I don’t want to get all domestic on you, or dust off my ol’ Martha Stewart straw hat, but it is time. It is time to clean my house. I was brought up in a very clean and neat house. Truly, I was. When I was a kid I loved to dust. Mom would hide nickels under the doilies and the little decorative table cloths (someone lovingly embroidered with birds of prey) that covered our coffee table and end tables to see if my sister and I would find them when we dusted. My sister never did. I always found them and added them to my weekly allowance which was saved up to buy the latest comic book that week (Archie and Millie the Model were two of my favourites—I was not a literary child.) The irony here is that today you can eat off my sister’s floors. You can eat off my floors too, after you have shovelled them.
Seriously, I do not usually let the house go to such extremes, though I do like it to be a little challenging — not dirty per se, but a bit beyond dusty before I clean, so I feel the whole exercise is worthwhile. I remember cleaning my mom’s house, and there was never much satisfaction to the whole cleaning thing (except that it made her happy) because the place never got dirty. You did not have to wear shoes in my mom’s house to keep your feet clean. I am not saying you have to do that at my house, but when you come to my door, and I ask you to leave your shoes on, it is not necessarily for your comfort (which of course is very important), but it is so you do not go home with remnants of delinquent dust bunnies on your clean white socks.
You know what convinced me that I needed to get the vacuum out (and use it)? Some crumbs fell off a kitchen cupboard, and instead of landing on the floor, they got caught in a cobweb and were suspended midair about an inch off the ground. That is what convinced me. I told this to my sister in an email, and asked her if I should really reveal this stuff in a blog post. I have received no comment from her yet. But I do not judge myself by my housekeeping skills. (Thank goodness). Okay, I will admit to getting the vacuum out and using it as a prop “as if” I am in the middle of cleaning, but I really do not derive any self-actualization from vacuuming.
Another sign that perhaps I should clean is the fan in my kitchen, which is on perpetually all the time. Yesterday my youngest son was trying to stop it with his hand (hey, he is 21, do you need to know more?). When I asked him why he was doing that, he turned it off and said he was trying to see if you could see his handprint in the dust. (Again, why? Same answer, he is 21—now don’t ask that question again.) In my defence, kitchen fans are notorious for collecting dust because of all the leftover cooking residue (okay, grease). The dust gets caught in the residue (okay, again grease—are you trying to embarrass me?) and stays there until you decide to climb up on a chair, risk life and limb, and scrub it off. My answer to this whole dilemma is to keep the fan on all summer, then clean it in November when it is no longer needed. You cannot see dust on a whirling fan.
I know that this topic is a recurring subject in my writing. And I know that it will come up again. But please do not judge me. If you come to my house and I am expecting you, I can fool you into believing that I am not a total slob. If you come to my house, and I am not expecting you, you will have to stay in my one sane room in the house – the living room, as I keep it pretty neat most of the time. If you need to go upstairs to the bathroom though, you will have to put on a blindfold. So, call first if you have a weak bladder.
I am now going to clean my house. Really. This was just a pep talk to prepare me for the process until I can afford a maid and a butler and a cook and a chauffeur. (Hey, if you don’t dream big, why dream at all?)