoe.

The last time I was ever made to go there, she tried to kiss me on her giant trampoline, so I told her I thought I started my period and called my mom to come get me.

There was just no way I could consider lesbianism under those conditions.  Had the show Hoarders been around in 1990, she would have been on it.

I can trace almost all of my germ fears and obsessive compulsive tendencies back to being in her house.  The rest stemming from growing up in a house full of animals and a father who saved everything.  To date, he still has every bank statement since 1983 and a large box labeled:  VHS Repair Kit.

You know, just in case the only thing to survive the apocalypse is a VCR.  Which actually makes sense, it’s the cockroach of technology.

Thank God I kept all my Police Academy Videos.

I could never be a Hoarder.

I throw everything away, even important things like bills or uncashed checks.

Once a week I go to the kids rooms with a garbage bag to sort through their toy boxes, purging out the Happy Meal toys and items they’ve lost interest in.

I do it in an attempt to keep a somewhat clean house.  Growing up our house was never guest ready, which wasn’t a problem until I started dating and would spend the time I should have used waxing my upper lip and slathering on Electric Youth perfume, vacuuming up after pets and lighting a million candles to counter-act the wet dog smell.

Much like homeland security’s rainbow color death threat chart, I keep a tally in my head of the different levels of clean I try to keep every area of my home, except my closet, which is a disaster depending on if I was able to button my jeans easily that morning or not.  If yes, you can probably see the floor.  If not, there are clothes and blood everywhere, and it smells like marijuana.

Guest Clean:  This means, at any given moment, if you come over to my house unexpected, it will probably be somewhat picked up inside.  None of us will have underwear on and we’ll be watching Project Runway, but there won’t be trash anywhere and you can pee on my toilet without getting larvae in your anus.  If you are friends with me, and I like and trust you, this is how my house looks when you come over.  It’s not that I don’t try as hard because I don’t like you.  It’s because I am lazy and comfortable enough with you that you can see me without pants on, watching reality television and eating Cheetos from the bag on the couch.

Mother-in-Law Clean:  This is only slightly above than Guest Clean, as to not make her think we are trying too hard.  The difference being I have panties on, and we take more care to hide our financial statements, sex toys and voodoo dolls.

Priest Clean:  This is a biggie.  I have only had to do this twice, but it’s at least a day worth of scrubbing and me physically removing the vibrators from the home and driving them to a rented locker at the train station.  It’s not that I think he will snoop through my drawers, but I feel like he’ll walk in and an alarm will go off.

Korean Boss Clean:  For the first time ever, I spent Labor Day weekend getting my home Korean Boss Clean.  Andy was hosting every important person from his company in our home for a BBQ, and those fuckers can drink.  Like, imagine that one time you drank a lot and made out with a homeless guy in front of the YMCA in college because he looked like the cute brother from Hanson, and then triple it.  That’s how much they drink.  I love them, and they are so fun, but I have to get my house clean enough that when they get us shit faced, I can trust that they can accidentally open any drawer or drunkenly stumble into any area of my home, and it will be spotless and free from bugs or kid pee, while at the same time, making it realistic enough to maintain that Andy doesn’t make enough to hire a cleaning lady, so please don’t ever stop giving Andy raises.

The only level I have yet to reach is Dateline’s Chris Hansen Clean.  But, that’s basically just Korean Boss Clean with the added work of wiping my computer hard drive and erasing the naked pictures of me off my cell phone from that one time I tried to sext with Andy, but got distracted and ended up sending him a list of crap I needed him to get from the store on the way home from work.

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  1. says

    Christ, I love you. I am a clean obsessive. I always try to keep my house “clean for company” as I call it. My husband on the other hand is totally ok with “Hoarders” or “Clean House.” Not good. I have been doing a “deep cleaning” series on my blog because I am so obsessed. Especially my kitchen. And my bathroom. Oh, and my DVDs.

  2. says

    You are my Mr. Clean Twin!!! I am cracking up. I don’t know why I’m such an anti-hoarder but I’m the EXACT same way lol. I fear dirt. I loathe it and I am quite proud that you have levels of clean. I shall adopt these levels if you don’t mind.

