(image courtesy Matt Mawson)

It happened again.  When will I ever learn?

This is how it usually goes: I accidentally spill some jam on the floor, so I bend over to wipe it up and while I’m down there, I notice all the other little messes I’ve been ignoring.  So then I’m down on all fours with a bowl of sudsy water.  On my way back up, I see that the cabinets look suddenly smeary compared to the shiny new floor, so I spend an hour rubbing the walls and buffing the faceplates of the light switches and when I stop for a glass of water, I notice the ghastly truth inside my refrigerator, and so on, etcetera, until I lie panting on the floor in a pool of sweat, back spasming with the aftershocks. (I will never, ever buy jam again.)

Or this:  I find one new throw pillow for the sofa.  Then I have to move the art on the walls because the color of the pillow throws everything off.  Then I have to repaint the wall to cover the old nail holes. Then I have an inexplicable urge to rearrange all the furniture.  I hate that chair; it’s old and shabby and I can’t stand it a minute longer.  I drag it outside and leave it on the curb, shuffle back inside where the walls become oppressive.  I need a new house. We must move immediately.  (Husband uses his wife-whispering skills to talk me off the ledge.)

So I did it again. I won’t even waste breath explaining how I got here. Do you know how a room has to get ten times messier before it can get clean?  Well, that’s what my entire house looks like right now.  Like the garbage truck made a delivery.  Like someone dropped a bomb. Somebody should drop a bomb to clean up this freaking mess.  

Moral of the story:  ______________________________________  (fill in the blank.  I’m too busy scrubbing toilets to write anything meaningful.)





About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. Mike

    The moral of the story is that Anna’s house ends up looking nicer than most people’s. I’ve always thought so.

  2. ThreeKingsBooks

    I’m the same way. I have a ridiculous fascination with the art of arrangement, decor, beauty. Can’t live without it, I’m afraid.

    • It’s probably astrological. Or maybe it’s biological. Or maybe it’s a little nutso? I think they’d call it OCD. Works great if it’s aimed in the right direction.

  3. gailytr

    moral? you must be kidding. and you missed that spot over there.

  4. The moral of the story is please come and do my house!

  5. I’m like that too, been ignoring the dirt yelling at me on the floors, but oh if I had a spill my day would be ruined and my house more ofa tip

  6. TheOthers1

    Wife-whispering skills. L. O. L. This was great.

  7. Housework is soooooooooooooo uncreative !!

  8. kb

    something about you have to have chaos before order?I don’t know why but you have to explode the room before you can really clean and sort and organize it.

  9. I get stuck at the part where everything is upended. That’s usually when it occurs to me to take a nap.
    Someone like me is very fortunate to marry someone like my husband who can’t stop until it’s done. Me? I’d live with the mess and go outside to play…

  10. macdougalstreetbaby

    Moral of the story: You’re now Girl with a toilet brush.

  11. moral – it’s time to sell the house.

  12. i wish i was so focused when it comes to cleaning; i lose interest within seconds of starting. in my universe, there are no connections between my morals and the cleanliness of my floors. (the first few years of our marriage, my cleaning habits were the topic of a few marriage counseling sessions. so there may be a connection between my emotional responses–or my husbands–and the cleanliness of the floor.)

  13. A clean house is so over rated. A clean house is so over rated. A clean house is so over rated. A clean house is so over rated. (If I say it often enough, maybe someday I’ll actually believe it and stop feeling so guilty because my house is not clean!) A clean house is so over rated. A clean house is so over rated. A clean house is so …

    • Teee heeee! I hope you’re not still saying it. (Remember, creative people have messy desks, so if your whole house is messy, you know what that means– GENIUS!)

      • LOL. As a matter of fact, my messy desk finally got to me so I de-cluttered and dusted it this very morning. The rest of the place will have to take care of itself!

  14. Yes! What is this about?!?! I know if I start on a closet — as in, “I need to get rid of a few of these clothes” — it will absolutely become a day-long project of a REAL clean out.

    Though here’s my real confession: sometimes cleaning out all of the closets and garage are so much easier than working on the manuscript. It’s shocking the things I’ll do to avoid the story.

  15. Holy shit, we must be twins! o.O *shakes her hand*

  16. This is great! My husband calls this ‘sequences’ and swears at them. I was actually looking at the floor a few days ago thinking how it needs to be scrubbed. Luckily it started raining and I could tell myself ‘why scrub when it’s going to be a mess again from wet shoes, dogs, kid’. Also luckily, it rains a lot here.

  17. Oh, come on over, I could use some of your motivation and energy!

  18. Love this.

    I’m lucky enough to be marrying a neat freak. Not only that, but a neat freak who prefers to have only his own hands in the mess. I can nap while he cleans up. 😉

  19. Ooooohhhh nooooo! The nightmare that never ends – you finish one area, then the next room gets all huffy and demands attention – and then it spills over to the next….but the worst part? Then it’s time to start all over again. Must just go outside to maintain balance…

  20. aubrey

    As I’m nearsighted, I just make it a point not to wear my glasses when I’m in my apmt. There’s no moral here, but there is a result: I haven’t cleaned my floors in a decade.

  21. Hi, I love this blog for the sincerity! You just like your things a certain way, I can relate to that! I don’t know if I’d sell the house thou, but when I get cleaning I just keep going! Thank you for the like. Nice to meet you!

  22. Clearly I need to find a better balance because I’m always trying to sort out the bomb damage and I’m not getting to blogging! Barely reading my favourites, commenting sporadically and posting nary a haiku in a month….

    Balance. You’re at least blogging about house work! Is that the moral of the story?

    • Aha! Maybe that was the moral of the story! Alas, now summer is officially here and I am buried up to my neck under my kids. It’s a miracle that I even find time to respond to your comment. So I hear you about the bomb damage. Maybe when school starts, we’ll be able to breathe again. (?)

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