Story Weekend: Housework (and a giveaway)

secret lives audioWe have a problematic porch. First, it has ratty old carpet on the floor (blue) which has probably been there for decades. Second, we live in an area that gets thick yellow pollen every spring and although I cover all the porch furniture prior to pollen season, the stuff still coats the screens and the rough wooden walls and that hideous old carpet. And finally, we live in the woods and that means . . . . spiders. Spiders, cobwebs, spider eggs. Oh and I didn’t mention the skinks. Somehow the cute little skinks that live in our yard occasionally visit our porch. I’ve never seen one there, but I’ve seen evidence of their visits. Ewww.

Since we had a relatively cool evening tonight, I decided to attack the porch. I just finished. I’m never doing that again! I think I said that last year and the year before, too, and I suppose I’ll end up doing it again the next time the spider eggs take over. I have a lovely housekeeper who comes every two weeks, but she’s too nice for me to lay the porch on her.

So what’s your most horrible domestic task?

Oh, and in the mail today, I received the audio version of my third novel, Secret Lives–an oldie but I promise it’s a goodie. I’ll use my random number generator to pick two of you to receive a copy. Have fun, and I hope my porch story doesn’t give any of you nightmares.

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge. Happy writing!



  1. Audrey on June 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    If you visited my home, you would not see much that is amiss….floors are clean, windows shine and everything is in its place. However, look beyond this facade and you will discover my guilty secret. A kitchen cupboard filled with plastic storage boxes, some with lids, some without…a wardrobe whose door just closes on the ill hung and often forgotten clothes on the bending rails. So it was with some trepidation that I decided today to tidy out my son’s toy box, wondering what I would uncover. As we looked together, we found his Mickey Mouse soft toy from his first visit to the States, a collection of plastic figures which went everywhere with him for months on end and an old pillow slip, his comforter he had relied on for years. We closed the lid, leaving everything inside. Now I know why my cupboards are such a mess…

  2. Debb Haley on June 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I really have to go with cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom. And the worst part has to be cleaning around the toilet seeing I live with two males if you catch my drift !

  3. Ida Faye Cutler on June 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I have always dreaded cleaning out the refrigerator. It is hard for me to throw away food so leftovers gather in fridge until they turn green with mold! Thank goodness for frost free models. At least we don’t have to use a pick to chip the ice out now!

  4. Pat Matejcek on June 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Cleaning to me is never ending. When my 5 kids were small I was always cleaning. I had a set of twins my 3rd and 4th. They were always playing on the floors. Did you ever hear the saying cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow because kids grown up we learned to our sorrow. I didn’t listen then but now when my grandkids come over I stop doing whatever unless it is something my 3 year granddaughter can “help” with. Because I learned to my sorrow you miss too much if you are constantly cleaning.

  5. Debbie Hearne on June 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I am a box hoarder! I save every box that I bring home from Sam’s Club! I rearrange items on shelves while shopping there just to get the right size box! I have boxes of boxes of boxes, you get the drift. I can’t throw them away because I might need one to store something in! When I complained to my son recently about the amount of junk in my junk room, he had the nerve to suggest that I get rid of some of my boxes. But someone might need a perfectly good box! Sigh………,

  6. Rachel C on June 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Today I cleaned the hall bathroom floor to ceiling. I’m considering it a Father’s Day gift to my husband 🙂
    Oh, and what’s a skink? Not a skunk?

  7. Deb Miller on June 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    When my kids were growing up, I always tried, and yes I mean tried…to keep a nice clean home. Actually I was lucky to have my dog Nikki who would be on guard for any food that would land on the floor, so she was an instant vacuum. But one day I decided to clean my furniture. Low and behold, I found so many candy wrappers stuffed inside my couch I could have made a pillow with it! I didn’t buy much candy for them so this was stored up for quite awhile. Then, I noticed something in my plants, just under the dirt. Yup, more gum and candy wrappers! I go in his bedroom, pull out his bed to clean and see what all is there, and a ton of chewed gum stuck on the wall where I couldn’t see it until I pulled out the bed! Okay, more clean up and one grounded boy!!

