To say that my family was filled with “clean-aholics” is putting it mildly. There is a point when you cross the line of being good clean and too clean. I’m not sure why, how or who started the whole thing, but I’m glad that it basically doesn’t exist any more. I think we all know the difference between clean and obsessive now.

When I was a little girl I can remember being at my grandmother’s house, taking a bath, putting on clean pajamas and instead of sitting on the “spread-covered” couch I had to sit on the sterilized floor and not move too much. My mother wasn’t like that, however, she was very clean. We spent our entire Saturday’s washing and drying every knick-knack, polishing every nook and cranny, scrubbing baseboards, washing window screens, etc. Of course, how dirty can any of those things get in a week when you don’t wear shoes in the house, don’t have any pets, no one smokes and everything was put back in it’s place as soon as it was no longer needed?

With this clean-everything-perfect mentality and at the age of twenty-one, I took off for college fifteen hundred miles away from home, to live in an apartment with three other girls that I had never met before…THAT was an awakening.

My room mate had hair that went past her knees and was a dance major. She was the sweetest girl, but her long hairs were EVERYWHERE and would wrap around our legs or toes and it was like the living vines in a horror flick. Cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes was not the room mates top priority, so you know that scrubbing baseboards or washing knick-knacks didn’t even get on the list. That experience changed me and eventually, I initiated the same kind of change in my mother who still leans towards the obsessive, but is able to keep the monster in the closet.

When Alyssa and Brittany were little, I never made a big deal over a mess or breaking things. First of all, I have to be one of the world’s biggest klutzes, so I have compassion for accidents. And secondly, I always felt and still feel that every moment with them is a privilege and a blessing.

One day I remember I was in the kitchen stirring the meat for the spaghetti sauce and Brittany said, “Do you want me to get the spaghetti?”

“Sure, that would be great,” I said.

I always purchased groceries in bulk and the spaghetti noodles were stored in big plastic containers. Brittany was such a skinny little girl and off she skipped with her massive red curls to the extra pantry closet to get the noodles.

The next thing I heard was a thump and then Brittany’s little voice saying, “I had an accident.”

When I came around the corner, this is what I saw…

I laughed, told her to freeze and ran to get the camera. If only I had owned a digital camera back then I would have probably taken a hundred pictures! I just couldn’t stop laughing. You can tell by her expression that she thinks I have lost my mind because I am laughing so hard and apparently don’t care that there are a thousand noodles spilled on the floor.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shawn September 26, 2009 at 4:33 am

First, first—-neh, neh—I am first! 🙂

I always had to do my chores every Sat. when we were growing up—-doing the mopboards, dusting, vacuuming, window washing—-are you sure that we didn't have twin Moms from a different grandmother? Heh, heh.


2 Navyvet September 26, 2009 at 5:48 am

Now now girls, being neat and cleannnnnnnnn is not a disease. I love everything in its place, and Ilove no spots on the faucets in the bath room. lol. This is your mama, and she is not in the closet,lol. She is going to vacum and sing while she is at it, going whistle while I work,



3 Orange Juice September 26, 2009 at 7:21 am

first of all she's beautiful!
second of all those accidents are never ACCIDENTS in our home


4 Drahdrah September 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

I think it's wonderful that instead of scolding your daughter, you appreciated the moment, and probably made her feel wonderful. I have to learn to be more like that. I am far from a clean freak, but I get very stressed when accidents happen ! Not a good thing. Working on it.


5 Oh Sew Good September 26, 2009 at 11:19 am

I second that. She's beautiful. Those noodles look like a wheat sheave. So I'm curious, what did you end up having for dinner? LOL!


6 Tammy Howard September 26, 2009 at 11:29 am

My mother was/is a clean freak. So is my sister. Me? Not so much.


7 Scrappy Girl September 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm

My mom has a very clean house…she loves to clean…it thrills her to take a dirty room and make it sparkly. During her last visit I found her in the floor next to my dryer cleaning out the lint that had gotten pushed down in the lint trap…she was so proud! LOL!


