As those of you who have read my Nonsoapy Journal know, I'm no fan of housework.  I have the deepest admiration for people like my friend, Carolyn Aspenson, the Diva of Clean, who are able to jump in there and just get it done, cleaning like a woman possessed and not resting well in their own skin until it's done.  It is an act of extreme will for me to wipe a table, push a vacuum or wash a dish.  My resistance to it is truly a natural phenomenon.  That doesn't mean I don't want or appreciate a clean house.  Very little makes me happier than to be in a house that is neat, orderly, tidy and clean.  I just despise being the one to do it.  I'd rather be Ferdinand the Bull, sitting in flowers, smelling their sweetness, feeling the sunshine on my face and relaxing until the bee stings me on the ass and motivates me into motion. 

My house is not unlivable.  I'm actually doing much better than I ever have in the past, but that doesn't mean I like it.  I recently had a conversation with one of my Eye on Soaps staff writers, Kelly B, about how clean is in the eye on the beholder.  Houdini knew the secret of a clean house for people like myself: Illusion is everything.  After talking with Kelly, I suspect there are more of "us" out there.  This conversation is presented to help you feel less alone if you happen to be in the club.

Hello.  My name is Katrina.  I have Cleaning Resistance Syndrome.

(Hi, Katrina!) 

and so it goes...

Katrina (6:31:51 PM): hey, beybee

KellyB (6:31:57 PM): hey

KellyB (6:31:59 PM): what's up

Katrina (6:32:00 PM): pfft

Katrina (6:32:02 PM): nuffin

Katrina (6:32:04 PM): just checking in on you

Katrina (6:32:06 PM): you doing OK?

KellyB (6:32:09 PM): yeah i'm ok

KellyB (6:32:16 PM): i know i haven't written in awhile

KellyB (6:32:19 PM): my bad

Katrina (6:32:23 PM): nah, don't worry about that

Katrina (6:32:31 PM): it shouldn't ever be an obligation

Katrina (6:32:36 PM): do it when it feels right

KellyB (6:32:37 PM): school's kicking my ass

Katrina (6:32:50 PM): it's a hard gig

KellyB (6:33:00 PM): fer sure

Katrina (6:33:13 PM): be sure and pamper yourself a bit

KellyB (6:33:14 PM): Im gonna try - just feel like Im on the hamster wheel

KellyB (6:33:16 PM): happy belated birthday

Katrina (6:33:31 PM): hey, thanks, it was a great one

KellyB (6:33:43 PM): we had a bad storm here a few weeks back

KellyB (6:33:58 PM): we still haven't heard from the insurance companies

Katrina (6:34:10 PM): I'll bet they're processing a LOT of claims

Katrina (6:34:16 PM): which doesn't help YOU any

KellyB (6:34:19 PM): both our roofs were totaled. 

KellyB (6:34:34 PM): yeah, and with the hurricane(s) it's probably a lot worse than normal

Katrina (6:34:41 PM): absolutely

Katrina (6:34:48 PM): which still doesn't help you

KellyB (6:35:02 PM): we got an estimate on the  house roof - $24,695

Katrina (6:35:08 PM): whoa!

KellyB (6:35:12 PM): and the office $8,000

Katrina (6:35:16 PM): that's more than my parent's whole house cost

KellyB (6:35:20 PM): lol

KellyB (6:35:29 PM): yeah, well everything happens for the best

Katrina (6:35:43 PM): we have to believe that

Katrina (6:35:46 PM): and it doesn't usually happen on our schedule

KellyB (6:35:57 PM): actually, with our house on the market - we've needed a new roof and I was always nervous that it would be a deal breaker if we got an offer

Katrina (6:36:21 PM): I have to confess

Katrina (6:36:27 PM): I tend to require a roof on the houses I buy

Katrina (6:36:29 PM): it's a fetish

KellyB (6:36:46 PM): yeah, most peeps do

KellyB (6:37:05 PM): it's just a waiting game, just hate it when i have absolutely no control

KellyB (6:37:11 PM): it's a virgo thang

Katrina (6:37:14 PM): that's really, really hard for me too

Katrina (6:37:16 PM): yes it surely is

Katrina (6:37:24 PM): I was talking to Coggie about Virgos the other day

KellyB (6:37:28 PM): is she one too?

Katrina (6:37:33 PM): she has a lot of Virgo in her chart, but she's a Sagittarius

KellyB (6:37:38 PM): hmmm

KellyB (6:37:47 PM): mine is coming up

KellyB (6:37:49 PM): next Monday

KellyB (6:38:00 PM): the 13th - what's the numerology behind that?

Katrina (6:38:13 PM): just the 13 itself is beautiful

Katrina (6:38:24 PM): 1+3 = 4 which is balance

Katrina (6:38:31 PM): stability

KellyB (6:38:32 PM): interesting

Katrina (6:38:34 PM): good stuff for a Virgo

KellyB (6:38:45 PM): my address is 301  = 4

Katrina (6:39:06 PM): there you go

KellyB (6:39:13 PM): stability is good, but what's the number for hot sex?

