OK, I’ll admit it, right off the bat: I am a clean freak. There, I said it.
There is a medical term for my diagnosis, it’s known as obsessive compulsive disorder. Otherwise known to unsympathetic family members as Mollie the clean freak.
My poor grandmother was the victim of one of my cleaning insults to her kitchen, when I accidentally removed the varnish on her recently refinished kitchen cabinets with some corrosive cleaner that only someone with OCD would love. After that, she took to hiding the Comet when I came over, poor thing.
I’m better now, thanks to a combination of opportunistic immersion therapy, courtesy of living with a total slob and volunteering to clean the bathrooms in the worst possible place you can think of.
There is another lesser known treatment, not published in any accepted medical journals, which I believe is a shure-fire cure for getting over the obsession to maintain an Architectural Digest/Martha Stewart style showroom of a house, and that is – living with 9 cats.
That’s right, my advice is just fire your psychiatrist, flush the Valium down the toilet and get a shit load of cats. Prior to having cats, my house was a showplace, glittering with priceless antiques, fragile heirlooms, and a bedroom adorned with white antique linens, hand embroidered by nuns in Italy.
Oh, and no story would be complete without my lamenting over my gorgeous antique couch with carved cornucopia of nature’s bounty springing from horned baskets on either end, lovingly upholstered in an ivory silk damask Regency stripe from Schumacher.
That gorgeous couch now resembles a piece of shit you would gladly pass up at the Goodwill after my cats got through with it. Fred used the hand-carved wood cornocopias as a scratching post, the fruit now resemble the shredded remains of an old salad. Blackie jr. took to peeing in the corner of it, and one day after it rained really hard, all my cats came running in the house with their muddy little feet and decided to play on the couch. That couch managed to survive 160 years without a blemish, but, put it in a house with nine cats and that couch’s days are numbered.
I still cringe when I think of that couch. The days are over for white silk anything, and curtains, forget it. And just in case you don’t have the full picture of the treatment – picture it: a pair of exquisite kid leather shoes in a soft peach by Donna Karan (don’t even ask how much they were) that perfectly matched my Donna Karan suit resting, innocently, on my closet floor…until one day, my cat, Blackie jr., decided they would make a lovely, peachy soft spot to PEE in!! I hung on to those poor shoes forever, hoping, by some miracle, I could muster the courage to take them to Micheal’s, my favorite shoe repairman, in San Francisco.
My Mom just says, like any good Mafia housewife from Queens would advise: “Just cover it in PLASTIC!” OMG. I would rather die than cover my stuff with PLASTIC. How tacky! Well, had I listened to my mother and her tacky advice, I would still have those shoes and my gorgeous couch!
On that note, I leave all my fellow cleaners with a infographic of caution (click to enlarge):