Posted tagged ‘cleaning’

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

February 8, 2018

Today is a beautiful day, chilly but still beautiful. Yesterday we had rain, a deluge at times. Off cape got snow so I was happy for the rain. We were just too warm for snow, 10˚ warmer than Boston.

I have nothing on my dance card for today. I’m going to stay around the house. I have some books to keep me busy, and the bird feeders need to be filled. Those are enough accomplishments for today.

My cleaning couple haven’t been here in a month. They usually come every two weeks, but they were in Florida for the second two weeks. Last night Lee called and said they couldn’t come today. I immediately panicked. Visions of the vacuum cleaner, dust rags and mops jumped into my head, and I was the one using them. It was a daytime nightmare. When I told Lee, he promised they’d come on Monday, and I was to do nothing. That’s when I stopped hyperventilating.

When I was little, the house was always vacuumed and dusted, and the dishes were always washed. When I left for school in the morning, my bed was a mess. When I came home, it was made. I never ran out of clean underwear. All day long my mother worked in the house and did the same things every single day. She washed the breakfast dishes, left them to dry in the strainer, made all the beds upstairs, collected laundry, brought the clothes to the cellar to wash, came back upstairs and cleaned the living room. Some time later, she’d go back down to the cellar and put the clothes through the wringer a couple of times. Finally she’d go outside and hang the clothes on the line.

I seldom saw my mother do all these things as I was usually in school. It seemed sort of like the elves and the shoemaker to me. Leave dirty clothes. Find clean clothes. It was a daily miracle I never appreciated until I was older.

“Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it”

November 30, 2017

Today is a winter’s day. The sky is gray and there’s a cold breeze. This comes on the heels of 60˚ yesterday, a lovely fall day, a September sort of day.

I always think of winter as a grizzled old man with his beard covered in frost. He’s a bit of a bully who shoves aside the warmth of fall. By late evening yesterday the temperature was down to the 30’s. My heat was cranking to keep the house warm. My feet were cold.

My cleaning couple can’t come this week so they’ll come in two weeks. I am horrified. That means I have to do a bit of cleaning. I’ll have to remember where I left my vacuum.

I did nothing yesterday, and I had planned to do nothing today, but now I’m making a list which already has dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning on it. I hate my list.

Yesterday a man robbed a bank in Revere and jumped into his car, a Cadillac of unknown vintage, and took off. He was followed by an off-duty police officer who lost him, but he was found by Boston police who gave chase down Route 1. The robber ditched his car near TD Garden and the Museum of Science. He took off on foot. Officers were hunting for him and were searching a parking lot framed by some porta-potties when they realized one of them was occupied. The suspect was hiding out inside it, and they took him into custody. The bank robber had locked the door of the porta-potty. I suppose he was thinking the lock gave him privacy. It didn’t. When he slid the lock, a red occupied indicator appeared on the outside door. That’s what the police saw.

My mother had a junk drawer in the kitchen. It held all sorts of stuff; need an elastic, matches or assorted loose crews and nails, just check the junk drawer. I found a lonely die in there once, saved I guess in case its mate appeared. Sometimes the drawer had odd shaped stuff which prevented closing it. Cleaning the drawer was never an option. If you just shifted and held down some of the stuff, the drawer would close. That drawer followed us on two different moves, its contents intact. My mother’s credo was you never know what you have until it’s needed, and when it is, the junk drawer will have it.

“Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.”

October 16, 2017

That pesky sun is still among the missing. Everything is wet so it must have rained during the night. The weather report says sun later in the day, but I’m skeptical because of yesterday when the sun was everywhere but here.

I have been watching black and white science fiction films from YouTube on the TV. They have, thus far, been awful but good awful. I am watching 1951’s Unknown World. Scientists have predicted that the continued detonation of H-bombs will devastate the Earth; instead, scientists are suggesting the building of a Cyclotram, a space ship type machine built to bore through the Earth’s surface so they can find a place where humanity can live and escape the bombs. This movie has it all: the future visionary predicting the end of mankind whom few people believe, government skeptics, a fun loving playboy who has financed the trip as a lark and the pretty female scientist chronicling the trip who didn’t leave home without her hat.

When I was a kid watching these movies, I never noticed the bad acting, the terrible sets or the inaccurate science. It all seemed spectacular and amazing especially the space ships and the trips to Mars. I believed in all the possibilities.

