The Cleaning Conundrum

Steve taking care of business under the cabinet

Anyone who is married knows that no matter how long you have known your spouse and no matter how well you think you understand them they will sometimes find a way to completely baffle you. My husband Steve is a wonderful man, and I am fortunate to be married to him. He is patient, good-natured, considerate, and kind. He’s incredibly intelligent, a wonderful father, helpful around the house, and a lot of fun to be with. We have been together 18 years, and I know him reasonably well. Yet, somehow, he still manages to make me wonder sometimes.

Take today, for example. We were getting ready to entertain friends and cleaning the house. He had run the vacuum and begun unloading the dishwasher while I was cleaning the guest bathroom and dusting the furniture. I went to put the dust cloth in the laundry room to be washed and when I returned I couldn’t see him. I walked into the kitchen to find him sitting on the floor in front of the cabinets underneath the sink. He had pulled out a bunch of items and was sitting among them, surveying the scene. Holy hell. We had guests coming in an hour. He was supposed to be cleaning messes, not making them.

“Ummmm….what are you doing?”

“I pulled the trashcan out to empty the vacuum and noticed that it’s really gross under here.”

Was he kidding me? While he was correct (it was really gross under there and cleaning down there has been on my mental to-do-someday list for forever and a day), I was fairly sure we would not be serving our guests dinner under the kitchen sink.

He began using a rag to wipe down the inside bottom and sides of the cabinet.

“Do you really think this is the right time to be doing a deep clean of the INSIDE of a cabinet? I can think of about fourteen other things we should probably be focusing on instead before they get here. We need to wipe off the table and counters, put away the rest of the dishes, mop the floor….”

He cut me off. “This has been bugging me, so I thought I’d just take care of it.”

“Dude….why do you always start deep cleaning something right before we’re expecting company? We’re going for basic clean, not the-queen-is-coming-for-inspection clean. Last time it was the laundry room floor. Now you’re cleaning under the kitchen sink? Come on. Work with me here.”

He stared at me blankly. Then he put the items back under the sink, closed the door, and began wiping off the counter as requested. I was just grateful he’d decided not to argue with me.

We got everything done before our friends arrived and were able to enjoy a fun, relaxing evening in our clean house. I know that tomorrow when I go to throw something out, I’m going to smile at my own reflection in the spotless inside of that cabinet under the sink. I’ll have to thank Steve for taking care of a little detail that’s been bothering me for months too. The whole cleaning conundrum got me to thinking, though. Perhaps, I should have people over more often? Who knows what other deep cleaning chores Steve might wipe off my to-do list if I just gave him enough opportunity?



  1. “… I was fairly sure we would not be serving our guests dinner under the kitchen sink.” So funny! I’m just like your husband. My husband’s always telling me I don’t know how to do “quick cleans.” I too always get involved in deep cleaning 30 minutes beofre company is due to arrive. I don’t know what makes me like this!

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