Keeping on top of your house is not an easy task, but it’s not a grind, either. And I realize that sentence makes it sound as if I’m perched on the summit of my physical house, precariously balanced, with perhaps a ridiculously small umbrella clutched in one hand and giant clown shoes on my feet. No, I mean the upkeep of a home.
I used to pay somebody to come in and clean my home, and it was worth every blessed penny. I would come home from work and there was an absolute serenity of calm and order, where no doghair tumbleweeds scurried by, no unidentified remnants crowded the countertops, and the bathrooms were an oasis of clean scents and sparkling fixtures. That was heaven, pure and simple. I learned a lot, too. I have always been an uneducated cleaner, mostly because, for whatever reasons, it wasn’t a regular routine or a priority in my youth. Who knew you needed to clean windowsills? Are other people born with the gene that reveals cobwebs in the ceiling corners before regular humans notice them? And how do you get that internal clock that tells you when it’s time to dust the baseboards?
So now I’m my own cleaning lady, and please try to overlook the use of the word lady, because there’s usually not very lady-like language happening while there’s cleaning. But I am learning, now that I have more time, how to head certain things off at the pass and not let things become all Grey Gardens around here.
Some chores I don’t mind doing at all. Laundry is not a bad chore at all. You hump a basket of dirty clothes to the machine, put in the water, the soap, and the clothes, and push the button. The machine is doing all the work, not you! How great is that? For anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, this wonderful machine is churning and soaping and scrubbing and rinsing and spinning, which is 45 minutes to an hour I get to do something else. And then the beauty? When it’s done it goes into another machine for 45 minutes to an hour for drying! This is my kind of chore. Even when the drying is done, it’s not a bad chore. You hump the basket of clean clothes up to their final resting place, and then you fold the clothes. But folding is satisfying, it neatens a jumbled pile of riotous color and texture into symmetrical stacks and makes a pleasing array. Plus, you can sit and watch television while you’re doing it, so that’s another bonus in my book. Laundry is awesome.
I actually don’t mind vacuuming all that much, either, except when it involves stairs or narrow places. I like the idea that I’m creating neat swatches of clean, and I make quilt-like patterns while I’m dancing around the floors with this magical wand that sucks up everything and I don’t have to touch any decomposing hair or bug or dirt molecules with my hands. It is, however, one of those things that usually doesn’t get done until I notice a rather looming build-up of dust along the paths we use, kind of like a highway where the sides of the roads are littered with debris but the paths where the cars have been speeding are nice and clear. I wish I had the magic power to see that stuff earlier. Also, ew.
What I hate doing is dusting. It is so inefficient and so time-consuming, and I don’t like lifting things up and putting them down (there’s your ear-worm for today, friends, those of you who get that commercial with dopey hunkman and the gym) ad nauseam. That’s probably why I prefer living with empty surfaces, makes it much easier to dust. But I like having a few things around and Hubby likes having a lot of things around and what can you do? Harmony in the home is very important. So I usually try to do some vacuuming while he’s home, waiting for the inevitable “Can I do anything?” because he is unfailingly polite and well-mannered and I shrug and nonchalantly say “oh, I don’t know, would you want to dust?” He’s polite and well-mannered, I’m just sneaky.
Yardwork? I’m not even going to go there.