Monday, April 20, 2009

The Sink and I

As you know, due to the downturn in the economy and my learning who my real friends are (HINT: NOT the people who got paid to come and clean my apartment), I've been doing my own house cleaning. Which apparently has to be done more than once. A month. I'm thoroughly exhausted and cranky and that fucking feeling of satisfaction that people claim that they get when they fully clean the house? Totally eludes me. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I do something, what's the word I'm searching for here? Satisfying.

But apparently my lot in life is to scrub toilets and wash floors.

Someone suggested that I join, a website that helps you clean. No, it's not a cleaning service. From what I can tell, it's a cult. First of all FLY stands for "Finally Loving Yourself" and let me reassure you that it's not a How to guide for masturbating morons. Apparently, they chose FLY because it was catchier than YAAFPLIAP (You Are A Fucking Pig Living In A Pigsty). But whatever, I need help with this cleaning crap, so I'm willing to go along with a few gags to get it done.

The first step, a baby step, as FLYlady reassuringly calls it, is "Cleaning Your Sink". And I'm like "huh?" Because "baby step" sounds totally advanced. If we're going the whole neo-natal route, don't I have some time to lie there in my own excrement screaming at the top of my lungs while others cleaned all around me? Because I could be the Martha Stewart of that. And besides, what do I want with a clean sink?
Fortunately the Flybitch has the answer.

What is in a Shiny Sink?
Dear Friends,

When you first come to you are shocked to hear what your initial habit is! "Go shine my sink??? How is that going to help me get my whole house in order?"

Right now you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed and I promise this is going to help you get out of the CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) that you have been living in for such a long time. It all starts with that shining sink.

If I were the Flylady, the first step would be "How To Trick Other People into Cleaning Your Apartment" but whatever.

When I set out to get my act together in 1999, I didn't know where to start either. This is why I just picked my sink. I was tired of beating myself up over the way I kept our home looking. At this point I knew what I had been doing would not work for very long. It was because I would go gung ho for a week or two then I would crash and burn. There is no rhythm to my method. I was forcing myself to adhere to a new set of rules and I felt so confined by the sheer number of them. I knew the system I had always used was not going to work again. This is when I started to rethink how I treated myself and guilt trips I would force on me. These were not working and I was so beaten down.

Ok, this is my problem. I am not beating myself up for the way that I keep our home looking. I am, however, thinking unpleasant thoughts about some of our home's residents who insist on spitting the toothpaste out in the sink as opposed to the toilet, where it can be flushed away without any residue. And thank goodness that I'd skipped right over this whole "gung ho" crap. Sounds totally exhausting.

Right then and there I decided I would be nice to me by only requiring that I do one small thing each day. I needed to establish a habit. I had plenty of habits but they were not effective ones for taking care of me or our home. I picked keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month. It was just that simple!

So this is where she starts to really lose me. Because no matter how hard I try, I can't get excited about "keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month." I keep thinking that "sink" must be code for something else. But there's just nothing in this world whose cleanliness and shinyness inspires me.

What is in that shiny sink anyway? When you walk into you kitchen in morning and you are confronted with yesterday's dirty dishes; you just want to go crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Along with these dishes are hurtful feelings because no one is helping you. Not only do you have to get these out of way to start another meal but you are beating yourself up because you let them go. That nasty water is just a reflection of how you feel when you face a sink full of yesterday's dirty dishes.

And yet, somehow FLYlady FLEW (Fucking Lewd Ewes Walking) into my soul and took a verbal snapshot. Yes! When I see a sink full of dishes I do wonder why the MENSA members that I live with can't figure out to put the dishes in the fucking dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink. How do they think it makes me feel when I have to start another meal (aka open the cereal box) while staring at last night's dinner plates? Except that one, of course, because that's mine and I specifically left it there to "soak". Because I didn't want my soaking lunch plate to feel "lonely". But all the others? No excuse.

Now on the other hand, when you are greeted with a shiny sink, all these bad feelings are gone and for the first time you can see a reflection of you. This is why I named my book Sink Reflections. That shiny sink brings a smile to your face. You deserve to smile. The guilt has vanished because you are standing in a kitchen with no roadblocks to begin your day. That is a great feeling and that is what a brand new day is all about!

That IS a great feeling. And I'm sure that the smile that's brought to my face while looking at a shiny sink is in no way related to the lobotomy that I had! I'm not even upset that Sink Reflections, my working title of a book about drowning that I've been tossing around in my head, is taken.

That shiny sink is contagious to the rest of the kitchen; just like your happiness and sadness is infectious to your family. The dishwasher has to be emptied because you need a place to put the dirty dishes. That dirty dish disposal unit helps to clear off your counter tops; when a sink is that shiny the counters just have to be cleaned too. Then comes the stove. Now the point of your habit was just to keep the sink clean and shiny but that shine is working its way around the heart of your home! The best part is that shiny sink is giving you confidence that you can do something and stick with it. Your shiny sink is a reflection of you! Enjoy the process and go shine your sink!

