Looking around at my house on this peaceful Sunday morning, I'm stunned that I would ever refer to myself as a Domestic Diva, even in jest. From the mushy comforts of my favorite chair, seated twenty feet from my kitchen, I can see piles of some sort of debris on the counter that may actually be bacterial colonies at this point. My October calendar workpile is leaning precipitously toward sliding off the breakfast table and onto a sticky floor that is insulated with a heavy layer of dog fur. Since I can't work up the moral or hygenic indignation to do anything about this state of affairs, I feel the need to convert my laziness into a haphazard philosophy that can benefit others. Draw near, Gentle Reader, and learn from my practical strategies and attitude of contentedness:
1. When there are several unfinished projects taking up needed space around the house, go see a good movie. (I saw "The Debt" yesterday, leaving behind a house full of cluttered horizontal surfaces.) A quick procrastinatory dose of escapism makes the mundane seem more manageable.
2. Never ask your spouse if they need help doing a job you desperately don't want to do. Examples of this mistake generally involve the yard, basement and/or the garage. If they ask you, plead "Weaker Sex" status or lack of certified training. If all else fails, make a vague reference to your "cycle." That should send them running to a male neighbor for help,
3. When carpet stains reappear, or you notice that a room needs touch-up painting, or your windows are too dirty to see out of, rearrange your furniture. It takes several days for the novelty to wear off and for you to remember what you were trying to hide. And once it's hidden, it may as well have disappeared.
4. Do not waste time or energy trying to train dogs to stay off furniture, or stop barking at other dogs or jumping on people they like. Find a professional and get a quote for the service. Then laugh hysterically as you watch your spouse turn blue at the cost of the estimate. If years of effort have failed, accept that both you and your dogs are stupid and/or lazy, and just give up.
5. Feel free to leave things out on counters and tables to provide reminders (wink) or "visual cues" (wink wink), but don't pretend those cues hasten the speed those items get attended to and put away.
6. Cook what you like to eat, and don't spend time trying to get people to eat healthy stuff they hate. Like you, they'll just sneak the bad stuff the first chance they get.
7. Corollary to #6: Cleaning the kitchen after a meal no one liked is 10 times more unpleasant than cleaning a kitchen full of clean plates and empty pots and pans, and much more likely to involve profanity.
8. Calling friends to talk about how much you dread all the jobs on your to-do list only magnifies the unpleasantness and delays the inevitable. Try calling a friend to celebrate a completed task. They'll resent you for it, but it makes more sense. And write the annoying call on your to-do list so you can check it off too - a win/win!
9. Basements, upstairs bedrooms and attics are out of sight of visitors for a reason. Don't ruin it for the rest of us by keeping them clean for anyone but the most important, discerning guests, like your mother-in-law.
10. If you want to decorate like Martha Stewart, cook like Rachel Ray or exercise like Jillan (what's her last name?), be my guest. I admire your dedication to excellence. At one time, I felt that way too, but visible evidence proves it was a fleeting aspiration. I can finally admit that I like my hodge-podge furniture, slap-dash meals and leisurely strolls on my treadmill.
If you closely follow these Ten Commandments, as I have, you are clearly headed for Housework Hell, or some variation thereof. However, you are welcome to help me think of a new, more suitable nickname for myself, since "Domestic Diva" has outlived its ironic usefulness. Right now, I'm leaning toward "Malingering Matron" or "Contented Cow."