I started my Sunday morning by stepping in cat puke. And then I cried about it.
I spent the majority of this weekend cleaning my and Mike's place. I made some headway yesterday but on my to do list for today was the floors and bathroom. My cleaning binge yesterday included reorganizing my closet, soaking garbage cans and a couch vacuuming that last about a half hour. My previous day's efforts were apparent, but this morning I woke up and saw only what I still had to do along with the things that already needed to be cleaned again. At that moment, the mess seemed never ending. I saw crumbs on the counters I cleaned yesterday. The dishes from our dinner were in the sink. The glass table tops I wiped down the previous afternoon were already covered in cat hair. It was as if the work I did yesterday did not matter. And then I stepped in cat puke.
Mike tried to warn me about the cat puke but it was too late. I had already walked through it. And all of a sudden it became my proverbial straw a la the camel. I snapped at Mike for not cleaning up Leroy's puke sooner (something that had literally happened the moment before I waltzed in). Seeing how on the edge I was Mike asked what was the matter. He didn't know why I had seemed so upset this entire weekend. I then proclaimed I felt like a maid in my own home and started crying.
This was an unfair statement. I cleaned all weekend, but not because Mike told me I had to. I chose to. I have been obsessing about cleaning ever since I moved in. I am a clean person, but I don't ever remember feeling this uptight about smudges on a glass table. Something in me was unhappy about something, and it had little to do with the cleanliness of our home. I knew it. Mike knew it. And he called me out on it.
Yes, I am sad. I am sad about more than cleaning. I am sad because I sometimes wonder if I have more to do than clean. A few weeks ago I said good bye to two friends who are each leaving Chicago indefinitely. It was in these good byes that my sadness began.
So why am I sad? Because this is the first time I've lived in Chicago and not had a safety net of close friends. When I moved here in 2004, I came here with three other girls. It was a built in network of friends. Those friends as well as most of the ones I have made since moving to Chicago are for the most part are no longer here. They've moved back to Michigan, they've moved across the country and they've moved to the other side of the world. And I'm still here -still wanting to meet up for brunch, to go get drinks on a Wednesday night, still wanting to get sushi and talk about boys and go shoe shopping. I still want all of this but I can no longer have it. So what do I do? I clean my home because it is something to keep me busy when I have nothing else to do. And that is what hit me at some point during this dull, dreary Chicago weekend. I only finally verbalized it through tears to Mike this morning.
Mike could certainly relate to my feelings. In the 10 years he's lived in Chicago, he's seen plenty of his friends come and go. He, however, may have dealt with this more gracefully than I did. He probably didn't yell at someone about cat puke and then start crying, but he's been there. And it was in talking to Mike that I reminded myself that this is the time and the place we are in our life. Our friends are moving on. They are getting engaged. They're taking new jobs. They are having babies. They are going back to school. They're trying to build new lives with their partners in far away places. And I am very happy and very excited for all of my friends who have jumped at these new challenges and taken these new adventures head on. But on this gloomy, rainy Sunday morning, I couldn't help feeling a little left behind.
What came from mine and Mike's discussion is that I do need to get out of the house more. If all I do is work and then come home I'm going to find time to obsess about a dish left in the sink. Neither Mike nor I want that. We're running some errands this afternoon and one of the places we're stopping by is our neighborhood gym. It's been almost six months since I've had a gym membership, and I'm ready to rejoin the gym rat race. Getting out and getting moving has always helped me clear my head. And at a time in my life when I cry over cat puke, I could use a little head-clearing.
** Update: Mike and I checked out the gym. At first glance, I love it. I have two free passes I plan to use this week.