I will not claim that Sara is a neat freak, but she does an excellent job of making sure that I am presentable to the world. Since I started living with her, the number of times I leave the house in my homeless man outfit has decreased drastically. Her tolerance for home-based chaos is much lower than mine and so it is usually her who initiates a full-on cleaning of our humble abode.
There are, however, two adjectives by which I cannot abide. Either of these two words will cause me to drop the remote, put down the sandwich, climb off the couch and dive headlong for the sink. These words are, in increasing order of severity, "smelly" and "sticky."
When I am able to walk into the house and smell something that isn't candles, dinner, or ambient home-smell, I dive into investigative mode, slinking through the house like a bloodhound in search of an escaped convict. I will hunt down and exorcise the demons of unpleasantness when they assault my olfactory organs. There have been a few times where my investigation has lead me to mop the basement in a dress shirt and tie because I could not wait to rid my home of the offending odor.
Worse than this, however, is my aversion to things that are sticky. I HAAAAAAAATE being sticky. I hate it so much that when I eat anything with grease, I am wiping my hands after each bite. I eat sour cream and cheddar potato chips daintily with two fingers, much in the way they would be eaten by a haughty female character from a Jane Austen novel. When carving chicken, the chicken will often get cold and soggy because I am transferring so much water from the sink as I wash my hands every few seconds. It comes very close to being obsessive.
I consider this particular feeling to be one of the causes, if not the chief cause, behind my aversion to playing outside. Dirt under my fingernails makes me cringe. There are slimy things that live in gardens that may leave tracks that I might touch. It's all very frightening.
Needless to say, I have had to get over much of this as a parent. There are still times when I gag over a diaper, the stench itself opening a portal to the fiery gates of Hell. I clean up vomit, urine and whatever else needs to be cleaned with a minimal amount of distress.
I am not, however, cured.
Tonight, I made baked buffalo wings in an attempt to find a (slightly) healthier alternative to fried wings. They were excellent, if I do say so myself. I ate them standing up and after each one, I either wiped my hands on a towel or walked into the kitchen to wash my hands. After I finished, I washed thoroughly and began to fold the laundry while we watched an episode of Dexter.
During a particularly important plot point, all sound was drowned out by my horrified and girly cries of "SWEET JESUS!!" I had turned to gaze upon the angelic visage of my daughter and, instead, was confronted by this:
It's like minstrel show make-up, but in reverse. And delicious.
Sara thought it would be a great idea to give Harper some pudding. Harper, in turn, thought it would be a brilliant idea to scoop some up with her hands and fling it to the far corners of the house. The chair was covered. There were drips on the floor. Her hands were covered and she was using them to illustrate her first-rate reproductions of the collected works of Jackson Pollock. While I watched, she attempted to fling a pudding covered spoon onto a nicely folded pile of clean shirts.
My abject horror culminated into 6 simple words, spoken in love and adoration, to my wife: "You're giving her a bath tonight."
Immediately before getting in the tub, my perfect and wonderful daughter peed on the carpet, then ran away giggling.
I cleaned it up, just like I cleaned up after she pooped in almost the same spot, three days earlier.
Only 30 days until the next one is due. I need to buy stock in aspirin.
And hand soap.