My house is an indoor dust bowl. I could write my name on the surfaces in this room, my cluttered den. I’m in trouble. I see work ahead. When I went to the bathroom, I cleaned and dusted everything, not my intention at all. Now, looking around this room, I know I’m going to end up cleaning today. Luckily, this feeling is rare.

I did all my errands yesterday. The traffic was light so the going was quick. The animal food, though, is still in the trunk. I left bird seed, suet, cans of dog and cat food and cat treats there. It was all so heavy I brought in only what I needed. I’ll make a couple of trips today and clear the trunk.

Okay, the woman scientist just fainted. The playboy saved her. I don’t think there is any doubt as to where this plot is headed.

“It takes a special kind of personality to enjoy watching the grass grow.”

September 9, 2017

It has been a busy morning. The first ring of the bell was two Mormons hoping to chat. I thanked them and sent them on their way. The second bell was four of the neighborhood boys. They wanted me to know a dead bird was in my little library. They had opened the door to check out the books, and the bird fell out. They also told me there was a hole in the back the woodpecker had made to get in, but obviously not to get out. I went to investigate. It had to have been recent as two weeks ago the library was just fine, no holes, no dead birds. The boys moved the bird out of sight. I went back inside and got Gorilla tape and cleaning stuff as well as a few new books. I scrubbed the inside shelves and cleaned away the bird poop and a few feathers, covered the hole from the inside and the outside with the tape then added and arranged the books. I found a Book of Mormon. I wonder how that got there?

Today is pretty. It is sunny despite wispy clouds, but the sun is only a backdrop. It gives light but little heat. The morning is cool, only 65˚, and it won’t get much warmer. It’s a good day to do errands.

I could hear the lawnmower working from house to house this morning. They did my neighbor next door, who is the landscaper, my neighbor across the street, my lawn and two more down the street. They also used the hedger and the leaf blower to finish each yard. I could tell what was going on from the sounds of the different motors.

I was reminded of my dad and all the neighborhood dads on Saturdays when the lawns were cut and the yards cleaned. They used push mowers and hand clippers. My father loved mowing his lawn and never did convert to a power mower. I gave him rechargeable clippers one year for Father’s Day, and he used them. He even liked them. That was my dad taking this first step into a modern era.

“I am alive, and drunk on sunlight.”

June 15, 2017

Okay, I am distraught. My post was just about finished. It was being saved. All of a sudden Safari shut down, and with it went my post. The saving never happened. Trust me when I tell you the post was spectacular, Pulitzer worthy. Now it is floating in limbo, words without structure, a story without an ending.

It mentioned pizza and a peanut butter cupcake, a new record for the number of errands in a single day and the highlights of my trip to the hardware store. The weather too was mentioned. I used the word glorious twice. I know that may seem repetitious, but the weather the last two days deserved the accolade.

I described the new, sort of snake, I bought at the hardware store. It is yellow plastic, pretty in a way for a tool, especially a snake. My upstairs sink and tub take forever to drain so something is blocking the water. The man at the hardware store highly recommended my new tool. He even gave a quick demonstration as to how to use it. He told me the results could be gross. I am glad I am not a plumber.

This morning I was busy with cleaning some weird spots like the cat’s dish, the dust on the cable box, and the dog’s area. I watered the plants. I watched MSNBC for a while but decided enough was enough. I’m watching The Longest Day.

Later I have to plant a few flowers in the front garden. I did ask my landscaper, but I suspect he forgot. There are only five of them so they shouldn’t take long. Afterward, I can boast I planted my garden.

I was taking Gracie to the backyard yesterday when a car stopped almost in the front of my house. I didn’t recognize the vehicle or the woman who got out of it. She waved. I said hi the way you say it to strangers, with a bit of question in the saying. She asked if the little library was mine and then gave me a thumbs up when I said it was. She told me her daughter had come upon it on one of her walks so the two of them have been by a few times. I was thrilled to learn that my little library has had visitors. She took a few books. I replenished the supply so the library is full again for the next passerby.

Today is cool and sunny. The air is clear and the sunlight is sharp. The day is glorious. I know, I know: that’s three times, but I did say I was distraught.

“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

January 20, 2017

The clock just struck one. I’m not even tired. I went up and down the TV dial and checked out Netflix, but I didn’t find anything I wanted to watch. I tried to read, but I just couldn’t settle down and pay attention. Gracie and Maddie had slept most of the night away, but Gracie just woke up, had a snack and a drink of water then climbed back on the couch to go back to sleep. In about two minutes she was snoring. I envy her.

