“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Gracie is my barometer. She has been in and out all morning so I know it’s warm outside. When she first went out, I watched her run the perimeter of the yard at top speed. When she came inside, she was panting and had the usual amount of spit on her face. I also have the front door open for her. She loves to sit there for hours and look outside. My street, though, is so very small I can’t imagine what holds her attention except in the late afternoon when people walk their dogs by the house. That sends Gracie into a frenzy of barking and jumping at the door. She is not a lover of dogs unless she can meet them on her own terms: face to face with plenty of sniff time and no human interference.

Today is another I have nothing on my list to do day. Yesterday I finished all my chores and also swept and wet mopped the kitchen floor. I have no idea what compels me to do these household chores. I just know that every now and then I get the cleaning bug, a virus for which I wish there was a cure.

My mother didn’t work outside the house when we were kids. She spent the day at home doing laundry and cleaning. I know I always had clean clothes, my bed was made every day, the rug in the living room was vacuumed, my blouses and skirts were ironed and the dust was gone, but I seldom saw her cleaning. It was almost like the shoemaker and the elves, but it was really because my mother did it all when we were in school. The only thing I did see was my mother making dinner every night. In my mind’s eye, I can see her at the kitchen sink, her back to the door, as she peeled potatoes, cut them up and put them on to cook. The stove was behind her to the left on the wall opposite the sink. It was white. All the appliances were white back then. Harvest gold and avocado hadn’t yet made an appearance. The kitchen was small with very little counter space. The fridge was beside the sink with a small counter in between them. That’s where my mother kept her dish rack with a rubber mat underneath. The mat was opened at one end so the water from the dishes went back into the sink. My mother believed in air drying dishes. I do too.

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24 Comments on ““Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    For my friend Birgit (and im6/8) , here is the release today of David’s new single

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I liked the song, and I thought the video was amazing. Yup, that would definitely get me to buy the album!

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, remember there is a Deluxe edition of the disc with three extra tracks. Cannot wait for it to drop. The Telegraph is reporting that the Bowie exhibit at the V&A will be the most successful in the history of the museum – they have presold 27,000 tickets.

        Meanwhile Clapton is offering “Old Sock” which is, of course, an album of covers and “songs that meant something when he was a young Eric”…..go away !

    • Birgit Says:

      Thanks Hedley. Video not available in my crazy country πŸ™
      Is this the song? Missing vocals?
      I keep on searching …

      • Hedley Says:

        Birgit, no, that sounds like a bad rip from Jaws. Both Kat and I think the track is very good and all the reviews of the album have been incredible.
        Hope that Germany gives you some sort of window to at least hear it or try a preview at itunes or amazon.

    • Birgit Says:

      Found Bowie on vimeo. I have to admit that I also like the song as well as the video.

  2. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a perfect springwinter day here, the sun heated up the air so much that the snow and ice melted on the roofs πŸ™‚ I didn’t go to work this morning because I had to go to the annual vehicle inspection early in the morning and did some errands on my way to work afterwards so I got the chance to enjoy some og it.

    The car didn’t pass but that was expected but they didn’t see the things I thought they would but found another instead πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    My mother couldn’t stand being abhouse wife so she started working when I was rather young. I did see her cook but she never liked that either πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Our first kitchen was rather thin but rather long. I remember the sink because it was rather large and I remember the washing machine that stood just opposite of the sink. We had a table there but there really was no space for the family to sit and eat there. We kids used to have our breakfasts there but that was only bacause we all ate at different hours πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      I am so glad to hear that you have finally had some springlike weather. I love those days of water dropping everywhere as the sun melts the snow and the ice.

      My car, being new, has no trouble passing inspection. My sister has my old car, a 1998 Toyota Corolla, and it had no problem passing either.

      It is always the way that they find the unexpected!

      Our kitchen was small in all ways. All of us could not sit at the table either. My mother took to standing by the counter and eating. She did that even when there was room; she just liked it I guess.

