‘When cleaning the bathroom, don’t forget to wipe down the walls with a damp cloth.’–Mom

Does Skype have a “curate” button?

Posted: April 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Skype is so squishily intimate. It’s disconcerting to conduct business with the same technology my four-year-old uses to make funny faces at her grandparents in Florida.

Being a journalist, I occasionally use Skype to interview folks. But I make a point to turn off the video because hey, I work from home and yes, sometimes I’m messy.

But today I forgot to turn off the video. Midway through the interview, I realized the camera was on and this editor in England was probably being treated to a panoramic view of a half-eaten doughnut and the exploded contents of a laundry hamper.

He, on the other hand, was sitting in front of a sea-green wall punctuated with a lovely painting of a springtime meadow.

I think I need to designate a Skype wall in the house that’s well-dusted and lined with important-sounding books.

I bet that as I type this, some clever entrepreneur is launching a Skype staging service, similar to the type realtors use for homes that don’t sell. Bring on the off-white paint and Pottery Barn knockoff couch!



My kind of therapy. Unfortunately, not my apartment.

Posted: April 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I love Apartment Therapy’s lite manifesto¬†How to Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days. I love it so much that I printed it out and it’s been sitting on my desk, atop a mountain of forlorn paperwork, for nigh four months now.

I’ve taken the advice to heart: put stray stuff on a “landing strip” so you can pick it up later; wash the dishes after every meal (or in my case, have Richard do the dishes at 11 p.m.); do a little bit o’ laundry each day, instead of waiting until the pile becomes landfill-size; set a timer for 20 minutes–and see how much you accomplish!

Unfortunately, this article was not written for a couple with a superball-hoarding pre-kindergartener and a large dog that sheds his body weight in hair nightly. It was written for a stylishly mussed copywriting intern who owns a total of three dishes (all from CB2) and has a closet full of skinny jeans.

But I like to keep it on my desk anyway, so I can transport myself back to the minimalist youth I never had because I bought way too many used books and Pee Wee Herman action figures.

I think they should add one more tip, though: Leave the windows open so you can get a nice cross-breeze going. Maybe a particularly feisty gust will whisk away all your dust, ephemera, juvenilia, and Happy Meal toys.

The latest in passive-aggressive gifts

Posted: April 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Yesterday, a family member gave me a refrigerator magnet that reads in curlicued script:

Gardening forever, housework whenever.

At first, I thought it funny (I do enjoy gardening). But after a few days of looking at it holding up my daughter’s drawing of a witch next to a mountain, its harmless jokiness began to bug me. I began muttering dark declarations to myself like:

Just because every other woman in my family claims “cleaning” as a hobby doesn’t mean I should be the black sheep.

Sorry I don’t ¬†vacuum the dog.

And finally, What was she thinking, giving me this? “Oh, I’ll get this for Laura. I get to play up her likes but tell her she’s not as clean as she should be.”

Apparently, she sees me as a loveably messy person who could slip into major slob territory if not kept in check with folksy refrigerator magnets.