An Ode to My Messy House


I love you.

But oh, you infuriate me. How do you get so filthy?

(It’s your fault, you don’t clean me.)

Why are you blaming me? You lousy ingrate, what have you done for me lately?

(More than you’ve done for me, slovenly slattern.)

And it just goes downhill from here. There’s a slam. And a bang. I threaten to leave it, walk out, FOREVER. It says fine, but it gets to keep the children. Oh yeah? I holler.

(Oh, yeah, you foul slob, where do you think they’re going to want to live?)

I weep.


Flora: What the heck’s going on?

Jane: I’m fighting with the house! Leave us alone.

Cinder: She’s lost it.

Flora: Totally.

Ender: Does anyone want to build a fort in the living room?


I think I would clean you more if… oh, I don’t know. If you just didn’t get dirty again. Immediately! If you could give me a day’s… hour’s respite. You know? Would it kill you? To stay clean, tidy, organized for more than 30 seconds?

(I am not the one who messes myself up, you know.)

I know.


(Beloved. Do I not take good care of you?)

No! You’re drafty and squeaky! Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. You’re dusty and stinky and…

(Beloved. I wrap myself around you the best I can. Don’t I? Am I not your sanctuary? The place you run to when you need a rest from the rest of the world? Do you not write me the most delicious love letters when you are in that mood?)

Sob. Yes. But you are such a mess. And you need so much work. And I don’t want to do any of it. It’s thankless and never-ending. And you never say thank you.


Screw off. Do you ever thank me? Never! And then, when I do all the things… you just get filthy again! Look at that wall! That floor! And is that spaghetti sauce on the ceiling?

I don’t even remember the last time I made spaghetti…

(I just want to be clean. And beautiful. And welcoming. For you. You know? Don’t you love me more when I’m all, you know, all beautiful, all dressed up?)


Do I?

I don’t know. Maybe. Sure. But it doesn’t last. Ever. And so… I really don’t give a fuck. No. When you’re all prettied up and sterilized and scrubbed? You’re just this reminder, slap-in-the-face of what I’ve just done with my time that will immediately be undone.



(Ingrate for what? You do nothing for me!)

I do everything! And it’s never enough!


Flora: Do you think we should call someone?

Cinder: We shouldn’t. They might take her away. You know. To the loony bin.

Ender: Let’s go hide in my fort.



Go away.

(Just the bathroom and the kitchen floor. Ok? Please? Just… just the toilet and the mirror. Please?)

 I pour Listerine into the toilet. Because, no cleaner. I feel the house roll its eyes and I bristle.


Fuck off!

(Thank you.)


(Thank you.)

Really? Did you just…

(Thank you. Now… scrub the tub. And fill it. And put in bubbles. And my pipes and furnace will sing to you while you relax. Yes? Take all the time you want. Unwind… Yeees. Like this… And then… you can wash the kitchen floor.)


Flora: Hey, Mom… are you writing? I thought you said you were going to clean the kitchen floor?

Jane: Um, well, I was. But I decided to write about how I didn’t want to do it instead.



NBTB-Hey Mom Kitchen Floor

PS The kitchen floor’s still filthy. What, you think I’m that easy to play? This house has no idea who it’s dealing with.

8 thoughts on “An Ode to My Messy House

  1. Pingback: Priorities, baby, priorities—or, “I don’t” as an answer to “How do you do it all?” | Nothing By The Book

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