The Sink and I

by Marinka on April 19, 2009

As you know, due to the downturn in the economy and my learning who my real friends are (HINT: NOT the people who got paid to come and clean my apartment), I’ve been doing my own house cleaning. Which apparently has to be done more than once. A month. I’m thoroughly exhausted and cranky and that fucking feeling of satisfaction that people claim that they get when they fully clean the house? Totally eludes me. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I do something, what’s the word I’m searching for here? Satisfying.

But apparently my lot in life is to scrub toilets and wash floors.

Someone suggested that I join, a website that helps you clean. No, it’s not a cleaning service. From what I can tell, it’s a cult. First of all FLY stands for “Finally Loving Yourself” and let me reassure you that it’s not a How to guide for masturbating morons. Apparently, they chose FLY because it was catchier than YAAFPLIAP (You Are A Fucking Pig Living In A Pigsty). But whatever, I need help with this cleaning crap, so I’m willing to go along with a few gags to get it done.

The first step, a baby step, as FLYlady reassuringly calls it, is “Cleaning Your Sink”. And I’m like “huh?” Because “baby step” sounds totally advanced. If we’re going the whole neo-natal route, don’t I have some time to lie there in my own excrement screaming at the top of my lungs while others cleaned all around me? Because I could be the Martha Stewart of that. And besides, what do I want with a clean sink?
Fortunately the Flybitch has the answer.

What is in a Shiny Sink?
Dear Friends,

When you first come to you are shocked to hear what your initial habit is! “Go shine my sink??? How is that going to help me get my whole house in order?”

Right now you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed and I promise this is going to help you get out of the CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) that you have been living in for such a long time. It all starts with that shining sink.

If I were the Flylady, the first step would be “How To Trick Other People into Cleaning Your Apartment” but whatever.

When I set out to get my act together in 1999, I didn’t know where to start either. This is why I just picked my sink. I was tired of beating myself up over the way I kept our home looking. At this point I knew what I had been doing would not work for very long. It was because I would go gung ho for a week or two then I would crash and burn. There is no rhythm to my method. I was forcing myself to adhere to a new set of rules and I felt so confined by the sheer number of them. I knew the system I had always used was not going to work again. This is when I started to rethink how I treated myself and guilt trips I would force on me. These were not working and I was so beaten down.

Ok, this is my problem. I am not beating myself up for the way that I keep our home looking. I am, however, thinking unpleasant thoughts about some of our home’s residents who insist on spitting the toothpaste out in the sink as opposed to the toilet, where it can be flushed away without any residue. And thank goodness that I’d skipped right over this whole “gung ho” crap. Sounds totally exhausting.

Right then and there I decided I would be nice to me by only requiring that I do one small thing each day. I needed to establish a habit. I had plenty of habits but they were not effective ones for taking care of me or our home. I picked keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month. It was just that simple!

So this is where she starts to really lose me. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t get excited about “keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month.” I keep thinking that “sink” must be code for something else. But there’s just nothing in this world whose cleanliness and shinyness inspires me.

What is in that shiny sink anyway? When you walk into you kitchen in morning and you are confronted with yesterday’s dirty dishes; you just want to go crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Along with these dishes are hurtful feelings because no one is helping you. Not only do you have to get these out of way to start another meal but you are beating yourself up because you let them go. That nasty water is just a reflection of how you feel when you face a sink full of yesterday’s dirty dishes.

And yet, somehow FLYlady FLEW (Fucking Lewd Ewes Walking) into my soul and took a verbal snapshot. Yes! When I see a sink full of dishes I do wonder why the MENSA members that I live with can’t figure out to put the dishes in the fucking dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink. How do they think it makes me feel when I have to start another meal (aka open the cereal box) while staring at last night’s dinner plates? Except that one, of course, because that’s mine and I specifically left it there to “soak”. Because I didn’t want my soaking lunch plate to feel “lonely”. But all the others? No excuse.

Now on the other hand, when you are greeted with a shiny sink, all these bad feelings are gone and for the first time you can see a reflection of you. This is why I named my book Sink Reflections. That shiny sink brings a smile to your face. You deserve to smile. The guilt has vanished because you are standing in a kitchen with no roadblocks to begin your day. That is a great feeling and that is what a brand new day is all about!

That IS a great feeling. And I’m sure that the smile that’s brought to my face while looking at a shiny sink is in no way related to the lobotomy that I had! I’m not even upset that Sink Reflections, my working title of a book about drowning that I’ve been tossing around in my head, is taken.

That shiny sink is contagious to the rest of the kitchen; just like your happiness and sadness is infectious to your family. The dishwasher has to be emptied because you need a place to put the dirty dishes. That dirty dish disposal unit helps to clear off your counter tops; when a sink is that shiny the counters just have to be cleaned too. Then comes the stove. Now the point of your habit was just to keep the sink clean and shiny but that shine is working its way around the heart of your home! The best part is that shiny sink is giving you confidence that you can do something and stick with it. Your shiny sink is a reflection of you! Enjoy the process and go shine your sink!

Time to call the CDC! Ok, what is this dance of co-dependency that I’m supposed to be doing with the sink? Does this seem a little bit off to anyone else? Like one minute we’re shining the sink, the next we’re invading Poland?

But I did it. I cleaned the sink. Not in the Physician’s Desk Reference on OCD – manner that the Flylady describes, but still. And when I woke up the next morning, ready for my smiling embrace from the sink, I saw that Husbandrinka left his dishes in it the night before, totally distorting the smile into a grimace.

So, lesson learned. Baby steps. I’m crawling already.

If I want to enjoy a smile with the sink, I have to clean it, shine it, dry it, put barbed wire all around it to prevent Husbandrinka from touching it. Because then I can savor the few moments in the morning when it’s nice and shiny. Maybe I should set my alarm half an hour early. For extra quality time with the sink. Smiling at it. Having it smile back at me.

I think I’m getting the hang of it.

One year ago ...

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