Art & Design Magazine

Karen's Crack-Down

By Karl @cartoonistdiary
Karen's Crack-DownWell things aren't back to perfect and there may be a massive patch of damp all around my drawing board where the sodden plaster board lay crumpled and defeated, but at least I am now back in my studio.
After a very busy weekend that saw the whole house get a severe cleaning to within an inch of its foundations, I can now happily say that I'm back on track. Everything, once again, has its place and the county councils' recycling tip is heavier to the tune of a tonne of my unwanted detritus; and I can thank Karen for most of that.
Karen is a clean demon. She cannot sit still while there is a speck of dirt lounging around in a sloppy fashion without its shoulders back, which is strange really as I'm completely the opposite; I can happily watch whole eco-systems times and multiply in my cobwebs and not feel even the slightest urge or twinge to remove them: its the singular bone of contention within an otherwise ripple-less pool of relationship tranquility.
But then my day isn't as regimented as Karen's.
For example: I will get up, wander down stairs, open the curtains, take a look at the sky and go and make breakfast. Karen, on the other hand, will get up, carefully layout all of her clothes for the day, she'll then place her body lotions out, her make up powders and potions will be put on stand by and finally her straighteners will be set  to 'do-as-you're-told'. Once she has completed her morning ritual she will come down stairs, get her tape measure out and re-set the curtains to 'exact'!
I kid you not, she's that precise. Ever since we've been together it has always been thus. And me? Well I have always been the well intentioned slob. I've had moments of feverish activity when I've blitzed the house (usually the night before she comes over), only to have her go right the way through it again, doing it right! And no matter how many times I watch her I can't see what she does differently to me, but yet gets a much, much better result.
So over the years I have just given in and accepted that so far as the broom, hoover and dust-pan and brush are concerned, Karen is a higher form of life to me. But when my studio ceiling fell in (see this post) and made the most god awful mess, she took this as her chance to induct my house into the wonderful world of Karen's cleaning products.
Now another one of Karen's things, and something worth noting here, are her lists. She lives by them. She may accuse me of leaving things around but at least I don't decimate a rain forest everyday in post it notes. I swear she has a shrine somewhere to Arthur Fry the creator of the post-it note; you know the sort of thing: A photo of the great man him self, rose petals carefully placed around candles which in turn are symmetrically located on all five points of a pentagram. In the wall will be engraved an incantation that'll say something like:
Yeah though I walk through the worldin a state of perpetual confusion;I shall fear not as I have a shield against disorder;I have a post-it note and a pen.Woe be to the post-it-less man for he is poor in organisation;praise be the one who carries the magical yellow script,for they are the chosen ones.When we all stand at the steps on that judgment dayand we have to atone for all those things we forgot, remember:the post-it people will walk right throughbecause they are the list makers.Praise be to the Post-it note.All hail Arthur Fry, the all seeing master.
Or something like that... 
But anyway, back to Karen and her opportunity to get me and my house into some sort of order. After she'd gotten up, had breakfast and corrected all the curtains, she set me the severe task of sorting out my piles of rubbish. Now having a clear out can be a very cathartic experience; or so I'm told; having never done it before I don't feel qualified to talk on the subject. You see I am one of those people that will have an idea, write it down on a scrappy piece of paper and then place it in one of my many filing systems around the house. I am incapable of throwing them away as I'm convinced that one of them will turn into a gold mine one day and if I throw just one simple scrap away, that scrap could be 'the one. The life changer, the million dollar idea'. and my filing system, for that is what it is to me, has five distinct locations around my house and they are as follows:
  1. Alphabetical groupings on the stairs
  2. The kitchen table---this acts as a kind of holding pen for directionless ideas
  3. A secondary alphabetical pile is located on the second flight of stairs that leads to my studio and study
  4. On top of my printer (in my studio/study and this acts as my upstairs holding pen for listless and directionless ideas; yet to be beaten mercilessly into a category)
  5. Around the base of my drawing board (This one is the loosest of them all and doubles up as a kind of carpet)
As you can see I have a very strange filing system and one that you can readily see would make a clean freak like Karen see multiple shades of red. So after a very deep and meaningful discussion; that involved a lot of teeth gnashing and chest prodding I was finally made to see that a life of cleanliness---although not necessarily being next to godliness--- was most definitely in my best interest and health.
It took us two days to correct the mess and file my world into an organised package. My home is now clean and I hope to keep it that way. I videoed Karen as she cleaned and have since studied the tapes--- rewound them--- paused--- placed on super slow--- just to see what miracle it is that she performs every time the duster comes out. But like all slight of hand geniuses and top magicians, she does it in a way that I cannot see, or fathom.
So I'm here to say that as of today, and six sack loads of outdated and irrelevant scribblings later, I am a new man. I will follow the list given by Karen (oh yes, there is a list...there's ALWAYS a bloody list), and repeat it mantra like when ever I feel the inner slob trying to get out and dominate my outer cobwebs.
Karen is impressed that I'm thinking this way but says she reserves judgment for another day
She either has no faith in me or simply knows me too well.
But just to make sure she left me a list of things to do, and here it is:
  1. Hoover daily and that means moving the sofa and not just aiming the hover in its general direction.
  2. If you see a cobweb, dust it and don't just place a picture over it like you have been doing...oh yes, I'm onto that little scam of yours.
  3. Do the dishes straight after a meal and not when you have nothing left to eat off or cook in.
  4. Polish the pictures with a duster, that's those tan coloured thing next to the rusting can of Mr Sheen.
  5. Wash the windows weekly and you will discover that all that noise beyond the dirt and grime is a place called the world.
  6. Swill the tub of hairs every time you have a bath and stop trying to blame it on the Orangutan who lives next door and breaks in to take a bath. I know there isn't an Orangutan next door, I've just been humouring you the past four years you bone-head.
  7. When hoovering, do the stairs and landing; that's what the extra long cabling is for. And that bit at the front with the dirt in? It is designed to be emptied, DO IT!
  8. And finally, clean your car, people have started putting their rubbish next to it.

I will endeavour to please, Ma'am, but don't hold your breath!
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