Sept 15 1977 Sense and Nonsense

I am finally completing my spring cleaning. I scrubbed half the walls in our living room last May. The clean part looked so good I decided to leave the rest dirty for a few hours, just to feast my eyes on the obvious results of my efforts. That was a mistake. I can’t remember whether the cow calved, (we don’t have a cow) the cat kittened, or the bunnies bunnied. However something drastic must have happened to postpone my spring cleaning for so long. Suddenly the calendar said it was September, and just as suddenly I decided I was tired of people commenting on how well the two shades of wall panelling harmonized–they are supposed to be one color.

I once read a book concerning people like myself. We are called random housekeepers. I don’t remember the book that well but the authors’ opening advice: “If it moves, feed it. If it doesn’t dust it” was very helpful.

Random housekeepers are not necessarily lazy people, just inconsistent. We need a rule of thumb to clean by. The author also mentioned that people may not notice a randomly tidied house if the phone is clean and shiny. She said it was very important to always have a clean telephone. Well, I hope everyone who visits us notices that my phone is free from dust, grease and bread dough, most of the time. For some reason, whenever I have my hands knuckle-deep in bread dough, the phone invariably rings. I know from experience, that if I take time to scrape and wash the gummy stuff from my hands, my caller will hang up.

I am thinking of writing the phone company, and suggest they invent a phone with a receiver than can be unhooked and immersed in dishwater. On second thought, I suppose the little holes would fill with soap bubbles, distorting the tone of future conversations. I shall just have to learn to pick up the phone with my toes or teeth. (How do you talk on a phone, if your teeth are full of it?)

I have invented a few rules of my own to clean by. Two jobs I despise are cleaning the oven and defrosting the fridge. I find it very easy to ignore my oven, but impossible to ignore my fridge. When the freezer compartment of my refrigerator becomes iced up, the little door refuses to stay shut. (A weak spring on one side falls off) When this happens I automatically buy a can of oven cleaner.

My hard and fast rule is: Never defrost the fridge without cleaning the oven on the same day. Rassling with the door to the freezing compartment 20 times a day is too irritating to live with for long. If the spring on the door was ever replaced, I would have the dirtiest oven in town. Another rule I have is to wash and wax the kitchen floor whenever I wash my hair. I invented a similar rule when our 3-year-old was a baby. I washed the floor every day after I bathed the baby (I had to). As she grew older and no longer required daily baths in the kitchen, the floor had fewer scrubbings. In our house the rule is; the smaller the baby, the cleaner the floor.

I am thinking of inventing some more rules–such as whenever the vacuum cleaner bag needs replacing, I should shampoo the rug. Another job I always put off is washing the windows. I usually wait until the landscape looks blurry before cleaning them. I think I shall make a rule, that every time I have to scrape bread dough off the phone, I also have to wash the windows.

Last year I got my spring cleaning done months before the leaves turned color. We tentatively planned on selling the old homestead, I scrubbed, painted and polished until the place gleamed. It looked so good that before the first prospective buyer phoned, we had changed our minds about selling. That was a drastic way of getting the spring cleaning done on time, but maybe we should advertise the place again, next spring. Possibly next year I shall finish my spring cleaning before September.

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