Over time my input pathways have become accustomed to the sensory inputs my family provides to the point where I anticipate them and am cognizant of their absence. It doesn't help that my whole life is work and family. Sunsets just aren't that interesting if there's no one to explain how red light gets bent more in the atmosphere to. Steak dinners are no fun to cook if there's no one to turn their nose at it because it's too spicy. What separates the bed from the couch if there's no one beside you?
When I was younger and took stock in such things, I used to flip open the bible to a random verse and try to draw meaning from it - much like throwing bones on the floor or examining sheeps' livers. One time, however, I happened upon a particular psalm which has always stuck with me: An empty stable stays clean, but there is no income from an empty stable. Our house would win no sanitation awards. Maxwell and Zara spill something at every other meal and believe a room is no a room if it doesn't include legos. Alora and Brittan walk into the most trafficked part of the house and takes off their shoes and socks. Cara is always busy covering every clean surface in the house with papers. And then there's the dogs - if Molly's not filching delicious nasties from the trash Zinny's pooping on the floor.
This week I haven't tripped over any shoes or had tiny legos embedded in my foot when I stepped upon them. I do get to pull "clean" pots out of the cabinet and wash the spinach bits or whatever off them for use courtesy of Alora or Brittan. But the table and counters have stayed clean since I wiped them. No one has left underwear and an unflushed toilet waiting for me in the bathroom. I've done one load of laundry, and there isn't enough yet for a 2nd.
Clean, flat surfaces have stood for days without accumulating paper. I never thought I'd find cleanliness so miserable.