I smell like every kind of cleaning product on the planet.

Aside from the hyperbole, I’m tired. It’s amazing how gross you can feel after cleaning. Here I’ve put all of this time and energy into making my home nice and well-scented, and now I’m disgusting. If I want to get clean, I have to go use the clean shower, ruining its perfect state.

Which brings me to the subject of this post: Apologizing to Mom


When I was a kid, we went to Lake Erie for a week every summer. This is the way Ohioans do the beach on a budget, the great lake being the nearest significant body of water. Pretend it isn’t brown and gross. It gets the job done.

For the most part, I looked forward to said vacation, but my mom had a way of ruining the start: We always had to clean.

“We’ll all feel so much better coming home to a clean house.”

No, Mom, we won’t, I’d think. I like my messy room. You’re just doing this as an excuse to make us all work.

I was a charming child.

The day before vacation was awful. I always seemed to end up in charge of the bathrooms, which was as regular a chore as I had growing up. For years, it seemed I couldn’t get it clean enough. Mom would come in and inspect the room, then find a spot I’d missed. Vacation Inspector Mom was even more critical of my bathroom cleaning skills than regular Inspector Mom. I’d clean and clean. One year, I spent what felt like an eternity (probably 5 minutes) cleaning the vent. I proudly told Mom that I’d cleaned spots she wouldn’t have even considered.

Sparkling clean
Sparkling clean

I was wrong. She’d thought of it. And found more.

It’s been 10+ since I had a pre-vacation cleaning session with my mother, and I realize how right she was. I’m typing with dry, lemon/bleach/Windex/Comet scented hands, because it’s the day before my trip and I just finished scrubbing my home, ending with the bathrooms.

Why? The idea of coming home from vacation to a dirty house – one that would need any kind of cleaning – sounds stressful and miserable. I don’t know if I became this way because of my mother, or if I would have anyway. Still, I feel the need to apologize.

You were right, Mom. It’s always better to come home to a clean house than not.

Okay, I’m going to go hope the fumes have cleared so I can shower and finish packing. If anything, this makes the first day of the trip all the sweeter. Sure, I’ll be on a plane, but I won’t smell like I fell into a supply closet.

***I’ll have a follow-up post tomorrow about the geek side of our prep. It is a honeymoon at a convention, after all.***