Time to call the CDC! Ok, what is this dance of co-dependency that I'm supposed to be doing with the sink? Does this seem a little bit off to anyone else? Like one minute we're shining the sink, the next we're invading Poland?

But I did it. I cleaned the sink. Not in the Physician's Desk Reference on OCD - manner that the Flylady describes, but still. And when I woke up the next morning, ready for my smiling embrace from the sink, I saw that Husbandrinka left his dishes in it the night before, totally distorting the smile into a grimace.

So, lesson learned. Baby steps. I'm crawling already.

If I want to enjoy a smile with the sink, I have to clean it, shine it, dry it, put barbed wire all around it to prevent Husbandrinka from touching it. Because then I can savor the few moments in the morning when it's nice and shiny. Maybe I should set my alarm half an hour early. For extra quality time with the sink. Smiling at it. Having it smile back at me.

I think I'm getting the hang of it.



Blogger Mariah said...

Hmmm, I think FLY lady doesn't have a clue about what she is saying. A clean sink gets dirty in 0.2 seconds flat, whats the fucking point? What does fly lady say about cleaning toilets when your children have terrible aim?

April 20, 2009 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger blognut said...

FLYlady is a bitch with a problem and she needs to get a life.

That's all I'm sayin'.

April 20, 2009 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

I'd never thought of spitting toothpaste down the toilet. What a GREAT idea!

If you live with MENSA members you could probably distract them with little maths puzzles and clever stuff and then they would forget to eat, and the sink would be clean, apart from your lonely plate soaking away.

April 20, 2009 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

OMG!! I don't believe it! I fell for the same thing (FLY Lady) at aprox the same time you did ! And , yeah, I too just shined my sink!! God! We need a life!!!

April 20, 2009 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Ok, I have selective OCD and even I think smiling about a shiny sink is a bit ridiculous. I prefer the rabid spitting and screaming I get to do when the family leaves evidence of their noshing in the sink. And the the bonus is it gets my heart rate up. No need to work out!

April 20, 2009 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger PinkLizzy said...

FLYlady went through this Australian parenting site a few years ago. They all went FLY crazy! That's when I started thinking that maybe Parenting sites are not for me.
*insert heaving and wretching noise followed by a splash in aforementioned shiny-fucking-sink!*

April 20, 2009 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

you people over here are cleaning? CHrist, what is this world coming to?

April 20, 2009 at 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

BTDT. Flylady is a wierdo.

If I want to see my reflection, I look in a mirror (and not the guest bathroom mirror either because the light isn't right. Also not the one in my bathroom because I am sure I didn't gain that much weight, it must be warped).

Most mornings, thanks to my dear husband, my sink is clogged with coffee grounds and half full of brown water. I am so hoping this is not a reflection of me.

April 20, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Z said...

Sorry, but if I want to see my happy smiley face staring back at me, I look in a mirror, not a sink. Just sayin' ...

Also, I spent all day yesterday on spring cleaning; it started by getting out my summer clothes and putting away my winter ones, and evolved into full-scale vacuuming and dusting and all that crap. And at the end of the day? Was I happy with my productivity? NO. I was tired. And cranky. And I remembered why I usually let my husband do that stuff. (Luckily, he got back from his trip last night, so next weekend? It's all him!)

April 20, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger jen said...

yeah ... i tried the flylady thing too ...
i got all pissy when she'd send me emails to "go! have fun! and clean this room! or that room!"
hit the cancel button rather quickly when i realized i was about 20 email cleaning reminders behind.

April 20, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger CSY said...

WOW!! They now have e-mail REMINDERS to clean your house? I just wait until the kids can't climb out of their beds anymore because they have so much SHIT piled on their floor. I DID clean my bedroom and get most of the laundry done this weekend...yes, I'm ashamed of myself. What kind of self respecting mom/wife am I to actually CLEAN the house? I know, I should've stayed in bed all day...I have no excuse.

April 20, 2009 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

Oh fucking hell. I WAS satisfied with having washed and put away the dishes, but after reading this, I felt, no! was forced to go wipe down the counters, clean the microwave and scrub the fucking toaster oven until it looks brand new.

Now I think I'll go pressure wash my house. And the patio too. Shiney clean everywhere!

When my blog dies a slow, post-less death because I'm too busy to write since I'm finding Zen in cleaning, I'm blaming this post of yours.

April 20, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Thinking of starting my own group. CRASH (Crazy ridiculous asshats seeking hobbies). Think the FLY people could be into a group that encourages better use of time than cleaning. Then again, I have Merry Maids. I could be biased.

April 20, 2009 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

Forget the sinks! Fly lady... I tried her method years ago but it made me way too cranky. Her OCD is way worse than mine. haha. The laundry is killing me.

April 20, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I tried FlyLady, and all it got me was a frown and a feeling of total helplessness. Shiny sink, my ass. I just make my kids to the housework.

