Great Expectations: What Now and Why

Arnebya writes at What Now and Why, and she’s pretty much hysterical, no two ways about it. She’s not afraid to write what’s on her mind, and her honesty is refreshing. Check out her Facebook page for a lot of “did she really just say that??” statuses. She lives in the DC area with her family, and has been published all over the place. Check out these recent posts, like the Conversations with a Three-Year-Old (um, YEAH, I relate), and this one about complicated relationship with her growing daughters.

You really should have some Arnebya in your life. Thanks for sharing here today, Arnebya!


It’s Probably Your Fault My Bedroom Is Unkempt.

I like to blame. I blame my husband for the funky smell in the kitchen because the trash needs to go out when of course I could take it out. I blame my kids for my under-eye circles. I blame Sallie Mae for my debt because my student loan interest rate is higher than my mortgage’s rate. I blame Pepsi for my inability to lose my midsection’s extra section (also laziness). And I blame my mother for my not being a great housekeeper. There is blame to be assigned to many other people for all that I perceive to be subpar in my life. That last one, though? I kind of expected I’d be able to change that one around. Expectations are bigger assholes than Sallie Mae.

This is what a corner of my bedroom looks like right now (hint: the rest of the room looks this way too but I’m way more embarrassed to show you the whole room, so just use your imagination).


This pile represents clothes I wore to work this week, clothes I wore to work last week, potential clothes I’ll wear this weekend, clothes I haven’t worn in weeks, and maybe a book, some pens, one slipper whose mate is in the basement, a cord whose device is unknown, and random papers from sometime last summer. Some clothes are clean, some are not. Some papers are meaningless, others are IRS audit related. So, it’s called equal opportunity floor dwelling. Nothing is too important or too worthless to not be picked up, put away, or thrown out.

I keep expecting myself to get tired of the way the room looks (tired enough to actually do more than step over stuff or clean one corner then sit down). I keep expecting myself to act on the knowledge that my room is why my girls’ room often looks like this. Even when I do get sick of it, I can’t seem to get the whole room clean. I’ll clean this spot, then that spot. But by the time I get to the next pile the first pile has started to grow back. And I’m afraid that even if I buckle down and do the whole room I won’t be able to maintain it.

When I lived at home my bedroom was all I had to keep neat. I did a hell of a job. The minute I moved out and in with my boyfriend (who is now my husband), I noticed I started to simply throw things around. Was it the newfound freedom: our apartment, our things, our floor to have piled high with unworn, slightly worn, dirty, clean, previously folded but fell to the floor so now it needs to be sniffed to determine its cleanliness because neither of us can remember if it was washed, clothes? I thought that at first, but then I came to realize that throwing things down came naturally. I’d kept my bedroom at home neat because it was expected; nay, it was demanded! My mother never visited my apartment (not inside, at least. I just realized how sad that makes me. UH-OH, INADVERTENT DOOR TO FEELINGS OPENED; MOVING ON…) so I never heard her say, “I didn’t raise any pigs. Clean this floor up.” I wonder if that’s what I need. Although my mother has been in my house (we’re 12 years past that first apartment), she hasn’t been in my bedroom. AM I STILL WAITING ON HER TO SHAME ME INTO CLEANING IT?

Maybe this’ll be it. Maybe this sharing of a part of my room’s shambles with the internet will be the catalyst I’ve needed to clean it, to keep it clean, to find some level of give a damn because right now it’s on E. Maybe, ooooh, maybe I’ll do before and after shots, get new curtains and matching sheets, paint an accent wall, care about what y’all think.

Yeah…no. That sounds ambitious. And filled with lies. I should probably just get the drawers I wore yesterday off the floor, huh? Because expecting an anonymous cleaning service donation is silly, right? (I sure hope that’s not silly since it truly is an expectation because now you pity me, (and the expectation of me cleaning it myself is unrealistic)). See? Expectations are assholes. And it’s all Sallie Mae’s (and my mother’s) fault.

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38 Responses to Great Expectations: What Now and Why

  1. Alison says:

    Equal opportunity floor dwelling is the most awesome phrase ever put together.

    I say get the kids to clean your room. At worst, for a small fee. 🙂

  2. Elaine A. says:

    "Inadvertant door to feelings-opened". I do that too… 😉

    P.S. I hope that number on the right with the stripes is clean, you should wear that tomorrow…. lol.

    • arnebya says:

      Ha! Those are my fuzzy socks. It's only been 80 degrees IN THE HOUSE the past few days but yes, I'm still wearing them.

  3. Kablooey says:

    "Inadvertant door to feelings" sentence killed me. Should be a band name. And you can see a whole big swath of wood floor in the photo, so you aren't in hoarders territory yet. And I only see soft piles of cloth, so no one is in danger of getting knocked out cold should a pile topple. The kiddos can easily call for help if they get buried. In short: it looks pretty ok by my sorry ass standards. Only reason I can see tops of any surfaces in my house is because I live with a Felix Unger guy who tempers my Oscar Madisonian tendencies.

    • arnebya says:

      I just like that I'm not the only one (but please know that there are toys hidden in that pile (so my toes have told me) and that little corner you see is the best corner to photograph. Were I to show you the room in entirety, you'd call the people. Please don't call the people. At least I still have the desire to try to clean it. That should count for something. Right?

  4. euregirlsandboys says:

    The problem with the cleaning service is that you have to clean up your mess in order for them to clean up your mess. And that would be why we cancelled our once a month service years ago – it was way too much stress. I blame my mom for my messiness too – in the same way as you. We were *forced* to keep everything so clean when we were kids that I rebelled by being really messy, not even intentionally, when I grew up and moved out. I'm waiting for my kids to do the opposite of me and decide to keep their space clean in spite of me. Hasn't happened yet.

