In the five minutes that I’m sweeping the back bedrooms, Jasmine has knocked a box full of bags off the couch, and someone has pooped on the (newly cleaned) floor in front of the book shelf.
I wonder why I bother.
Cleaning day, I think, is their favorite. It means I’m home, for one, and so they’re free to play all morning long. Plus I’m moving around, moving rugs off the floor and dusting just out of reach and the broom is always fun to chase.
They have to smell the floor by the front door because the rug is missing, and check out the coffee table that I’ve moved to a couch, and follow me every time I open a door in case this time I won’t notice them slipping through.
Jasmine is mostly interested in all the odds and ends I moved to the couches. She’s seen all these things before, smelled them thoroughly countless times; but because they’re in a new place, she has to check them out again. The rugs, rolled into loose tubes, are favorites.
Alaska wants the broom. She follows, careful not to be swept, but trying to catch it as moves across the floor.
Neither likes the vacuum; Jasmine dives behind the couch cushion, into a dark burrow between two pieces of wood that make up the frame. Alaska, who had been sniffing all around before I turned it on, darts under the television stand, and stays there unmoving long after I’ve turned the vacuum off. Just the tip of her tail sticks out from underneath.
They don’t like it when I clean the kitchen, on the other side of the gate where they can’t see. They wait there, for me, until I step back over.
And they make new messes nearly as quickly as I clean them. There are dust bunnies the bring out from under furniture and toys they bring out of burrows and leave by the couch and of course they just won’t use the litter box in the corner across the room.
And after hours of this excitement? Alaska is curling up in her own bed, grooming herself into sleep; Jasmine is curled unconscious on the couch, face turned up and tail tucked around her.
And the house is clean, for now; until they wake again and we start all over, making messes just to watch me clean them.