  8. Sheree on June 16, 2013 at 4:59 am

    When I was 18 I moved out and got my first apartment. I had little in the way of furniture except for a lime green blowup hassock that my kitten showed whose boss but I had a slow cooker that I put proudly on my counter after throwing away the box it came in And the instructions. In the mode of domestic independence I invited 4 our my best girlfriends to supper where I would be serving potato scallop. I rose early, set the cooker and set off for work. Eight hours later we gathered around my kicker table with the one wonky leg and prepared ourselves for my culinary debut. What followed was four sets of white teeth trying to crunch their way through the scallop that was still almost raw. The most rewarding thing about it all was not one of them said a word. They yum, yummed their way through it all. Friends, the real food of life that is always well done.

  9. Linda on June 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    When I lived in Miami and was a little girl, we had a house built on a slab so our front porch was basically a cement slab. I used to have nightmares that there was a huge spider’s web that stretched from one end of the porch to the other and, therefore, I could not get out. The spider’s web was real sticky and I would start to walk through it before I realized it was there. Then I would wake up and be scared. This was a recurring nightmare that I had even after I was grown and married. I don’t think I’ve had it again, though, in the last 40 years.

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Hopefully you won’t have it tonight, Linda!

  10. Michelle Prevatte on June 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    My pet pea in cleaning is tubs they must always shine a few years back we had a house in the country I was in my 30s and had always had city water,long story short I found out the hard way about well water my shiny tub kept getting orange no matter what I did after a while I get some REAL anmonia in a closed bathroom and scrubb till I passed out well I was fine but I’m not aloud to clean the tub (husband rule) now I’m in my 40s I m really ok with not having to scrub the tub

  11. katie on June 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    My least favorite thing to clean at home is the floor. Hard wood in half the apartment and ceramic tile everywhere else. I sweep, swiffer, vaccuum, mop or steam mop, and somehow there are still dust bunnies when in done. Or, I’ll spill a dribble of coffee on the white tiles as soon as I’m done!

  12. kim on June 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I really really need to clean my windows!! but being vertically challenged this poses a huge problem of epic proportions!!
    I don’t want to ask anyone to help me do it,but even If I drag the ladder out of the garage to clean them, I still can’t reach the very top of the windows. So you can always tell where my hand stopped reaching and that is where the sun doesn’t shine!
    someday I hope to have a 6’3″ maid!

  13. Jacqueline on June 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Two chores in my house that I avoid as long as possible are cleaning the refrigerator out and dusting (HA!) the popcorn ceiling above the fan in the living room. I’d rather clean a bathroom or do holiday dinner dishes than either of those. Sadly, the popcorn ceiling grabs dust thrown up by the fan which includes ash from the fireplace in the winter. It’s nigh on impossible to remove it from the evil bits attached to the ceiling. And, I probably don’t have to tell you how the refrigerator is filled, more often than not, with science projects that rival any lab cooler on the planet. We won’t even talk about the lizards, snakes, spiders, squirrels, cats, dogs and occasional bear that visit my porch and make a huge mess!

  14. Gigi Ann on June 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    We have an enclosed porch with carpet on it. Our girl kitty spent her nights on it. A tom cat came by and sprayed at the corner of the door. It made it in on the carpet and made an awful smell. Up came the carpet and we replaced it with tiles. Tiles are much easier to take care of then carpet on a porch.

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2013 at 10:40 am

      I’m in the same boat. Well, no tom cat, but old carpet on the porch and deciding what to replace it with. I think you just convinced me!

      • Margaret on June 22, 2013 at 9:18 am

        Just make sure the tiles have some texture to them and aren’t slippery when wet. Worth whatever you have to pay to keep from falling.

  15. Jen on June 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    It’s not horrible actually enjoy it if I didn’t live in Minnesota. Hanging laundry with the mosquitoes not fun. Remember the first year couldn’t wait to hang up my sheets , ask hubby if he was going to help he goes nope. After all he is from Minnesota and knew what was coming. I tell him he was a big old chicken can’t be that bad jezz head outside set my basket down and the mosquitoes came out in droves. They won the battle and hubby had a good laugh.