    • arnebya says:

      My oldest girl will have cleanliness spurts like me. I'll get tired of stepping over stuff (or, on it) and go on a rampage of broom use. But she's also inconsistent like me so that it takes a while for it to irritate her. The bedroom and basement are the worst, but the dining room table (AKA file cabinet, mail repository, and place to set everything and anything for which you have no other surface to use) got so bad I finally cleaned one end Saturday. I'm not even embarrassed to admit I only cleaned one end. Damn. I'ma have some chocolate now.

  5. Co-Pilot Mom says:

    I tend to let my room go longer without a tidy than the rest of the house. I put stuff (laundry) in there, thinking I will put it away "later" and then when I go back, it's bedtime and I'm tired. So "later" becomes "tomorrow." Then it's all downhill from there.

    • arnebya says:

      Tomorrow's day after tomorrow. Story of my life. And not just about the bedroom floor.

  6. jwilliams057 says:

    Ummmm, it is like we are the same person. I swear I stepped over piles of clothes this morning and thought, "why? why do I do this to myself?!" And then I dreamed about that magical donation of cleaning services. Why does it have to be so hard to just put up the darn clothes?

    • arnebya says:

      I. Don't. Know! I want to. Make no mistake about that. I WANT the room clean and yet…

  7. outlawmama says:

    YOu had me at blame my husband. Seriously. WHy can't he take out the trash? Love this post and your writing. As always.

    • arnebya says:

      Damn trash just sitting there. Tied up and to the side with a new bag in the can. Why indeed.

  8. Lady Jennie says:

    HA! I am the same way. After all, that's how I had my spectacular fall the other day. The only saving grace is that we don't keep extra junk (as in knickknacks), or at least not a lot, so it's really just the clothes that need attention.

    • arnebya says:

      It's the clothes but also the papers and "stuff" that makes its way into our room. It's the only room outside of the basement with a tv so the kids tend to come in weekend mornings or on the random week night we say ok to tv. Watching HGTV once, an organizer commented that everything should have a designated place. I keep thinking of that and trying to make that happen, but still find myself standing, staring at things like WHERE DOES THIS BELONG?

  9. Poppy says:

    My room is pretty much a disaster and I cringe at the the thought of my mother shaming me into cleaning it. I think it is messy build up over the years of throwing shit in there from the rest of the house when I know she's coming over.

    • arnebya says:

      I don't know how Alison and Kablooey squeaked in here with their clean habits (even forced ones) but the rest of us are united slobs!

  10. tracy says:

    I love you. Now come iron my clothes.

  11. KeelyF says:

    Listen, I'm gonna hold out hope that someone randomly comes over and cleans your bedroom. Because then that means it could TOTALLY happen to me, too.

  12. Leigh Ann says:

    Equal opportunity floor dwelling…ha!

    My mom didn't teach me how to clean either, so I suck at it. I don't really teach my kids, because that takes a special kind of effort and patience I don't possess yet. So I fear they may head down the same path. My parents' house is still dirty (not necessarily messy, but dirty), so when they come here, I clean like a maniac to prove that I'm not messy (and I AM messy…but not dirty). But the people I know who have neat freak kids are neat freaks themselves. Sigh. It's just not meant to be.

    • arnebya says:

      I want to turn this around, Leigh Ann! I want to take my children by the hand and show them how to be neat (well, I do, because the neatness is IN me; I just don't know how to have it remain at the surface and my middle girl left a sandwich bag of salad in her backpack IN SUMMER). I know a part of my problem is storage. There is no place for the things to go.

  13. twertman says:

    I feel like my middle name is Pile right now. Apartment living sucks and has done my organizational aspirations any favors.

    • arnebya says:

      Tonya, the piles are everywhere. I gave the bedroom as an example but each room has them: dining room has paper piles, kitchen has dishes piles, basement has toy piles, living room has random things we have no place for piles, also shoes, and even the bathroom has towel piles even though THERE ARE HOOKS FOR THAT, YOU DAMN INGRATES.

    • arnebya says:

      Tonya, every room has a pile. The dining room has paper piles, the kitchen has dishes piles, the basement has toy piles, the living room has random crap that has no place piles, also shoes, and even the bathroom has towel piles BUT THERE ARE HOOKS FOR THAT, YOU INGRATES.

  14. Robbie says:

    My room is the dumping grounds for the entire house. Whenever we have ppl over I stash crap in there to make the rest of the house look presentable. I always intend to deal with it later but that never happens. I have a half unpacked suitcase on the floor in my closet from a trip I took in mid April!

    • arnebya says:

      I no longer feel bad about that one pair of underwear and a couple of makeup brushes in the suitcase that's still on my bedroom floor from early May. Thank you for that, Robbie (as I step around it yet again).

  15. Ann says:

    Hilarious! Love the post! Live this post! That could be a photo of my bedroom as well… so glad I'm not the only one!

  16. Rita Arens says:

    I'll come clean your house for all the times you've propped me up, lady.

    • arnebya says:

      I am so holding you to this, Rita! (and, just because I really like you, I am going to pick up all the underwear first).

  17. Brandi says:

    Haha!! That's right, blame Sallie Mae. EVERYTHING'S her fault! Seriously, I can so relate to this post. I don't know why it's so hard to keep things clean. We live in a small place, but…I have a 4 year old? My fiancee is a man? The sky is blue? Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

    • arnebya says:

      My father visited recently and asked if we were expecting people. Um, no, why? Well, oh, nothing, just…I've never seen the table this clean. I AM WINNING AT LIFE.