Tuesday, May 17, 2011

True Story Tuesday - Anatomy of a Panic Clean


Y’all know what I’m talking about.

Someone makes a silly comment.

You make a silly comment back.

And the next thing you know… it zooms straight from silly to ohmygosh, this could really happen!

Case in point… I’ve never made a secret of wanting to learn photography from Dana.


The Dana.


Dana Dana Bo-Bana.

Dana won


My Dana posted about feeling led to donate a photo session to a deserving family.

Knowing full well that this talented chick was kinda referring to eligible locations within less than 35 hours driving distance… I sat down and had a cryfest as I tried to describe my Mother-In-Law.

Part of those pages:



I ended with a silly comment, “pick us, and we’ll fly you out”.



Two weeks later we had tickets!!!


Her outdoorsman son decided to hitch a ride so he and Mr. Daddy could spend some quality time discussing the finer points of killing animals with various weaponry.

And while you might think you wouldn’t want to mess with this guy…


rest assured that he looks far less intimidating while wearing Itty Bit’s cowboy hat. HA!

(But I’m getting ahead of myself!)


So as I’m getting excited about their quick 24 hour jaunt to see us… somebody cues the Jaws theme song and I suddenly realize that this means that PEOPLE will be STAYING at MY HOUSE.

Do you have any clue what this means to an OCD woman living in a fixer-upper that is waiting for someone else to fixer-up because we won’t be staying long?


It’s call the Panic Clean.


You start out with loads of lists and caffeine-fueled energy.

(I’m loving that Skinny editing button!)


Is it just me, or is one leg longer than the other?  Nevermind.


Except that you must be aware that you may slightly LOSE YOUR MIND and freak out every 45 seconds that your friend is coming to visit you… and in the process, do incredibly clumsy things.

1.  Get in the shower with your glasses on and panic about your loss of vision as they steam up.

2.  Forget to shave your legs and somehow be convinced there may be a random reason your ivory legs are revealed in all their hairiness.  Get back in the shower after completely drying off, turn on the now-cold water and shave those legs.

3.  Get dressed and realize you forgot to put lotion on… completely undress, lotion up, and redress yourself.

4.  Forget that you have formal meetings first and throw your jeans on.  Stare at husband blankly when he reminds you what day of the week it is.  Nearly start to correct him, realize he’s right (quit gloating Dear), and rush back in to REDRESS yourself.  (Getting Dressed Count = 3)

5.  Run back inside after same husband asks if you were forgetting your coffee?

6.  Get in the car and immediately spill coffee all over those nice pants.

7.  Get out of your car and FORGET TO TURN IT OFF.

8.  Twice.

9.  Return home after the meetings and start a marathon cleaning session.  Here’s where the mortal injuries begin.

10.  Nearly asphyxiate on Scrubbin Bubbles as you tackle the shower.

11.  Scrub so hard that your poor knuckle splits and the lovely chemicals create a nice burn.

12.  Also scrub so hard that you remove the caulking and add another thing to Mr. Daddy’s list.

13.  Launder the guest beds.  Helpfully suggest to Dana that she might want to warn her buff teen that he will be sleeping in retro cowboy sheets on a really fun toddler bed.

(I wasn’t kidding)

kid bed

14.  While making the bed, scrape your other knuckle between the bed and the wall and end up with bloody owie count #2.

15.  Clorox the windows to death to remove the lick marks left by the dog kid.

16.  Tempt fate in all those fumes and randomly decide to light some candles.

17.  Collect clutter to put away as you’re lighting candles… make the fatal mistake of laying this puppy on top of the stack of things you are still holding.

bbq lighter

18.  In slow-motion, see that bad boy slide off the breakable items and onto your bare upper arm.


20.  Repeat

21.  Tell the kid you are okay – between more screams.

22.  Decide that mopping is safer.

23.  Lose the mop to the kid.

24. Move a large counter stool out of the way for him and suddenly trip/slip/fumble and wind up with a baseball-sized bruise on your leg.

25.  Clorox the sinks, counters, floors, furniture, appliances, and generally every body part.

26.  Clean the table and notice a spot on the wall.

27.  Swipe at it with a Clorox wipe and realize to your horror that it has left a noticeably lighter spot.

28.  Swipe at it again and gasp as the cleaner area gets bigger.

29.  Try to feather the dirty wall section into the cleaner section.

30.  Dirt doesn’t feather.

31.  Mentally berate whoever invented fixer-upper wallpaper.

32.  Grab another Clorox wipe and clean what you can reach.

33.  How did your walls get so dirty?

34.  Step on a chair to reach the area around the clock.

35.  Dirt still doesn’t feather.

36.  Climb on the dining room table to reach higher.

37.  Realize that vaulted ceilings sometimes suck.

38.  Welcome your husband home and give him THE LOOK when he spots the vaulted ceiling wallpaper section that you couldn’t reach.