  16. Lorraine Lapointe McNamara on June 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Since a couple of years, we had water in the basement, we were afraid it was a serious problem and we could not really afford it. A couple of months ago we called a plumber, they discovered it was a cracked pipe, they had to take away the drywall and replaced the pipe. The damage was advanced, and the water had created some mold under the stairs and in the furnace room. The people charged us a lot of money and were supposed to clean the surface but did not. I was afraid to go in the basement, I had not gone for at least a year. My husband is not good at cleaning, he had the brush in his hands and was not moving. So, I told him to go away and even though I suffer from carpal syndrome, I put a mask, I took the mop and javex in the bucket and I cleaned and rinsed as many times as possible, to remove all possible traces of mold. I did not give up until satisfied even if I am kind of allergic to bleach. I went back yesterday for the first time since the clean-up and I am proud to say that the cement floor is as grey as it should be with no reminder of the way it used to be all those months.
    I am telling you: ”Face your fears, the monster is not as big as your fear is!” Excuse my French, as I am actually a French writer and English is my second language.

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Good job, both with the floor and your English!

  17. Debi on June 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I HATE cleaning the bathroom . . . to the point that I avoid it. I don’t know how my husband can hit a target with a 9mm gun but can’t hit the big hole in the toilet! And as someone who has no problems with doing his ‘business’ he should notice when he lifts the seat up, if some cleanup is necessary . . . . :sigh: With all the inventions in the world, can’t someone PLEASE invent a toilet that cleans itself? Housewives the world over would stand in line to make this purchase.

  18. Sharon on June 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Most horrible domestic task … Cleaning the toilets. It never matters how often I clean, I always end up with a ring around the toilet thanks to well water. It’s frustrating to no end. That and dog hair. True Story.

    And I never knew what those buggers were called – skinks – got it! Thanks.

  19. Steena on June 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Growing up in the country, it was the tiny little spiders that covered our deck and pool area in the summer that always got me. You couldn’t lay out to tan, or place your towel on the deck or even hang it over unless you were willing to get covered with these little spiders. At first glance you might think it was an ant but they’re half the size – almost like a speck of sand.

    I will never forget the one day when I went home to visit my parents after moving out and getting married. I’d forgotten about the spiders. I’d flung my towel over the edge of the fence, enjoyed a nice long swim and then wrapped myself up in the towel to dry off. Within seconds I was itchy and when I pulled the towel away I was covered. Oy! I can still feel it now (yes, I’m shuddering from the memory).

  20. Emily Lewis on June 16, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I cannot stand many domestic tasks, so where to start….I don’t love picking up toys, clothes dishes all day long. I love that my house it lived it, but man, it is non stop. Toilets, putting away laundry, and dishes are also painful! But I love organizing, as long as I have proper tools for the job!

    Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at

  21. O Norman on June 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Who wants to clean house when you have a good book to read?? The books win almost every time.

  22. Rhona on June 17, 2013 at 12:06 am

    My most hated task is weeding the gardens. I love planting flowers, designing new gardens, and adding more flowers to my older gardens. Then in the heat of July I will wonder what I was thinking when I have to weed them all. Last year a big black snake slithered into the garden right outside my front door. That’s a way to make my most dreaded chore, my worst nightmare. Needless to say, my husband weeded the garden for me. Maybe I should fake seeing a snake this year. 🙂

  23. Kate brown on June 17, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I have this drawer that is my dump it all drawer ! Anything I don’t have a special place for gets dumped in this drawer ! Once it goes in there it never gets seen again ! When I do clear it out ( probably once a year if its lucky) I end up throwing it all out anyway as useless so no idea why I use it in the first place. My other pet peeve is my sons room it’s just too scary

  24. Kelly on June 17, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Windows and mirrors are my worst nightmare. Cleaning them puts my wrists at an awkward angle and aggravates my RA. Next nightmare – tub. Again the angle thing. I am trading English lessons with housecleaning with a Japanese friend right now. Nice on my body.

