There's a certain level of insanity that only a mother can drive one to.
My mother is coming to visit tomorrow, along with my aunt and my cousin. I'm looking forward to the visit, for this is my Very Favorite Aunt coming to see me. We always have the BEST time together. In fact, my own Mom often comments that I am much more like my aunt than I am her.
I'm also really looking forward to seeing my cousin, whom I haven't seen in more than five years. She is a cardiothoracic nurse, and one of the funniest people on the planet. And a Jovi fan to boot. Yeah, we're gonna have a good time.
Our guests will be here for a week, taking in the sights of the Washington, DC area. I will be playing tour guide part of the time, and hiding part of the time. (I'll probably have to hide in my bathroom with my laptop to post my Jovi-Porn, so be warned!)
Now, before you start to wonder why I haven't said I'm looking forward to my MOTHER visiting, let me go on the record and say I AM looking forward to seeing her.
For a little while.
Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. She is an amazing woman, and I am so very grateful for all the things she has taught and given me throughout my life -- even when the lessons were administered under the heading of "Tough Love" or "Because I Said So." I hope I am half the Mom to my daughter that she has been to me.
But I have about a 72-hour tolerance window with her. Then things start to get a little iffy.
One of the many things I inherited from my mother is a compulsive perfectionist streak. Another thing I inherited is a stubbornly independent streak. Both of these traits have served me well in my chosen professions and in life, and I have learned how to harness them to use my powers for good rather than evil (most of the time).
But that all goes out the window when Mom is around. Now, Mom comes from good German stock. She grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas, where you worked from sunup 'til sundown, and went to school for a couple hours in between. My grandfather immigrated from Germany when he was a teenager, and he instilled his work ethic in all of his five children. They in turn passed it on to (most of) their children.
I'm like my mother in that I'm not afraid of a little hard work. I'm also not immune to her criticism, no matter how veiled or sugar-coated it might be. And that's why I'm sitting here at 1:30 in the morning writing this (somewhat therapeutic) rant/post.
Because I have spent the past 17 hours cleaning my house.
Now, I can usually clean my 4-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home in about 5 hours, all told. And it looks pretty good, too. But not when Mom comes to visit. Approximately 48 hours before her arrival the perfectionist gene goes into overdrive, and I see dirt and crud and filth EVERYWHERE. It's not enough to just wipe down counters and sinks and vaccuum and dust and swish toilets. I must scrub the tile floor on my hands and knees, like Cinder-freakin'-rella. I must meticulously scrape the miniscule specks of mildew from the grout in the shower tiles. And I must crawl along the entire perimeter of every room of my house, wiping every smudge and stain from every white baseboard.
That's what I did today... well, yesterday. Now I'm sitting at my keyboard, gulping iced tea and waiting for the Naproxen to kick in to soothe my aching back muscles so I can sleep.
About 5 hours ago my Hub gave me one of those looks that only he can muster as he dragged the Dyson vaccuum cleaner over to empty its bin for the 6th time. "Why didn't you just hire a cleaning service?" he asked wearily.
I fixed him with a glare. "Because. I can handle this." I answered tersely. "Besides, there's no reason to spend good money on something we can do ourselves" (NOTE: The "we" comment was to appease him; I actually meant "I.") Besides, I thought, There's this TOUR coming up, and this means more money in my ticket/travel fund...
But we both knew the REAL answer to his question; the unspoken truth. Because Mom would KNOW I hired someone to clean my house. And to her that is just unacceptable. It is a badge of dishonor. It is LAZY. Even if I never told her, she would somehow know.
So I choose to suffer on into the night, then to quietly smile and bite my tongue in a few short hours as I stand in my sparkling-clean kitchen as she performs her little covert inspection. "Oh," she'll say. "The house looks... nice." Then she'll give me that little Mom smile. "I know you're busy, Dear. You're doing the best you can," she'll say gently.
Thank God my cousin drinks wine.