  3. Birgit Says:

    We have a small kitchen and no dishwasher, so we improved the air drying: our dishes are in 2 double-deck dish racks which are fixed on the wall above the sink. Handy and space-saving. I painted our boring old white kitchen yellow, red, blue and green. Now it’s Mondrian style πŸ™‚

    • katry Says:

      I have a dishwasher but don’t use it very often. With it only being me, I don’t use too many dishes.

      I love the idea of all those colors in the kitchen!

  4. Bob Says:

    Your dog is not a barometer, which measures atmospheric pressure but a thermometer that measures temperature. If it’s warm she runs around the yard. However, dogs can sometimes tell when a storm is approaching so maybe they can detect changes in pressure.

    My mother had the luxury of a dishwasher from the time we moved into a house in 1955. Before then I can’t remember her even doing dishes. I believe in using the dishwasher even if it’s not full. My better half will wash some dishes and wait until the dishwasher is full before running it half full. She is more energy conscience and I am more lazy. However, we air dry the dishes in the rack in the sink or in the dish washer.

    • katry Says:

      You’re right: she does like it on a day like today, not too warm for running but warm enough to be outside. She doesn’t sense storms at all.

      I have no problem running it half full, but it takes a while for even that to happen. Many times I’ll put in glass stuff from around the house so I don’t have to clean them myself. I don’t run it enough for an energy issue.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My mother went back to work as soon as my youngest brother was in kindergarten. She was not a “typical” 50’s mom and neither were many of the mom’s I knew. They worked part-time when the kids were in school or they worked nights.
    I own my childhood house and the kitchen remains unchanged. I find myself using it the same way as my mother did. There is no counter space. All prep work is done at the stove in the space between the burners just as she did.
    The kitchen table was big enough for all of us but my mother always stood at the stove to eat because she was always having to get something for someone. She said her mother did it that way, too. Of course, my Nana used to keep the bread in the washing machine, too. Thankfully, my mother didn’t do that. She kept it in the oven and sometimes forgot it was in there. Nothing like the smell of warming Wonderbread and melting plastic bread bag. πŸ™‚
    The day was nice but mostly cloudy up here. Warmish. Rocky and I went for a walk and I didn’t have to wear a coat.
    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My mother didn’t get a driver’s license until she was in her late 30’s then my dad bought her a car. She didn’t go to work until we were all older when my uncle offered her a job to do his books in his company. That’s the only job she had for a while.

      Funny that your mother too ate standing up. Even years later my mother ate at the counter though there was room at the table. It became a habit.

      The house I lived in isn’t very far from here. My father, a few years after he had sold it, wished he had decided to keep it as well as the house they just bought in Stoneham. He said he would have let me buy the Cape house later on. I would have done some remodeling in the kitchen as it too had very little counter space. I go by it every now and then, and there have been additions.

      It got cloudy here too.

      You have a great evening too!

      • Caryn Says:

        My father taught my mother to drive when they were in their teens. My mother bought their first car because she turned 21 six months before my father and so was old enough to sign a contract. That whole operation was probably very unusual for 1941.

      • katry Says:

        I have no idea what took my mother so long. Her friend and neighbor taught her to drive.

        My mother also never learned to swim.

  6. Hedley Says:

    OK Kat and other lovers of gridiron football, take a look at where CBS thinks the Prince’s Uncle Eric will be drafted in to the National Football League.


    • katry Says:

      That is amazing!! The Prince must be thrilled to know his Uncle Eric is the best player around!!

      • Hedley Says:

        Eric had an excellent Combine and his stock continues to rise. As a sports fan, it has been an amazing experience to watch the appreciation for Eric’s extraordinary skills and I guess there is now a serious chance that he will not be around when the Detroit Lions draft in the number 5 spot.

      • katry Says:

        Did I see the Chiefs name used with Eric?

      • Hedley Says:

        The Chiefs have the number one pick and that is why you saw it – it goes, Chiefs, Jags, Raiders, Eagles and then the Lions.
        We thought Phi might take him in the four slot, we believe that the Lions want him at 5 and at 7 there is Arizona.
        This is all getting shaken up as he rises through the mock drafts and here he is with CBS predicting that he could be the Number 1 over pick – absolutely amazing, the Prince’s Uncle is about to become quite famous and, as they say, playing on Sunday

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