  25. Betty on June 17, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Okay, a skink is not a skunk. But is it like a lizard, or a rabbit? I mean, reptile or mammal? We lived in charlotte for years, and I don’t remember any skinks.
    My housekeeping nightmare is keeping the large screened in patio clean. It’s like cleaning the outdoors. Here in
    Florida we have no skinks, but other creatures – lizards that the cats catch and spiders and occasionally the huge palmetto bugs, and once a big black snake came in from somewhere. But the humidity invites mold, and the wind blows in dust and pollen, and the kitties or grandkids turn over the plants, so I am constantly (well, it seems like it is constantly) vacuuming or hosing and wiping down the furniture. Actually, the patio is usually cleaner than the rest of the house!

  26. Lisa Nicoletti on June 17, 2013 at 2:46 am

    We live in a house that was built in the early 70’s. One day as we were cleaning the house for guests, my husband and I noticed that there was dirt on the popcorn ceiling in our large family room where the air blew out from the air-conditioning/heating vents. We got our vacuum cleaner out and all the hose extensions that went with it and proceeded to clean the area that was dirty. As we stepped back to take a look at our work we realized that the ceiling was white where we’d vacuumed and the rest of the ceiling was not! Needless to say, the whole ceiling needed to be vacuumed at that point, which took hours. Soon after we decided to have the popcorn ceilings removed in the whole house!

  27. Donna Burfield on June 17, 2013 at 5:23 am

    BOOKS, BOOKS and more BOOKS! Books have taken over my home and I can’t find a space for all of them. But I can’t part with them either!

  28. Christina Ashworth on June 17, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Well I have a chronic illness so not well enough anymore to do any cleaning,
    but my husband looks after me doing the shopping,cooking etc ,walks our dog and just the basic cleaning to keep us ticking over, anyway bit of dust doesn’t hurt does it 🙂

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Totally agree, Christina! Be well.

  29. DIANA BRADY on June 17, 2013 at 5:42 am

    On Saturday I tidied the bedroom, I looked under my partners side of the bed and found my shower cap which I have been looking for, just wondered what it was doing under the bed, I also found half a box of Pringles which have been under there for goodness knows how long, even I was not tempted to eat them and I love Pringles. On Sunday the milk carton had leaked in the fridge so I ended up giving the fridge a good wash, can anyone tell me how dog hair gets in the fridge? The kitchen floor also got a good wash, my partner did this as it is my least favourite job. Then the toilet was taken to bits to try and find out why it keeps leaking, problem found, a new bit needs to be bought but luckily we have another bathroom to use until that gets fixed. Monday today and back to work.

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

      In my case, I wonder how the dog hair gets in the freezer.

  30. NICKY on June 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    the endless round of laundry …wash…dry ….iron….wash ….dry …..iron its relentless and I have tried not to iron and go for the crinkled look, I have tried to encourage my husband to do it….but no its the one chore that remains mine and only mine….oh so fed up with it … throw away clothes has to be the answer

  31. Diane Chamberlain on June 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

    We have our randomly selected winners! Deb Miller and Rachel C. will received copies of the audio edition of Secret Lives. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for joining in.

  32. Emily on June 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I’m a clean freak with two young sons, someone once told me that your children won’t remember all the cleaning that you do but will remember the time you spend with them. My eldest is 7 and his favourite request is “Book club” curling up with Mummy and either reading to me, being read too or each reading our own books. That beats cleaning every time!

  33. LEE on June 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Ironing! What a chore!! a few weeks ago as i was ironing the school uniforms in my pj’s (yes it was 7am on a Monday morning!) i managed to actually iron my tummy- ouch!( ive the scar to prove it! I think there are two morales to this story. One- i really must go on a diet and two- don’t iron!

  34. Holiday Guy on June 28, 2013 at 5:41 am

    I would have to say my nightmare domestic chore is making the bed. Also, packing for holidays can be a very daunting tasks, especially if you have little ones running round!

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