Tag Archives: cleaning

Whatever it takes

People ask me all the time, what are you willing to do to accomplish your goals? And I always give the same answer, every time: whatever it takes. It’s the perfect response. It’s like, back off, OK? Stop asking me any more questions. But at the same time, don’t worry about it, OK? Because I’ve got it. So just leave me alone.


Like every once in a while my wife will get on my case about something, “Rob, what are you going to do about that giant pile of unfolded mismatched socks?” and I’ll stop whatever it is I’m doing, but only for a second, just enough time to make really solid eye contact, and I’ll say it, “Babe, whatever it takes,” and then I’ll go back to playing video games or surfing the Internet. And it always works. Because how could I express it any stronger that, listen, I got this, don’t worry, stop interrupting my nap time or TV time to ask me about socks?

You’ve got to follow through though, eventually. Like one time, it started out as just socks, “Honey, whatever it takes,” and it just kind of snowballed into underwear, t-shirts, “Baby,” after a while it was like every single piece of clothing that I owned lay crumpled up in this gigantic pile that totally dominated our second bedroom, “Whatever it takes,” I kept saying it.

But I could tell that it was losing its effectiveness, there was definitely one night where she was like, “You keep saying that, but what does it even mean? That you’re just going to keep saying ‘whatever it takes’ without actually doing anything about it?” And I took the bait, I said, “End of discussion,” but I shouldn’t have engaged. The whole point of saying, “Whatever it takes,” is to say it, and then go right back to your business.

Hint: Don’t say “end of discussion.” I don’t know why, exactly, it must have something to do with the intricacies of the English language, but where “whatever it takes” evoked that image of a man ready to do, well, whatever it takes to get the job done, “end of discussion” just comes out making you look like a dick, and all of the sudden the two of you are in a fight, and about what? I have no idea.

But like I was saying before, that time with all of my clothes, I was at the point where I had to do something, so I said it one final time, “Babe …” and I said it, and then I left the house, I took the dog for a walk, and when I came home, I took two Benadryl and went straight to bed. And then when I got up that next morning, I had to figure something out.

“Whatever it takes,” I said it to myself as I made a move to start folding clothes. But I couldn’t do it. It was too much. The job was a lot larger than anything I could handle, and so I went online. I searched craigslist for housecleaners. All of the ads looked identical, so by total chance I had this Russian lady at my house a few hours later.

“I want you to clean the whole place,” I told her, thinking that I’d show my wife, like look, baby, don’t bother me, OK, I told you I got this, and I got this. “Also,” I said, “I need you to fold all of these clothes.” She just kind of stood there in the doorway to the second bedroom not saying anything. “They’re all clean, I promise. I just haven’t folded anything in a while.”

“I’m going to need to call in for some help if you want the whole house done plus these clothes.” And I just looked at her and I said, “Whatever it takes.”

I came home like five hours later and the place was spotless. “How much?” I asked her, and she said, “Two-fifty.” I said, “Are you kidding me? Two hundred and fifty dollars? That’s insane!” And she shot back, “You said ‘whatever it takes,’ remember? This is what it took, two hundred and fifty dollars.”

So I had to go to the bank, only, and I don’t know how I didn’t think to plan this out a little better, but all of money was currently off to the side in one of these online savings accounts. My direct deposit wasn’t supposed to show up until Saturday, and so I found myself kind of begging the branch manager, “Isn’t there any way you can get some of that online money out of there and into the checking? I really need it, right away.”

And he was like, “I mean, we can make it happen, it’s just a matter of bank fees, there’s a lot to process, I hope you understand it’s …”

“Whatever it takes man, make it happen.”

And then when my wife came home that night, she took one look at the house, totally spotless, she was like, “What the hell, did you have someone come and clean the house? Is that why the bank called to approve a twenty-five dollar emergency transfer fee? What the hell Rob?”