The weather stayed lovely all day. It hit 43˚. Gracie and I did our errands. We went to the dump, and she got her nails cut at the vets then we took a ride. Gracie liked the window down.

When we got home, the alien took over my body again. The kitchen is gleaming. This sudden spurt of housecleaning has to end.

When I was a kid, I read all of the time. I visited the library just about every week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. I can close my eyes and still picture the children’s side of the library. The librarian sat behind a round counter made of wood set in the middle of the room across from the door. The shelves filled with mysteries were against the wall behind her. The tables and chairs were all wooden. The chairs were spindlebacks though I didn’t know back then that’s what the style was called. Some of the chairs had arms. The tables were different lengths. I’d sit for a bit and look through books to decide which ones I wanted to read. When I was ready, I’d bring the books to the librarian who would stamp the lined sheet in the back with the due date.

I loved mysteries. My favorite detectives were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. The library didn’t have those books, but I’d use my fifty cent allowance to buy the Trixie Belden books and just about every birthday and Christmas I’d be given new Nancy Drews. I loved that they were girls solving mysteries. Nancy drove a roadster. I had to look up what kind of a car a roadster was. Trixie was much younger, closer to my age. I always envied their sleuthing. I would have loved stumbling on a mystery.

Well, I finally settled on a Netflix film about conspiracies. Hitler and Eva were replaced by doubles who were shot. The two of them were then spirited out of the country. Now I’m going to find out what really happened to Nazi gold.  This program was a great choice. I’m getting sleepy from watching it.

“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

January 9, 2017

Today we have fake weather, similar to fake news. I looked out the window and saw a blue sky and a sunlit day. No wind was blowing. I was thinking warm and pleasant. I was thinking the deck and sun on my face, but I was wrong, lulled into believing the view outside my window. I can’t even get to the deck. It is covered in snow, in deep snow. Outside is freezing, only 16˚. The high will be 24˚.

I haven’t gone stir crazy, but I’m still watching the worst movie I think I’ve ever seen, one called Land of Doom. There isn’t a single actor in the cast. I’m figuring the leads, both female and male, have mundane jobs and took time off to make this movie hoping for the best. I have no idea of the actual plot. Marauders on motorcycles destroy villages, kill the men and rape the women. Our leads get caught, kick their way out of the capture and move on only to be caught again. The cast seems huge, but most of the time their faces are hidden so the same people can be used time and time again in different roles. The society is primitive, but there are plenty of motorcycles with full tanks of gas. There are also flies. They walk on the food and on the faces of the cast. I’d be swatting, but the cast doesn’t seem to care. Unless this is the only movie left on Earth, don’t watch it.

The living room is clean. I swept and vacuumed yesterday. I put the furniture back. I just haven’t cleared the couch. That will be first. It is up and down the cellar stairs for me today.

Gracie slid on the driveway last night. The stairs were clear of snow, and I had put de-icer on them so each step was down to the wood and safe for walking. Gracie made it to the tar then slid, her back legs splayed. She looked like Bambi on the ice. I kept watching and she walked just fine through the snow to the backyard. I then threw de-icer on the driveway, and it was clear of ice this morning. I also threw de-icer on the front step. I don’t want to tempt the fates.

“Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem.”

January 7, 2017

The first thing I did when I woke up was check the clock then look out the window. The weatherman had said the snow would start around 10:00. It was 9:30 when I woke up, and it was already snowing. I jumped out of bed and got dressed to go outside. Gracie needed dry dog food.

The roads had more cars than I expected. Even Agway had a lot of customers. I didn’t check the grocery store parking lots, but I suspect they’re filled, and the stores are depleted of milk and bread. Peapod came last night so my fridge and cupboards are filled. I anticipated being housebound so I bought hummus, pita bread, chips, cheese and snacks as well as the staples. I have a bottle of champagne and plenty of orange juice.

The snow is supposed to fall between 1 and 3 inches an hour until 3 or 4 in the morning. My car is covered as are my footprints. Gracie slid down the last three steps when she went outside just a short while ago. I watched until she disappeared under the deck. She is a smart dog. Under the deck gave her a bit of protection from the snow.

I am mesmerized by the falling snow. I keep looking out the window at the flakes slanted from the north to the south. The snow on top of one big pine branch is sort of my measuring stick. It is double the height it was just a while ago.

