Top 5 Greatest Mysteries of Housework, Plus Top 5 Records to Clean By

You may disapprove, but I take a big deep breath of relief the minute my husband gets in the car with the kids to go to church on Sundays. Finally, I can assess the week’s damage, and gather my forces to bring order to the house. If, God forbid, he misses church for a week or two, or we are traveling and I don’t get my Sunday morning, it’s like the evil lords of chaos descend on our house and I am lost in the ensuing flotsam and jetsam. As I turn on some music that I like, room-by-room I bring it all back into order. Hard as I have tried, I’ve never been able to hire someone to do this sort of work…it’s the unavoidable reality of life. But still, I can’t help but wonder…

1. Why do the pillows from the couch always end up on the floor?

2. Where do all the glasses and empty plates with crumbs on them come from overnight?

3. Why is it so hard for people to leave the car keys on the table by the door, where they belong, and where we can all find them?

4. Why are bits and pieces of plastic, wrappers, paper, bread twistie things, bottle caps, and crumbled-up tissues and paper towels so difficult to put into the trash can?

5. Where does all this paper come from? And why does it keep circulating around the house like it’s a giant whirlpool, rather than end up in the recycling bin?

Honestly, I don’t expect answers.

My Top 5 Favorite Records to Clean By (for Now)

Dar Williams, Promised Land—She’s soothing without being whiney. She’s folk without being old and boring. She hits a note in my heart that makes me feel like I’m not the only one who feels the way I do.

Ida Maria, Fortress ‘Round My Heart—Just angry enough to be cathartic, but fun enough to keep me smiling through it all.

George Strait, Twang—Reminiscent of a simpler time, with the slight but distant promise that something very romantic might just happen after church is over…and with just enough sad songs to prepare me for the worst.

Bob Dylan, Modern Times
—There are songs in this album that just bring me back to goofy country club dinner dances in the 1970s—when my Dad was still alive and he might ask my Mother to dance, and I’d sit there wishing they would play something really good…like Bob Dylan.

Roman Candle, Oh Tall Tree in the Ear
—Fresh and new and happy and no pretension or bad memories involved. Honestly, I’m sick of Bono and Coldplay, but bands like this make me feel like I did when I first heard them…

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17 Responses to Top 5 Greatest Mysteries of Housework, Plus Top 5 Records to Clean By

  1. Marian in Texas August 21, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Mob hits 1 and 2 are my favorite get moving housecleaning hits. Toss in an occasional M.C Hammer Can’t touch this…

  2. joan August 21, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    I have to play the funk: Gap Band, Commodores, Rick James, MC Hammer as Marian mentioned, Sugar Hill Gang.

  3. Heidi August 21, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    First – I would kill for several hours each week alone at home! Never seems to happen. And the housework I’m tackling is more than a couple-hour job. But I couldn’t agree with you more about your top 5 mysteries.

    W/regard to music, I’m so pleased to see Dar Williams, Promised Land at the top of your list. I’ve been a fan of Dar since she started out. Loved it when she came the the Tampa Bay area, specially for WMNF-Community Radio events!

  4. Rose August 21, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Chaka Kahn is my favorite housecleaning music, especially I’m Every Woman, but the whole greatest hits CD gets the job done.

  5. Rose August 21, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    P.S. Not meant to be expressed as disapproval, just friendly advice, but you should definitely consider attending church with your husband and kids. I guarantee the satisfaction of that experience will far outweigh a clean house. Then ask your husband for some cleaning time on another day. God (and you and your family) will love the new arrangement.

  6. CBeloved August 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    I agree, Rose. You can go together as a family and then after you get some “spiritual cleaning”, you can clean as a family as well. That would be a great Sunday (maybe I’ll try that after church this Sunday!)

  7. Donna in Delaware August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    When I really need to clean (spring and fall) I put on music of the 70’s and 80’s, especially classic rock, and turn it up loud. It really gets me moving and I zip through the house. If just basic cleaning, I’ll put on lively classical such as Vivaldi or Mozart, then I may change to smooth jazz or easy music.

    Hey Maria, my husband wants to know why I don’t hire someone every now and then to do the cleaning, but like you, I can’t seem to allow myself to do that. It’s a strange feeling to have a stranger clean behind you and peer into your private world. He is considering
    and au pair. Not! Maybe you should every so often attend church with your family, but if you are not religious, then don’t, maybe you are just spiritual and if that does it for you, more power to you. I know that there are die hards out there that will disagree and bash you for it, but when all’s said and done, it’s your life and that’s between you and your maker. My husband gets on the computer and doesn’t know how to get off, so it’s almost like I’m alone. He doesn’t interfere with me and my cleaning and I don’t interfere with him and his computer. Life is good.

  8. Afraid to get a Maid August 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    I’m not good at the housecleaning business. Luckily as a Mom my main job is to demonstrate and teach responsibility. I have plenty of children and a husband. They all have morning and after dinner chores and nights they cook dinner. I won’t even touch the 10 year olds laundry. Saturday morning everyone cleans or does the yard, usually with a teenage DJ setting the tone. Sunday religiously we all go to church. I am afraid if I get a maid or gardner there wont be enough work for my children.

  9. dhobs August 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    LIke Heidi, I don’t get the place to myself often. Husband works at home and I’m an editor too in an office away from here. When I do have the place to myself and I’m in a cleaning mood, some good Irish ceili helps, but rock is good too. What is it about cleaning that’s just good therapy sometimes?!

  10. Heather August 22, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    I’m with Donna – classic rock always gets the cleaning done quickly . . . we have a glass wall at one end of the living room and within the span of ‘Good Lovin’ that wall gets sparkly clean. Number 4 on your mystery list drives me absolutely nuts! I swear these people I live with don’t sweat water, they sweat paper pieces . ..

  11. Not a theist August 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Forget church and the messy house. Go for a long run and then pamper yourself. Life is too short.

  12. nancy August 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    I have recently hired a “cleaning lady” after having rotater cuff surgery and not being about to do the basics, like dusting, vacuming, and cleaning bathrooms. I love coming home to a clean house, that smells of bleach and freshness every other week!! Wish I had the time…and the shoulder/deltoid muscle left to do so myself…..

  13. Amanda August 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    Love Dar, but cleaning to a little Calypso or Rockabilly is the best!

  14. Rhonda August 26, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    George Benson, Breezin’
    Nothing better, with windows thrown open and moving around the house!

  15. audteachs August 27, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    why not go to church with them and then have a family cleaning afternoon! everyone can pitch in

  16. emski January 20, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Classic Rock and some country get’s me through the cleaning day. I have to start some sort of rotation chart so the kids can do more , they do next to nothing but not out of laziness.. it’s me, i get the “if they do it i’ll have to follow them and do it again anyway” syndrome. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who doesn’t shy away from house work and is always willing to lend a hand. I wish i could get a cleaning lady (i asked for one from Santa, alas i didn’t get one this year) my hubby is far to private to have someone in our house… I’m not private at all lol.. open book etc… And i wouldn’t have them doing indepth bedroom cleaning .. just an hour every morning, making beds, washing dishes, a little tidy up so it doesn’t accumilate leaving satruday free from the 5-6 hour cleaning frenzy … Keith Anderson gets my kitchen sparkly…. 🙂

  17. Tate January 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Nothing makes me happier when I clean than cranking up my Dreams Come True CD by Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli, and Lou Ann Barton. Just as with Carole King, I don’t have to agree with the lyrics to thoroughly enjoy the music.

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