Clean My House. Please.

There's nothing like going to someone else's house to gain some perspective on your own. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. We have a small but cozy house. Underline the small part. The challenge: Husband has kept everything he's ever owned since he was a baby, and my son has vowed to do the same.

When I moved out, I was able to fill my Dodge Colt (economy car), and make a trip back for the mattress. That's it. Growing up in a small house with five kids, Mom wasn't able to save everything. (Thank God.)

The other day I was in a giant (comparatively) house with one of those perfect kitchens. Lots of white. I tell myself that people with immaculate kitchens really don't use them. I mean, they can't, can they? Or are they clean freaks? Maybe they have maids. That must be it.

Now, my house is clean, at least by frat boy standards, but our kitchen isn't just a kitchen. It's home for our fish (Salem) and our compost pail (to be taken out to the bin); whatever little thing Charlie's in the process of gluing back together; any insects that have been brought home for observation that day; whatever flora was found on the walk home; assorted odds-and-ends; and the aforementioned refrigerator covered with pictures, drawings and tchotkes. You get the picture.

I live with cavemen, I really do. Now, they're charming cavemen. The ladies love them, and they're very polite, but around the house, they really regress back to the ol' cave. My dog is a cave dog. His shedding has been in overdrive lately and I could fill at least one pillow each day with his cast-off cave dog hair.

My house will never be one of those magazine houses, and I stopped striving for perfection long ago. (When you lower your standards, you can be much happier in life.) When you come over, sit a spell and relax...

Just don't wear black pants.