Pine needles are all over the house. Most of them are still on the living room floor, but Gracie and I have carried needles on paws and slippers to the rest of downstairs. If I get bored, I’ll sweep then vacuum, but I’d have to be really, really bored. The Christmas decorations fill the couch and one side of the kitchen counters, but I just can’t conjure enough energy and enthusiasm to haul up the boxes to put everything away.

The corner is empty where the tree used to stand. The living room is dark without the glow of lights. The wonderful aroma of pine is gone. I hate saying goodbye to Christmas.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

December 15, 2016

Today is a busy day. Peapod is due to arrive so I’ll have to put my groceries away, and my house will be getting cleaned this afternoon. I just have to lift my feet for the vacuum and the mop.

The Polar Vortex has appeared again. I always think it sounds like the title of a low budget scifi movie, but it isn’t. Tonight we will get down to single digits and there is a high wind warning for down here. Winds will be 25 to 35 mph with gusts between 55 and 65 mph. Bitterly cold wind chills are expected overnight. The warning also says there is a danger of power failures. If that happens, we’ll freeze to death (note: overly dramatic).

My tree is just about finished. It needs a few ornaments in the middle, in a spot with few branches, and it needs to be moved. I couldn’t move it, too heavy for me. When Lee comes to clean, I’ll have him move it to the corner then I’ll finish decorating. Last night I sat in the living room looking at my tree. It’s beautiful.

Many ornaments on the tree are memories. My mother needle-pointed my sisters and me ornaments with our initials. Mine is K for kings, the three kings. One Christmas I cross-stitched ornaments for everyone’s gift. My mother collected sheep so a few of her ornaments had sheep. I have them now. Pinocchio was bought in Florence, in a small toy shop my mother and I found. There is a stitched ornament from Hungry, a harp from Ireland my friends gave me, molas from Panama we got at the San Blas Islands, beaded ornaments from Ghana, a wooden angel also from Ghana and a small red and green Bolga basket I hang at the end of a branch so it doesn’t get lost. My mother gave us ornaments from our childhood for our trees. A few are mssing paint but most are in wonderful shape for being old. I love putting them on the tree.

My house is almost decorated. Gracie’s crate is getting some lights this year. A small plastic Santa is on the counter in the bathroom as sort of a night light. My kitchen has the pepper lights. Gracie has a holiday collar. I love festive!

“You can’t eliminate the dust, only move it somewhere else.”

November 1, 2016

Maddie is missing Fern. This morning, around 5, Maddie just kept meowing in the deep, throaty meow she has. She never did that before this. I called to her, but it took a while before she settled down and was quiet. Now she is sleeping on the back cushion of the couch in the living room, one of Fern’s favorite spots. This is the first time Maddie has slept there. She and Fern had been together the whole of their lives.

Good thing I bought my favorite candy bars to give out last night as I have so many left over. I should put them away just as I did the anise bears. I never did find them.

Today is a beautiful day, sunny and bright, in the 50’s. Last night was really cold, and I think we had our first frost, but by the time I got outside this morning, the frost had pretty much melted. The car windows, however, were still wet and opaque.

My house is really dusty, especially the bookshelves. When I worked, I tended to get far more housework done in less time. Now I figure I have all day today or all day tomorrow or even next week to finish. The key is not to mind the dust. Proudly I can boast I have mastered the art of ignoring it.

Yesterday I changed the bed. The sheets had been sitting on the chest at the foot of the bed for four or five days. I have also learned to ignore them, but a new bedspread and shams arrived so I was eager to put them on the bed and figured I might as well change the sheets at the same time.

After reading what I’ve just written about being a sloth, a happy sloth, I decided to describe what I do all day. Well, you know I start the day with two papers and two cups of coffee. I then get to my e-mail and after that, I write Coffee. Depending upon when I got out of bed and how active my muse is, it could be late morning or even early afternoon before I finish. If I have no errands, I stay in my comfy clothes all day. Sometimes I read the day away or watch programs I DVR’ed. I go through magazines and cut out recipes I probably will never try despite my good intentions. Lately, I have been browsing catalogs with Christmas in mind. Notice, cleaning is not mentioned. Neither is laundry which gets done only when the bag is overflowing or I am close to running out of unmentionables. I have also left out showers, brushing my teeth and making my bed. I will mention that I sometimes enjoy an afternoon nap which is the reason I don’t make my bed. I figure I’d only mess up the bed again if I napped or maybe I should say when I napped.

I retired twelve years ago so I have perfected a variety of ways to spend my days. I am no longer feeling any guilt at what I don’t accomplish. Dust always returns.