Master of Your Domain

Living alone means that all the household chores are my responsibility. While I generally don’t mind cleaning—thank you OCD!—and actually find it relaxing at times, there are certain annoyances that I will not tolerate.

You have to put your foot down and assert your domestic dominance, as giving in to an appliance or a dust bunny only shows weakness, and trust me, these things prey on weakness.

Take for example the vacuum, whose job description literally entails it sucking crap up.


Without the suckage, it’s simply a large noisy thing with a light on the front that terrorizes the cat (a bonus feature they really should advertise, come to think of it.) Because of this, I will stand over the vacuum for 10 minutes and force it to suck up a string before bending over and picking that crap up myself.

I did not spend five minutes five years ago picking out a vacuum so that I could pick up the debris myself, good sir!

And I often find the dustbuster—named as such because it’s supposed to bust the dust—to be more temperamental. It will often passive aggressively push dust around the room instead of actually sucking (busting?) it up.

Oh, you wanted ME to pick that up? Well, I never….”

Unacceptable. I will run the little bastard until it needs to be charged to make sure that it busts up that one grain of rice it spit out. Suck it up and do your job—literally.

A more seemingly innocuous perpetrator is the mini-blind. No, I’m not going to suggest that you actually clean a mini-blind, as it’s a scientific fact that much like shower curtain liners, it’s easier to just throw them away and get a new one.

This involves the raising and lowering of said mini-blind with those two little strings on the side.


It seems simple enough, but one wrong pull and you have a completely crooked blind with one side way up to the left while the other sags down to the right. Then you try and straighten it out and the right side goes up while the left side sags down.

Do not accept this asymmetrical configuration of window coverings, my friends. I don’t care if you stand there pulling on each string for an hour like you’re milking a cow. If you don’t even that shit up, the next thing you know you’re literally blinded by the light.

Moving on to the bathroom, I feel the need to warn you that the toothpaste that leaps off your toothbrush like a kangaroo will immediately become as stubborn as super glue the second it hits—and adheres to— the sink.

It can be tempting to let that slide, and you might even consider it “artsy” to have patterns dotting the sink interior. Stop the madness. Nine out of 10 dentists agree that one must immediately scrub the spot in the sink, lest one falls into the cavity of cleaning complacency.

Plus, that crap stays glued on.

This last one isn’t really about cleaning, but I will try and make it helpful by saying you should clean your remote control. I read somewhere that there are 12 teen million germs and probably the origins of the swine flu on the average remote, so Clorox that thing ASAP.

Possible HAZMAT situation aside, my issue is when the remote control simply gives up. The batteries are new, the little red light at the top of it blinks when you maniacally press down the buttons with increasing rage, but yet…no action.


Do not—I repeat—do not change the channel yourself.

Stand up right next to the TV and force that remote to change the channel, adjust the volume or set a reminder to watch Baseball Tonight. And henceforth from said display of power, refer to it only as “the remote.”

Why? Because as with all the domestic dysfunction in your house, you are the one in control.

Never let them forget that.

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30 responses to “Master of Your Domain

  1. I guess I’m just not forceful enough–my appliances NEVER listen!!

  2. “Do not accept this asymmetrical configuration of window coverings, my friends.” Oh yes, that is my hot word, asymmetrical, I’m right there with you, my friend. And btw how DO you change channels on the TV itself? There aren’t any buttons or dials anymore like in them olden days. This was great, I got a big laugh, now I have to vacuum!

  3. Wait, I thought one of the perks of living alone was never having to do housework. Hmmm… I might be doing it wrong.

  4. I can’t decide which bothers me more, the vacuum issue or the mini-blind issue. Infuriating.

  5. Um. Can your OCD come to my house? I’ll help. And I make THE best vegan sugar cookies this side of the Mississippi. Or on my street. Something like that.

  6. PS all day long this bugged me and I just figured it out. “Master of Your Domain” was the title I think of an old Seinfeld where they bet who could abstain the longest from masturbating. Remember? It was high-larious!

  7. My worst culprit is a leaky hand soap dispenser in my master bath. But do I go to Target and buy a new $5.99 pretty blue dispenser to match my coordinated towels???? Nooooo! Every few days I just scrape the soap that has leaked in to the sink then use a wash cloth to clean it out. Damn you soap dispener? Damn you lazy Melanie for not just buying a new stupid dispenser? I’d rather blame the soap dispenser. That fool is lazy.

