We traded houses for the day.
I was happy you came to stay.
You woke up in my cozy bed
And I woke up in yours instead.
First into my bathroom gleaming
You stepped, and had a shower steaming.
Then your breakfast: time to eat!
The table’s clear, so have a seat.
You looked around in disbelief.
It must have looked as if a thief
Had stolen all my stuff, because
There was no clutter, dirt, or fuzz.
No laundry pile or paper file
No dishes stacked or stuff unpacked
And not a room that looked ransacked.
But I was at your place, meanwhile.
Don’t worry, there won’t be a scandal –
There’s nothing here that I can’t handle.
I started at the kitchen sink
Because I needed space to think.
With all the dishes there to scour
It took me nearly half an hour
But I felt glad that it was done.
At my house they’re washed one by one.
I started on the laundry next
And I confess, I felt perplexed.
The real work’s done by machine!
Clothes are easiest to get clean.
I kept it tumbling through the day
Wondering why it piled up that way.
While it ran, I took a broom
And knocked down cobwebs, room by room.
Ten minutes spent on doing that –
I wish that I had worn a hat –
And then I thought I’d try to dust.
But there was so much stuff, I’d bust
My hump before I got it all.
It kinda makes the place look small.
Before I got demoralized
I thought of how you’d look surprised
When you came home and saw my work.
That gave me back a bit of perk.
It was a lot of work to do,
This gift that I had planned for you,
Which I did because I wanted to.
Oh, how fast the hours flew.
I hauled the trash and cleaned the floors
Scrubbed the bathroom, and other chores
Like chiseling the microwave.
These are jobs I’d never save
To use up half my weekend. Geez!
Just what is this, burned-on cheese?
I looked up, and I saw with shock
That it was nearly six o’clock.
Time to put the dinner on.
All my mojo was nearly gone.
I thought how happy you would feel
To come home to a fresh, hot meal.
I heard you walk in through the doorway
And I started to turn your way.
“Hello, dear friend, how was your day?
I hope that you enjoyed your stay.”
But when I turned around, I saw
That there was tension in your jaw.
You didn’t like what I had done.
You thought that I was making fun
Of you and of your housekeeping.
You wished I hadn’t done a thing.
You felt so judged and persecuted.
You bawled me out, and I stood rooted
To the spot. My gift rejected,
I must admit, I felt dejected.
Can you tell me why on earth
You connect housework with self-worth?
It isn’t all that hard to do
As I had tried to show to you.
It’s easier to live my way
And do a little every day
Than let it pile up like that.
I feel like someone took a bat
And beat me with it, neck to knees.
Now I need some Advil, please.
What a yucky way to spend
Half the time of your weekend!
Forty minutes is all I spend
To clean my house from end to end.
It’s the only strategy
That can preserve my energy.
I guess we’re not friends any more
Since I dared to mop your floor.
Maybe when you taste my soup
It will help us to regroup.
I wanted just for you to find
Some relaxation, peace of mind,
And maybe get a brand new start.
I wish that for you, from my heart.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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