I sweep my floor every day at 6am, 10am, 1pm, and 3pm. If you think I'm a little obsessive, you should see the sheer quantity of stuff I sweep up. No matter what–no matter how strict I am about eating while seated or taking off your muddy shoes or keeping the playdough on the table. There's always this mysterious debris.
So yesterday I conducted a particle by particle analysis of the stuff. I drew the line at actually tasting the particles, but I looked very closely
There was the usual-bits of grass and hair, crushed pretzels and cereal, food that clung in the folds of clothing and fell off after meals were done and far from the table, but the greater percentage of it wasn't anything recognizable. And there is always a lot of it. As if the very stuff of life itself is continually wearing down and depositing its detritus on my tile. Not all of it yields to the broom, either.
One of the mothers who arrive at 6:30 every morning, just as I'm finishing up with the dishrag, asked me today why I don't have a mop. I tried to explain to her that for the kind of wear my floor gets, your average kitchen mop just won't do–you need a constant rinsing of fresh water and application of the thumbnail.  
And what is that, on the floor every morning, sticking to the soles of my shoes? I wipe up the spilled milk and meals throughout the day, but still, every morning this mystery crud. It might be drool: invisible at the time of drooling, but dried and sticky by the next day. Or alien goo. I know for a fact they visit my kitchen in the wee small hours to wreak havoc. Leave the freezer ajar, the tap running, the milk out to spoil. 
I once heard someone say that cleaning a house full of children is like brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos. 
More like cleaning your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos, one finger and some baking soda because the two year old flushed the toothbrush and someone has decorated the mirror with the last bit of Colgate. Oh, and there's no running water because the plumber was an idiot. (Or maybe because the two-year-old flushed the toothbrush.) And the entire time, the fifteen month old on your hip is trying to pry open your jaws to get his fair share of the frosting-stuffed chocolate cookie, the fifteen year old is holding the phone out to you mouthing the words It's the principal! with a horrified look on her face and a potential client is picking her way across the minefield on your front porch. There's also probably something dripping somewhere with an ominous, muffled ping, ping, ping…
There might be a representative from the IRS or the State hunkered over your kitchen table too,  looking for financial records or maybe proof that kid you watched once back in '03 was immunized.
That's definitely more accurate.

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3 responses to “Detritus

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