8 Lisa September 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I grew up in the home of a cleanaholic. Seriously, I think my Mom followed me around picking up and you would never find a dust bunny. EVER.

I live in a house of messaholics. And I've been converted. I don't follow my kids around picking up (I have 5; who has time for that?) and you could probably fill a Walmart bag with dust bunnies.

I've learned to (No therapy needed.)


Lisa @
All That and a Box of Rocks


9 Teresha@Marlie and Me September 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Don't you love how children teach us to let go and live?


10 kyslp September 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm

As a child, our whole house spent Saturdays cleaning. And my mom was mad the entire time because she resented working all week and cleaning all weekend. Good times.

I love your daughter's hair and the fact that you laughed at her mess.


11 natalee September 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm

aww..i love that pic…what a great memory


12 Blondie September 27, 2009 at 12:51 am

Wow! I thought I knew what I was doing in blogging until I visited your blog! Amazing



13 Ashley Ladd September 27, 2009 at 1:09 am

My dad would get very upset and with my mom if she didn't put her purse away right away. My grandma had plastic runners over her carpet and you could only step on those. I thought those were the ugliest things. And slip covers. Why not buy an old ugly couch if you're going to cover it with an old, ugly cover anyway? I never got those things.


14 KK September 27, 2009 at 4:54 am

i'm thinking, you are going to boil them anyways!


15 Judy Harper September 27, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Beautiful and fun picture. I grew up when there wasn't floor wax you poured out of a bottle. My mom melted paraffin then spread it on the linoleum. This made the floors VERY slick. We would take our shoes off and slide across the floor in our socks. We just had to be careful and crab something to help us stop. Mom, of course, didn't think this was as much fun as we did!


16 ? Teresa ? October 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Cute picture. You are such an awesome mom! Oh, how I wish I wasn't OCD about these things. I am terrible! My mom always wanted things clean and we had our weekly chores, but my mom was never OCD about it. I don't know where I developed that trait. Now that I'm basically bed/recliner-ridden, I have to just sit by and watch as my daughters and husband do all the cooking and housework. And, IT DRIVES ME CRAZY! This is because things are never done the way 'I' would do them. I want things just so. In their appointed place. Always.

I know that this is not fair or even logical. I am SO blessed with these amazing people who wait on me hand and foot. I am trying very hard to keep my mouth closed because they are trying SO very hard and they are doing what I 'should' be doing. But, it pains me SO much. On one hand my OCD self wants to tell them exactly how to do things and exactly what *I believe* they are doing wrong. But my guilty conscience of not being able to participate wants me to keep my mouth shut! So, I am trying SO VERY HARD to just let it go. I am doing fairly well. I am getting better and better with each passing week. I am praying for God to take away my OCD-ness. I am still praying. :0)

Thanks for this post. I really needed it! I hope you have a great weekend!

Teresa <><


17 The Empress April 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Oh, I love it here!

The post was absolutely engaging, and the pictures of you were out of this world.

Very nice blog, and I love it. Where do sign up????


18 Doreen Lombardo November 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

Back in the 60's every house I was in had those plastic slip covers. It was the style. Very uncomfortable and as a kid, I remember sticking to them. We never had to take off shoes in the house and I don't do it now either. I grew up with a lot of pets, so I'm used to "doggie messes" or when I was younger cat, bird, hamster, turtle, etc. messes. We all had to help clean the house growing up. I hated cleaning the bathrooms and still do.


19 katlupe November 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

You have just described my husband's family to a tee! They are so obsessively clean that sometimes I want to throw some dirt around their house. My 60+ year old brother-in-law, who has never been married or left home, is so bad that I see him pick up twigs from the yard and put in the garbage. Their family grew up cleaning the house on Saturday mornings, while everyone else watched cartoons. And he still does that.


Leave a Comment

"How rare and wonderful is that flash of a moment
when we realize we have discovered a friend."

~William E. Rothschild~

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
I respond back to all comments.


Previous post:

Next post: