Leaving: A writing prompt from The Write Practice
My ex-mother-in-law would leave town for the weekend, stumbling out of her house with an armload of disorganization, oblivious to the pile of stinking, half-washed dishes sitting in cold, slimy dishwater in her kitchen. She would walk away from the overflowing garbage as though she expected cleaning elves to take care of it while she was away.
She used to ask me to water her plants while she was gone, and I always wondered if she expected me to morph into a cleaning elf in her absence. Um, yeah. I didn’t. I just avoided the kitchen, filling a pitcher with water from the bathtub, and watered her flowers as fast as I could so I could escape the stench as quickly as possible.
That’s not me. Whenever I leave town, I like to come home to a clean house. I have a mental checklist that must be checked off before I will leave the house for even one night.
- Cats’ litter boxes cleaned out (even though they’ll refill them by the time I return): Check.
- All garbage out of the house: Check.
- All dishes washed: Check.
- All laundry washed: Check (I’ll take dirty laundry with me before I’ll leave it lying around to stink up my house.)
- Bathmat hung up to air out while I’m gone: Check.
- Toilet scrubbed and flushed one last time before I go: Check.
Leaving isn’t easy when you’ve got a touch of OCD. But it’s worth the trouble when I come home to a mostly clean house (I clean out the litter boxes again first thing when I get back!) While I’m gone, I keep the whole family’s dirty laundry in one big bag so I can dump it straight into the washer and get it going as soon as I arrive. I can have our bags unpacked and everything put away within fifteen minutes of arriving home after a ten-day trip. Then I can plop down on the couch and recover from my vacation in a clean house.
I can’t imagine leaving only to return home to a disaster. How depressing that must be.
Write your own “Leaving” essay and post it on your blog or in the comments below.