    GENIUS!

      • says

        Oh my…Could we do both?!

        Guest Clean: blue
        Mother-in-Law Clean: RED!
        Priest Clean: green
        Korean Boss Clean: orange (ya glad Kim jong il isn’t coming for dinner!)

        The mascots are a bit trickier…

  3. Lisa says

    You are one funny girl. I get such a chuckle when reading your posts. I always need to make sure I empty my bladder before reading. 3 kids later my kegel isn’t the stronget…:)

  4. says

    Wait. You forgot JenBShaw clean. For me it is above Korean Boss Clean but last time she came I was frazzled so I was only at Priest Clean AND IT WAS A SAD SAD DAY.

  5. says

    I’m pretty messy, but my house growing up was the opposite of yours. I was never allowed to have pets and you could eat off the floors at any point during the day… accept maybe when she was actually mopping them because that would be weird. My house isn’t necessarily dirty, but it is super messy. I keep promising myself to do better.

  6. says

    I’d settle for “Serious Injury Avoided” clean.

    I can’t walk through my house without tripping over or stepping on some toy of the kids and nearly breaking my neck.

    Is that too much to ask for? I think not.

  7. says

    “There was just no way I could consider lesbianism under those conditions.”
    Hilarious.
    I had a friend in high school whose house was FULL of stuffed bears. Teddy bears were everywhere. Her house also smelled like cat urine and Big Macs. Everytime I went over there I was haunted with bear-nightmares and a craving for McDonald’s.

    • says

      I imagine the scents of cat urine and Big Macs to offset each other, thus making the house smell, I don’t know, normal. That said, the thought of cat urine is causing me to gag to the point a Big Mac can’t cure. I feel for ya.

    • Brittany says

      I….don’t even have a proper explanation for what my brain is telling me that smells like. Just picture me laying on the ground here, twitching.

  8. lisa says

    i watch “hoarders” because it makes me feel like freakin’ martha stewart!

    but on the other hand, i was able to go out to my hidden hoarding room- the garage- and found a single piece of paper i needed- FROM 11YEARS AGO!

    prof you should never clean too deeply!

    • Brittany says

      We have one messy room. I don’t go in there. Unless I need to dig through old pictures to find a skinny one of me in high school before my boobs fell down.

  9. says

    –>Our house is always guest-ready because my husband and I pick up after ourselves constantly. However, he’s a PURGER which is 180 degrees from a Hoarder. He purges constantly, at least once a week. I’m convinced if I sat still too long, I’d be in the bag going to the thrift store. As a matter of fact, I have four bags of clothes, one of toys and a high chair in my car right now.

  10. says

    Oh my god I had the same friend. Every floor surface in their whole house had sculptures made of petrified dog poop and it always smelled of pee and I think I got fleas from sleeping over once. But they had cable and I didn’t so I maintained the friendship for quite some time. there are sacrifices you make when it comes to MTV and Nickelodeon when you’re 8.

  11. says

    Whenever my house is super clean, all of a sudden the DH decides we need something new and usually expensive. Like a blue ray system with surround sound speakers. All because I am finally feeling better and cleaned my house. So, it has to stay a *little* bit dirty to save our bank account.

  12. says

    Is this your way of saying that you want to come and clean my house? I’m definitely not a hoarder, but I’ve got way too much stuff and get weird emotional attachment to things and then try to keep them when I should just throw them out. So – uhh..you’re more than welcome to come clean if you want to.

    Beer is in the fridge. Dinner’s in an hour.

  13. Anna says

    I am with you on all of this! I have hoarding grandparents on both sides of the family, so I throw everything away, even things it turns out that I might need at some point. I also like to keep the house Guest Clean, but my husband could walk past a pile of laundry coated in dog hair and not even see it.

    • Brittany says

      Andy is the same way. In fact, last week, I collected the dirty socks he left next to the bed for a week, and then I stuffed them all in his pillow case.

      He doesn’t leave them around anymore.