KellyB (6:39:14 PM): LOL 68?   Do me and Ill owe you one?

Katrina (6:39:18 PM): This was my take on Virgos in the Coggie conversation:

Katrina (6:39:20 PM): It took me a long time to fully embrace my Virgo because I'm NOT (as you may tell from my journals) a neatnik.  I got so tired of people telling me I can't POSSIBLY be a Virgo because I don't give fuck all about housecleaning.  I positively hate it in a really profound way.  I'm a control freak and I get exceptionally uncomfortable when things aren't going my way, mostly because it's not just pretense.  I actually DO know best the majority of the time (if e-mails had inflection you would be highly impressed by my ability to say that without ego or arrogance).  Because Eric is a STRONG Scorpio/Leo mix, he's a force of nature who is bound and determined to do things his way.  Fortunately, his Cancer moon makes him ALWAYS need a mommy figure.  I've had to learn to give him enough rope once in a while, but invariably, he comes back and tells me he should have listened to me and I say, "mmm hmmm" and help him clean up the mess.  I actually become EXCITED when someone offers a better idea than I have, so I know it's not just that I blindly think I know best.  The hard part is sitting back and watching someone totally fuck up (in Eric's case, often taking MY life along with it) once they've refused my wisdom.   Of course, I'm dead assed wrong sometimes, but it's not often and it totally perplexes the complete hell out of me when it happens.  When I am drawing a blank and don't have a clue what to do, I have NO trouble asking the wise people around me for help.  Virgo manifests in so many ways, but it's always about controlling things in some fashion.  I also think that the other half of Virgo, which is "I analyze," is part of what gives us not just the right, but the responsibility to control things.  In an instant, we've thought something to death from a hundred different angles while everyone else is still registering that something has even happened. 

Katrina (6:39:59 PM): So that's my Virgo speech

KellyB (6:40:32 PM): badass - where's that from?  Divadigest?

Katrina (6:40:42 PM): no, my letter to Coggie, she and I were astro-bantering.

KellyB (6:41:18 PM): i agree totally with the cleaning thing -we are supposed to be so into order and shit.  Well I like order and to be organized because I like to be in control and I don't trust others to do it right - how's that for honesty?

KellyB (6:41:26 PM): but i frickin hate to clean with a passion

Katrina (6:41:29 PM): meeee tooo

KellyB (6:41:37 PM): Im the anti-Carolyn Aspenson

KellyB (6:41:55 PM): the Diva of Dirt, as it were

Katrina (6:41:56 PM): I was going to do an Auntie Carolyn (anti-Carolyn) column

KellyB (6:42:00 PM): hehee

Katrina (6:42:04 PM): and give hints on how to make your house look clean

Katrina (6:42:06 PM): without actually cleaning it

KellyB (6:42:08 PM): ooohhh how about the illusion of clean?

Katrina (6:42:17 PM): like before my dad would come home

Katrina (6:42:30 PM): my mom would put a saucer of pine sol in the vents to the house

Katrina (6:42:36 PM): and turn on the blower

Katrina (6:42:53 PM): and spot clean 4-5 places on the floor

KellyB (6:42:55 PM): do you know you can get about 4 regular sized loads of laundry stuffed into a dryer?

KellyB (6:42:57 PM): two words:  low lighting

Katrina (6:42:58 PM): we should totally do the column

KellyB (6:43:06 PM): as a collaborative effort

Katrina (6:43:07 PM): three words:  Mr Clean Erasers

KellyB (6:43:15 PM): omg - best invention since tampax

Katrina (6:43:18 PM): paint walls instead of clean

KellyB (6:43:25 PM): listen to this

KellyB (6:43:56 PM): i used to work at a hotel/conf. center - the Houstonian in Houston (duh) which was George Bush's (SR.) legal Texas residence

KellyB (6:44:20 PM): the place needed a major renovation, but usually no money - and of course he didn't pay shit to use it

KellyB (6:44:42 PM): so every time before he came for a visit - we would paint all the doorframes of the suite

Katrina (6:44:54 PM): shit yeah!

KellyB (6:44:57 PM): so you would get a whiff of fresh paint and ASSume that the whole place had been redone

Katrina (6:45:03 PM): brilliant!

KellyB (6:45:17 PM): flip cushions on the sofa/chairs to hide the stains and rips

Katrina (6:45:26 PM): Mine have been flipped too many times

Katrina (6:45:30 PM): I need covers

KellyB (6:45:32 PM): flowers on the dining table covered a big ass scratch

Katrina (6:45:48 PM): whoo hooo!

Katrina (6:45:51 PM): make a list, woman!

KellyB (6:45:56 PM): ok

KellyB (6:46:12 PM): we'll compile the best tips for being a secret slob

KellyB (6:46:17 PM): sounds good

Katrina (6:46:26 PM): yeah!!

Katrina (6:46:39 PM): cause there's nothing a true virgo likes more

Katrina (6:46:45 PM): than efficient short cuts

KellyB (6:47:00 PM): our real estate agent called us before we officially put the house on the market saying he needed some pics to email to a prospective buyer

Katrina (6:47:19 PM): cut low before the roof!