April 20, 2009 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger WA said...

I have friends who did the FlyLady thing for a while. They went completely nuts after about a month. I'm serious. Get out while you can, dude.

April 20, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

maybe this whole cleaning thing is the universe (or jesus or abraham or allah or oprah) telling you to get an mp3 player and download 'ulysses' onto it. then you could be improving your home and your mind at the same it.

April 20, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

I like the spitting the toothpaste in the toilet idea. I can see the advantages.

I cannot ever imagine getting a thrill from seeing my own reflection in a clean sink.

I am rather afraid of clicking on the link to the FLY site. She is insane, right?

April 20, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Put your house on the market. It will start to get a whole lot cleaner. I do clean my sink sometimes and I find it very unsatisfying.

April 20, 2009 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

I signed up for Flylady.

I think she's insane.

My husband did the same damn thing. First WEEK of shining my sink - turns out I was not the last one to use it every night. I am NOT deliberately staying up later than him to make sure my effing sink is clean.

April 20, 2009 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

There is something wrong with that site. I think you'd better delete it from your mind or you will start singing songs about folding socks and such crazy things.

We have cut out house cleaners too, which basically means, I have lowered my standards of cleanliness. Dust bunnies are my new best friends.

April 20, 2009 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

On the contrary, YAAFPLIAP IS catchy. Please start using it in everyday conversation.
Also, I would think it should all start with a clean toilet. Doesn't that matter more in the grand scheme of things?

April 20, 2009 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger HappyHourSue said...

You had me at"spit toothpaste in the toilet" . You are a GENIUS.

I just let my house get progressively trashed from Friday- Thurday, then Thursday afternoon Berta y Lupe come. Sorry.

April 20, 2009 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Keyona said...

That's so damn funny. I just signed up for FlyLady yesterday and did the whole "shiny sink" thing and then hubby put a bowl in it and I almost lost my damn mind...Barbed wire sounds like a good idea....

April 20, 2009 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Miss Em said...

'that shiny sink is giving you confidence that you can do something and stick with it.'

I've been sticking with not cleaning my apartment for years, and I am quite confidence in my ability to keep not cleaning, thank you very much FLY-crazy-lady.

My cleaning how-to would be: buy bottle of vodka, pour into spray bottle. One spray for that shiny kitchen sink, two sprays for my mouth. Clean and happy in no time.

April 20, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

I signed up for FlyLady a long long time ago, but she wouldn't leave me alone with all those damn emails and I canceled in less than a week. She's such a nag.

April 20, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger La Belette Rouge said...

If my priority in life is ever a shiny sink I hope someone does an intervention.

April 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

That really is a good idea about spitting toothpaste in the toilet rather than the clean, shiny sink. I wonder if it would be too much to ask my family to drink water from the bathtub faucet?

April 20, 2009 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Anna See said...

i've started leaving my dishes piled in the sink. i want to see if anyone notices. Sigh.

April 20, 2009 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

Before I read "barb wire" I was going to suggest crime scene tape. But your idea is better.

April 20, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

The toothpaste being spit into the toilet?! BRILLIANT!! My kids massacre their bathroom sink with their toothpaste remnants, so I can see the toilet being a huge draw. Sadly, based on all the damn time I've spent cleaning said toilet of their wobbly habits, I could see this trick really backfiring on me, too.

I get into Flylady tangents from time to time, but then she's constantly cluttering up my inbox with email reminders, and I'm left thinking if that clutter isn't really just defeating her purpose. However, dammit, I do love a clean sink.

April 20, 2009 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger HoodChick said...

For like, 5 seconds this made me want to go clean my sink. Then I got over it.

The dishwasher is RIGHT THERE. Why I can drink juice, rinse the glass and put it in there but no one with a penis can manage that extra foot I have no idea.

April 20, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

So, this idea about spitting toothpaste into the toilet. It would cling to all the cling-ons adhering to the bowl, giving them a festive, almost Santa-like appearance.

It's not just good housekeeping; at Christmas, it can be a form of decorating.

April 20, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger FrugalcosIhave2 said...

fuck that, lets read Ulysses

April 20, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Ok I tried Fly lady, and I cleaned my sink.

Then the next day I went back to the same old me.

Not cleaning.

April 20, 2009 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Fly Lady is a nut job. Better to be a slovenly housekeeper, like me.

April 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Julie B. said...

ahhh...I'm catching up because I was gone in Disney for a week and then recovering for a week...I think I need my husband to read this particular post to know I am not the only one who is having a difficult time taking over the housecleaning after we stopped our housecleaning service. And seriously, the only reason my sink is ever clean is because I give my 5 month old baths in it (in his plastic tub in the sink....I don't do THAT good of a job cleaning it).

April 30, 2009 at 6:27 PM  
Anonymous MommyGeekology said...

I love a clean sink, but I dunno if it'll get the rest of my house clean. lol :) I wish!

May 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

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