Newest puppy, who now stands twenty-four inches taller than the older fluffier pup and weighs 50+ pounds, has finally learned to stop shredding toilet paper rolls and my notebooks to bits as part of her daily routine. That’s good. She has, however, gotten creative in her searches for shoe insoles, business cards, food packaging and paper napkins, or whatever other paper/plastic might be in reach on end tables or kitchen counters, or in my purse which I keep forgetting to hang on the coat rack by the door. This means that EVERY SINGLE DAY I sweep up swaths of debris.
Sundays have been major chore days throughout my adulthood. This is the one day each week that all the laundry gets washed, dried, and put away. The day a real breakfast gets cooked, trash is put to the curb, the bathrooms get scrubbed, and the kitchen might stay showroom clean for about ten minutes. Oh yeah, it’s also the day I clean the floors AGAIN.
Traditionally, so I’ve been told, Sundays are meant for rest. This never held true when I was a kid. The parental units got up early enough to shove me out the door (gently, gleefully) wearing my best shoes and hair barrettes, where I’d be met by the Sunday School van that would return me about two o’clock. Mama would already have laundry stacked to the rafters and Daddy would be revving up the lawnmower. I learned at some point they did indulge in after-early-chores naps followed by what Roy Rogers episodes might be on, but for most of the morning and late afternoon they were homemaking.
No vans come around to give me puppy respite (I should find out if that is a thing), so I’ve got the long-legged girl butting her head against the back of my knees as I rev up the vacuum or try to load the dishwasher. SHE IS OBSESSED WITH THE DISHWASHER. She follows me from laundry room to closet to bathroom to garage to kitchen until I give up and try to convince her the backyard is the place for puppies to be on Sunday mornings. Which means, this time of year of course, the wet backyard. So when she comes back in I meet her at the door with a giant towel in an attempt to save the floors from paw prints. Never works. 100%. Never.
Sundays have always been homemaking days for me because I work Monday-Friday, plus two Saturdays per month, and during workdays I have desperately tried to avoid anything more than the basics (cooking dinner and bathing) because good lord I hate housekeeping. Not a neat freak, me. Or at least in the past I wasn’t worried over a little clutter during weekdays. Since the little girl has come along, cluttered floors and tossed sofa pillows and paw prints kinda drive me insane.
Hence, my chore-free daily routine has been ruthlessly interrupted with ill-tempered sweeping, mopping, tidying, and often shouting WHERE DID YOU EVEN FIND THIS STUFF YOU CHEWED UP. GET OFF THE THING. DON’T DO THAT STOP. (Thankfully we’re no longer in an apartment, but in a house sturdy enough that the neighbors are spared from all the shouting and vacuuming.)
After butting my head against the metaphorical wall for nigh on seven months, it’s become obvious I have to throw my twenty-plus-year-long routine out the metaphorical window. I sat down, had a talk with myself that went something like this: Kathy, face it. You now have two choices. 1) halfheartedly battle squalid shredded paw printed hell six after-work-days per week and labor your patootie off every Sunday, or, 2) embrace a routine of daily cleaning—along with a few other sensible changes—so Sundays can be for light laundry, a little floor cleaning, after a big breakfast and before driving to hours at the library so you can write, then visit a few cute shops or the cinema so that you don’t lose your everlovin mind and the puppy goes deaf. Choose #2.
I have chosen #2.
Today is the very last Sunday I stay cloistered in the house with laundry and floors. Beginning tonight, I will go to bed surrounded by tidiness, prep dinner on my lunch breaks, hang my purse on the coat rack by the door, change all my bills to PAPERLESS ONLY, take ads directly from the mail box to the outside trash can, stop buying paper napkins, stop accepting business cards from people, and clean up paw prints before bedtime while a load of laundry is in the wash. If I get an hour to write or read each weekday, cool. If not, I’ll have most of next Sunday.
Life will return to sane livability. Right?