After she calmed down, I really did want to make things right. I sat her down and said, “Sweetie, listen, I’m sorry, I know I let you down. And I just want to let you know that I want to do whatev …”

“Just shut up Rob, stop saying ‘whatever it takes,’ OK? Is it like a tick? Don’t you get bored saying the same thing over and over again? What’s it going to take to get you to stop saying it? Huh? And think really hard before you answer that question.”

“Look …” and I didn’t say it. But I thought it. In my head, I was screaming it out loud. “I’ll do whatever it takes, you hear me? Whatever it takes.”

I’m having such a productive day

Wow, talk about productive. I just had one of the most productive mornings of my life. It started from the moment I woke up, it was so weird, I just opened my eyes and I was awake, no groggy morning sensation, nothing, it went from eyes closed, sound asleep, to eyes open, ready for action. And this happened exactly ten second before my alarm went off. Isn’t that nuts? It’s like, for once in my life, my internal clock was even more on time than my actual clock. I knew right away that this was going to be a super productive day.


But I didn’t realize just how productive. Usually my morning routine consists of dicking around on the computer for a little while, brushing my teeth, taking the dog for a walk, making coffee, pretty much everyday normal stuff. But it always takes so long, sometimes like three or four hours. Today, I barely had time to check what time it was before I found myself downstairs, in the kitchen, I was whisking up a hollandaise sauce totally from scratch, the poached eggs came out perfectly. Man, I can’t believe I made myself a textbook eggs Benedict, not even half an hour after I’d woken up.

Even my dog was surprised. I could tell, usually he’s like scratching at the door, whining to go out, like if I had some sort of a dog-to-English translator, it would probably interpret his yowling as, “Rob, come on man, you’ve been dicking around forever, I really need to go out, come on, hurry up man.” But no, I was still in the very early phase of my already mega productive day, and he was looking at me, like if I had that same imaginary dog-translator, it would have told me, “Wow, Rob, what’s gotten into you? It’s almost like you’ve been more productive in this last half hour alone than you normally are in two full days.” And I just looked at him, I barked back, imagining myself able to speak his language, I was like, “I know, right?”

I thought, let’s see just how productive I can be. It was even more productive than I could’ve imagined. In only like ten or fifteen minutes, I trained my usually wild dog to walk right by my side, with no leash. He was perfectly well behaved, even when we walked by other dogs, and they all started barking. My dog just stared ahead, paying them no mind. It was incredible.

And then I came home, I decided to clean the whole house. Usually it takes me like two hours even to get through one load of dishes. But I got everything done. I cleaned the top floor, the living room, I even tackled the basement, unloading boxes of junk that hadn’t been touched in years. I found some old college textbooks, stuff for a math class that I never really paid much attention to.

Can you believe that I retaught myself calculus? I’m serious, and I didn’t even have my graphing calculator. It was like, I was just flipping through the pages, all of that stuff about derivatives and sines and cosines, none of that stuff ever made sense to me back when I was in school, but now I was reading and writing almost fully in mathematical equations.

I was just in the middle of calculating the surface area of the curved part of my kitchen counter when I looked at the clock. Seriously? I’d only spent another half an hour on cleaning and math? This had to have been the most productive morning that any human being had ever experienced.

I figured, I have some time before lunch, let’s see if I can’t help out around the neighborhood. And I did. I changed the oil in the car that was parked in front of my house. My neighbor’s gutter on the third floor was a little loose, so I managed to shimmy up the side of the house and reattach it back in place without even using any tools.

And while I was up there I thought, I should write all of this down, and the words started forming in my head before I even had time to sit down at the computer. And before I knew it, it was done, this whole piece, entirely written in my head while I was still hanging by one hand from the neighbor’s gutter. All I had to do was sit down in the computer and type it out word for word.

And now here I am. Man, it’s been such an incredibly super productive morning. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the day holds in store for me. Maybe I’ll reupholster the couch, or power-wash the siding on the house, or I’ll redo the wiring inside the walls. I’ve just been really, really productive.