39.  While standing on the dining room table, realize that the entire popcorn ceiling is gently swaying.

40.  Cobwebs.  Eww.

41.  Attempt to vacuum the entire ceiling of the very large home.

42.  While stumbling around holding the vacuum wand up, nearly impale yourself on your husband’s numerous elk racks.

43.  Clorox the inside of the light fixtures (OCD much?) and realize that your hands are awfully wrinkly and sting every time you wash them.  They will smell like Clorox for days.

44.  Look in the mirror and realize that your friend is touching up her awesome PINK highlights, while you still haven’t managed to cover the rampant grey “highlights”.

45.  Itch your arm.

46.  Realize that you’ve just completely destroyed the burn that was trying to heal.

47.  Change Itty Bit’s carseat and realize that the kid has been stowing toys and Goldfish crackers under there.

48.  Look in the mirror and realize that your friend is touching up her awesome PINK highlights, while you still haven’t managed to cover the rampant grey “highlights”.

So let’s recap…



And yet… she didn’t judge.  She sat down at our kitchen table and we talked until we realized that they’d been awake nearly 24 hours.  We hated to see them go… they truly felt like family.

And friends, how breathtaking is this?  Mom, as beautiful as we see her everyday.


I’d do it all again.  But seriously… who says housework won’t kill you?



You know you’ve got ‘em.  Your own funny or amazing true tales.  Just grab our True Story Tuesday button from the sidebar, copy it in to your post, then come back to link up below for some comment love!


Anonymous said...

It finally clicked yesterday when I started seeing pics on FB as to WHY Dana was flying out... I am so glad it worked out for you. Beautiful memories.. LIFETIME memories. Can't put a price on that. In the meantime, I'm wiping my eyes after laughing waaaay too hard at your cleaning list. And considering flying YOU down here to ME so you can clean my house! :<)

Discovery School at First Baptist Heath said...

Beautiful.... and what an awesome gift...they say that giving hurts sometimes!

Tamar SB said...

Beautiful picture of your mom - and I hope all your cleaning induced injuries are healing up! I love your stick figure diagram!

Bethany said...

You never cease to amaze me. :) I need to get that skinny edit option. Where do you find that?

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! OMGosh!! I am DYING over here!! GIRL, I really REALLY hate to tell you this, but I didn't notice ANY OF IT! I was just so excited to be sitting across the TABLE from you, I wouldn't have noticed if you'd torn the whole house down and built a new on in 24 hours! LOL

And I only felt your leg ONCE the whole trip! HAHAHAHA

Oh the trip was so amazing.....I'm still in shock I did it! And you STILL LIKE ME! ;)

Foursons said...

See Rach- I TOLD you Dana wouldn't notice!!! OK, sorry but I can't pass up an "I told you so" moment.

And I'm cracking up because I clean the exact same way. Once one area is done it shines the light on another area that is extra grubby and it continues until my whole house has been scrubbed like there is going to be a military inspection. I'm impressed you didn't buy a new shower curtain and kitchen towels. That's usually on my list when guests come over. Oh and the fact that dust doesn't feather- bwhahahahahahha. I totally knew that. :D

I've been looking at all the pictures on FB and they are gorgeous. Dana did an AH-Mazing job, just like I knew she would. So happy everything worked out so well.

stephanie said...

love the picture. and the story? hysterical mostly because it sounds like something I would do. every last bit of it! :)

Kmama said...

Okay, first of all, happy birthday. I totally missed that with me being gone last week.

Second, how awesome that you won that workshop!

And third, housework WILL kill you...that's why I do as little as possible! hee hee

TIFFANY said...

You are so funny! I hope you're recovering well. :) Thanks for the smiles this morning and feel free to come clean my cobwebs anytime you want!

Unknown said...

But it was all worth it.. and what beautiful pictures she takes. Hoping that you have years of many more memories of your mom. Hoping you heal up quickly

Michelle Pixie said...

