He was supposed to swoon.

He was supposed to walk through the door, drop his flight bag and positively swoon at the sight of the house. The (newly) clutter free house. The one he’s lived in, along with the clutter, going on 20 years.

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And then he was supposed to lovingly run his long fingers over the bare clutter free freshly oiled soapstone countertops and say, in a Cary Grant-ish sort of way, “Dah-ling, (Thirty-two years of marriage and he’s never called me Dah-ling, never, not once, but he would for this because it’s THAT special) Dah-ling, WHAT have you done to the house??? It’s simply mah-valous!”

That’s what he was supposed to do. That was the scene I envisioned.

Mwa-ha-ha-ha!!! Silly me. Because this is how it went down:

He walks through the door after being gone nearly two weeks, the first two weeks of my self-imposed Clearing Space Challenge, the one I didn’t tell him about other than to warn him not to bring more crap home. He walks through the door and is attacked by two yappy little dogs who adore their dad. They throw themselves on him, then just as quickly run into the kitchen where I’m dismembering a rotisserie chicken. Because as much as they love their dad, MOM HAS CHICKEN!!!

I wasn’t expecting him for dinner so I’m just standing there at the counter going all primal on crispy bird parts right out of the carton, no plate or utensils involved. But unlike the dogs I know where my priorities are. So I dash into the hall, drumstick still in hand, and greet him with a nice greasy chicken lips kiss.


I ask if he wants dinner and he says that would be nice but first he’s got to pee. He bolts off to the the potty, the one in the bedroom and I’m so excited because I’m figuring he may not have noticed that the living room, dining room and kitchen are all nice and tidy but he’s bound to notice the bedroom. And when he hits the bathroom, the one I actually scrubbed down today with the all natural grapefruit-lemongrass cleanser that smells so good, he will discover that we have white sinks–WHITE, not beige like they’ve been forever. And when he realizes he can actually SEE his reflection in the mirror (imagine that!!!) he will fall on his knees in appreciation.

He will swoon.

So I’m thinking this as I’m tossing a salad together. Humming a little ditty to myself because I’m feeling a bit like I did when the kids were little and I knew what Santa brought them for Christmas. Anticipatory glee, the best kind.

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And then he comes out and he’s standing in front of the TOTALLY CLEAR breakfast bar. Well, totally clear except for two dinosaurs, a heart rock and the phone. He’s just standing there watching me make the salad. Making small talk.

But I don’t want no stinkin’ small talk . . . I want recognition!

So I ask casually (with my shiny chicken grease lips) “Notice anything?”

He gets that look on his face that tells me he’s thinking. It’s the same look babies have when they’re pooping their pants. And then he says, “I notice it smells like you’ve been cleaning?” He says this with a question mark at the end, hoping it’s the right answer.

SMELLS like???  Mwa-ha-ha-ha!!! Silly me. Because. This. Is. How. He. Is.

He doesn’t notice the ABSENCE of clutter because he doesn’t SEE the clutter to begin with.

Which only goes to show. . . I’m doing this project for ME. For MYSELF. 

Maybe in time he’ll grow to appreciate it. Eventually perhaps it will become his new normal. The new normal. I have hope. More than hope.

Because sometime during the evening, between starting to write this post and getting up for a cup of tea, I couldn’t help but notice the papers that had been in a messy scatter around his computer were in a neat and tidy pile, the corners lined up just so. Or almost just so. 

And I had nothing to do with it. 

Ahhhhh . . . Exhale.

Okay, so now I KNOW I’m doing this project for myself. And I’m loving my clear space, I surely am. But I could still use some kudos for cleaning in the comments below. Or whatever else that’s on your mind.