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It’s so quiet… 14, May 2007

Posted by babychaos in General Wittering, Life and living, Light Fluff, Work, writing.
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It certainly is round here…

I’m afraid it’s because I’m devoid of two things… the first is time and the second is inspiration!

I have some real work to finish but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem because it’s only topping and tailing and when it’s done I’ll be one happy lady! Just two pages of web copy – about 800 words, stand between me and finishing something that’s been hanging over me for several months. Wahoo!

I’ve also got my in-laws coming, which, is good, too but also kind of scary. This is because it means I have to spring clean the house from top to bottom and then it just might look about as clean and tidy as theirs does if they leave off all tidying and housework for about ooooh… three months!

I grew up in a mad professor environment so I’ve been brought up with the idea that cleaning anything except for the bathrooms and kitchen – oh and possibly the potting shed or greenhouse – is pointless drudgery and that people who do so more than is absolutely necessary (and my parents didn’t deem it very necessary at all) are, frankly, a little bit strange. I have learned, since, that this is not entirely true, normally it just means they are from the north.

I have a theory as to why this is, ergo that my parents can be quite clumsy when they are nervous and I think one of them must, at some point, have been psychologically damaged by going round to a very neat, tidy home and spilling something evil and staining, probably red wine, all over something expensive, a white drawing room carpet, for example, sending their friend’s mother ballistic in the process and being banned from said home for ever and ever!

Whatever caused it, there was a positive cultivation of untidiness in our house when I was a kid. I think another of the many reasons it was considered a good thing was because all the stuff my parents had was old because there’s no point having anything good if you’ve got kids right? If they don’t ruin it, their friends will.

This kind of transmuted itself to an idea that having a clean and tidy house was tantamount to giving your guests a good slapping and telling them to get out and sod off elsewhere because they are messing the place up! (I still subscribe to the theory that anyone who goes for the Bauhaus leather and chrome, nothing-on-any-surface-white-carpeted look is, basically, using their furnishings to tell you exactly that but I digress.) I think the idea was that if guests feel nervous about spilling or staining in a home they can’t relax properly and you are failing in your duty as a host to make them welcome.

I’d guess another strong influence to cause this attitude was one of the mothers in the village who had a dose of obsessive compulsive disorder so got a bit la la when anything in her house was disturbed by every day use – let alone by the kind of use it gets subjected to by a group of teenagers.

So, we’ve established that I take to housework like a duck to quantum physics… actually, no, I’d lay bets many ducks are better at quantum physics than I am at cleaning a house, well, not so much cleaning it’s the making it look clean afterwards! That’s where I really fall down, my “cleaned” rooms often look untidier than the ones I haven’t touched, to me, even if they are less dusty. Hmm…

So when the in-laws come, having given the house a birthday, I live in fear that some grungy bit of something that has slipped under my radar will be seen by my them and then they’ll think I’m not looking after their son properly. I know they won’t care, I know this isn’t true but it’s still what I fear! They’re a northern family – so everyone’s homes are amazing, welcoming and relaxing to be in but completely spotless.

It’s getting better, this pointless cleanliness inferiority complex I have. I bat a lot higher than I used to – but I am still very aware that while Mum in-law and the other ladies in her family (even the ones who married in) are cleaning to international competition standard I’m little more than a gifted amateur… Down hill with the wind behind me I might possibly be a regional finalist if it’s a very small region. A definite 60% tops against levels of 90% on a bad day as standard.

I am also infected at the moment, so garnering up the inspiration to write corporate puff or the energy to clean is harder than usual. I’m on antibiotics and that’s always a pisser. These ones especially, I’m on the wagon for seven days – not only that but if you leave the pills in your mouth too long or one inadvertently gets stuck to your tongue, they taste exactly like earwax and we all know how horrible that tastes! That said, at least I only have to take three a day.

On the up side… my book is sort of progressing. For a start, by writing for a living and writing other things, like this, my skill at handling words seems to be improving. So while I could always write their conversation, I find I am describing my characters’ actions as well as their speech – and the underlying emotions behind both – with a bit more realism and conviction. It all seems less disjointed, less jemmied in than before! Not quite there, then, but closer.

I still haven’t really worked how I’m going to resolve the plot in a believable way but at least I now have some ideas about key scenes which will definitely be included and a better set of skills with which to paint the action. That means I can write them up and sort out, later, whereabouts in the chain of events they are going to be. THAT is definitely a result!

Right then better get on. The hoover calls… Hey ho…



1. Kat - 14, May 2007

Hmm, when the in-laws (or my parents) come over, the first and last thing my husband thinks of is where to stash the porn. *lol* And I always tell him that if he owned better quality porn, he wouldn’t be so bloody worried.

2. GeekLady - 14, May 2007

The first time my inlaws visited, my mother in law told my husband that I should clean the bathtub occassionally. Except that I had cleaned the bathtub in preparation for their arrival! Apartment tubs in the US are made of this fiendish textured plastic that grabs and holds dirt, turns a nasty gray, and refuses to release said discolouration to any cleaning agent I could find. It looks terrible.

3. babychaos - 14, May 2007

Kat, we’re far more uptight than you guys, clearly! We’re too shy to even do it when they’re here in case they hear us!

GeekLady, I so hear you, I have just spent about 20 minutes cleaning a big grey scribbly bit off the side of our bath which I managed to put there, the day we got it, with my silver bangle – never wore it in the bath again mind you! Oh for the days of enamelled cast iron!



4. Geldoff - 15, May 2007

I’m from the BC School of Cleaning too. It seems downright rude to disturb a decently evolved clutter! These things need time to mature through the appropriate application of chaos theory or the world could suddenly, well, just end.

Vis a vis resolving the plot – why don’t you let the characters have a crack at resolving it for you? (I feel sure it’s high time that they earned their keep.)

5. chrisfiore5 - 16, May 2007

hello bc,

glad to see you’re back in the saddle…

hope all is well.


6. babychaos - 16, May 2007

Geldoff I agree, it seems positively churlish to disturb the delicate balance that has evolved, some of those tumble pubes could have been developing into sentient beings! You’re right about the book, that’s how it got this far, just letting the characters have conversations and do their thing and then picking out the bits that made sense… I have had a go, since reading your post and there are definitely some results…

Chrisfiore, hello to you too!



7. Mrs. Nicklebee - 18, May 2007

This kind of transmuted itself to an idea that having a clean and tidy house was tantamount to giving your guests a good slapping and telling them to get out and sod off elsewhere because they are messing the place up!

I just about died laughing when I read this part the first time! I agree with you that a totally clean house seems inhospitable, though I’d like the chance to seem inhospitable once to see how that would work for me.

I look forward to reading your book someday. 🙂

8. babychaos - 23, May 2007

I know what you mean, it would be nice to experience true cleanliness. As for the book, seeing as you mention it, the tidy slapping idea has actually ended up in there as this completely violent race who are manically organised and clean. Mmm… it’s funnier in context, I promise.



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