I've known for many years that my weight is a consistent barometer of my level of happiness. When I'm happy, it takes a lot of exercise (and restraint in the cookie aisle) to keep my weight from climbing over 115, which is the most I can weigh and still fit into pants with buttons. When I'm unhappy -- no matter what flavor of unhappy it is, depressed or stressed or grieving or lonely -- I lose my appetite and my weight dives under 110.
(Because I know you're wondering, I'm at a very happy place in my life right now, and I'm holding steady at 115. There are no cookies in the house and I'm exercising regularly and to say that my lifestyle is "active" is an understatement, but I can not for the life of me get my weight to go any lower because I'm just too happy.)
I've just realized, though, that there's another clear barometer in my life. The more fun I'm having, the dirtier my kitchen floor.
Right now, my kitchen floor says I've been having a lot of fun.
You see, I do my "big" cleaning on the weekends, which I suspect is the norm for working women. During the week I keep up with dishes and laundry and the battle to keep the Legos contained to my son's room, but if I'm going to vacuum or mop or scrub the tub, it has to be on a Saturday or Sunday. But that requires me to be home during the day on Saturday and Sunday, and lately, that just hasn't happened. I've been at the beach or on the boat or hanging out with friends or off on some sort of minor adventure. The last time I cleaned the kitchen floor was right before my dad arrived for a visit... on June 3. That's a month, pretty much. Admittedly, the floor is not college-group-house dirty, no one is sticking to it yet. I do sweep it every once in a while. If something spills, I'll wipe it up with a rag, and I make my son pick up any large pieces of food he drops on the floor. But it has been a long, long time since my floor has gotten some hot lovin' from my Conair Steam Mop.
I finally seized my chance to clean this past Sunday. After being out all day Saturday, my husband surveyed our son's rosier-than-normal cheeks and declared that he needed to spend the next day out of the sun. Perfect! On Sunday morning, I helped my husband load up the boat and sent him off to do some solo sailing, while I got down to some serious housewifery. I vacuumed the whole house, including the porch, which was covered in not just sand but whole DUNES. I steam-mopped the tiles in the entryway. I scrubbed the tiles in my shower until they returned to their natural beige. I was just wondering whether I should pull out the carpet shampooer when my husband returned.
"Put on a bathing suit and come with me," he demanded. "I've got the boat moored in the creek down at the golf course. You need to come out with me." I protested that I wasn't done cleaning. "I need your help, I can't get the boat back onto the trailer by myself," he admitted, "and also, the creek is really cool, you need to come see this." So my son and I decked ourselves out in bathing suits and baseball caps and SPF 50, and we walked down to the golf course, where we found our little boat moored to a low-hanging palm tree. And indeed, the creek was very cool, all shaded with palms and live oaks dripping Spanish moss. It felt like a lazy river ride at an amusement park, except less fake, because it really was a lazy float down a genuine Deep South-cum-tropical creek. When we arrived at the boat launch an hour later, we had an easy time of loading the boat back onto the trailer, because I am now a STRONG 115 lbs. Then we came home and cleaned the boat and put it away and had a swim in the pool and I cooked turkey burgers for dinner and drank a beer.
I did not, however, ever get around to mopping the kitchen floor.
As we were getting into bed, I told my husband my new theory of the Kitchen Floor Fun Barometer. "That makes sense," he agreed, "and there's also sand in the refrigerator. I think that's a pretty good indicator of our lifestyle."