I will totally attest to housework can kill! Oh and the dirt not feathering...I had the pleasure of discovering that one a few weeks ago and now am in the process of washing down all the walls and ceilings as we speak. It is killing me!

Beautiful picture!! I hope you share more. :)

Kameron said...

I hate the panic clean, but doesn't it amaze you just how much you can get done when it has to happen in a hurry?? :) I hope you are recovering and it sounds like it was all worth it!

GunDiva said...

Sorry I'm late to the party.

Love the pic of Mom and now I have to take a nap because I'm exhausted from your panic clean :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

If (when) I get a chance to come see you I think I'll just pop in so you don't panic clean before I get there! :) So glad it worked out for you to get such awesome photos and meet a good friend!

Angie Vik said...

Great story. Can totally relate to the panic clean. Almost as if having visiting company is like judgment day. I once did surgery room clean for visiting friends, even cleaning under the stove while my kids remarked, "Mom, they won't look under the stove." True, but the Dad looked under the frig. Our dog barfed and some of the mess oozed under the frig. The helpful guy pulled the frig out so as to clean it and I cringed because I hadn't cleaned under there and lots of scary things live under our frig.

While you probably felt better knowing your house was clean, I'm sure your friend enjoyed being with you and didn't care what the house looked like.

Amy said...

What amazing treasures you will have from this experience! BEAUTIFUL photo!!!!

I feel like I need a nap after reading your post. Slow down girly cause house work WILL kill you! LOL

Tell me though.... is it not normal to clean like that on a regular basis? Because a majority of what you described (minus all the horrible injuries) sounds like how I clean every single week. The two of us together.... oh Rachel.... we could clean THE WORLD!!!! Not even kidding.

Sylvia Plathypus said...

LMAO Wow, that sounds like me when I try to clean house! (Is it any wonder I avoid it like the plague it is? LOL) Sorry about all those crazy injuries!! That's pretty brutal! But I can say, that photo of your mother-in-law is breathtakingly lovely!! Dana really did her proud. =)

Susan said...

It was all worth it for that stunning picture. What a beautiful woman!

I'm the way you are when company is coming. I just don't know why I have to wait til company is coming to take it that seriously. Honestly, I should just invite people over every day of the week so my house would stay that level of clean.

Anonymous said...

^ Angie Vick said "Almost as if having visiting company is like judgment day." Hahahahaaaa... that is THE best line I've heard in a while! Yes, Angie, yes it is...

robin said...

LOL!!! I have done similar stuff (having to shave after dried off, having to undress to put lotion on etc) as well as getting out of the car while leaving it on! And....I had no excuse!

I absolutely LOVE that picture of your MIL! :)

robin said...

I forgot to mention...that was an incredibly nice thing for Dana to do...great gift!

RaD said...

Congrats on the win! And well... uh, be a little more careful on your cleaning, uh spree, next time, okay?

Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too said...

That picture is beautiful! It sounds like the cleaning injuries were well worth it!

Floortime Lite Mama said...

You slay me so perishingly funny you are
Beautiful picture
Must check out all the others on Facebook
Rachel you and Mr daddy must be so worried ... You guys are constantly in my thoughts
Sending you much love and many hugs

Lisa said...

Love ALL the pics! They are so beautiful. And I oh so know about the panic clean. Being a proud OCD girl myself, I pride myself in my panic clean abilities. and that toddler bed, the SAME one I hope to get for Dylan! L.O.V.E. it. It might have to stay at Nee Nee's house... ahem.. lol

NaomiG said...

What an incredible gift, that is so lovely. I wish someone would come visit me, so I could feel compelled to clean my house that way. :-) I hope you've recovered.

Dyann said...

Um, yeah. That's a bit OCD. I'm with ya'...most of the way.

Glad the photo shoot went great and that you had a good time with your friend.

Crazy girl.

Shana Putnam said...

Oh man Rachel, I told you not to stress and that she wouldn't give a hoot where you live or what it looks like. You are a wonderful person and your family is wonderful and that is what matters. The photo is gorgeous and I am so happy you guys got them done. Can't wait to see more either. I can't really say much about your panic clean though because I do the same things. Except probably with less accidents lol. What is it with cobwebs and non feathering dirt anyway? SO not fair.

He & Me + 3 said...

That is so me...on the cleaning front. Just beautiful! The portrait is absolutely stunning! How fun that you met Dana. Awesome blessing for you both I am sure.

Buckeroomama said...

Oh, poor you, but that photo that Dana took is so worth it!

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