Dusty Lamp
I’m ashamed. Ashamed of the dust. Ashamed of the clutter. Ashamed that I do not, that somehow I cannot, bring myself to keep my house clean.
This afternoon, as I sat working at our dining room table, my husband just touched the dusty lamp above me, and I started coughing, choking, asthmatic that I am.
My son suffers with eczema, with asthma, as do I. Still I leave the dust undisturbed, afraid of another asthma attack.
Too ashamed to ask for help. Too ashamed to hire help. Too ashamed to let anyone in. Too overwhelmed to attack the job myself.
Now my husband Nick chokes and coughs himself, as he cleans the lamp of its dust. Thank you, Nick, for all that you do.


42 responses to “I am Ashamed”

  1. Good to know! Enjoy 🙂

  2. Yes, I’m blessed. He’s loving and hard-working.

  3. Hahaha A good husband right there! 😉

  4. Yes, yes and yes. I may be writing a blog that represents me. We each do when we push that publish button. I know I miss things but it bothers me when I catch them later. I guess it’s better to catch them months later than to have a mistake hang forever.

  5. I write by editing. Over and over again.

  6. That’s only because everything goes on a yellow legal pad first. I don’t think I’ll ever write anything longer than 2 paragraphs without an outline.

  7. We live in Southern California. It’s dry here.

  8. Hi Kitt,
    I, too, have a HUGE problem with dusting. it is the one chore I hate doing. Where does it come from! I’ve been thinking about getting an air purifier. I found one on Amazon that is highly rated by the consumer. One consumer reported (in the questions section) that it gets rid of 2/3 of the dust in the air. Gotta love that. Check it out!

  9. You could’ve fooled me, Sheri. Your writing is quite organized.

  10. I understand. My brain deals with what’s called fibro fog (fibbromyalgia) plus a large number of traumatic brain injuries. None add up to make for an organized life.

  11. Clutter is my bain.

  12. My toilets could use a cleaning, too. Clutter is a huge problem.

  13. Kitt – I’m so happy you said thank you to your husband for all that he does. Those words are magic to a lovers/partners ears. My theory is that you do the best you can and leave the rest. A professor once asked me, “Do you want it to say on your tombstone; below the dirt is the best housekeeper in the world.” Of course I don’t want that for my legacy and with the work I read you are doing, you have far more to offer the world than a clean house.
    I like a clean house the same as the nest person and decided a cleaning service simply had a skill set that enabled them to do a better job than I can. It also forces me to keep my clutter in pile management instead of spread everywhere.

  14. You are not alone Kitt. I have become so slovenly throughout the years. Dust is but one of the many things that go untouched in my home when needing cleaning….you should see my toilets. Feel better now?

  15. It is okay. Same thing happens to me.

  16. Yes, microfiber dusting cloths work, too. Still, I don’t use them. Part of the problem is that I get overwhelmed. I cannot break down the problem into small bite-sized tasks. I see one thing connecting to another and find myself paralyzed.

  17. We are both blessed to have such understanding and supportive husbands.

  18. Believe it or not Swiffers are great for dusting. I get all runny nose and eyes but when I use a Swiffer it really doesn’t bother me nearly as much. Also clean with a damp paper towel. It grabs the dust before it can fly off. I would hate to have anyone look at my ceiling fans. They are terrible. I have to get up there. And my vacuum needs to come out of the closet! So, I think we all have been there at least once with the dirt. It happens.

  19. I can completely relate. You are doing an amazing job and the best that you can and it’s OK when you feel tired or overwhelmed. I find it hard when I have the drive to cook and clean and my husband has to pitch in to help but he always tells me I’m doing a great job and that he doesn’t mind helping. Thanks for posting this. I think we all have those moments more often than we care to admit.

  20. Hiring a cleaner was the best decision ever!!! In fact, I need to get on that now. We moved, so I don’t have anyone on speed-dial, but seriously, they do not care!! I felt like 50 pounds of stress were lifted the first time my house was cleaned. You deserve it! It will be uncomfortable for a few minutes, and then you leave them to clean, come back, only to feel so much better! I understand, though. I HATE cleaning, but I hate even more the guilt I feel
    because we live in a filthy house.

  21. I’m sorry about your mice problem, my sweet. That SUCKS. I know the rats are sentient beings (mice too) but they TOTALLY gross me out. I used to have a mice problem a long time ago when I lived in a studio. I forgot what method I used to get rid of them, (I tried to be humane but that sounds so wimpy…) but they wound up crawling into my clothing drawers, and dying in between my clothes. SOOOOOOOOO GRRRRROOOOOSSSSS!

  22. Too bad I’m allergic to cats. They are GREAT for rat and mice control. Even if the cat doesn’t hunt, the rodents stay away from its scent.

  23. No cockroaches. The health department would have no complaints (I hope).

  24. Ugh so sorry about your rats. I have mice. It makes me freakin batty!

  25. I was actually JUST thinking to myself that I would be a happier person if I could just let it go…just get off my back about the mess. I simply am not interested in living the kind of life/doing the kind of work it would take for the house to be gorgeous tidy all of the time.
    It would be all of the time ALL of the TIME and I didn’t sign up for that.
    and yet it always bothers me.
    So i have to learn to make peace with it somehow.
    Like other posters said…..
    you are doing much more important things than dusting. MUCH.
    not to invalidate your feelings because the thing is that it actually DOES feel better when the house is clean….
    but is the pursuit and clean house worth what is sacrificed to obtain it.
    I am sure that health issues make the issue different because obviously there are somethings that we do just need to do.
    One step above squalor. That’s my goal! 😉

  26. I love that you walk with a friend and help each other out. I would love such a set-up, but do not have such a friend nearby (that I know of).