  14. says

    I almost didn’t make it through this post—between the laughter and the shock at the fact that your mother made you sleep over someone’s house who lived like that. Poor you! It’s no wonder you fear clutter! I’m traumatized by the description (which was painted beautifully, by the way), I can only imagine your actual memories of it!

    It’s a great post! Thanks!

    • Brittany says

      I have PTSD about it. On the plus side, staying there and not peeing was like the best kegel exercise ever, so I went into sexual activity tight as a whistle.

  15. says

    Exact opposite of me. I’m not a hoarder per say, but I am a slob. I have a king size bed. One half is where I sleep…the other half has books, my laptop, clothes, empty cigarette packs and empty Mt. Dew bottles at any given time. I have empty tampon boxes lined up on a shelf for absolutely no reason. They mean nothing, I just can’t be bothered to remove them. Clothes EVERYWHERE. In baskets, on the floor, on the bed, on top of the dresser. I’ve always been a slob and always will be…I need a neat freak husband.

  16. says

    I aim to be a purger. But I’m not there yet… I guess that means that I’m on the hoarding spectrum. Chris Hansen clean is right up there with Jesus coming over for dinner clean… I’m with ya!

    • Brittany says

      Yes, except I would like to think that Jesus would be cool with the naked pictures. Wasn’t everyone basically naked in Jesus times, anyways? Or am I confusing that with something else? Like pornography?

  17. Jenny B says

    I love this post, there’s so much authenticity in it. My in-laws are hoarders and I often wonder what it was like for their kids. Also, the levels of clean… Funny but true! I do it too!!

  18. says

    Wow I haven’t actually chuckled out loud (cuz lets face it no one ACTUALLY lol’s that much while reading something) in a long time. I think you might have had sleepovers at my house as a kid…sorry for trying to kiss you. I too now throw out everything b/c my mother til this day refuses to. Because really how many 2 cent happy meal toys does one kid need?

    • Brittany says

      The Happy Meal toys are INSANE.

      And they aren’t the cool ones like from when we were kids. Like the big plush holiday Muppet toys, or the stuffed Berenstain Bears.

      Wendy’s is the worst. Audio Books!? Thanks for nothing.

  19. Melissa K says

    I am like this too. I have unfortunately become too tired from work and applying for MBA programs that my new level of being okay for people to come over is “no dirty underwear on the floor clean”.

  20. says

    What frustrates me is that no matter how many times I clean the house there is always one stray babysock lying about and my mother in law is always the one to find it…

  21. says

    OMG this is hillarious. Visiting from comment hour and will definetely be following!
    I can totally relate about hiding your special items before the visit from the in-laws! Just yesterday my toddler found a whip in my closet and was playing with it. Mind you, this was part of my Catwoman Halloween Costume!
    Also love the story of your failed sexting experience!!
    Sarah @ made in usa challenge

  22. says

    I cringed while reading about your experience in that Hoarder house. YIKES. I could never live like that either. Clutter overwhelms me.

    Your various types of cleaning methods are friggen hilarious!

  23. says

    Dude. I once had to get my house 20/20 clean. And I thought they were coming once. NO! Those fuckers kept coming back over, and over, and over.

    I finally called Molly Maid before I had a nervous breakdown.

  24. says

    I feel like you totally gave me permission to not clean as much when my in laws come to visit, I don’t want them to think I’m trying too hard! Why couldn’t you of told me this BEFORE this last weekend?? My husband made me feel a little better too, he said “they are getting old, they probably can’t see the dirt!” Yay!

  25. Dawn says

    God this made me laugh so hard- I grew up in a really dirty house, and turned out equating “clean” with “love” since my depressed mom didn’t pay any attention to us at all and the kids with CLEAN houses had involved, caring parents. That pretty much means my house is definitely never as clean as I would like it to be. We have three dogs and five kids and two full time jobs so…yeah. Add to that my husband has a hard time throwing anything away (and I do mean anything. three year old junk mail, half an old doorknob, clothing from high school….gah. It’s bad.) and my head just about explodes on a daily basis. I really try not to panic unless it’s at DEFCON four…otherwise I pop a Xanax and just move the dust around til I feel better!

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