I went over to my mom's today, of course, as I do almost every day. She's getting around more and more - she has the walker, but she isn't using it all the time, and she's hardly using the wheelchair at all. Of course, a fractured pelvis can't slow my mother down for long. Nothing short of total paralysis could do that, and I think even then she'd be writing extensive, complex and organized lists of chores for me with a pencil in her mouth.
I got there and discovered that, since she gets tired of waiting for me to show up (my mother's most productive hours are between 5 and 10 a.m. whereas on a good day I am having my second cup of coffee at 10 a.m.) she had already gone outside, moved all the hoses around to water, moved all her houseplants around, and, somehow carrying dishpans full of water on her walker, had thoroughly watered them all. Now, she wanted me to use the leaf blower, which she had brought out from the garage on a rolling cart, to clean off the deck, because, god, there were at least 10 or so fallen leaves on it! Then she wanted me to vacuum the rest of the dirt out of a big ceramic pot - I had pulled a flowering tree out of it the day before. I've never vacuumed a flowerpot before - it kind of never occurred to me - I mean, you keep dirt in them, right? Right?
Then it was time to water the lower garden, which I had to do with her shouted instructions from the kitchen window. Two days ago she dragged a stepladder into her room at 6 a.m. and reorganized her closet. My mother's house is immaculate, and when I say immaculate, I mean her garage floor is cleaner than some of my dishes. You could literally eat a meal off any surface in my mother's house and the worst that might happen to you is a slight bleach overdose, or the friendly bacteria in your system would flee in fear. My mother does not tolerate germs or disorganization or uncleanliness in any form. She irons her sheets. Every morning she gets up at 5:00 and puts on a classic LL Bean type outfit and goes to work on the house. I have a sinking feeling that most of the women of her generation are the same.
There are whole days, even with a perfectly healthy (if underused, damn celibacy) pelvis, when I do nothing but lounge around on the computer or even stay in bed, reading one science fiction novel after another. My house generally looks like a bomb went off in it quite recently, and I have never reorganized my linen closet - I just keep shoving stuff in there. There are Pokemon pillow cases in there that qualify as collector's items, but they're buried. My towels don't match. I got my dishes at Goodwill. Most of my friends are somewhat similar, although I do have a few neatnik buddies. Even they have a hidden disorganized closet or drawer or room, though. I'm beginning to think it's generational. Maybe the Secret Council of Sloth and Mess put subliminal messages out on Saturday morning TV in the 70s, telling us to just give up, we could never do it like Mom did. It's discouraging. I think I'll go eat more Halloween candy and take a short nap now.