  27. Kitt, I completely understand. I have learned to become with the dust. I just don’t do it…well maybe twice a year. 😉 Actually, a friend of mine and I walk 3 days/week. Two of those days, we will each pick a room in our homes and we will clean after we walk. It’s great! Neither of us care what each other’s house looks like so we don’t judge each other and we get help cleaning. Maybe that could be an option for you? I also agree with Sheila. You are so much more than the dust in your home. My motto is “If you complain about the mess in my house, I’ll point you to the cleaning supplies” 🙂 My mother-in-law has been very quiet. (She is a wonderful woman.)

  28. Love the quote, Jamie. I do have gloves and dust masks. Having the proper equipment doesn’t mean I actually get around to using it.

  29. Great perspective. Certainly could be much worse, and for some people it is.

  30. Hmmm, interesting! I am currently a twice divorced man living alone. I have lived by myself for about 13 going on 14 years, now. Prior to living alone, i used to do housework. Living solo means now there is only one person to do the chores … so guess who does them? Am I obsessive? No … but I can be. I try not to be.
    I was lucky enough not to have any sort of metal illness or problems. Yet it seems we’re all crazy to one degree or another? That’s what it seems, when diagnosing the human race.
    I can understand the allergies. For my ex. had them. Others, close, had them too. The question for me is? If the dust causes allergies, or rather if the dust excites those allergies? Why not deal with the problem before it becomes the real problem? With an efficient mask and gloves, etc?
    I really wondered about my ex. For in the last three years of our married life and someone who had become allergic to cats and their hair. Why would you go out and get three more cats after the last had died? Don’t even try to answer, it’s rhetorical.
    I was going to say how much this reminded me of a man who named himself Quentin Crisp. An Englishman in New York. While he lived in England, he write a book called “The Naked Civil Servant”. Not a great literary work but an amusing anecdotal account of his life, as a homosexual man in the mid-twentieth century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Crisp
    He is renowned for saying …. in 1940 he moved into the bed-sitting room he would occupy for over four decades, the first floor apartment at 129 Beaufort Street. Here he stayed until he emigrated to the United States in 1981. In the intervening years he never attempted any housework, saying famously in his memoir: “After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”.[4]
    A woman I worked with. was fond of quoting it too. So there is little need for shame. Just embrace who you are and keep it in reserve? Maybe?
    Cheers Jamie

  31. I have come to accept some of the clutter in our house, despite my OCD. The dust and the “poof balls” from the dog are the worst, but in the scheme of things at least we have a house and things to get dusty!

  32. Remodeling is the worst! Drywall dust is insidious. We still have things in boxes from when we installed hardwood floors.

  33. $100/month is a DEAL! You need a cat. Or an exterminator. We have rats in our backyard and have had them in the garage. When we had a cat – no rats. But we had to rehome the cat because he marked inside the neighbors’ garage and their sports car. The cat was not an inside cat and hated our dogs. Trees and forest and landscaped hillsides are havens for rats.

  34. Catch-22 isn’t it? If you clean, you have asthma and allergies. If you don’t, same.

  35. Thank you, Sheila. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

  36. So sorry you’re feeling down. But like Sheila said, there are much more important things than dusting. I’m also sorry your asthma is flaring up; mine is too. Must be the dust in my house too…we’re remodeling the kitchen and the whole place is a mess.

  37. I feel the same way about our place; it’s gross/dusty and I’ll admit it here despite feeling scared as this is simply revolting- there are RAT FECES in numerous places. We are working on ridding the house of the rats as humanely as possible, but it will take some more time. Is that disgusting or what? Lucy couldn’t care less about the rats, by the way! But get a neighbor’s cat near here (she can spot them through our windows) and it sounds like a scene from the “The Exorcist” around here.
    We’re having our very first professional babysitter in SEVEN years come watch the girls this month so we can go out to dinner. Part of me wants to clean before she shows up, but during the interview she admitted that her house is very messy too.And we noticed that too when we snooped on her Facebook page! :0000 Yep. We did that. I’m really admitting everything on your blog today – what next?
    Apart from that, I’d like to give you sincere permission to hire help despite your deep-seated shame. A year ago I hired a lovely husband/wife team who spent several hours doing a one-time deep clean only because my Mom would be visiting the house for a day.
    I was VERY VERY embarrassed to have these strangers see how dusty, dirty and yucky my house was, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to have the house clean. (That was before the rats came.) At least for a short while after! 😉
    They offered to do a monthly service for $100 a month, but our finances didn’t allow it. No pressure, but just think about it my dear friend. And I’m so, so glad you have a good guy – he really is.

  38. THANK YOU for being courageous enough to write this post and share this picture!!!!
    My house is like this, too. My shame eats away at me, too. Ditto the asthma and allergjes… coughing sneezing wheezing runny eyes, runny nose.

  39. Don’t be: there is so much more to life than dusting. Yes, my house is cluttered too, and dusty.
    Most of the time, I just don’t think about it. You do valuable work as a mental health campaigner: surely much more worthwhile than dusting.

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