Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Yakker's First Law of House Cleaning

My wife and I always like to make sure the house is neat and clean before we go on a trip.  Well, OK, it's probably more accurate to say that it's mostly my wife's idea,  though I do think it's nice to come home to a clean house.  Still, cleaning the house is one of the rituals we go through before any major trip.  I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm a bit of a procrastinator, so it will come as no surprise that in the past I've been up 'til the wee hours of the morning mopping the floors, scrubbing the kitchen sink and all before a trip.
A couple weeks ago, as we began to prepare for our recent trek to Ohio, I vowed that this time would be different.  No more bleary-eyed, must-get-to-the-caffeine, mornings spent dragging the luggage into the van (it's amazing how much stuff you "need" when you travel with kids).  This time I would finish early and we could sit back, relax, enjoy a leisurely evening and get a good night's sleep before the 10 hour drive to Dayton the next morning.  I even had thoughts of packing the van the night before.
As the day progressed (it was a Friday and we planned to leave early Saturday morning), every thing was going according to plan.  The new and improved, "no procrastination" plan (yes, waiting 'til the last day counts as not procrastinating in my book - usually I prefer to wait until the last hour) was going just fine!  By the time I had fixed the kids lunch I was more than halfway through my to-do list.  I was confident that it would be complete with time to spare, maybe even be done before my wife got home from work!
Alas, I had forgotten Yakker's First Law of House Cleaning:  the process of cleaning a house tends to expand to fill the time available (kind of like how a gas will expand to fill the available space - remember your high school chemistry class?).  I decided that I had time to do a more thorough cleaning.  Instead of just picking up the clutter, cleaning the floors and taking out the trash, I figured I would clean the windows, dust and polish the furniture, vacuum under the couch (not just around it) and on and on.
The phone rang.  My wife was on her way home.  Though I had a lot of check marks on my list, a number of basic items remained undone.  I hadn't touched the bathrooms or the kitchen.  And I still had dinner to think about, as well as the rest of our usual evening routine with the kids.
So, in the end, I think we went to bed about midnight.  Which, believe it or not, was a bit of an improvement over previous night-before-a-trip bedtimes.

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