  8. This may surprise you and you may not believe it, but in my house of me and 4 women, I’m the OCD neat freak, tHey will mess with me by leaving stray socks or a cup on a table. My mother in law and I joke about moving in together and leaving the messy people to themselves. I envy your solitude when it comes to the clean.

  9. I have shown this post to a range of my domestic appliances in the hope it inspires them to be more helpful. They have not commented as yet

  10. Cleaning suuuuucks! I buy 1.99 shower curtain liners though. Clean a liner? AIN’T GOT NO TIME FOR THAT.

  11. Hey if you could swing by whenever your OCD is in full bloom, I’d really appreciate that…

  12. I was using the remote last night and saw stuff on it and even though I know it’s a germfest 24/7, seeing things actually made it gross to me. And the thing is that I think it was just hand lotion on there this time. But…I SAW IT.

  13. We had appliance Armageddon last year–dishwasher, clothes dryer and microwave all died within the same week. I was quite bitter.

  14. And then there’s that selective vacuum suction. Really? You can’t be bothered to suck up shards of kitty litter and yet you gobble up socks, pens, earrings, and loose change? What’s up with that! That creates a huge moral dilemma on whether or not the vacuum’s ill gotten gains are worth the sacrifice of a vacuum cleaner bag to disgorge the purloined contents. Clouds of kitty fur, dust and unmentionable crud or the life of a sock….hmmm. Just goes to show it’s not always the dryer’s fault when you have mismatched socks.

    PS Clorox wipes were diligently applied in your honor to various remote controls last night.

  15. Yes! I’m the queen of my castle! Except when I run the vacuum over too many kitchen crumbs and instead of sucking them up, it spits them out the back at 100 mph onto my ankles.

  16. Abby, I am totally with you on this. I also find cleaning relaxing.

    As for picking up debris? No. That’s what the vacuum is for. And swifter.

    I am super OCD about my mini-blinds. I do clean mine but it does take FOREVER to get them even and straight again.

    Toothpaste is definitely equivalent to super glue.

    And I Lysol the crap out of my remote controls! GERMS, MAN!

  17. This post is hysterical. I am a self-diagnosed OCD clean freak (with ADD for kicks) so I can relate to each and every issue. I will make one recommendation: buy a new vacuum. Get a Dyson, since it’s motto is it never stops sucking (or losing suction or something else clever). I’ve had mine for two years and so far it’s true. Accepting defeat by bending over and picking up that string is no longer an option as my vacuum just sucks, in a good way.
    P.S. Don’t forget the light switch plates; those are dirty little suckers too.

  18. After 15 years, I finally broke down and found someone to help me clean the house twice a month. It’s a total luxury but it’s so nice. I’m such a neat freak that having a dirty house makes me feel like everything else is in chaos. Oh, and I spent way more than 5 minutes picking out my vacuum.

  19. It’s posts like this that make me sad we don’t live in the same town. I totally get your humor and find your posts Fricking hysterical!

    And I can NEVER get those mini blind things clean. I actually removed them from the ones in our bedroom because I hated them so much. (the blind nubby things. Not the mini blinds. We need those).

    This post was brilliant and the appearance of the gnome in each photo made it perfection.

    • You get my humor?!? That’s it. I’m packing up and moving to wherever you are. And Uncle June, the gnome, thanks you kindly.

      • Where are you, anyway? I’m in the glorious city of St. Louis, which as you know, is pretty much the best place on Earth…I mean…if it’s the only city that’s competing.

        • Michigan, the best place on Earth to experience all four season in 24 hours.

          • Ah yes…where constant sickness is born because of the change in weather.

            It’s currently 90 today and we have our air on, but Saturday it was in the 30s at night and we had our heat on. Fun stuff. Why do we live in the Midwest?

  20. whenever i move into a new place, i just buy new blinds…i swear i always find the place where the former tenant never dusts in between them and they are more a gray color than white :/ i’m ridiculous about keeping things clean…i do cell culture all day in a sterile vented hood…possible carry over into the homelife? yup.

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