"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke (©julenisse/Fotolia)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Don't Judge Me for Being a Slob.

The third installment in my series on moving...

Ask my husband or my college roommates and they’ll tell you--I’m neither a neatnik nor a clean freak. I often toss my clothes on a chair instead of hanging them in the closet and I generally iron on an as-needed basis. I don’t always make the bed (although I’m happy to rearrange the pillows after my husband does). I’ve probably done my kids a terrible disservice by not insisting on made-up beds before leaving the house in the morning.

Please don’t judge me…

I remember the battles with my parents to pick up my room. I did a great job shoving things under the bed or behind the closet door, despite my dad’s credo: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Anything to retain TV privileges or get the car keys.

My dad was a great one for sayings. He had a million of them and half were in Latin, like our family motto: Spectemur Agendo. Translation: “Let us be judged by our deeds”. There’s that word: Judge. May I trump pop’s family motto with a line from scripture? Judge not, lest ye be judged!  

To this day, I’m a bit skeptical about the veracity of those judging Latin words on the very Irish McAleer family crest. So I did what any journalist would do--I launched an investigation (Google) and learned (on Wikipedia) that the little ditty originated in Book XIII of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where it is attributed to the hero Ajax.

Turns out a number of UK institutions—mostly governmental and military—have adopted the slogan, including Maclear House, at King's College School, Wimbledon. And Wiki confirms the motto is indeed “emblazoned upon the crest” of the McAleer family and a handful of other Irish clans.

But I digress. Getting back to the topic at hand, there’s nothing like putting one’s house the market to ignite a dormant tidiness gene. Suddenly even one pet hair is unacceptable. The tiniest water spot on the shower door? Deplorable. Dust on the piano? Intolerable.

The objects of my obsession.
I knew I’d crossed the line to obsession—if only temporarily—the day I became fanatical about the towels in the master bath. I had purchased these fluffy whites at the suggestion of our real estate agent. I methodically rolled up three of them to “stage” the counter with candles and potpourri, evoking a spa-like atmosphere. Then, something came over me and I became Julia Roberts’ abusive husband in Sleeping With the Enemy, absolutely insistent that towels be hung at perfectly symmetrical lengths from the rod. A millimeter off?  Julia… duck!

This wasn’t me. My mother didn’t raise me that way. She went to school and worked and didn’t necessarily notice cat hair on the carpet or a cobweb in the corner.  Despite my father’s “place for everything” credo the magazines and mail piled up and so did the laundry. That seems fairly normal for a home with three kids, a dog and a revolving door for cats.

We have been most fortunate with our current real estate transaction. Our house sold quickly (don’t hate me) and we were out of town for the majority of the showings so I didn’t have time to fully embody the evil towel person or morph into June Cleaver, although my husband would probably appreciate it if I’d put on my pearls and don an apron every now and then.

But now you know. Immaculate Mary I’m not. Please don’t judge me. 


  1. Great stories on your move. Now I want to know what's taken you from the Midwest to the West Coast. Maybe you'll share in an upcoming post here. I'll stay tuned! Sarah

  2. Thanks, Sarah! Plan to share more if I ever get unpacked! : )

  3. Anonymous11:41 PM

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