In Mom to Mom, I frequently encourage young moms to focus on the things that matter most and to give up “Supermom” expectations. I admit that one of the things I gave up was fanatical super-clean housekeeping. Order and organization—yes. But obsessive cleaning in every nook and cranny—no.
Recently, however, our house has been looking better than usual because we are getting ready to put it on the market. As part of that process, I had a cleaning team come in this week to help me out. And you’ll never guess what they found.
Here’s how it went:
“Uh, Mrs. Anderson, do you have a bag or something where I could throw this away?” One of the cleaners is standing before me with a strange look on his face, clutching what look like two white towels or dust rags in his hands.
“Oh, sure—just throw those rags here in my kitchen trash. “
“Um, um, Mrs. Anderson, do you have any stuffed chipmunks in your house?”
My mind scans the assortment of stuffed animals throughout our home. A chipmunk? I don’t think so. But, well, maybe…
Before I can answer, one of the other cleaners approaches: “That ain’t no stuffed chipmunk!! It’s got bones and everything.”
“Yikes! You’ve got a live chipmunk in those towels?!!”
“Oh, no,” the girl responds: “He’s not alive. He be dead. Very dead. Stiff, actually.”
This is the truth, I swear. The cleaning team found a dead chipmunk in my house. And what’s worse, guess where they found it? Under my bed!!Yes that’s right—under my bed! It was wedged between the headboard and the wall in one of those impossible-to-get-to places that had not been cleaned, I can assure you, for a very long time. Obviously.
How did this unfortunate little creature manage to get into our house and all the way upstairs to the master bedroom? Here’s my theory: months ago (too many to admit!) we left for a trip just after our granddaughter, Gabriella, then 2 ½, had been visiting with us for several weeks. There had been plenty of coming and going through our patio sliders, and I’m not sure they had always been kept closed. Then, while we were gone, our burglar alarm was set off by a motion detector. When we came home, we found a few mysterious droppings in odd parts of the house—including our bedroom and the tub in the adjoining bathroom. At the time we thought it must have been a mouse, inspiring regular visits from the exterminator ever since. Now I’m thinking it was another kind of visitor…
The moral of this story? I don’t know. Maybe “Don’t ever have a cleaning team come to your house. You never know what they might find!”
It’s very humbling to share this story. But it’s just too funny not to. At least it attests to my authenticity when I tell you I’m not a fanatical housekeeper.
I also think there’s more here. How ironic that lately Woody and I have been complimenting ourselves on how great our house looks, given recent touch-ups and “staging” efforts as part of getting ready to list it. We’ve been especially admiring of our bedroom. Honestly—it looks really great! On the outside, that is.
But what was it Jesus said about “whited sepulchers” and “dead men’s bones”? I think there’s a deeper lesson here somewhere. But that’s for another time.
For now, just laugh with me. And take comfort in your own housekeeping struggles. Surely none of you have dead chipmunks under your bed!