KellyB (6:47:22 PM): we spot cleaned like 4 rooms and set the pixels lower so you can't see the dirt and dust

Katrina (6:47:24 PM): there you go

KellyB (6:47:32 PM): too bad you can't do that to peeps eyes

Katrina (6:47:37 PM): definitely

KellyB (6:47:57 PM): i think clean is a subconscious thing

Katrina (6:48:20 PM): it's very subjective, that's for sure

KellyB (6:48:25 PM): if the entry is good, the bathroom not disgusting and it smells "clean" - you're in like flynn

Katrina (6:48:35 PM): I can look at a room and think it's perfect and Eric will bitch about it
Katrina (6:48:42 PM): and bring up 10-15 things I didn't even notice

KellyB (6:48:44 PM): dump him

KellyB (6:48:45 PM): haha j/k

KellyB (6:49:07 PM): i am a packrat with magazines and catalogs

KellyB (6:49:13 PM): that's half the shit in my house

Katrina (6:49:20 PM): I have boxes and boxes and boxes of crap in my shed

Katrina (6:49:36 PM): that I've moved from house to house

KellyB (6:49:44 PM): been there - moved that

Katrina (6:49:53 PM): I have a mountain of clean laundry in my laundry room to be folded

Katrina (6:50:01 PM): like 10-12 loads easily

KellyB (6:50:10 PM): shit, sometimes my laundry room looks like I take in other peeps laundry

KellyB (6:50:27 PM): and why is it that there are always those clothes that never seem to make it into a load -

Katrina (6:50:29 PM): I haven't been in my upstairs since I got up from my nap at noon

Katrina (6:50:39 PM): and then, I hadn't been there prior to going there for my nap at 11

KellyB (6:50:54 PM): i don't know if it's hand washables or dry cleanables or what
Katrina (6:51:35 PM): I totally have no hand washables or dry cleanables

Katrina (6:51:47 PM): if it doesn't go into my dryer and washer, it doesnt' go into my house

Katrina (6:51:55 PM): and I haven't used my ironing board in years and years

Katrina (6:52:31 PM): I have to confess, sometimes when I've done a perk up in the last 15 minutes before Eric gets home, he tells me how wonderful the house looks

Katrina (6:53:13 PM): Eeep!!

Katrina (6:53:18 PM): I just got an e-mail from Carolyn

Katrina (6:53:20 PM): she sensed us; she must know what were talking about.  Shes found us.  Shit.

Katrina (6:53:32 PM): lol

KellyB (6:53:40 PM): she senses a disturbance in the force

Katrina (6:52:42 PM): she did

Katrina (6:53:56 PM): I have Eric trained to call me when he's a half hour from the house

KellyB (6:53:58 PM): hahahah

KellyB (6:54:14 PM): long enough to get the sheet marks smoothed out of your face?

Katrina (6:54:24 PM): you got it

Katrina (6:54:30 PM): and some incense burning

Katrina (6:54:40 PM): and if I feel really froggy, some dishes washed

KellyB (6:54:44 PM): i like that mega orange or whatever the hell it's called

KellyB (6:54:56 PM): i spritz that in the return of the a/c

KellyB (6:54:58 PM): so it goes all over the house

Katrina (6:55:00 PM): I like Simple Green

KellyB (6:55:25 PM): my new fave cleaner product (smell) is Fantastic Oxy

Katrina (6:55:35 PM): haven't tried it yet

KellyB (6:55:39 PM): it reminds me of good old fashioned soap clean

KellyB (6:55:55 PM): of course it's all done with perfumes to simulate real soap smell, but hey

Katrina (6:56:05 PM): I'll have to try it

KellyB (6:56:14 PM): i also like the bottle - cobalt blue

KellyB (6:56:18 PM): one of my little buddies was over here collecting some old dishes for use in his new apartment and I foisted some off on him

Katrina (6:56:20 PM): lol

KellyB (6:56:25 PM): i was telling him this stuff was great, it was badass, it was...

KellyB (6:56:30 PM): and he goes:  "Fantastic."  He's such a smartass i love him to death - i was trying to get his "you're so goofy Kel voice "

Katrina (6:57:08 PM): lol

KellyB (6:57:20 PM): oh yeah, you can also dab a little Lysol behind your ears and baby if that ain't an aphrodisiac, i don't know what is

Katrina (6:57:31 PM): ha

Katrina (6:57:51 PM): I just put my knees behind my ears.  That works too

KellyB (6:58:04 PM): open for bizness

Katrina (6:58:12 PM): yep, but hurry cuz I'm tired from all this not cleaning.

KellyB (6:59:18 PM): hahaha - when did sleep begin getting higher ratings than an orgasm?

Katrina (7:00:01 PM): I dunno, like around 1994 I think

(Actual unauthorized photographic evidence of June Cleaver
heading for the ventilation ducts with her bowls of Pine Sol water.)